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[APD] The problems with generalizations (long)

I?d like to suggest that we be a tad more careful with
generalizations on the list.  We seem to forget that
different species of plants hail from different
places, all with different environmental conditions. 
While a particular species may be quite adaptable,
some are not.  This can even be true within a genus. 
For example, Bacopa caroliniana and B.
madagascariensis both grow better in soft water
(Kasselmann, C. 2003.  Aquarium Plants.  Krieger
Publishing Co.).  However, Bacopa monnieri can grow in
either soft or hard water (also from Kasselmann
2003).  Brasenia schreberi (water shield) is a
difficult plant to grow, and requires very soft water
(Rataj, K. and T. J. Horeman.  1977.  Aquarium plants,
their identification, cultivation, and ecology. 
T.F.H. Publications, Inc.).  

Different species can also have different lighting
requirements.  Some shade plants will not survive high
light intensity, while full-sun plants will not
survive shade. (Kasselmann 2003)

Different species also have different substrate
preferences.  Some plants grow well in sand, some do
not, and require at least some mulm if not silt and
clay particles (personal observation).  Different
plants can also have different nutrient requirements
in both water and substrate.  Different plants have
different temperature tolerances.

Therefore, I always try to get a feel for the
preferences of the plants that I am trying to grow,
much in the same way that we look at the preferences
of fish.  While some plants, like some fish, can do
well in other environments, some will do less well,
and some can do very poorly.  Just as discus and
mummichugs will not thrive in the same tank, neither
will some plants.  Just this past weekend, I caught
native fish in South Carolina.  I do not expect to
keep the blackbanded sunfish with the shiners, as they
are from different systems with different water
parameters, substrate, and cover.

I think this is especially important when we consider
that people (including myself) read the list looking
for information to use on their own aquariums.  When
giving advice to individuals, I think we should be
careful not to say ?Plants like condition X?
or ?Condition Y always helps?.  While it may help the
plants of the individual in question, it may not be
advisable for others reading the post.  Better
statements might be something like ?The plants you
have prefer condition Q?. I think we should even avoid
saying ?most plants available in pet stores?, since we
all know that many (not all) pet stores will sell just
about anything if it sells well.

I am particularly bothered by blanket statements
like ?P substrate is the best?, or ?Q condition is
necessary?, as they can be very misleading.  I would
much prefer to say ?R works for me? or ?I have seen
species S grow well under Y conditions) or ?author Z
or company S says that Y conditions are required for
this plant?.

There, end of rant.  I?m not meaning to pick a fight,
or be nit-picky, but I do know that we all grow
different things, from Anubias to Vesicularia, (some
people with passions for particular genera) and we
might want to avoid lumping them all in together.  We
live in a wonderfully diverse world, with many
beautifully different nuances.


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