Balance and lighting

> From: "Ted Fidder, AT&T - Bell Labs, Denver" <fidder at drmail_dr.a
> Date: Thu, 12 Oct 1995 14:30:07 -0600
> Subject: Re: Balance and lighting

> Shaji,
> 	I would very much like to see more discussion on this 


> Of course the problem with defining a "balance" with so many var
> that are present in these systems is difficult at best.  I suspe
> some of the varables are more important than others in defining 
> proper balance.  Although, I orginally thought that light and CO
> the biggest drivers in the system, I am not so sure anymore.  

In the average "fish" tank, particularly one purchased as a 
"package deal", lighting is almost always the limiting factor.  
When the aquarist learns a little more, and begins to add more 
light, CO2 often becomes the limiting factor.  When the CO2 
problem is solved, trace elements often become the limiting 
factor.  That certainly seems to be the case in your situation. 
Judging from your previous post, it sounds like you've been 
flushing most of your expensive trace elements down the drain. ;-)

> if any part of the system is really out of wack the entire tank 
> effected.  Of course the challenge is to figure out which ones a
> Horst and Kipper give clues in the "The Optimum Aquarium", but w
> think you have followed the "10 golden rules" how do you figure 
> one needs to be re-visited ?

That's the problem with trying to follow a "recipe" without 
understanding the variables.  The term I have used in the past is 
"balance", but I like Charley's concept of "steady state" and 
"shifting state".  Another option might be "equilibrium", but that 
term probably has the same problems as "balance".

> I think that we do have established guidelines and many have had
> with them (even I have had luck on my "low tech tank").  For exa
> you know CO2, good light and adding some type of fertilizer (esp
> seems to generate results for a large number of people on this l
> However, it is not a 100% and that is the crux of the problem.  
> my opinion the goal is really to establish the guide lines above
> beyond the obvious.  What are the next tier of requirements that
> be established ? And more important, how do you tell if you have 
> met them?

This is where observation of the "symptoms" comes in, and why the 
report form we made up is so important.  What is not at all 
obvious to you, getting started, may be immediately obvious to 
someone else who knows all the details of a set up.  It was only 
after a number of messages back and forth that it came to light 
that you were doing such large water changes, and removing 
nutrients in the process.  Someone else was having a problem with 
his swords and it was only when another (more experienced) 
aquarist noticed that he wasn't using the correct strength 
fertilizer tablets.  Someone else was getting "strange" test 
measurements because he was using the wrong test kit.

Unfortunately, it takes an experienced eye to trouble shoot in 
many instances.  Sometimes the "obvious" isn't obvious at all when 
your in the middle of a problem with your tank.