George, Steve,Karen & Macon, I couldn't agree with you more regarding the importance of sticking to one protocol to obtain repeatable results. I recall reading OA years ago and a fellow plant keeper saying it wasn't important to follow everything printed. Just pick & choose what you wish to apply. How wrong. Of course with 120 gal, I initially skipped on Laterite (most expensive dirt on earth), C02 injection and substrate heating. Instead, burried Tetra Disk and Ebo Jagers in the TetraHilena substrate, brewed C02 from yeast and allowed it to bubble freely, utilized barely enough fluourescents and fertilised with the cheapest liquid feriliser available. The results: a relatively large and expensive tank from hell. I watched the better part of a 150 dollar investment in Tropica plants melt away in under two years. Sometimes we pick and choose the cheapest componants of several plant-keepers approaches, attempting to create the most cost effective solution. We beginners are often overwhelmed by the expense of a good planted aquarium. But how disappointed we are, when our comparably modest investment fails because of our cost cutting at every turn. I still use DIY components, but more closely follow AO principles. Have yet to use laterite. I will when I am ready to tear it all down and upgrade my controls. Tank is quite nice now. Peter W O'Dwyer jnr odwyerpw at capital_net /\^/\^/\ Nestled in close proximity to the Green, Berkshire, Adirondack and Catskill Mountain ranges, the most beautiful places on earth in October.
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