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Re: low light tanks

>From: "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill at rt66_com>
>Subject: Re: low light tanks
>I'm curious, was this substrate always well-behaved, or did it have a 
>break-in period when it caused you problems?  If so, how long did that last?

This substrate has been amazingly well behaved. It provided me with good
service for 4 maybe 5 years (I can't really remember if I set up the tank
it in 92 or 93 :-). Last year, I had to add CO2 injection to maintain
desireable plant growth. The decomposing peat had provided CO2 up till
then. I have talked about this off and on for the past year, so more
information is in the archives. I really should consolidate all my posts
into an article. 

>I thought this would be a good context to mention the idea of "balanced" 
>and "unbalanced" growth.  I ran across these terms a few years ago while 
>reading Gaudy and Gaudy's "Environmental Engineering".  They use the term 
>to refer to cultured growth of bacteria, but it seems to fit well in 
>aquatic plants, too.
>Balanced growth occurs when growth is limited by available energy.  In 
>plants that means light and CO2.  Unbalanced growth occurs with growth is 
>limited by other nutrients - nitrogen, phosphorus, iron, calcium, etc.  
>In plants, that can cause nutrient deficiency symptoms.
>Plants grown under relatively low light grow more slowly than under bright
>light, but in my experience they have fewer nutrient deficiency problems. 
>I take that to mean that under lower light the plant growth is more often
>balanced, but under high light it is often unbalanced.  

I basically agree that the low light tank has slower growth and is more
stable. I use less fertilizer and for years did not use any... I just got
by on water changes (but this depends on is quality)

Plants with
>nutrient deficiencies aren't usually very attractive.  There are some
>problems with slow growth, but if you can avoid the pitfalls then lower
>light levels might make it easier to keep an attractive tank full of
>healthy plants. 
Low light and less fertizer also means less pruning, less replanting or
rearranging. In other words: LESS WORK.