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Re: APD/Web and LFS

> From: Kirk Melton <triax at bellsouth_net>
>  All of their display tanks (as well as the ones they sell t 
> of) have
> conventional 
> powerhead driven UGFs, have plenty of surface agitation due to
> bubbles 
> rising, have compact fluorescent lighting (not against APD
> wisdom), no 
> gravel supplementations,  and NO CO2 injection.  The growth is
> always lush, 
> and well kept. 

Compared to what? I have non Carbon enriched tanks. Many folks
would call them lush also. I did not use gravel supplements for
many years except mulm from fish/plant waste/detritus. The older
the tank, the better.
That's the way folks did things before, but with limited success
for a number of reasons. 

> They have a variety of plants growing on rocks
> and 
> driftwood, as well as amazon swords which constantly bloom,
> the most 
> beautiful crypt balansae I have seen, a carpet of microswords,
> some 
> beautiful red melon swords, and many others. 

These all are pretty easy to grow "weeds". Nothing unexpected

> the asst. 
> manager has been there for over 8 years now, and this store
> has been in 
> business for over 20, and the owner preaches the same thing --
> UGF and 
> plenty of aeration for plant growth.  

Well, this works with a balanced fish load, patience and LOWER
lighting. Plant growth is slower, mainly bread and butter plants
do well, which is fine for most folks.

They DO add Flourish and
> Flourish 
> Trace & Iron a few times a week to all tanks.  Why is this
> working for 
> them, but it would never work for me? 

Do they do water changes?
Even wonder why the Dutch and many European tanks did well
without CO2?
Their tap water had PO4 and NO3 in it and generally was high in
CO2. Large water changes enriched the tank. All they needed was
some K and Traces. Later on they added CO2 to most of their
tanks as well but without the high light like those in the NA
tend to do.

They kept moderate amounts of light. Growth was slower but good.
They tended to keep only easy to grow plants.
They did not have a Riccia lawn. That's something the LFS will
not be able to do using their method. 

But what is your goal?

> I have to inject CO2
> and keep my 
> water surface virtually still to get results. 

Well your growth and ability to keep plants and keep them
healthier will greatly increase when using CO2. Doesn't matter
if the lighting is low either. But using it well is often a
troubling issue for some folks, others get it right for the
start. Work on it if you are having an issue.

Each piece of the puzzle that you add upon to increase plant's
health(Substrate, CO2, more lighting, Traces etc) and uptake
will add to the list of species you can keep and rasie the level
of your tank.

Now missing one of these will hold plants back etc but not a
great deal if the other issues are also met.
Non CO2 tanks grow slower, there's no doubt about that. 
Some folks want that.

> What's the
> rationale for 
> these suggestions by the LFS?  I almost jumped out of my skin
> when she was 
> telling the customer to do this.

They have an old established tank, moderate lighting, easy to
grow plants that do well in non CO2 tanks, likely soft water,
tank overgrown, plant leaves on the surface anywhere?

I'm not going to go down and look for each part that might help
but there are a few. Either committ to non Carbon enriched
methods or committ to CO2 enriched methods.

Waffling in between will get you into trouble.

My non CO2 tanks do very well and I don't use air stones or
UG's. I'd say better than their tanks for sure since I've done
it their way in the past and know the disadvantages.
But I don't likely have as many fish in the tank either(Most
likely their reason for adding the UG and aeration and adding
CO2 back-the fish health is of prime importance for most
aquarist, folks often come back and buy more plants without any
"moral issues"). This will be the attitude at most LFSs.

They could have a better tank if they used no UG and no
aeration, fewer fish and more algae eaters, 4 inch deep
substrate of SeaChem's Flourite with all that mulm that's in the
present gravel, or 1-2 inch of soil or kitty litter and some
ground peat in any of these set up types. A good Canister filter
with a low flow rate. Good spread of lighting, Tritons work very
well for non CO2 tanks. Power compacts tend to be too focused
and don't spread the light around enough for lower wattages for
my taste.

FWIW, you can find a number of folks that proscribe to their
methods and have nice tanks overall.

But they will never get to the level of Amano, or some of the
tanks I've done in the past. But that might not be your goal:-)
But if some of the old dutch tanks excite you, give it a try, I
would suggest Diana Walstad's book and trying the flourite based
substrate out. I will promise you that it will noticably and
visually improve growth in either any planted aquarium, CO2,
Excel or no Carbon enrichment at all.

Also, do they use Excel?

I would encourage folks to try a small 10 gal or 20 gal non CO2
tank. 30-40 lbs of flourite, lots of mulm from an old tank,
two-3 handfuls of ground peat on the very bottom layer, 2 w/gal
of cool white and a Triton, a small Hagen mini filter, a couple
SAE's and 10 Amano shrimps, plant heavy from the start, have
about 10-25% floating plant cover, have a moderate/small fish
load, feed well once a day at night.
No water changes, only top off for evaporation unless you plan
on uprooting/pruning, then a good sized water change is good.

Now if folks can leave it alone, it will grow in nicely.
Growth is slower but good. If you want to add traces, fine. I

Another idea from Dan R.: Add DIY CO@ till the tank is fully
rooted and grown in, then remove the CO2.

I like not doing this personally.

So there's some Anubias stem to chew on. Most/many boards are
slanted towards CO2 injection. There's a good reason also, once
you learn how to use it, you can bring in goobs of plants and
cuttings to the LFS and make them eat their words.

Of course they will lament over all the slaving work involved in
maintain these CO2 enriched tanks. Not really, I don't spend
that much time on mine except when I want to take a photo or
have an open house. It can depend on your own habits which is
right for you and your ultimate goal. Some folks cannot help but
fiddling with tanks:-)  

Tom Barr



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