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RE: [APD] Soil and the Diana Factor -- or - if it works,put it in writing for others

Well, it's another way to go and it can be made to work and
result in a very low maintenance tank provided that you
don't muck about in it much, which can bring a lot of that
ripe stuff into the water (a.k.a. "water column" ;-) ) too

People said it wouldn't work and Diana has proved that it
can and wrote a book about it that's an excellent reference
work for aquatic gardeners -- whether doing soil
underlayments or not.  Not to mention it's one of the few
aquatic books around that isn't jsut pretty pics and isn't
aimed at folks working on their Ph.d dissertations ;-) I
think Diana raised the bar for aquarium books when she
published _Ecology of the Planted Aquarium_. I'd give her a
medal for that alone.

I too prefer the Flourite, Eco-complete, Onyx setups (with
mulm and peat). But that's a personal preference -- those
particular substrates are a bit pricey for some. Plain
gravel works if yo add the right chems. Dry chem macro
ferts aren't very expensive -- you might lay out $40
including shipping costs, but that can buy you several
years' worth of chems. In a tank set up for slow grow, one
where you don't do water changes for months on end, you
don't have to keep dumping traces into the aquarium -- so
those needn't be very costly either. There are economic
ways to go with lights (e.g., shop lights) that can save
one more than enough $s to buy a jug of TMG ;-)

I think part of the beauty of Tom's regimen (my term for
it, not his) is that it's a set of relatively easy to
follow guidelines that prove highly successful and can get
even a newbie close enough to the "magic" to have things
work without a lot of frustration. I mean, the fine tuning,
on a tank by tank basis is something a newbie can handle if
the basics are alright.

Scott H.

--- william ruyle <inquartata at comcast_net> wrote:
> Scott, I'm kinda amused, too, that she's gone to packaged
> potting soil
> mix. John Glaeser, of Madison Aquarium Gardeners
> (interviewed by AGA
> in 2000) sites using ACE top soil or potting soil 50/50
> with profile
> clay soil conditioner in the bottom layer. I followed his
> recipe 
> faithfully in Aug 2002 but won't go back to soil-based
> tanks. All
> my tanks will be TBM or substrate-less (bare or lava
> rock). Diatoms
> crusting on the front glass, thread algae-from-hell,
> good-bye! I don't
> mean to diminish those who use soil-based tanks in any
> way. My experiences
> have been negative, is all.
> TBM=Tom Barr Method wherein mulm, peat, and flourite form
> the "foundation,"
> with his attendant nutrient adjuncts.....and 50% water
> changes! (Wish I had
> the delta symbol on my keyboard for "change.":-)

S. Hieber

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