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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #1013

Hi Macon,

> But, oh, the plants.  My two tanks that I started in the Spring have gone
> from beautiful to crappy and back again.  I just don't know what to do to
> get any consistency out of this.  

I guess the first question is: are you consistent in your approach
to the tanks?  Have you found a "guru" who has proven and documented
results and have you faithfully followed that guru's advice?  Or have
you selected bits and pieces of advice that may sound good (or easy
or cheap) and created a hodge-podge of mismatched techniques?  

I think substrate is a classic case.  Some people are very successful
with plain gravel and Dupla laterite. Others are successful with
carefully selected garden soil. Still others have secret recipes
developed over time with specific soil additives. But many people read
about these successes and somehow assume that a mixture of everything
they've read about has *got* to be better than just this guy's or that
gal's simple setup. How many cases have we read about where someone
has an elaborate layering of everything under the sun and then has
algae or nutrient problems? Far too many, I'm afraid.

> Now I am reading everyone's story about using bleach to get rid of the
> green hair and green beards.  I am sorry, I cannot do that. life is
> too short for me to spend hours of it bleaching plants and taking down
> and puting up my aquarium.  Is there no other way?

Bleaching is a last resort when things have gotten completely out of
whack. It is treating the symptom, not providing a cure.

> God, I admire you who are doing well at it.  And I wish that I could
> see your aquariums for some inspiration.

Mine are always available for inspection. Right now is an interesting
time to view them - one is totally overgrown and needs a serious
thinning, one is partially overgrown and one is in good shape. 

> But I have a 37.5 gal and a 75 gal that right now are a mess.  I will
> go back to square frigging one with them, if I could just figure out
> where the hell that is!  Maybe it is Earl Hamilton's planted tank
> primer in the Krib.  I don't know.

Perhaps you could document what you've done (in great detail) and
suffer the slings and arrows of APD critique?  Perhaps the act of
reviewing your techniques will give you some insight into problem
areas. Or perhaps the collective wisdom will find a simple problem.

> Come on you great ones: is there not a formula that we can follow,
> like the beginning pianist learning the notes of the masters, which
> will enable us to duplicate your success for a season?

There are plenty of formulas; quite a few have been extensively
documented here, in the Krib and on private web sites. There are
distinct styles involved; some depend on local circumstances for
success, some are almost fool proof; some are inexpensive, some will
make your wallet bleed.  Names that spring to mind are Karen Randall,
Jim Kelly, Earle Hamilton, Merrill Cohen, Sears and Conlin and yours

> I cannot tell you how discouraged I am.  Well, maybe I just did!

Hey, you sound discouraged!

George "Just up the road"