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Balance & Tolerance
Dear fellow APD list members,
I may be stepping out of place here, and I wish to apologise in advance if
anyone feels at the end of this post that I have overstepped my rights as a
member of this group, but I would like to make a plea for balance and
This list is composed of people from widely different areas in the world,
different cultures, different backgrounds. Some are more experienced than
others, some better educated than others. Some of us are economically
advantaged, others decidedly less so. What we _all_ share is a love for this
hobby, and for the animals, fish and plants which we keep captive in our
little personal piece of Nature.
The hobby is a large one, and there are many reasons why people get involved
and stay involved with it. From where I write, in North America, (forget for
a moment please that I am very proudly Canadian - this argument is
applicable to both the United States and it's frigid northern neighbour),
the particular portion of the hobby which this list concerns itself with is
still a rather minor part. There are many more "fish-keepers" than there are
This list lets us forge links of friendship and exchange experience and
knowledge with others from all parts of the world. Hopefully, we all share a
common goal - to expand both our own knowledge and to help others become
successful in their efforts to maintain beautiful, healthy underwater
gardens, places where both fish and plants may live out their lives in
peace, harmony, and good health.
Invariably, whenever two or more people come together, differences of
opinion and approach may arise. On this list we have proponents of many
points of view, all equally vocal, some more eloquent than others. On
matters of straight science there are numerous learned experts who can be
depended upon to debate endlessly on issues as diverse as the nature of
light to the colour of water in white buckets. We have our techno weenies,
our high tech gurus, our low tech groupies and the just plain cheap. It is
inevitable that at times we are going to disagree - this is one of the ways
which we both as individuals and as a group learn, grow and advance.
Everyone, regardless of their experience or knowledge level can learn here,
and should feel welcome.
In my view, one of the most valuable reasons for the continued existence of
this list is the educational aspect which it can serve to new hobbyists. The
membership list of the APD contains some of the most respected aquarists in
the world. A newcomer to aquatic plants can learn more through a free
subscription to the APD than they can in all of the existing books on
aquarium topics. Because of this educational aspect of the list, many of the
more experienced members quite often either preface or end their postings
with cautions concerning the fact that certain procedures or methods might
be rather controversial or "your mileage may vary". They are, in _my_
opinion, doing the _right_ thing - they are giving their opinion but not
intending to give that opinion the weight of "LAW". Readers are free to try
the proposal, but results may vary, based upon your _own_ conditions and set
There are others however, who tend to preach and who make broad, sweeping
statements advocating methodologies and/or practices which, while they may
work in the hands of a very experienced hobbyist, are more than likely to
lead a novice to disaster. And _never_ in posts of this type, are there
_ever_ any cautions as to the possibility that these methods might not work
in different situations. Certain of these proponents go even further than
this, they feel some need to make fun of or poke derision at people who dare
to not agree with their approach.
I'm truly sorry, but I will never apologise to anyone for shopping at my
local aquarium store nor for buying products from reputable aquarium-trade
companies like Seachem or Dupla. Nor will I apologise for the portion of my
disposable income I choose to devote to this hobby. Nor should anyone else.
As I said at the beginning of this rant, I would like to make a plea for
tolerance and balance. If you are advocating a position or methodology which
is controversial, please say so in your postings, and caution readers that
their results might vary from yours. And before anyone _else_ hauls out
their bag of 14-14-14 and recommends putting their fish into osmotic shock,
please give a bit of thought to your audience! I'll let you keep your tanks
_your_ way and I'll keep mine _my_ way, but I see no reason to tell a newbie
to dose their tanks with African Violet food just because its cheap, when
there is such a VAST weight of evidence that in _typical_ aquariums it is
better to use a fertiliser designed and intended for aquatic plants _in
As I said in a posting a few weeks ago -
"My position is that I have no position."
I hope that everyone enjoys their tanks, and continues to enjoy the APD.
Let's all enjoy both together.
Thank you for listening. Now will somebody _please_ help me down off of this
soapbox - I'm afraid of heights <g>.