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Re: [APD] Miracle

so please share with us how this miracle happens. Sure would save me a lot of money on ferts, CO2, etc.

rich green
milton ma

Rich, I never told him to not to dose his tank. Well, I did say don't fertilize in his initial planting. I think that's a good move and I say from experience. It's best to plant and let everything calm down for a week or two. Dosing then just puts extra "stuff" in the water column and if the plants are trying to reroot rather than producing leaves, something has to consume the extra nutrients (algae). Over the years I've been high maintenance (CO2, PMDD, substrate tabs, high lighting, etc.) down to low tech (1 W/gal, no added ferts, Fluorite only). I've come to the conclusion (my $0.02) from doing this almost 20 years, I like the low tech methods the best, or maybe low tech with a little high tech sprinkled in. I don't have the time, patience, or money for maintaining my 4 aquariums as high tech superworlds. I keep them from 2.5 W/gal to 1 W/gal and growing crypts in any of them is easy as pie. I've given away (or thrown to the compost bin) buckets of crypts (all varieties, nothing rare) over the years (plus all types of other common aquarium plants). I do have Fluorite in all my tanks and it the oldest tank of Fluorite is going on 15 years old - the youngest is about 8 years. One would have to surmise a tank that old has a lot of nutrients in the substrate. From seeing the roots of my plants, I can tell you there is plenty of nutritions to go around. I do 25%-40% water changes about every 3 months. I do wipe the inner glass down once a month or 6 weeks. There is little green algae on the glass, but I do like a crystal-clear window into my aquatic worlds, so I'm kind of ADD about that. I can honestly say every 3 months I have to trim and cull plants to give my fish room to swim. If I go 4-6 months, it's too much. I don't keep all those high-light plants like I use to, but I will throw some in from time to time. I use city water that is 1 degree hardness and 1 degree alkalinity. I use calcium chloride, magnesium sulfate, and potassium chloride to get my numbers into the 6-10 ppm, 4-6 ppm, and 25-30 ppm ranges, respectively. I also use a very small pinch of baking soda to keep the pH stable (Kh ~ 2). That's it! Over the years I've found a formula that works for me. I like my variety of plants. I like that they grow moderately and with little intervention. And I like that the tanks allow me to perform maintenance on my schedule rather than be driven by their needs. I like having/breeding fish and letting the plants play second fiddle if I so desire.

BTW, speaking of ADD - I'm a chemist in a production lab and have been my entire professional life (20+ years). We test everything, so I'm given the opportunity to test every water parameter one would ever want. And, I did do this for many years, to the point of almost making my hobby a burden. I had to have the water column read exactly 0.1 ppm Fe. I had to have my minerals within certain ranges. I have to have my nitrate read 5-8 ppm. I had to have my phosphate right around 0.1 ppm. I had to have my CO2 around 25 ppm. This was a lot of work and while my plants did well, they almost did too well. I began feeling more like a plant nursery than an aquarium hobbyist. I can't tell you the last time I checked water parameters, probably 4-5 years. I know if I do my quarterly water changes, feed sparingly, don't vacuum the gravel, and let nature work out the issues, everything is going to look fine. And it has. I guess that is miracle enough.

Also, if there is any need for this, I did some research late 1999 and wrote an article for Dave Gomberg's Planted Aquarium. It was published in one of his magazines. See I told you I had ADD. ;-)


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