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Interesting exercise Karen.
This may bring a lot to light for many people if the do it honestly. I
think sometimes we can get so caught up in any one aspect that we may loose
sight of what we really wanted. I think cost is a primary example on this
list. Hey I am as frugal as the next guy, but somewhere there is a limit.
I mean sometimes we spend so much in gas, phone calls, and energy looking
for the cheaper product that the commercial one ends up cheaper:) But then
again, that is enjoyable to some and higher on their list.
So my list:
2.) minimal maintenance(I am lazy)
3.) Support lots of fish
--Then I started loosing steam, what else????
4.) Tinkerability - I love playing with the system making CO2 reactors,
5.) Provides challenges (both physical and intellectual)
Some may find my last two statements strange, or that they don't really
belong in an Optimum definition. The truth is I hate routine water changes
and stuff like that, I like the results. I mean I don't want my tank
overcome by algae or all my fish to get sick, but unless there is something
in there I am trying to beat I am not having fun. i.e. making a particular
plant grow better, slowing another down, minimizing algae growth, making a
better CO2 reactor. Setting up another tank, experimenting with a different
substrate or fertilizer dosing plan. These are the thing that I have fun
with, solving problems, developing a solution, building new systems. So in
different tanks I "play" with different things and each has, well, somewhat
of a different "optimum". Although if I could get them to all look great,
no matter what I do, with minimal input on my part, well then that would be