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Mystery Plant and KISS

Subject: Mysterious US plant

Dionigi wrote:

>Recently during my kayaking outings to rivers in the NJ - NY - PA
>tri-state area I collected a plant that I have not been yet able to
>identify (the books I checked for pictures are: Rataji, Dennerle's book,
>Baensch Atlas vol. 1 and 2. I also skimmed through the University of
>Florida web site on aquatic plants). 
>It is a plant that clings to rock substrates, where it forms carpet-like
>mats at most 1.5 inches thick. The plant forms runners sticking to the
>substrate, from which short green stems originate every few millimeters.
>These stems divide and branch out two-four times, producing sort of
>coral-like ramifications that do not have visible any sort of typical
>leaf structure. 

Sounds like Fontinalis to me.  Does it look similar to Java Moss?


Subject: Re: Hard water and fertilization

>I really don't want to "open a can of worms" or really start a thread, but
>most of the aquatic plants that we purchase are raised in the good HARD
>water in Florida.  A greater variety is grown there than any other place in
>the world.  They do use soil under the gravel or some use regular brown
>builders' sand.  Unless you have a problem with your water, IMHO you
>shouldn't change things around and make problems. 
>The next problem causing agent is fertilization.  In the aquarium,
>providing you have fish, the only time you might need fertilization is when
>starting a planted aquarium and only a few fish.  After that, only use an
>iron and manganese solution that is readily available in good shops.
>Personally, in Baltimore water, which is 12 DH, I add Aragonite powder even
>in preference to clam or oyster shells; and I don't have the problems that
>keep appearing on APD.  (Aragonite is available at most shops that sell
>Marine Fish; from Carib Sea -- I buy the finest that is available and crush
>it to a powder -- using a tablespoon to 50 gallon aquarium.)  Perhaps there
>is more minerals in Aragonite than just calcium carbonate, but it works for
>me.  I don't need many complex test kits and continual testing.  I enjoy my
>aquariums without algae problems.  Many people on APD have seen my
>aquariums (including Claus Christensen of Tropica) and I give plants away
>Why do we try to make this so difficult and technical?  Let's try to make
>it easier for hobbyists to be successful.  I have done it the easy way for
>many years and that's why I'm still in it.  Everyone doesn't have to be a
>scientist or chemist to have a gorgeous aquarium. Takashi Amano is not a
>scientist or chemist and he has gorgeous aquariums because he's an artist
>that cares to have it as a beautiful work of art.
>We can do it simpler and better all the time without all the high tech
>equipment; but if that is what you like, great!  Do it!  But so many
>hobbyists are having so much trouble as I lurk through APD, I just had to
>post this.
>Incidentally, another good additive and water conditioner is a piece of
>cucumber.  It's good for your fish, for your water, for your plants.  Just
>weight it down with a stone and rubberband and replace it in four or five
>days if it hasn't disappeared.
>Let's enjoy the greatest hobby in the World and not make it a chore!

Hi Merrill,

I agree with your basic premise that we should keep things as simple as
possible, and make things more complicated _only_ if the simple ways don't
work.  I've worked with enough people with enough different water
conditions to know that local water supply makes a _big_ difference as to
what will work for you.  I have a friend less than an hour from me who has
turned off all his CO2 tanks because he was tired of weeding so often.  I
also know that there are only a few plants that grow in _my_ tap water
really well.  

I can still have a very attractive tank without any extra "life support",
but with only a limited number of species.  To work with the others that I
enjoy, I must give them more help.  It really came home to me how
frustrating our local water is when I met with a group of teachers here in
town and was told that "no one" in Holliston could keep plants (or most
fish for that matter) alive here.  I assured them that this was not true,
and that I could show them how they _could_ do it.

So I think I understand both points of view.  You are right that we should
look to the simple solutions first.  But you should also remember that the
simple solutions _don't_ work with every water supply.