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Re: This is hard!!

> From: sealaw at nela_org (Macon Cowles)
> Subject: This is hard!!
> Dear friends I am just about to quit this miserable hobby.  I am not
> kidding. 
>  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. 

Want the simple rules? Light!  Don't fertilize AT ALL!

You didn't quite mention what the problem was... algae infestation?
Plants melting away?  For these, it's simple:  Too many nutrients under
the first, you feed too much.  Do regular water changes and reduce feedings.
DO NOT fertilize at all.

For the second, you don't have enough light.  Get some sunlight, more
watts (of light) over your tank, or try for some second-hand ambient light.

These seem to be the most common problems I've seen.  From your location
(Boulder, CO), you have some of the best water quality in the country.
I'm a little north of you, and have very soft water (22ppm Ca/Mg).  I can 
grow virtually anything.  I never fertilize anymore, and I only make sure
I have adequate light.  I don't overfeed, and the plants get all the 
nutrients they need as by-products from my fish.  My fish population is
VERY light (usually 1" per 5-10 gallons).  Where I might deviate
somewhat would be for plants with special needs, such as the very red
plants requiring high iron, or possibly some plants requiring very hard

IT'S MAGIC!!! DO NOTHING!!  The more junk I start adding to my tank the 
more work it is to hold everything together.  If you simply buy a bucket and 
fill it with water, make sure it has adequate light, perform minimal feeding
of the little guppies you happen to drop in there, you should be able to 
grow almost anything.

This method doesn't have the success [read that as "seriously rapid growth"]
that many on this list achieve with heating coils, CO2, fertilization, etc., but 
is SO EASY to duplicate.  Plant growth is not _amazing_, but is constant 
(I have tons of plants to give away).  

Since I'm an hour away, maybe we could do some plant exchange and
get you going with a few successes.  ;-)

Since you wanted to see some successful setups, you might watch this
list for George and Karla Booth.  They also are an hour north and have very
intensive setups (mine are very low-key in comparison).  Their tanks are far 
better than mine, with truly outstanding growth.  (Really, the best I've ever seen).

charleyb at cytomation_com