Anaerobic substrates


 >> I'm just wondering if others do not gravel vacuum & hence do not notice
it, or if it is because they have very heavily planted & root bound tanks. <<

 In the case of my tanks, I believe it is the latter.  I cannot gravel vac
because I can't get to the bottom of my tank even in the front due to the
heavy planting. (I do pick up surface mulm) When I have had to take a tank
down for a move, or some other reason, (not due to deterioration of the tank)
I have found no black or smelly areas in the gravel to indicate anaerobic
areas regardless of the age of the tank.  The oldest tank had been set up, and
the substrate undisturbed for a period of approximately 5 years.

 Subject: Tropica vs. Horizon Growers


 >> I've never seen the Tropica stuff so I didn't know Horizon was second rate
(at best).  We were generally underwhelmed with the plants and now I see why. 

 I didn't know there was a difference either until I got to know Claus.

 Subject: Water differences


 >> Perhaps our experience with the decline was due in part to our water being
practically devoid of worthwhile nutrients.  We are unable to maintain plants
in "low tech" aquariums, even with Dupla fertilizers.  Maybe it's the
altitude?  "Rocky Mountain Spring Water" may (or may not :-) make good beer,
but it sure doesn't grow plants well! <<

 While my water problems are different than yours... instead of our water
being too pure, it's practically poisonous!...I too have a difficult time
growing plants the "low tech" way.  In my tanks without strong light and
supplemental CO2, the only things I can reliably grow are Java Ferns, Anubias
and certain Crypts.  There are many plants that I _should_ be able to grow in
my higher-tech tanks and can't because of my water.  I am seriously
considering getting an RO unit at some point.

 It constantly amazes me how our perceptions and philosophies on planted tanks
are shaped by our local water conditions. I was astounded when Dorothy Reimer
showed me gorgeous plants grown in banks of 4 55G tanks, each bank of tanks
lit by a single 2 bulb shop light with a warm white and a cool white tube. 
When asked if she used trace elements or fertilizers, she held up an enormous
dark green sword, and asked, "what for?"<g>

  E-mail from: Karen Randall, 13-Jun-1995