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Forest Gump Stories

Hi, folks,

I sent this last night but it didn't appear in the last 2 issues
of the digest.  I wonder what happens to a message
when it doesn't reach its destination.  Is there some sort
of cyber black hole out there or what?

Loh K L


Joanna Curtis said I should post this.  She thinks it will
encourage those aquatic gardener wannabees who may
be so in awe of the great talent and knowledge present
on the list that they do not have the courage to offer an
opinion.  She believes that the vast majority of people
who subscribe to the digest are not botanists, chemists,
or rocket scientists.  In other words, she thinks most of
you are Forest Gumps like me :)  Just kidding of course,
what she actually said was "Many, I am sure are just
regular people who want aquariums and who think live
plants look far superior to plastic ones."  Well, maybe it
will or maybe it won't but nothing is more encouraging
than knowing that there's a bigger idiot around, so here
I go again........

I remember how I tried growing aquatic plants without
much success.  Those were the days before the internet
so I knew nothing about CO2 injection.  I knew very little
else, in fact.  I tried to find out what I can by visiting the
aquatic plant farms.  After going to a few, I became
convinced that the way to grow aquatic plants successfully
was to provide sunlight and a layer of manure under the
substrate.  I was living in a small house then without a
balcony. The only way to get sunlight to shine on my tank
was to position a few mirrors in such a way that they will
bounce the sunlight coming through the window from one
mirror to another.  Believe it or not, that's what I did.

I have also never heard of base fertilisers or laterite so I went
and bought some cowdung from a nursery.  I was really dumb
in those days.  After laying the cowdung at the bottom of my tank,
I rigged up an undergravel filter over it.  Imagine that!!!!! Having
covered the undergravel filter with gravel, I switched it on and I
believe you can guess what happened.  The water in the tank
turned black in colour and the whole house stank for a few hours
after that.

Well, those were the days.  When I looked back, I can't help thinking
what a wonderful tool the internet is.  Information which was jealously
guarded by the fish shop owners and aquatic plant farmers are now
easily available.  If you have a problem, just post the question to a
mailing list and chances are there will be a few aquarists who have
had the same experience and know the solution.  But most of all,
there are so many nice people on the net and up till this day,
I'm still amazed at how friendships can be forged so easily.

Don't give up.  The hobby is such that it's not so easy
that everyone will succeed the first time and not so hard that you
have to be a rocket scientist in order to have a nice aquarium.

Well, that's about it.  Maybe more Forest Gump stories later.....

Loh K L