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Re: New Tank
Marty Martinphillip03 at aol_com wrote
<<I wish to set up a planted tank. Either a 60 gallon or a 90 gallon. I
read Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. Can you recomend any other planted
tank books? >>
Jared gave you a link to his "resource page", I recommend that you put it on
your browser's "Favorite's" list. He's got all the major stuff covered
You might also want to go to your local library and see if they can help you
locate a copy of "The Complete Book of Aquarium Plants" written by Robert
Allgayer and Jacques Teton, published in 1987 by Ward Lock Limited, London.
ISBN 0-7063-6614-X. It is an English translation of a book first published
in French as "Plantes et Decors d'Aquarium" by A.T.P. - Chamalieres, France
in 1986. This is long out of print but a copy might be available through
inter-library loan or one of the 2nd hand book dealers. Its old and out of
print, but definitely not out of the running as one of the BEST books on
planted aquariums ever produced.
If this is your "first" planted tank, read as much as you can but remember
that much of what is written is based upon a certain set of preconceived
notions - a "mind-set" if you will. There are many ways to successfully set
up and maintain a planted aquarium - and not all books or resource sources
are using the same yardsticks or methodology.
Find yourself "an expert" and follow his or her advice until you have some
experience of your own to rely upon. DON'T try to "pick and choose" or
combine multiple approaches in your first tank. For example, you have
already read Walstad. Its an excellent book and contains a lot of very good
advice. Her approach relies on the use of REAL soil in the substrate,
moderate amounts of light and generally foregoes adding supplemental CO2.
The "trend" here on the APD has shifted dramatically to tanks lit by much
more intense lights and fertilized up the wazoo via the water column (as
opposed to the substrate), with enough CO2 added to leaven bread for an
Both approaches can work - but it can be difficult for a beginner to MIX
both approaches in the same tank. It isn't simply a matter of taking some
advice from "Column A" and some from "Column B". Disaster awaits anyone
naive enough to try.
For example, it seems that many folks are more than willing to shell out the
bucks needed to give their tanks near-tropical lighting levels but they shy
away from supplemental bottled CO2. High light is useless without adequate
CO2 but it isn't as "sexy" nor as likely to impress, so they let it slide.
Similarly, the more "traditional" approach to plant nutrition has been based
on the concept of "limiting" nutrients. The "new" approach is to provide the
plants luxury levels of nutrients, in the belief that the higher plants will
out compete algae. Again, both approaches can work, but the "luxe" approach
probably works better in a high light, CO2 supplemented tank than it might
in a tank set up "a-la-Walstad".
Its only an opinion, but I'd be willing to bet that many of the "nutrient
deficiency" posts made to the APD are more than likely related to nutrient
imbalances or toxicities caused by the over use of trace element mixes and
additions by hobbyists who really don't understand what is meant by the term
"trace element". Of the 17 elements considered essential, ALL are required,
but too much or an imbalance of some of the minor elements can lead to
problems that can appear to be caused by other factors. Relying on a
possibly inacurate and out of date test kit to monitor levels of just one
trace element when the trace mix used came from your local hardware store
and was designed for roses or tomatoes seems kind of silly to me. It can
take a while to understand the concept that more of a good thing isn't
necessarily better. Especially in tanks which are not regularly "flushed" by
large water changes - and everyone gets lazy now and again.
Keep it simple, be patient, and welcome to the club.