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Re: Newbie Designs and disrespected substrates

1. light
2. occupants
3. substrate
4. nutrients
5. CO2
1. light
2. CO2
3. nutrients
4. occupants
5. substrate

That looks a lot more like Arthur's list.

In my experience, approaches that are intermediate between these last two
lists don't work very well.  The combination of an infertile substrate with
low or erratic CO2 levels and limited fertilization mostly gives you algae
and nutrient-deficient plants.

Seems that the order of items in the above two lists stresses money allocation over future ease-of-change. In terms of the difficulty to make a significant change, the order would probably be something like:

1. substrate
2. occupants
3. CO2
4. light
5. nutrients

#1 being the most difficult to change in the future, since replacing a substrate would necessitate tearing down a tank. Occupants are hard to change since you have to go catch them, and of course they are very resistant to that :-). CO2 and lighting are probably interchangeable with each being about the same amount of difficulty to change. Nutrients are going to be the easiest to change since you can always change your fertilizer regimen and/or do larger/more frequent water changes to change the nutrient balance.

In terms of a balance of cost/importance and difficulty of changes I would think something like this:

1. light (most important)
2. substrate (most difficult to change)
3. occupants (difficult to change)
4. CO2 (relatively inexpensive / relatively easy to change)
5. nutrients (easiest to change and least expensive)

And of course, that's IMHO :-) I like a more future-proof setup, and would be willing to put more $ into a quality substrate in the beginning and not worry about it in the future, so I put the substrate higher on the list. Light seems to be the undisputed king of everyone's list, and I would agree with that since no matter what else you do, if the tank has bad lighting the plants are not going to grow. For the rest of the items on the list I would think that other factors would come into play such as high/low light, amount of maintenance, etc., which would effect their importance in relation to the others.


Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator