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Re: CO2 and water stability

Somewhere there is an unwritten book of things you should and
shouldn't do to have a successful aquarium. I quite often enjoy not
following these rules. Partly, I do it because I think somebody needs
to, partly because it's usually cheaper or more practical, and partly
because I enjoy swimming against the current.
  I am the empiricist who uses the kitty litter as a substrate and
Osmocote for fertilizer in the kitty litter/ covered by sand. I have 2
tanks now that are over a year old that are heavily planted and I have
added no additional fertilizer since the set-up. So far so good.
  Recently, because of many non-standard methods I use and advocate on
my web page, I have come up with a new problem. The problem is one of
the subscribers in this newsletter by the name of John (he won't use his
last name}. John is a "by the book kind of guy" who sends me many very
long e-mails challenging my methods. Being an empiricist has some
disadvantages here because I live by results instead of deep scientific 
knowledge and its hard to argue results via e-mail.
  I would like to air out these thoughts so that you scientist guys can
fill in all the why part of my methods. I will be upfront, I wan't to
get rid of John and I want to warn anyone whom may ever defend my
beliefs, may end with John.
  Besides the kitty litter substrate, I don't inject CO2. Nothing wrong
with adding it, but I would have to buy sugar in 50 lb. bags to get all
my tanks hooked up to this. I also don't like the thought of keeping up
with them, looking at there disgusting contents, or putting up with my
wife whos limits I have already taken to the limit with my aquariums.
  I believe it was Andrew who did a great job of explaining that even in
strong light extra CO2 is not needed.(Thank You!) The plants I have that
are in direct sunlight and I have known this for years. Now I think John
  The other debates concern water stability. In this case I may also be 
in disagreement with Andrew as well as John.
  I naturally get substantial pH swings in my low-tech methods. 6.2 in
the morning to 6.8 in late aft., give or take a little on both ends. I
like to see these swings because I consider it a quick sign thay I am
getting good CO2 production. I seldom lose a fish and I can't detect any
stress in the fish. In fact livebearers breed like crazy. I noticed
Andrew posted that he tinkered with his KH to make the pH more stable.
   I also don't use heaters. Nothing against them, but just don't think
water temperature stability is a big deal, unless you are into
propagating specific fish or plants.  I still get good growth on
tropical plants like swords (but will admit it might be faster with more
heat, but I'm in no hurry) and on my fish farm we kept all kinds of fish
with out heaters and it gets quite cold in Fl.  I have one tank with a
very hot halogen bulb that gives me about a 6-8 deg. temp. flux 
over 12 hrs. The point is, both plants and fish can take a great deal of
change if done slow enough. 
As always,  
Dan Quackenbush