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Re: [APD] ADA soil and dying goldfish.

> What is the advantage of ADA aquasoil?  Where can I get it?

For plants? A lot. I've run over 12 tanks with it. The dosing
can be lean or rich, the plants will slow down and not grow as
fast if you forget or just don't dose.

If you dose well etc, you will get faster and better growth.
It's relatively cheap, on a per unit basis, the product is about
as cheap as Flourite. It's softer and a njice even grain size,
dark, almost black color.

Does not need rinsed at all either.
I've poured it into a tank with the water already in there etc
without issues.

Good with orders, communication and knowledge.
Few would argue otherwise.


> Disadvantages of laterite? 

I question whether it does anything significant at all.

 Seems to be the most common
> recommendation I have come across, until your posts today. 

I'd suggest the ADA aqua soil as well.

> (As a lawyer, teacher and linguist, research is what I do for
> fun -- my husband thinks it's crazy but he listens politely
> when I tell him some cool new tidbit I just learned about
> water chemistry or fish biology or someone else's much bigger
> fish room!! -- so I am nearing 9 months as a new fish keeper,
> yes, but these 9 months have been filled with study.)

Ahh, you are one of "THOSE"?
I think the teacher part makes up for the lawyer part.
So you are about even Karamically:)
> When I move my house and the tank next week, I will be
> doubling my lighting and adding CO2 for the first time.  Also,
> I ordered Walsted's book about a week ago, and am looking
> forward to it.  Her philosophy matches mine, but after
> starting with a simple set up on this (my first planted) tank,
> and having most of my fish die and my plants looking pale,
> ragged and small, I am now back to the drawing board.  (I
> disinfected the plants with bleach dilute, BTW).

I would suggest you do two tanks, one with and one without CO2.
The non CO2 can be a small test tank, properly set up, I've run
such tanks for years withiout water changes, no algae at all,
and good but slow, plant growth.

> My thinking about the undergravel heater relates mainly to the
> fact that I live at 8,500 feet elevation in the Colorado
> Rockies.  

No, there's nothing natural nor beneficial with cables and there
is no studies at all that show they help plant growth/root
growth etc.

Although the goldfish like cold water, as I said the
> plants aren't too happy at all.  I thought warming up the
> roots might encourage better growth.

No, that's never been shown in any research I've ever seen,
Tropica suggested that the optimal root growth occurs with plain
diffusion, no heat cables etc.

I agree.

I've used cables for 10 years, I've never seen any thing
significant that I could ever attribute to them in any way.
I've challenged folks to show that they do what the makers
claim, but no one has come up with much for over 10 years

  Even in summer, under
> beautiful blue skies, the daily temperature might creep up to
> 75 or 80 for a little while, but it always drops at night down
> in the 40s even in the hottest months, and it's always cool in
> the house.  I tried the first tank without it, but now I'm
> rethinking that.  Anyone with climate similar to mine and some
> experience here who could orient me?  If it's purely a waste
> of money, of course I won't bother, but if it might help, I am
> game to try it.

Waste of money.
If you like to waste money, you can always send it to me:)
> Does anyone know how much, IF AT ALL, a 25-watt undergravel
> heater would raise the water temperature in a 36 gallon
> aquarium?

Why would you do this?
Leave it simple.
> In fact I do realize there are many ways of doing things --
> precisely what is now driving me crazy. 

Well, knowing the trade off for each method, which means you
need someone who has done the various methods, is the way to
figure out what is best for you and your goals.

 With the dying fish
> problem, I could sort out people's comments on this and other
> forums based on what I know and what I have tried or not
> tried.  But with new schemes, like how to restart and enhance
> my planted aquarium, now I'm getting lots of different ideas
> and don't have a good way to sort them out myself. 

Happy plants = happy fish.

It's that simple.
Take care of the base of the ecosystem, the

Then the rest will also follow......

If you clear cut the stream where you live, do you think the
trout there will be able to do well?

 So perhaps
> on this issue, I'll go offline and do my experimenting, and
> come back when I have enough base of knowledge to sort through
> the many ideas more effectively if what I try doesn't work.

Try the4 no non CO2 approach and then the CO2 method.
Each has their fun elements.

I think , personally, the non CO2 method is better for most
folks or folks with several tanks, have one or two CO2 higher
light tanks(or low light CO2 tanks better yet) and get the
advantages of both.
> I have good test kits (and use them weekly), but I don't have
> a pH meter -- in my mind, this would be a waste of money in my
> situation. 

A pH pen can be had for 30$ etc on line ebay etc.
These are more accurate and are very useful to get CO2 ppm right
or get within a workable range.
These are well worth the cost and are very accurate and easy to

Worth every penny.

 I know our pH is high (7.8) here, and that the
> hardness is also fairly high.  I know this last should keep
> the pH more stable than softer water.  I also know in the
> natural progression of any tank, pH will gradually drop
> slightly due to accumulations in the tank (which I figure
> could not be bad since it is so high to start with).  I will
> start testing hardness (GH and KH) just to know, but am I
> wrong for thinking my focus does NOT need to be on
> micro-managing the water for goldfish? 

You are micro managing, measure pH/KH for normal weekly things.
GH for the tap to see what it's general range is. You can add
Greg's GH booster, say 1/2 teaspoon per 20-30 gallons after a
weekly water change on a CO2 enriched tank and that will remove
any limitations to the plants for Ca, Mg, K.

 As long as things
> remain relatively consistent, they should do fine within the
> water parameters I have locally and have created in my tanks. 
> And they were for 8 months, but no one has suggested anything
> stemming from my water quality to make me think this is where
> the problem is.  I'm still not sure WHAT has killed my fish,
> but temperature and water quality do!
>   not seem to be it.
> I'm not going to try for fish that like acidic water any time
> soon.  I'll tackle one range of challenges at a time.
> Thanks for the specific and thoughtful input.  Jamie

I'd focus on perhaps a lower tech Goldfish tank, low light/CO2,
cold water, well planted. That seems to be the best option for
you given your goals.

Tom Barr


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