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Re: random thoughts from DQ

To the readers,
  First, I want to thank those that defended my position. It shows that
some experts here see a bigger picture.
  Still being in somewhat of a defensive mode, it's real tempting to ask
some of you academic experts that are wrapped tightly to a more hi-tech
approach, why you need to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars in
equipment to aid you to get plants to grow when you could do it for
under $50.00 to $100.00 in most aquaruiums?  Actually, I know the answer
so you need not respond. 
   I subscribed to this list content to lurk and in hopes of picking up
tid-bits. I was reluctant to post anything because I'm kind of new to
the web and was not sure where my post would end up and secondly because
I have a very specific agenda in developing my methods and they appear
to be quite different than the agenda here. Thirdly, I have no interest
in trying to convert those that are happy with there method.
  I felt compelled to participate when my methods kept coming under
attack and were being dismissed with out any logic that I expected this
group could muster. As sloppy as my posts were, I do wanna thank you for
forcing me to learn to reply.
  I would have enjoyed sharing the reason why I use kitty litter, but it
was so arrogantly dismissed by one whose reputation is not questioned,
there didn't seem much reason. Based on my own personal experience, I
would have also agreed with her suggestions that there are substrates
better for growing plants. There are also substrates, such as kitty
litter that are more universally consistant, less likely to be
contaminated, realativly clean compared to back yard dirt, and potting
soil etc., don't cause nearly the mess when you uproot a plant and cost
a whole lot less than laterite. The difference in growth between
substrates is minimal at best.
   Then there is Osmocote. In that unwritten book I mentioned, I think a
different method or approach suggested, requires 2 years to pass
mustard. So far I have used it only for one year. To the few who are a
little skeptical of the rule and willing to take great risks, let me
share this with you. I added Osmocote to the substrate as an experiment
approx. a year ago. I was hoping it would last 6 months before I needed
to add more fertilizer. So far I haven't added anything. Now I know that
this is not nearly as much fun as tracking down your own chemicals,
brewing up batches, storing it, and dosing (I forget how often). I also
realize that the plants may not be as succulent (I don't really know),
but perhaps pretty succulent works for some folks. I also got some
interesting e-mail from someone that tried it a different way than I
recommended and is thrilled with the results. 
  I'm getting to a point here so hang on a bit. I don't in the least
belittle the academic community who have made great contributions to the
aquarium hobby/industry. I also want to point out that the
hobby/industry including the fish and plant farms had very little help
from the academic side in the first 1/2 of its life span.
  Most farmers, retailers etc. were without college degrees, or even
knowing what the nitrogen cycle was, we could still mix our own formulas
for foods in cement mixers, ID good and bad algae, develope new strains,
usually breed newly discovered fish, bring in 10 or 20 boxes of wild
discus and hold them without heaters, (sorry, couldn't resist). And at
any given day of a fish farmers life a single farmer owned more fish
(and often plants) than this whole list will own in a lifetime combined.
The sub point here, is that you don't need academic training to enjoy
this hobby or discover different methods of operation.
    This country probably turns out more fish hobbiest than any other
country. I suspect it also has the quickest dropout rate and lowest
percentage of plant tanks. My agenda is to change this. Based on 15
years of running pet shop chains, I don't think high-tech, high expense,
highly technical tank talk and often high maintence aquariums is going
to improve this dismal showing. I think simple, inexpensive,
non-technical, but easy to replicate methods will be the key to that
end. Where the hobbiest goes from there is fine with me. I could use
help from anyone, even the academic community, in this pursuit.      
      This will likely be my last post here, except to defend my
position if needed. BTW it's not because of the curtness of the
responses, I have reasonably thick skin. There are a couple questions I
wouldn't mind having answered about this forum. 
1. Do you have any interest in seeing this hobby grow?
2. If so, how do you think it will be accomplished?
3. Do you acknowledge low-tech as a viable alternative?
4. If so, what form?

Best to you all,
Dan Quackenbush