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Re: Optimum Aquarium Setup (Help George! Help!)

Alysoun wrote:


We had an all-too-brief discussion of this, specifically about whether
is 'necessary' or not, a few months ago.  Maybe others would be
in reviving it?

In my experience, and the experience of other people I've known,
too hard for 'optimum' conditions at first can be more of a harm to your
plants than a help.

If you plunge right in, with a super-rich substrate, with heavy doses of
various fertilizers, with a zillion watts of light, you're likely to end
with an algae explosion.  That can be frustrating to fight with.  And
especially if they're not starting off well, your plants will really
from a thick coating of algae all over their leaves, and blocking their

I think it's better to start with the basic necessities, and give
room for growth.

There are probably as many different ideas of what 'the basic
are as there are hobbyists, but I'll take a stab at it.  I hope and
others will argue with me about it.  I think you need a moderately rich
substrate, whether that's soil, or gravel enriched with laterite, or
underneath, or seachem's flourite (my personal favorite, certainly for a
beginner.  Easy, simple, adequate, with plenty of room for growth).  I
2 watts per gallon is strong enough for the vast majority of plants in a
moderately-to-heavily planted tank.  If you've got these two basics, you
should have healthy plants (of course, with some exceptions.  We all
certain plants we just struggle with.)

In my opinion, liquid fertilizers and CO2 should not be added until
achieved an equilibrium, and are ready to start experimenting to get
stronger growth.  My opinion, of course, is based on my tanks, which
lots of fish.  Without the fish, you might need liquid fertilizer from

Well if this doesn't bring George Booth out of hiding I don't know what
will  :>)

I followed the method outlined in TOA and had an algae free, healthy 200
gallon plant tank from day one.   I used MH lighting, CO2, laterite,
substrate heating, Dupla fertilizers and lots of fast growing bunched
plants to keep algae from getting a foot hold.  I think people have
problems when they deviate too much from the "recipe" as outlined in

Evidence of the success of following the recipe outlined in TOA can be
found on George's web site: