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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #1018

Subject: Re: bleaching & substrate experiments

>George wrote:
>> I guess the first question is: are you consistent in your approach
>> to the tanks? I think substrate is a classic case.
>> 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?

Steve wrote:
>This deserves a response. I don't know if George is referring to my
>substrate experiments or not but his comments might be construed that
>way. I engage in substrate experiments in order to discover better and
>cheaper methods for growing plants. I have repeatedly said that I'm not
>endorsing some of these additives for beginners and so what George is
>saying is good advise. 

Well, no one would ever accuse George of beating around the bush ;-) but I
really don't think the comment was directed at you, Steve.  We all know
what you do, and your reasons.  You think through what you want to
accomplish with a substrate mix, and give it a try.  I think what George is
refering to is the beginners who read a little of what everone has said,
don't really understand any of it, and then decide they're going to through
some of this and a little of that into the substrate and just hope for the

I think that George's advice to find a "guru" who's style you like and
stick with him (her<g>) is _EXCELLENT_.  There are many accomplished
aquatic gardeners on this list, yourself included.  But we all have
different styles, different methods and different goals.  many of us have
proven that our methods produce beautiful tanks that are reproduceable and
sustainable.  I've helped enough people with enough different water
chemistries to success that I'm am confident in my approach.  George feels
the same about his, Dan Q his, and you yours.  BUT if soemone willy nilly
started mixing different aspects of those four approaches with no basic
understanding of what they were doing, they'd have a mess!  

Not to pick on Macon, but he is a perfect case in point.  I spoke to Macon
on the phone quite extensively way back when.  But he was suffering from
sensory overload with all the different approaches available here.  I saw
from his posts as time went on that he was trying the "a little of this and
a little of that" approach.  He's told us of the results and his

I'm _positive_ that I could get him straightened out, if he stuck with my
approach.  I'm sure George could get him off on the right foot as well.
You could do the same, although I'm sure you wouldn't start him off with
one of your experimental substrate mixes.  But he may never get it right if
he doesn't stick with a single cohesive method to start with.  There's
plenty of time for experimentation _AFTER_ you have achieved some initial

As far as helping beginners on the newsgroup is concerned, I do my share
with the FISHNET newbies.  Someone else will have to handle the rec.aquaria

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association