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Re: To George from Dan

> From: George Booth <booth at frii_com>
> Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 23:18:54 -0700
> Subject: Re: Re: random thoughts from DQ
> >From: Dan Q <dqallwet at avana_net>
> >Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 10:44:43 -0500
Dan said,
> >  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 inequipment 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.
>   Umm, gee, I don't think you "know the answer" and I think that's why 
>   people are taking you to task.

   Nothing like a little distortion to get me out of retirement. Let me
clear the air on some points before I take your thoughts to task!
  I have nothing against the principles of high-tech methods. I AM
CONVINCED THEY WORK! What I don't like is the notion that you have to
spend a lot of money on equipment to enjoy a lush plant tank. It's
also a little sad that so many on this list do a pretty good job at
preventing any discussion on alternatives to spending a lot of money to
get a plant grow.
  It is also a bit hard to discuss high-tech and low-tech because both
terms are more subjective than objective. At this point the most
objective way I can describe the differences is related to cost. The
higher the tech, the higher the cost, the lower the tech, the lower the
  I also don't consider heaters or DIY CO2 injection as high-tech, even
though some have twisted my posts as such. I have no reason to doubt
that both of these methods improve plant growth. This includes the use
in the low-tech methods I advocate. I also suggested that they are not
absolutes (except in a few circumstance) if your not interested in
maximizing plant growth. I don't have that interest so I don't use them. 
   I don't care for laterite simply because I don't like the cost, not
because there is anything wrong with it. I think there are soils in this
country that are better than laterite but since I can't ID them and for
a few other reasons, I can't advocte them.
  I am content with the results I get with kitty litter and because its
easily availble nationally, I advocate it. I am willing to change if I
find something better.
    Your attempt at putting down low-tech because of your experience is
a poor reason at best. One problem in using the term low-tech, is just
about any arrangement of low cost products can qualify as low-tech.
This does not mean these different configurations produce the same
results. A beginner wanting to learn how to do quality low-tech tanks is
in for a big surprise. It very hard to find guidelines that work.
Certainly mfgs. like Dupla are not going to promote a system that they
can't profit from, and I don't blame them. 
  I built a web page to describe one way that works (there are other
good ways as well). The way George set up his low-tech tank is what I
call the "Wal-Mart Tech" approach. 
   Adding plants and fertilizer to a fish tank does not make it a plant
tank or at least a friendly plant environment. I don't like under gravel
filters and in the method I promote it wouldn't work anyway. I know many
people still use UGF with plants and I don't want to start a debate
here, but I do suggest that those who are most successful with UGF are
doing so by avoiding the filter with flower pots, saucers and injecting
CO2 to recover that which the filter is removing. 
George says,
> We had an 85 gallon tank set up in 1986 or so and tried and tried to 
> grow plants like the Europeans did. I admit that we had an under  > gravel filter. We really didn't "know any better".
> We bought all the "plant fertilizers" that were available. We had good
> light. We tried many different plants. Woe unto us, plants just kept 
> on dying. Until we bought a copy of _The_Optimum_Aquarium_.   Lo and > > behold,the concept of "CO2" was brought to our attention.  Daleco sold > Dupla stuff "way back then" and we bought a Dupla CO2 "Starter Set".  > Son of a BeanBag, but once we did the "high tech" CO2 thing, plants  > started to grow for us. Impressively. Awesomely. Even with an UGF!  > Silver Bullet City, Dude!
> We then set up a 100g tank using TOA methods *except* for the  > unbelieveably expensive heating cables.  That tank did great with CO2 > and Dupla fertilizers. For a while.
> Flushed with success, we pushed the limits and set up a 55 gallon tank > with an UGF but *no* CO2.  
    Your logic is interesting. You admit you didn't know any better when
you used the UGF the first time and that CO2 injection improved things.
Why would you go back to a UGF, and if so not inject CO2?

> easily tell when it was time for an "all day cleaning"...
    Perhaps "Wal-Mart tech" created all day cleaning, but I dont spend
more than a 1/2 hour for major cleaning. 
> So, in summary, some people don't have "lucky water" or "green >thumbs".
  Oh please. Where have I ever suggested lucky water.
> Some folks can't just toss plants in the old tank and get them to > grow.
  I guess that would qualify for low-tech. But I don't know anyone doing
> I've written about my success in many forums.  Many people have > written to me after seeing these articles and I have *successfully*  > turned their aquatic plants skills around by suggesting high tech > methods.
  I have read a lot of what you wrote and I find it very well written.
  I did chuckle a bit about the big trickle filter you use and the    
huge amount of CO2 you were buying. 
> I wonder how many people who previously did *not* have success with  > plants have been assisted by your low tech methods?
  Not many, because as I said before it's hard for beginners to find  
much information on low-tech that works. I hope to change that. I might
add that Diana Walstad (technical advisor for TAG) uses a great low-tech
system not to dissimilar from my approach. I suspect she has helped as
many people as you.  
  I also wonder how many folks (especially kids) have never experience 
successful plant keeping because they can't afford your methods. I  
suspect a great deal more than you have helped.
  Happy Water Gardening,