UGF vs. Cables, Java Fern, FROG regulator

> From: Patrick White <patbob at sequent_com>
> > From: Erik Olson <olson at phys_washington.edu>
> > 
> > Substrate Heating Cables
> > contributed by George Booth
> > 
> > UGF will provide warmth for biochemical activity, and nutrient and toxin
> > transport. Hot feet would be very tricky to achieve, if not impossible.
> > Detritus pulled into the gravel can be chelated by the substrate, but a
> > reducing environment is almost impossible unless a very slow flow is used
> > and that would be hard to do evenly across the whole substrate. 
> 	Others have reported that UGFs inhibit plant growth.  My own experience
> seems to agree.  Given George's comments here that a UGF would provide nutrient
> & toxin transport, chelation and substrate warmth, I'd suspect these are the
> _minor_ effects here (if they were the major effects, then UGF would be better
> then non-UGF, no?).

What about all the OTHER effects of UGF, namely the unevenness and the
sucking of ALL detritus into the gravel?  (These would inhibit long term
stability but not affect short term growth.) Perhaps the effect you get
varies depending on how you choose to gravel-vac.  Anyone done plants with

My own experience of keeping plants with UGF is limited, since I pulled 
it out after I learned "UGF Bad.  Box Filter Good."  I wonder how many 
others have just become better gardeners around the time they moved away 
from UGF.  If you read George's postings, he claims pretty good growth in 
the tank with the UGF that was set up simultaneously with others.

> From: HoeschB at mail_fws.gov
> Subject: Java Ferns
>      I obtained a Java fern (Microsorum pteropus) and attached it to a 
>      piece of driftwood with a rubber band about 3 (almost 4) weeks ago.  
>      So far it is not doing anything...not dying, certainly not growing or 
>      producing new leaves.  Anyone have experience with this plant?  Do 
>      they take a long time to acclimate?  Once acclimated, how fast can 
>      they be expected to grow under good conditions (light, CO2, etc)

Wow, good to see more people using the right name for Java Fern (and I 
thought I was just being anal when I mentioned that in the FAQ... then lo 
and behold, there's Neil Frank making note of it in TAG!)

Mine like the high light.  They also like CO2.  They spread like
wildflowers under these conditions, and went from two little $4 cuttings
to taking over 1/3 of a 55g in about 4 months.  When in this condition,
they also got tougher, bigger (7-10") fronds, and eventually started
throwing out triple-spiked fronds (now THAT's something you don't see
every day).  I have to go in and rip out whole bunches of it every few

In my African Cichlid tank with 80W of lighting, it stays barely rooted to
a rock and grows much slower, but still survives.  They are tough buggers.

> From: BobWurster at aol_com

> >I will be investing in the 20lb. bottle and regulator per. >George Booth's
> >FROG dingus later this year.
> Can someone enlighten me as to the exact nature of a
> FROG dingus? I'm new here.

Being someone who actually OWNS one of these, I can elaborate.  FROG 
stands for Flow Reduced Orifice Gauge, or something like that.  It is a 
preset 22psi regulator used as a low-cost replacement for welding systems 
and is available from Western (I posted the phone # a couple weeks back, 
check the archives).  One nice thing is that it has a little button that 
pops in when the tank is almost empty.  Cost for me was $28; I would 
easily have paid double that for the equivalent functionality in a 
"normal" regulator.

Now there is one drawback with this thing:  The outlet is a 3/16-1/4" 
hose barb.  The barb can be removed with an allen wrench, but the thread
it screws into is tiny & completely nonstandard, so you can't retro-fit a
swagelok fitting in there.  You have to rig something up so the needle
valve can hook to 3/16" ID plastic tubing.  Ideally, if you could find a 
needle valve that had a similar barb on the other end you'd be home free. 

   - Erik

Erik D. Olson                		E-mail-o-meter:
olson at phys_washington.edu             	it's back up!