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Re: Open discussion

Hi Merrill:

Please bear in mind that most of my answers are hearsay.

> FACT:  Florida produces more aquatic plants than anywhere else in the
> World.

I have heard from a very good source that this is true.  In addition,
Florida Aquatic Nursery is the largest.

> FACT:  The outdoor ponds in Florida do not have undergravel heating nor
> does Tropica in Denmark in their hydroponics growing (no substrate --
> plants in "rock wool" or on "driftwood" - never have been in soil,
> "laterite" or gravel.

IMHO, undergravel heating is overrated in Tropical locations.  I don't
know of anyone who has undergravel heating in their ponds.  FLorida has
a great number of ponds because of its climate.  Tropica has a
temperature controlled facility.  Since the plants in Tropica are
floating on a river of liquid, there is no undergravel heating.  Heating
the water is sufficient.

> FACT:  Plants raised in Florida have never had "laterite".

As far as I know, the Florida growers use soil to grow their plants in
outdoor pools.  Laterite is not used.  However, bear in mind that most
growers use open systems that maintain low nutrient levels.

> FACT:  The largest variety of aquatic plants are raised in Florida.

I don't know about this.  Tropica has a very large selection.

> FACT:  Wild plants shipped out of Florida are gathered from mud base
> (Everglades)

The Everglades has very few plants that we can use in our aquariums. 
There are some cyrptocorynes near lake Okeechobee.

> FACT:  The greatest number of aquatic plants are raised without the
> presence of fish.

I would tend to agree.

> FACT:  Over-fertilization brings on algae

Generally yes.
> Various soil mixtures are used in the ponds with gravel.  Some just use
> "builders' sand" which is different in all parts of Florida and the
> Country.

Well, maybe.  As long as you use an inert sand, does it matter?

> One conclusion is that it depends on the expertise of the grower as to the
> necessity to fertilize if an apparent deficiency presents itself. The same
> applies in the aquarium in that every aquarium will be different and
> growing aquatic plants in the aquarium is as much an artform rather than an
> exact science.

If a deficiency occurs, I think even a beginner better fertilize or lose
the plant.  I agree with your second statement. 

> There are more facts and more conclusions, certainly, which I would like to
> see presented.  One thing certain is that we must do everything in
> moderation and depend on the results that are not immediate in the confines
> of an aquarium where our fish are fertilizing all the time.

Again, IMHO, some people rely too much on fertilization by fish poop and
fish food.  I don't know about anyone else, but my experience is that my
fish don't provide the all the trace elements needed by plants.  In
really, I see much nore NO3 and PO4 being provided by fish.

However, I do believe that one aquarium will always be different from
another, even if you have the same plants and fish. 

> Dupla has an aquarist that works on two aquariums daily.  Plants that are
> not doing well are replaced in order to present the perfect picture.  It's
> their business.

ADA has an army of people working on their aquariums every morning. 
Trimming and water changes is what they do most. 

> George Booth, among others, have the artform and scientific background to
> come close to the "perfect picture"; but the average hobbyist on the APD
> has not done the research to come anywhere close to his artistry and
> persistence.

You gotta start somewhere.  It comes in time. 

> Every aquarium is going to be different; water in every area is different;
> lighting is different, etc.


> I suggest that this is an artform and the same as a "green thumb" in the
> garden, growing African Violets, Orchids, etc.
There was an interesting thread in FISHNET titled "Are we Artists or are
we Scientists?".  I believe TAG may someday carry it.  It was a very
interesting discussion.  In the end, I hope to be both.


Art Giacosa