Re: "Green, minimum fiddle"

> PacoIII at aol_com wrote:
>  I think it everybody's dream is to have a lush aquarium with the minimum
> fiddle. [snip]  Maybe that's my problem, I worry to much.  I WANT GREEN, 

> having a problem getting enough Oxygen to my fish in the day and my 
> plants at night but POOF I dont have any CO2, Right?   Well how about 
> leaving the filters off during the day, Is that a good Idea or am I 
> just going to shot me self in the foot? Will the plants
> get the needed nutrients and circulation around there roots? Will the 
> plants get cold roots during the 10plus hours of no filtration?   
> I really NEEDED to spill out my heart on the I-way, So if
> someone can stop by and pick up my heart for my plants I would be in your
> debt.
>             sincerely, the worried violinist 

Wow.  You really ARE worried!  :-)

This might not help, and I hope I don't get flamed.  :-)
They're plants, and somehow, they grow all over the world
where the water never has the impossibly high CO2 
concentrations that come with CO2 injection.  

I have green, LOTS of green.  Any day now I'm going to
shamelessly post my surplus of plants that I don't know
what to do with.  I never mess with my tank, and have done
only one water change in the past four months <embarrassed
blush>.  I won't do another until March.  I have no algae 
problem whatsoever (a short run with brush algae, but now 
completely gone).  I never clean the glass.  I never check 
pH (anymore).  I never vacuum the gravel.  I don't have 
any CO2.  I remember to feed most days, but sometimes skip 
three or four.  The only thing I do (literally) is harvest 
plants and add makeup water.  (I do have a duckweed
problem, though:  OK, ERIC, I RELENT!  YOU WERE RIGHT!

It's a 180 gallon tetra-schooling tank with 3-5" of 
2mm sand-blasting gravel mixed with sphagnum peat and
vermiculite.  No circulation through the substrate at 
present, but fantastic root growth.  I have an overflow
to two 10-gallon sumps (settling tank only) where I
catch lots of community-bred fry (including neon tetras).  
I only have 1.22 watts of light per gallon, but a great 
forest of Alternanthera reineckii (starter plants from 
George:  Thanks, George!)

I tried to fertilize, but stopped two months ago because I
always got algae (not a lot, I fertilize about 1/10 what 
the label suggested).  Everything still grows great with 
no fertilizer, though.  I want to add CO2, but don't 
know if my lighting is adequate.  So I don't.  My next 
tank will be MH with CO2, though.

I have schools of tetras, platies, and barbs, seven
ottocinclus (haven't lost any), and three false
siamensis (lost one).  My fish are very healthy (which I 
attribute to the plants), and I'm keeping some difficult ones 
(like a school of pencilfish: haven't lost any in three 
months).  I estimate 100" of fish.

Literally, this tank is FANTASTIC.  I don't do anything.
Ever.  Literally.  Not an exaggeration.  With my busy 
schedule of late, that suits me very well.

Not to make flame bait, but I think larger tanks with
low bio-loads are awesome.  I'm running about twenty
tanks at present, and this 180 (my biggest tank) is
no effort whatsoever (while the little ones are a pain in 
the *@#%&!)  And yes, I do think this big tank is 
magazine-cover quality (my wife is sick of aquariums, but
even she agrees!).

So, take home message:  Don't stress.  Have fun with it.
Shaji made a comment that stuck with me several months ago:
When I asked about test kits and maintenance schedules,
he responded:  "That makes it too much like work to me
and less like gardening.  I like it to be more art than
science."  All of a sudden, I realized I don't HAVE to 
do ANYTHING!  It's all for enjoyment, and you can do great 
despite all the money you really want to spend on the 
outrageously priced aquarium hobby junk.   ;-)

--charley                            Fort Collins, Colorado USA
charleyb at gr_hp.com	-or-	charley at agrostis_nrel.colostate.edu