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[APD] Re: Salt Water

> Robert Paul said:
>"I think Toms pictures are beautiful, and intriguing, but the problem is
>it is part of an entirely different hobby requiring a whole new knowledge
>base and area of expertise. Salt water is a whole different world. And
>Tom may find it easy and cheap to collect the wild specimans, the cost of
>setting up a marine enviornment is huge. This is why most likely freshwater
>plant dealers like myself would not sell marine algae and plants."

I think it is also important here to consider the category I had mentioned.
I described Tom's aquarium as a biotope.  I also mentioned that I felt it
_not_ appropriate to include salt water in the planted aquaria categories
that are judged on aquascaping.  I agree with you that aquascaping with salt
water plants would be a monumental task that at this point in time may not
even be possible, and discussion of this sort would take up a list of its
own.  But if a person like Tom lives next to salt water, like myself, then a
salt water _local_ biotope is an option.  With a _local_ biotope the person
models the environment around him.  If you live by the ocean you do salt
water.  If you live on a lake, or next to a ditch in town like me, well then
it is freshwater.  The idea is to learn about your environment.  You
generally get your fish, rocks, wood, and plants by going out and inspecting
your environment.

It is also more likely to be lower tech than the highly competive planted
aquaria aquascape categories.  I personally prefer fresh water biotopes, but
my seventeen year old son, after communicating with Tom B., set up a salt
water tank at no cost.  I pumped the salt water up from the canal in our
backyard, he got the sand from the gulf of mexico beach a mile away and his
animals from cast and seine netting.  He hasn't been able to keep plants
alive, but at least he has tried, and knows a lot more about his environment
than does his HS aquatic science teacher.  This can be done by anyone, and
anywhere.  You just model the environment around you.  I certianly don't
want to encourage people to keep expensive salt water tanks if they don't
live near a source.

I know that all of the fish I keep in my fresh water biotope also like salt
water.  I have been studying the salt water plants in the area and the
maximum S.G. that they can tolerate of salt water.  I have come to the
conclusion that where I live (on a barrier island) there aren't strictly
fresh-water-only or salt-water-only plants.  In other words I don't see a
great disctinction here between  salt water and fresh water biotopes.
Anyway, even though Tom's salt water planted aquarium might seem drastic,  I
think there are probably a lot of similarities we will notice with fresh
water planted aquaria if we listen to his experiences during the next few

Anyway I was talking of biotopes, and how his tank might stimulate more
participation in this category of the contest..  Considering how few entries
have been entered in this category in the past four years, and how few were
actually biotopes, even if his contributions caused two more entries in the
biotope category per year, I don't think his occasional comment to this list
on salt water planted aquarium management would overload this list.

So I agree with you, Robert, that salt water planted aquaria aqauscaping
would be a "whole different world", but considering it as the biotope that
Tom is experimenting with, its not that much different from brackish water,
which in my own experience is no different than fresh water.  When I go out
looking for plants and fish, I don't even check to see if the water is
fresh, or salt, or brackish.  In my case all plants and fish end up in my
fresh water tank.

I think that the subject of keeping a biotope may have appeal to some people
on this list.  We are all attracted  to the beautiful pictures we see of
marvelously aquascaped planted aquariums.   However, I think there are two
types of people on this list.  I don't want to stereotype anyone so please
don't be offended but I see most of us as the creative-artistic type who
will always be interested in the aquascaping part of the hobby, and a
smaller group of us as the scientists-discovery-nature types, who, like
myself, use the hobby to learn about nature.  I think the biotope category
would attract more of the latter type.  The biotope is an alternative for
those who are more attracted to this part of the hobby.  It might also be a
good alternative for those who are frustrated with their algae aquascapes,
as it was in my case. ;^)

Nice discussion, so far. :^)

By the way, I've been doing a lot of updating of my planted aquaria web
site.  Everyone is invited to give it a look and comment on it.  (You may
also discover something about why my head is screwed on the way it is.)  You
might want to look at the "general biotope page".


Steve Pituch

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