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Having a Life

Contents:

  1. RE: Newbie Questions -Reply
    by William Vannerson <William_Vannerson/ama-assn.org> (Mon, 03 Nov 1997)
  2. Substrate Desiderata
    by George Booth <booth/frii.com> (Wed, 10 Feb 1999)

RE: Newbie Questions -Reply

by William Vannerson <William_Vannerson/ama-assn.org>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997
To: apisto/majordomo.pobox.com

>>The plstic plants wont have any effect on your water 
quality either way so if you like them...keep em.<<

I've been back in the hobby for a year now, but I still consider
myself a newbie.  This question is one I have asked myself
as well so I'  post an answer to Heather and expand on my
*philosophy* a bit.  Be forewarned that this will go a bit
beyond the question of plants.

--On soap box--

I use plastic plants and with some Watesprite.

IMHO keeping healthy plants in a tank can be as challenging
as keeping fish.  They need attention and care too.  So I
decided to concentrate on the fish first then work into plants if
I feel up to it. (Also , I have a *brown* thumb).

The Watersprite is a recent addition that I decided to try
because I was told that it's VERY easy to maintain.  So far,
that's proven accurate.

Anyway, the point is do what feels comfortable for you.  There
are advantages to having live plants in a tank but they do
require some time and energy.  Don't feel compelled to take
on too much at one time if you're not comfortable with the
idea.  It's your hobby... enjoy it.

BTW the same holds true for water chemistry.  I was a bit
intimidated when I first came back by talk of R/O and pH and
hardness, etc.  Most fish will do well under normal tap water
conditions (neutral ph and moderate hardness).  There are
exceptions and the African rift lake cichlids are among them. 
But the key is that they will survive.  Inducing them to breed
is a different matter that most likely will require additional
attention to water , diet, environment, etc.

My recommendation would be to start basic.  Don't try to
incorporate too many new variables to your skill set at one
time.  Then start adding new items to the mix, like adjusting
the water chemistry or learning how to culture of BBS (if you
don't already).  Separately, none of these aspects are
exceptionally difficult, the problems I've encountered is
weaving them into my life along with my other responsibilities
of family, house and work.

So if all of the variables and activities seem to be piling up
then buy the plastic plant if that's more comfortable for YOUR
success and worry about adding live plants later.  Or if you
think you want to take a stab at it, go ahead.  If it works,
great.  If not, don't worry about it and enjoy the fish.

--Off soap box--

Bill Vannerson
McHenry, IL USA
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/William_Vannerson
(updated 10/21/97)

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Substrate Desiderata

by George Booth <booth/frii.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999

Gomberg recently mumbled something about a substrate desiderata...
is this what you had in mind, Dave? 

                      ~ Substrate Desiderata ~

Go placidly amid the claims and counterclaims and remember what peace there
may
be in proven ideas.  As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms
with all experts.  Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to
others, 
even the dull and the advertisers; they too have their story.  Avoid wordy
and 
authoritative persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.  If you compare your 
aquarium to others you will become vain and bitter; for always there will be 
greater and lesser substrates than yours.  Enjoy your achievements as well as 
your plans.  Keep interested in your own substrate, however humble; it is a
real
possession in the maddening search for perfection.  Exercise caution in your 
fertilizer additions; for the world is full of hidden phosphates.  But let
this 
not blind you to what beauty there is; many people have pristine plants but 
everywhere is potential for algae.  Do not bleach.  Especially do not feign 
expertise.  Neither be cynical about heating coils for in the face of all 
argument and hypothesis they are as mysterious as the stars.  Take kindly the 
council of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of newbies.  Nurture 
stored nutrients to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress 
yourself with imaginings.  Many fears are born of ill-founded logic and local 
fish store clerks.  Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You 
are a child of the universe. No less than the gravel and the laterite; you
have 
a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt your
plants
are growing as they should.  Therefore be at peace with your aquarium,
whatever 
you perceive it to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy 
confusion of life keep peace with your substrate.  With all its sham,
drudgery 
and broken dreams, it is still a nutrient source.  Be careful.  Strive to be 
happy.   
                               with apologies to Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)


George Booth, Ft. Collins, Colorado


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