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Re: Muddy thoughts

>Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 15:03:32 -0700
>From: sae at arts_ubc.ca (Olga Betts)
>I wish to throw something out there for discussion. At a recent get
>together of fish and plant people the statement was made that aquatic
>plants should be given what they really grow in best and that was mud.

I don't think all plants grow in mud in nature. Aren't there plenty of sandy 
bottom rivers?  And all mud is not created equal regardless of what has been 
posted here. 

>However, common sense tells me that an aquarium, no matter how big, is a
>far cry from a river or lake...or even a pond. It is a completely closed
>ecosystem acted upon by only a fraction of the organizims and conditions
>that affect the river,lake or pond. No leaves, branches, bugs or rain falls
>in it. 

A very good point. Dr. Adey has spent quite some effort researching this and 
deals with it very well in "Dynamic Aquaria". Contrary to popular belief,
not just about reef tanks and algae scrubbers. It also has a very good
of lighting. 

>So, sitting here with my non-scientific background, I say to myself...wild
>plants grow in mud...true...but given that our plants are not in the wild
>in that huge all inclusive ecosystem out there...is it better to have them
>in mud? Or does a small, enclosed ecosystem work better with something
>less, shall we say, "real"? 

Getting back to the original topic:

>the statement was made that aquatic
>plants should be given what they really grow in best and that was mud.

Was this an attempt to sell someone on "dirt" substrates?  Why would you want 
mud in your living room? It's really not very attractive. And I would think
>you would find you had cloudy water problems.  Have you ever seen a clear
>with a mud bottom? After all, clear water seems to be the holy grail aroun 

I think all, er, most of us would agree that we get pretty darn good growth
with the variety of substrates that we use, whether they be hideously
Duplarit, dirt cheap kitty litter or anything in between. Assuming, of
that other basic plant requirements like lighting and nutrients are met. For 
those of us who are successful with plants I think the biggest problem is the 
growth is *too* good, requiring more pruning than we would like. I, for
one, am 
not looking for something that will give me "better" growth; I personally 
couldn't deal with any more growth.  

OK, maybe a mud (or other "natural" substrate) would *reduce* the growth of 
plants and some might think that was "best".  The plants were not "forced" to 
grow so fast. More natural. More in tune with the cosmos. 

George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado (booth at frii_com)
  Back on-line! New URL! Slightly new look! Same good data!