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Jeff Ludwig wrote
<< Maybe I'm off base here, but should not someone's first planted tank be 
under 2W/gallon, non injected, rich substrate, no fertilizer except 
potassium and maybe trace?  And then when you understand this ecosystem and 
simple chemistry well enough then go out and buy one of those "high octane" 
setups?  PMDD is a complicated, experimental, and unsupported 
non-commercial method of maintaining a tank that does require a reasonable 
amount of skill at basic chemistry... We can at least be honest about 
this.  My intent is not to discourage people from trying PMDD, just to make 
sure they've done their reading. >>

I don't a one-size-fits-all will work, Jeff. In our case we had no real 
experience with live plants and (yes) after three months serious study and 
planning, set up a large 3W/gal tank with pressurized CO2 -- with success. 
Just as one should be expected to follow the instructions on the label of 
any fertilizer, one should follow the dosage given with a good PMDD 
reference. Then you can build up *slowly*, depending on factors like 
lighting, CO2, plant load, plant response and test measurements.

Basic fishkeeping requires that you not let your nitrate build up. 
Likewise, if you need to add nitrate (and other chemicals), you do need to 
know what you are doing. This is true whether you use a complete PMDD, a 
partial PMDD with some commercial products, or even all out-of-the-bottle 
products. While I agree you shouldn't bite off more than you can chew, 
measuring and dosing are a important parts of the fish and plant hobby. One 
path to success lies with knowing where to get good advice and then 
following it.

PMDD unsupported? I would say that you can get all the PMDD support you 
need from this list and web sites. Experimental? I wouldn't say so -- the 
ingredients can be found in one or more commercial fertilizers for aquatic 
plants. In fact, didn't the idea start with the "Poor Man", who wanted to 
duplicate these products, in mind? Complicated? Perhaps when you start 
fine-tuning the ingredients, but I don't think a basic recipe is hard to 
make and use.


Jared Weinberger