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Re: [APD] Re: Back in the saddle again -- or - You don't have to have blisters

I think one of hte biggest impacts and part of the reason
for the strong steady growth in aquatic gardening is a
combination of more or less evolutionary factors that ended

Aquatic plants just die. Much more often in the past,
nonaquatic plants were sold in lfss and lots of people
ended up thinking aquatic gardening meant buying plants
that soon died. 

A healthy tank is just water and fish. This bears on how
aquatic plants grow. It turns out aqutic plants have
general needs similar to  terresterial plnats. They need
some of the things folks had been trying for years to keep
out of there aquarium, namely nitrates and phosphates. Thre
are still more products, chemical and gizmos, in most lfss
to remove nitrates and phosphates from your aquarium than
products intended specifically to feed plants.

Everyone you know is wrong. For many years, it was hard for
the average hobbyist to get good advice about plants. Much
of hte advice was a recast of the basic myths. As a small
corner of the aquatic hobbies, the odds that you would run
into folks with lots of experience and expertise was low.
This becomes less of a factor as each day passes.

The size of the hobby has worked against the myths. It
promotes specialized dealers and an improved wholsesale
network. And of course, it promotes large nurseries produce
more aquatic plants for the retail market than ever before.
And along with more aqutic plants and a marketing network
comes a little more info about the plants.

Specialized clubs and expereienced gardeners were bound to
grow with the hobby and spread good advice to an increasing
number of people. Of course one can't underestimate the
integral role of the interenet in this regard!  

Shedding the myths has meant moving from a widespread
belief that there's no practical way to grow plants in an
aquarium to the repeatedly demonstrated fact that there are
many ways to to do it.

Along the way, the hobby has moved down several tracks a
bit like a train going downhill with weak brakes. I thihnk
phosphate limitation might be one of those tracks. Heated
substrate seems to me another. The two best pieces of
advice I ever got about aquatic gardening were one specific
thing and a the other amore general thing. The specific
thing is, "Don't starve your plants." In a way, it's as
self-evident a statement as you will find in the aquatic
hobbies, yet one that to this day must work against the
myth that opposes it.

The second bit of advice, the more general thing, is to
keep a sense of balance as well as to keep your aquarium
environment in balance. It's not true as a general rule
that less is better or more is better -- in a system of
related elements, balance is better. You don't have to go
off the deep end to grow plants and some common sense and a
bit of restraint can be as helpful in the long run as
charging full steam ahead -- at least not without checking
your breaks.

All of the changes in the hobby have helped to make it more
fun, imo, and that helps to make the hobby grow.

I'm not taking anything away from Amano, who married genuis
in the art of aquascaping with genius in the art of

Good luck, good fun,
Scott H.

It's the contest that started international competition in aquascaping
planted aquaria! AGA's 2004 Aquascaping Contest is open for entrees:


Novices and experts alike show their skills. Past winners have been
novices and experts, too. You can view all the entrees at The 5th AGA
Annual Convention. Details/Registration at www.aquatic-gardeners.org &
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