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[APD] Planted Tank History (Long)

A post:

>(where would this hobby be without the internet?)>


>1985  And it sucked.>

LOL.  No it didn't.  It was great, then and earlier too!  People who grew
aquatic plants seemed to be less scientific then, in part because there was
less scientific information available.  I think they were more gardeners and
naturalists than people with strong scientific bents.

Dr. Innes, in his classic "Exotic Aquarium Fishes" written in the late 30's
and 40's, made many observations that are still valid today, like

Lighting:   Two hours of direct sunlight is ideal.  Forty watts of
(incandescent) artificial light for a 10 gallon tank for 8 hours a day, or
75 watts for 4 hours a day, is sufficient.  Sixty watts for 6 to 8 hours a
day for a 15 to 25 gallon tank is adequate.
White or warm white fluorescent lights could also be used.  (Page 11)

Green water:  The aquariums that consistently avoid it are usually those
with strong, growing plants, like Vallisneria and
Sagittaria.  (Page 51 of the 1948 edition.)

Test kits:  The only one mentioned was a pH kit, similar to those in use
today.  He noted that pH was not as important to the health of fish as had
formerly been held.  (Page 55)

Dangers from gasses:  Coal gas, present in many houses, and excess of
tobacco smoke do no good.  (Page 60)

Quarantine tanks:  New arrivals should be put in them.  (Page 63)

Changing the water:  In theory, not needed in a well planted aquarium.
However, many leading aquarists say weekly changes of 10 percent in the
winter and 25 percent in the summer are beneficial.  Tap water should be
"ripened" (aged) before use.  (Page 64)

Substrate:  Coarse sand or a mixture of sand and pebbles is best.  Washed
building sand is satisfactory.  Fine sand packs too hard for roots to
penetrate and for water to circulate. Use 1 1/2 to 2 inches or more, sloped
from back to front, using glass or other stops to keep it in place.  (Page

Using earth in the substrate often doesn't work out well because it is apt
to foul and muddy the water, plus the fish are expected to fertilize the
plants with their wastes.  However, professional growers use garden soil
under the gravel, but no fishes.  (Page 104)

Fertilizing plants:  A "noble experiment" but a dangerous one.  It belongs
in the same category as using a soil substrate, although more dangerous.  If
there are enough fish present their respiration and wastes produce all of
the stimulation that the plants need.  The author has seen many well planted
tanks degenerate without fish but revive when fish are reintroduced.
However, if one thinks that his or her plants need added stimulation,  the
most approved method is to make a liquor from pulverized sheep manure or a
commercial liquid fertilizer and insert it into the sand near the roots.
"Planttabs" and rabbit pellets (droppings) can also be used. (Page 105)

Most of what Innes wrote is true today, but far better books about planted
tanks have been written since then. The technology is vastly improved.
However, I imagine that people maintained beautiful planted tanks back then,
even without the current technology and the internet.


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