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High Tech vs. Low Tech?

Cynthia wrote:

>> ObPlants:   I recall George Booth saying, in the not too distant past, that
>> it took a number of years (3-4?) before plants grew very well in low-tech
>> tanks.  .........

Dan Q wrote:

>  I snipped most of the above because the main point I hope to make
>concerns the term "low-tech tanks". The term "low-tech", like the term
>"mud" can include all sorts of concoctions with different results for
>aquatic  plant growers. 
>   I tried once before to see if there was any interest in the AGA to
>define different methods for aquarium plant techniques so beginners in
>particular had a clue as to what was meant by the different "-techs". I
>think I failed.

I actually "meant to respond to you at that time with my "recipe", but life
got in the way.  I _do_ think it was a good idea, and now Dave Gomberg has
picked up the ball to run with it.

<big snip on UGF's, most of which I agree with>

>   In simple strokes, I'm just trying to point out to beginners that the
>term "low-tech" doesn't mean it's going to take 4 years to get a plant
>tank that works.

When I spoke in SF and Seattle recently, I tried to make this exact point.
The terms "high tech" and "low tech" are fairly useless in describing a
tank.  I've seen very beautiful tanks that were decidedly "low tech", and
I've seen "high tech" tanks that were so far out of equilibrium that they
were a dismal failure.

I think it's much more useful to talk about high light/ high growth systems
versus low light/slow growth systems.  Both of these approaches can _still_
lead to a beautiful tank, but if you're trouble shooting a problem in the
tank, these labels give you a much clearer idea of what might be going
wrong and how best to approach it.

And I agree with you, Dan, that there's no reason for it to take 3-4 years
to get reasonable growth out of a low tech system.  The only reason I can
see for this happening is starting with a sterile, nutrient free substrate,
whether or not a UGF is used.  Even then, you should be able to to use
plants effectively that feed more through the water column than the
substrate. (water sprite, Java ferns, hornwort, etc.)

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association