RE: Living Water Vital Redux

Hi everyone,

Nathan gave us a re-cap of what the label on Living Water Vital states. What a hoot! This is getting better than one of George's April Fool's Day jokes.

>    Although I am not a big fan of Owen Jeffries, I would not be so quick to
> condemn this new product for one main reason, it is made by Marc Weiss.  All
> of his past products have been excellent and he seems to be a very reputable
> person.  There is also a version of this product for marine aquariums that I
> have heard very good things about from reputable and well educated people.

My initial purpose in posting my misgivings concerning this were not to put down Mr. Weiss or his product. I just thought that the claims reported by Mr. Jefferies in his column in FAMA were a tad amorphous and highly suspect given the fact that he is also paid to advertise the stuff.

As far as new products from reputable firms, I would just like to remind everyone that Mattel made that new Cabbage Patch doll that is "eating" children's fingers and hair. So much for product testing...

>     The bottle of Instant Amazon that I have lists the contents as "16 fl.oz.
> of Amazonian rainforest derived enzymic activated catalysts and natural
> organic acids discovered by Marc Weiss."  This seems reasonable enough if not
> as informative as we might like.

While I don't wish to refute Mr. Weiss' assertions, how much time has he spent in the Amazon basin hunting for rare organic acids? And could someone PLEASE tell me what a "enzymic activated catalyst" is?
>     Also, if the product was purely snake oil I would think it might make
>great claims on the bottle itself, instead there is a disclaimer saying "Not
>a trace element replacement or plant food. Not a medication, fertilizer or

O.K., we now know what its NOT.

>  Enhances ability of plants, microflora and microfauna to obtain
> nutrients and energy from water and utilize light. Contains non-toxic
> biological accelerators for freshwater microorganisms." and says it "contains
> no nitrates, phosphates or silicates."

Duh, gee Batman, sounds like fertilizer or trace element mix to me.

>     The claims it does make are that it is an "Aquatic Plant Growth
> Accelerator," a "Biological algae and ich control" that it "Detoxifies
> ammonia, nitrites and liberates nitrogen" and that it "Dramatically enhances
> growth of aquarium plants without nitrates or phosphates." It "biologically
      > discourages algae and parasites" and "enhances biological filtration." 

My father used to have a saying - "If it looks, waddles and quacks like a duck, you can bet your life that it IS a duck, no matter how loudly it proclaims otherwise." 

I guess this is the part that makes me think of snake oil. What else is a plant growth accelerator if not a fertilizer? How does it manage to do all of these "magical" (my quotations) things? Ya know, its amazing what they find in the jungles nowadays.
>   In the "Directions" section, it states that "'Ich' becomes dormant in the
> presence of this product."  After reading this, I can't help but wonder
> whether the ich will become dormant if a bottle is brought within close
> proximity to the infected aquarium.

The bottle probably has a micro-thin lead lining, shielding us all from the power within. Hope Superman doesn't get near this stuff, it might hurt him.

> I hope this sheds some little bit of light on the product, Nathan

Well Nathan, I don't know about shedding light on the subject, but it sure gave me a chuckle, probably the last one of 1996.

Mark Weiss obviously doesn't get it - the best customer is an educated customer. His product might, and I have said this all along, just might, do what it claims to do, but why load a label with such pap? Give us the FACTS. If these enzymes were indeed discovered in the Amazon, let us know what they are made of. I for one sure as heck won't be calling in my frequent flyer points any time soon to fly down to Rio so that I can collect my own. It would be a lot cheaper to buy his product.

Once more, I would like to say that my most vocal objection is not against Mark Weiss or his company's products. I get disappointed when someone who has set himself up as a journalist (Owen Jefferies in this case) attempts to pass off blatant advertizing hype as anything other than what it is. Regardless of what more experienced aquarists might do, a lot of neophytes read columns like Mr. Jefferies' and believe everything they read. They follow the directions on the bottle to the letter and more often than not their tanks go from bad to worse, and they get discouraged, often leaving the hobby. There are probably a couple of million empty 15 gallon aquariums collecting dust in attics and basements all over the world because people were led down the wrong path by so called "experts".

I hope Mr. Jefferies makes a New Year's Resolution - to never endorse ANY product in print unless he knows HOW and WHY it works, and is able to tell his readers the FACTS. 

Enough already! 

Happy New Year to all of you. My your pH always be stable, your algae sparse and your light full spectrum.

James Purchase
Toronto, Ontario
jpp at inforamp_net