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Re: providing enough information

On Tue, 28 Dec 1999, Tim Marks wrote:

>     I am sorry to have not given more information, I did give what I could. Just
> for the future, what information would everyone like people to post when they
> have general questions such as mine? I have been reading the archives but saw no
> guidelines for this mentioned. To conclude, I put a few black mollies in the tank
> and the algae is gone. That sure was a quick epidemic ; ) I will be sure to be
> more careful with my fertilization from now on though.

Great solution, Tim.

Great question, too.  I recall that back when APD was but a pup the group
gave some thought to a form that listed all the information that they
wanted questioners to provide.  I don't know if that ever got completed.

There seem to be two possible approaches to providing enough information:

1  Quantify everything to the Nth degree.

   There are a lot of technically inclined folks on this list, so this
   is the common approach.  It means you have to buy and use a lot of
   te$t kit$: pH, KH, GH, ammonia, nitrate, iron, phosphate and maybe
   others.  People usually provide a list of kit results and a quick
   description of their setup, especially lighting type, intensity and

2  Describe everything to the Nth degree.

   This is difficult, especially for people who are new to keeping
   planted tanks and don't really know what things are supposed to
   look like.  This means mostly describing the appearance of plants;
   color and conditions of old growth, color and condition of new
   growth, size and rate of growth.  It also means describing your
   maintenance practices, planting density, fish population, feeding
   practices (both plants and fish), lighting, substrate, age of the
   tank and so on.

Either way, we need a clear description of the problem; if it's algae then
we need to know what the algae looks like (color and form), where it
grows, how fast it grows, what triggered it's appearance, and so on.

A mixture of the two approaches is possible, and probably best.  Also,
even if you don't want to depend on test kits it's probably a good idea to
know what your water is like.  You can do this by getting information from
your water supplier or by getting a few inexpensive kits -- I'd suggest
pH, KH (or alkalinity) and GH (or general hardness).

Tim, one of the biggest problems in trying to respond to your question was
that your tank is new.  It was tough to say whether your hair algae
problem was just a passing phase in establishing a new planted tank or
whether there was some problem in your maintenance or fertilizing method.

Roger Miller