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TechWar(tm)

Contents:

  1. [F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus
    by booth-at-lvld.hp.com () (18 Apr 1994)
  2. [F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus
    by Neil.Frank-at-launchpad.unc.edu (Neil Frank) (20 Apr 1994)
  3. [F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus
    by bhaskar-at-brtph181.bnr.ca (Shaji Bhaskar) (Wed, 20 Apr 1994)
  4. [F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus
    by uweb-at-hpbidrd1.bbn.hp.com (Uwe Behle) (Thu, 21 Apr 1994)
  5. Light requirements
    by David Randall <76535.2776-at-compuserve.com> (23 Jul 95)
  6. USA Laterite
    by Linda or Jim Lemke <llemke-at-kusd.kusd.edu> (Mon, 10 Mar 1997)
  7. should I tear the tank down and start again ?
    by "Mark Fisher" <mark.fisher/wombat.state.tx.us> (30 Mar 1998)
  8. low tech/high tech
    by Hostler Richard <rhostler/pcconnection.com> (Thu, 22 Oct 1998)
  9. Low tech/high tech
    by Carlos Munoz <cmunoz/crystal.cirrus.com> (Thu, 22 Oct 1998)
  10. High tech/Low tech definition
    by Beverly Erlebacher <bae/cs.toronto.edu> (Thu, 22 Oct 1998)
  11. Low tech/High tech
    by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com> (Thu, 22 Oct 1998)
  12. Size of market
    by Robert Ricketts <rtricketts/erols.com> (Thu, 21 Sep 2000)
  13. Size of market
    by Dan Resler <resler/liberty.mas.vcu.edu> (Fri, 22 Sep 2000)

[F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus

by booth-at-lvld.hp.com ()
Date: 18 Apr 1994

Erik D. Olson ((e-mail)) wrote:
> >On the other hand, according to the technical wizard of the Aquatic 
> >Gardeners Association, fish food supplies all the nutrients that 
> >your plants need. 

> What's up with that anyway?  I couldn't help feeling there had to
> be something missing in her argument, like perhaps the form in which the 
> elements are available (chelated Fe vs. not, organic vs. not, etc).  I'll 
> have to re-read the article, but it seemed to me the whole thing hinged upon
> having a perfectly balanced aquarium to begin with, otherwise algae and 
> bacteria would get to the nutrients before the plants.

Rereading doesn't help much.  You are correct - Diana does a "by weight"
analysis of the component elements of fish food and compares that to a 
"by weight" analysis of plant material.  Assuming a "conservation
of elements", she determines that feeding your fish will supply 10x, 20x,
40x, etc the amount of trace elements that they really need.  This is
also the same techique whereby she determines that 2 kg of garden soil
will supply all the iron your aquarium plants will need for the next 
35,000 years. 

Me thinks it's wee bit more complicated then that.  Most authors suggest
that iron, for example, will oxidize in water to the Fe+++ state which
is unusable for plants.  Certainly, microbes and other teeny creatures
which may or may not be in your substrate may or may not convert or 
recycle waste products to substances useful for plant growth, but I 
apparently was not blessed with them when *I* simply fed my fish and
waited for the plants to grow.   

I would pose these questions to Technical Editor Diana Walsted, but 
clearly I am not of the AGA Elite since I am a Keeper of Fish with 
Plants rather than a True Aquatic Gardener (as noted in the current 
issue of TAG) and, as such, need to keep my opinions to myself. 

Yes, folks, if you don't get "The Aquatic Gardener", you missed the issue 
where both myself AND Uwe Behle get slam-dunked for daring to suggest 
that perhaps some people want to have fish with their plants and MAY
have different needs for filtration and chemical adjustments.  Yes sir, 
learned my lesson, I did.  

=============================================================================
George L. Booth                      The Technology of Freshwater Plant Tanks 
booth-at-hplvec.lvld.hp.com             __        Aquatic Gardener's Association
Software Development Engineer       /  \  /\        Colorado Aquarium Society
Manufacturing Test Division      /\/    \/  \         Rainbowfish Study Group
Hewlett-Packard Company         /  \/\  /    \/\         "Modern Aquascaping"
Loveland, Colorado  _____utah__/    \ \/      \ \___me____________kansas_____
=============================================================================

[F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus

by Neil.Frank-at-launchpad.unc.edu (Neil Frank)
Date: 20 Apr 1994

In article <erik.408.2DB2E9F0-at-marge.phys.washington.edu>,
Erik D. Olson (e-mail) wrote:
>In article <2ou5rv$alc-at-hplvec.lvld.hp.com> booth-at-lvld.hp.com () writes:
>...
>>On the other hand, according to the technical wizard of the Aquatic 
>>Gardeners Association, fish food supplies all the nutrients that 
>>your plants need.  So if you are feeding your fish, you are wasting
>>your money on all that Dupla crap.  This is NOT my opinion, of course. 
>
>What's up with that anyway?  I couldn't help feeling there had to
>be something missing in her argument, like perhaps the form in which the 
>elements are available (chelated Fe vs. not, organic vs. not, etc).  I'll 
>have to re-read the article, but it seemed to me the whole thing hinged upon 
>having a perfectly balanced aquarium to begin with, otherwise algae and 
>bacteria would get to the nutrients before the plants.
>

You are right, Eric.  As I indicated in my editorial comments, insoluble
iron, copper, manganese and zinc can only accumulate if mulm is not
removed through regular siphoning and gravel washing.  Then bacteria
and fungi can process the accumulated stuff.  As I also wrote as a comment:
this regime may not be effective until the tank is well established.

However, if one has an established tank with thriving plants, then
I believe that fishfood can be all the nutrients that are needed.
Of course, some people like to take the easy way out and use prepared
fertilizers. :-)  There are many expert growers of aquarium plants
that have had excellent success with the old fashion methods.  Some, like
Robert Gasser (who wrote articles in FAMA during the 1970's) do
not even advocate the use of any gravel additives.  There are many
ways to grow aquarium plants.  One of the purposes of the Aquatic
Gardeners Association is to study (and improve upon)techniques for
culturing aquatic plants in aquariums. Whether you prefer the new
high tech methods, or the low tech method, it matters not to me.
I just enjoy growing plants (and sometimes without fish!).

Neil 





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[F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus

by bhaskar-at-brtph181.bnr.ca (Shaji Bhaskar)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 1994

> (e-mail) (Erik D. Olson) writes:
>> In article <2ou5rv$alc-at-hplvec.lvld.hp.com> booth-at-lvld.hp.com () writes:
>> ...
>>>On the other hand, according to the technical wizard of the Aquatic 
>>>Gardeners Association, fish food supplies all the nutrients that 
>>>your plants need.
>> 
>> What's up with that anyway?  I couldn't help feeling there had to
>> be something missing in her argument, like perhaps the form in which the 
>> elements are available (chelated Fe vs. not, organic vs. not, etc).  I'll 
>> have to re-read the article, but it seemed to me the whole thing hinged
upon 
>> having a perfectly balanced aquarium to begin with, otherwise algae and 
>> bacteria would get to the nutrients before the plants.

I have the same concerns as Erik.  The main problem I see with Diana
Walstad's approach is that her results may be hard to reproduce.

Diana's approach has two facets that complement each other. She keeps
water changes to a minimum, and she does not vacuum the gravel.  The
intent is to recycle the nutrients that she introduces via fish food.

This works very well - as long as you add exactly the right amount of
fish food.  However, this "right amount" can be very hard to
determine.  It depends on the plants, the fish, and the size of the
aquarium, among other things.  Too little fish food, and the plants
will starve.  Too much, and there could be a severe algae problem.

For instance, Diana says she uses approximately 40 grams of fish food
per month.  If she were to use 60 grams instead (maybe because she had
more fish), and replace her fast-growing plants with Crypts, I think
her tank could quite possibly experience a nutrient build-up over
time.  The problem would be compounded by the fact that she does not
do water changes and that she does not vacuum the gravel.

My personal opinion is that it is highly desirable to do regular water
changes.  This quite possibly means that it becomes necessary to add
fertilizer.  But this is a small price to pay in order to eliminate
the possibility of nutrient build-up over time.  Of course, you still
have to determine how much fertilizer one needs to add, and this is a
matter of trial and error.  But there is only one variable to adjust.
With Diana's method, it is necessary to keep many more variables in
balance.

Shaji.
-- 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Shaji Bhaskar                                             bhaskar-at-bnr.ca
BNR, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA                (919) 991 7125

[F][plant] Fishfood == Fertilizer? (was Echinodorus

by uweb-at-hpbidrd1.bbn.hp.com (Uwe Behle)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994

Shaji Bhaskar (bhaskar-at-brtph181.bnr.ca) wrote:

: I have the same concerns as Erik.  The main problem I see with Diana
: Walstad's approach is that her results may be hard to reproduce.

: Diana's approach has two facets that complement each other. She keeps
: water changes to a minimum, and she does not vacuum the gravel.  The
: intent is to recycle the nutrients that she introduces via fish food.

: This works very well - as long as you add exactly the right amount of
: fish food.  However, this "right amount" can be very hard to
: determine.  It depends on the plants, the fish, and the size of the
: aquarium, among other things.  Too little fish food, and the plants
: will starve.  Too much, and there could be a severe algae problem.

Actually, it is probably not that bad if you under-feed your plants,
they will just grow slower. If you still do water changes the danger that
some trace element is missing is relatively low. I do a water change of
25% every two weeks and I have discovered that PO3 (not detectable) and 
NO3 (<1ppm) are both very low before the change with the plants thriving. 
I hardly do any vacuuming because I do not want to rip out my plants every 
couple of weeks. Instead I replant one plant group about every couple of 
days. Since I have only a few square cm of bare substrate, there is not much
to vacuum every couple of weeks. 
By the way, I have discovered that NO3 is not detectable if I stop feeding for
a 
couple of days. At first I thought the test kit was bad, but I checked with
another brand and it was correct. This proves that a non vacuumed substrate is
neither a nitrate nor a phosphate bomb. I am actually adding phosphates as
mineral. But the stuff decreases from 0.5ppm to 0 after a couple of days.
My filter system is only a cnister filter with hardly any filter material in
it.
It just serves to move the water around. When I look at all the crud between
the plants I wonder whether cleaning the filter makes such a big difference
at all in my case. The long term effects remain to be seen. It is quite
possible that such a tank needs to be torn down a lot sooner than a Dupla
style tank. The last time I tore my tank down I did it because some plants
would not grow well. But it did not help to clean the gravel. I now suspect
that I had a K deficiency, which seems to be quite common. (There was an
interesting article about that in AquaPlanta, unfortunately the author is
from Yugoslavia and I have no idea how to contact him).

: For instance, Diana says she uses approximately 40 grams of fish food
: per month.  If she were to use 60 grams instead (maybe because she had
: more fish), and replace her fast-growing plants with Crypts, I think
: her tank could quite possibly experience a nutrient build-up over
: time.  The problem would be compounded by the fact that she does not
: do water changes and that she does not vacuum the gravel.

It all depends if you have a plant tank or a fish tank. In a plant tank
you don't really need to vacuum because to amount of waste products is
relatively low. The water changes are necessary in any case because
your aquarium will never be a closed eco system. With regard to fertilizer
I think that we all are paying Mega $ for some minerals that are basically
very cheap. Other that Fe, and K there is hardly any need to add minerals.
Fe is cheap as FeEDTA and K can be bought for a few cents as K2CO3 or K2SO4.

: My personal opinion is that it is highly desirable to do regular water
: changes.  This quite possibly means that it becomes necessary to add
: fertilizer.  But this is a small price to pay in order to eliminate
: the possibility of nutrient build-up over time.  Of course, you still
: have to determine how much fertilizer one needs to add, and this is a
: matter of trial and error.  But there is only one variable to adjust.
: With Diana's method, it is necessary to keep many more variables in
: balance.

That is true and is probably the secret behind these early plant tanks without
all the high-tech (along with a good source of water of course).

--
Uwe

NAME    Uwe Behle, HP Boeblingen Instruments Division
EMAIL   uweb-at-hpbbn.bbn.hp.com (internet), df3du-at-db0sao.ampr.org (packet radio)

Light requirements

by David Randall <76535.2776-at-compuserve.com>
Date: 23 Jul 95

 George

 >> A "successful" plant tank can mean almost anything. <snip>
 The oft-maligned Kevin Osborne is perfectly happy with his smattering of
non-demanding plants.  I would be bored to tears. <<

 I think the hardest thing to get people to understand about lighting is that
it must be IN BALANCE with the rest of the technology of the tank.  It is
possible to balance a tank without artificial light... just ambient room
light.  Heck, this was the only option in the beginning period of the hobby,
and some people learned how to do it successfully with some plants. It is also
possible to balance a tank with a TREMENDOUS amount of light as long as the
aquarist has the knowledge money and equipment.

 >>  2) Your water conditions <<

 While you touch on this point in your list of variables for lighting, it is
an area not often discussed, and I wish I understood it better.  I believe
that the water chemistry of some people's tap water is good enough that they
can "get away" with taking liberties with the lighting that other people
plants can't handle.

 I can grow a large number of species WELL in my "high tech" tanks, (I know,
George, they're "medium tech" at best, next to yours<g>) But I am _very_
limited in what will even survive in my "low tech" tanks, and even more
limited in regards to what actually does WELL.

 OTOH, although I have not seen Dorothy Reimer's tanks, I _have_ seen what her
tanks produce, and the plants are lush, large and plentiful.  She uses so
little light that they make Kevin Osborne's tanks look like they're lit up
like Yankee Stadium.  What's the difference?  Well, she uses potting soil, but
that can't be the only difference, I've tried that in the past.  She uses no
trace element supplements, no CO2, and she must drive off a fair amount of the
CO2 produced in the tanks with her air driven corner filters.  As to water
chemistry, she couldn't tell me.  She knew the pH was about 7.2. (If I
remember right)  Beyond that, she didn't know or care.  It worked for her.

 I think that in a number of cases where people so cavalierly state that
growing plants is so easy without any special lighting or other
considerations, they are just _very_ lucky with their water supply and don't
realize it.


USA Laterite

by Linda or Jim Lemke <llemke-at-kusd.kusd.edu>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997

I sure wasn't expecting to get a reply from Mr. Thiel about his laterite
product.  Talk about the power of this list!  Thanks to Mark Sheldon for
passing the subject on and to Mr Thiel for his in depth reply.  I'm sure he
did his homework before bring out the product.  I did enjoy the background
on the hunt for the right stuff and the fact that he actually mentioned
where the mine is(well not really but close enough).  I assumed that it
would contain iron and would never have thought differantly except for a
recent post that mentioned aluminum laterite.
     Now I'm not thought with the laerite subject in my own mind.  Let's see
how many of you I can boar with this.  First a little story of why I am
problaly interested in laterite.  First of all I've had a fish store for
over 35 years(thats another story).  I had this customer 25 years
ago(haven't see him in the last several years so hope he's OK) that for
years would bring in 100 large crypts for trade, once or twice a year.  One
year I finally asked him how he did that.  He said what he brought me was a
fraction of what he had in his 80 gal tank.  The plants were offspring from
parent plants he had gotten 30 years ago!  He said he placed mud balls in
the gravel and  used a small outside filter(a Dynaflo 410-how I remenber
that I don't know).  I do remember him saying that you can't have any air in
the tank or they'll die off. I don't remember what he said about lighting
but I don't think it was anyithing special.  Remember this was 25 years ago!
The mud balls always stuck in my mind with the thought that maybe the guy
was nuts also. I'm sure he just got the mud around his home in Southeastern
Wisconsin, so assume that his mud balls were in the laterite catagory.  His
remarkable plant growing ability stuck in my mind for all those years.  Back
then I knew of no one that could grow plants like that, and for that matter
not many can grow then like he did(or does).  So much for the story.

should I tear the tank down and start again ?

by "Mark Fisher" <mark.fisher/wombat.state.tx.us>
Date: 30 Mar 1998
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants

I first addded CO2 with a DIY sugar-yeast system, and got nearly
instantaneous results (my plants started bubbling O2 just hours later).  I
noticed better growth after just one week.  I was so pleased, I invested in
a 20# cylinder.  A few weeks later I started adding fertilizer because my
plants had started showing deficiencies, esp K and Fe.  Again, I was
pleased.  A month or so later, I decided to change my substrate.  I was
VERY pleased after that.

While each improvement did wonders, the best results occurred when I had
ALL the necessary components working together (i.e., CO2, fert., soil
substrate).  My lighting has been the only constant (4 40-watt
fourescents).  I suppose I could upgrade my lighting and see results, but I
already have to prune and thin enough already.

I will venture to say the best single improvement I did was CO2
fertilization.  Some plant species do quite well in a plain gravel
substrate, but some don't.  Now, I can grow just about anything, and I have
sucessfully cultivated 30+ plant species over the past few years.  I am
trying my first Madagascar lace plant, and it is doing very well.  I expect
a bloom soon.

-- 
Replace "wombat" with "tpwd" to reply

pringlmm-at-mcmaster.ca wrote in article <6feik2$9ku$1-at-nnrp1.dejanews.com>...
> In article <01bd5685$e053a860$b10440cc-at-mfisher>,
>   "Mark Fisher" <mark.fisher-at-wombat.state.tx.us> wrote:
> >
> > A few years ago I tore down my 90 gallon to replace the plain gravel
with a
> > soil/vermiculite substrate.  This was perhaps the best aquarium
improvement
> > I have ever made, along with adding CO2.  The resulting plant growth
was
> > absolutely amazing, and it is still going strong.
> >
> > FWIW, I put my fish in a couple of 10 gallon buckets while I changed
> > substrates.  As I had kept the original filters and media, I did not
bother
> > cycling the revamped tank, and I did not detect an ammonia spike.  It
only
> > took me a couple of hours to change the substrate and re-fill the tank,
and
> > my fish went back home that evening.  No problems, no losses.
> >
> > I did add fertilizer to the new substrate, but none since.  Instead, I
add
> > PMDD daily.
> > --
> 
> So how do you know the subsrate responsible for the outbreak of plant
growth.
>  You said that you added CO2 and fertilizer, couldn't it have been one of
> these?



low tech/high tech

by Hostler Richard <rhostler/pcconnection.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998

As evidenced by the number of varied responses to this question, the low
tech/ high tech line is not one that is crossed by price, package, or
performance. Instead, I think that the low tech/high tech line is a line
which exists for each of us and we cross it when we are ready. What is
one person's low tech may be another's high tech. We all reach different
levels of ability with our aquascaping, but are often unable to convey
this to anyone but each other. I have never really referred to my setup
as high tech or low tech. I think it is a tag we slap on our
descriptions to each other to give an indication of the level we feel we
have achieved. Kind of self-placement in the arbitrary hierarchy of the
aquatic world. 

Just a couple ephemeral wisps of though.

Richard Hostler
Product Information Editor
PC Connection
(603) 423-2234


Low tech/high tech

by Carlos Munoz <cmunoz/crystal.cirrus.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998

I would argue that there are *three* axes to any aquarium: Tech-ness, 
Effort, and Cost.  Any aquarium "recipe" will exhibit variations
on these three axes:
                                Cost   Effort   Tech
                                --------------------
soil/sun/no CO2/no filter:      Low     Low     Low
full DIY setup with CO2/PMDD:   Low     High    High
mixed soil/store lights:        High    High    Low
full Dupla setup:               High    Low     High

You could argue what's low and high in each category, but I'm sure you get 
my point.  I think everyone feels that "high-tech" means lots of gadgets.  
What we're having a problem with is trying to fold into that definition 
cost and effort...consider those separately.  

Carlos E. Munoz 
<cmunoz@crystal.cirrus.com>


High tech/Low tech definition

by Beverly Erlebacher <bae/cs.toronto.edu>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998

Rather than high-tech vs low-tech, I see it as high-input vs low-input
methods.  If you drive the system with a lot of light, your plants will
require more nutrients including CO2 to stay ahead of the algae.  You
will get more growth and you will need to prune more often.  You will have
to keep a careful eye on water chemistry and nutrient balance.  With low
to moderate light, the fish can fertilize the plants, the plants will
grow although more slowly.  The system tends to be more stable and needs
little monitoring.

High input systems require more inputs in terms of light (electricity),
fertilizers, and equipment (all $$) as well as the aquarists time.  Low
input systems require less time and money.

Really spectacular results can be obtained with a high-tech, high-input
driven system, but you can have good looking low-input tanks with much
less time, money and effort.  It may be a 90-10 or 80-20 situation -
you can get 90% of the effect with 10% of the inputs, but to get that
last 10% of effect may take 9 times more input.

I'm not saying that either end of the spectrum is better than the other.
People have different objectives, and may want to put varying amounts of
resources into the hobby.  I tend to stick up for the low input end of things
because some people who decide they want a planted tank seem to think that
the high-input method is the only way to succeed, and I want to tell them
that it isn't necessary to spend a lot of money to have a nice tank.

None of my tanks were intended as showpieces. In most of them I'm trying 
to observe, breed and raise fish and the plants are in there for their 
great effects on water quality, harboring microcritters for fry to eat, 
and the natural appearing environment which I think is good for the fish, 
and looks good to me, too.  However, just about everyone who sees my tanks 
thinks they look good.  I think this is mostly because the tangled mass 
of plants has a naturalistic look which is pleasing to the eye and so 
unlike the stark bare tanks that seem to be the default for most aquaria 
these days.


Low tech/High tech

by "Roger S. Miller" <rgrmill/rt66.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998

I think I agree with Karen's comment a few letters back; the high tech or
low tech status of a tank is pretty irrelevant to it's success.  It's also
of only limited value when you're trying to give someone advice on how to
solve a problem.

Karen's breakdown between high light/high growth rate tanks and low
light/low growth rate tanks is much more descriptive and more useful when
you're trying to understand and help solve someone's problem.

Unfortunately there might be a quite a few tanks that don't quite fit into
that spectrum.  I don't want to get way into this matrix thing, but if the
light level can be high (L)  or low (l) and growth rates can be high (G)
or low (g) then there are four different combinations of these
characteristics:

                        High   Low
                        Light Light
                           L    l

         High Growth  G   LG    lG
          Low Growth  g   Lg    lg

"LG" and "lg" are Karen's two-part classification; the other two might
seem odd but they exist; I have two "Lg" tanks (brightly sunlit, but with
fairly slow growth) and I think that Neil Frank has described some "lG"
tanks (low watt/gallon lighting with ample growth).  There could also be a
"centered" classification.

At any rate, Karen's classification seems to describe what an aquarist
wants to do or is doing with an aquarium.  The low tech/high tech
breakdown just describes their approach.

When you're describing a tank, Karen's breakdown is much more relevant
than high tech/low tech.  If you want to describe a tank to me (for
example) I get a lot more information from knowing that you have high
light and want a high growth rate than I do from knowing whether or not
you have a pH-regulated CO2 system.

I understand that for a lot of us the technical gadgetry is part of the
fun of the hobby and something that we go out and pay good money for.  But
really, the plants aren't impressed by technology and the "tech" status of
a tank seems almost irrelevant to it's ability to grow plants.


Roger Miller


Size of market

by Robert Ricketts <rtricketts/erols.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000

Dave responded to my message (about being cut out by the definition of
PTH) with a couple of assumptions.  First on tank plant purchases, the
most expensive plant I can remember buying for the tanks was a mature
multi-stemmed Anubias barteri var. barteri, at change less than $100, it
was worth every cent.  My most recent plant purchases were to plant a
tank being reset after years of Malawi mbuna, don't remember the exact
amount, but on the order of $80.  My "normal" purchases per year are
certainly less than $200, perhaps much less if you count that 1/2 to 2/3
of the buys are offset by trade-ins from my tanks, nothing exotic, just
grow-out swords and Val from my veggie filters.

Second, I do own compressed CO2, but don't use it. (Shall we split that
one down the middle?).  I'm content with moderate lighting and moderate
growth of undemanding plants with CO2 conservation.  If I get bored I
may play with bottled or DIY CO2 for a period, then pack it away.  Yes I
see positive results from this.  But no, I do not think that I cannot
live without it.  I can live very well without constant pruning.  My
Anubias-only tank is one of my favorites- slow growth, always  good
looking, vanishingly low maintenance.  Personal choice, personal style.
Those who want bright lights, strong growth, and weekly plant chores are
welcome to them, it just is not me.

Robert


Size of market

by Dan Resler <resler/liberty.mas.vcu.edu>
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2000

On Thu, Sep 21, 2000 at 11:44:12PM -0500, James Purchase wrote:
> Robert Ricketts remarks about not being interested in a lot of high tech is
> very "typical", and also very O.K. and acceptable.

I don't know if I buy this. Most people are not interested in high
tech? Maybe, maybe not. Read on.

(Is it "OK and acceptable"? Of course.)

> I think that most
> hobbyists would feel much more comfortable with the low tech
> approach ...

I'm not convinced that this is true. 

> ... that doesn't cost an arm and a leg and require lots of upkeep. 

BINGO. I think you've hit on the REAL reason why there *might* not be
much interest in high-tech. Or put another way, if a high-tech system
was cheap and didn't require alot of fiddlin', I think alot more
people would pursue that path. (duh!) 

I don't think it's the high in 'high-tech' that scares people off,
it's the high in 'high-cost'.

> I love technology, but this IS a hobby.....

Hmmm. I like technology, and that is why IT IS a part of my hobby!

> I was able to grow beautiful Crypts under 2X60W incandescent light bulbs in
> a 15 gallon steel framed aquarium 30 years ago and I knew nothing about
> fertilization or technology.

That's terrific. Really. I wish I could have done it back then when I
tried. But let me ask you this - which is the larger group, the people
who grew beautiful plants "under 2X60W incandescent light bulbs in a
15 gallon steel framed aquarium" with no knowledge of fertilization or
technology, or the people who had tanks full of brown mush ' "under
2X60W incandescent light bulbs in a 15 gallon steel framed aquarium"
with no knowledge fertilization or technology'?

For years (in my youth) I failed miserably trying to grow plants. I
set up 10-20 gallon tanks under flourescent lights with no knowledge
of fertilization or technology. Brown mush, over and over again.

Then a few years ago I set up a high-tech Dupla tank ... with very
little knowledge of fertilization or technology. Plug wire A into slot
B, adjust controller for pH P, put drops X in every day, tablets Y in
at water changes, etc, etc. Follow the recipe, read George's posts,
trust that it will work.

And the results were W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L. I was hooked.

THEN I went out and began to learn about fertilization and everything
else I could about the system I had set up. Now I know alot more
(really, George!) and have more freedom to experiment and even go
'low-tech' if I so choose. With success.

There are many, many paths to a nice plant tank. Human nature being
what it is, we have a tendency to think that the path that got us to
where we're at is The One True Path.

It just ain't so. Others can take our path and fail, or take the path
we failed on and have terrific success (have you heard the stories
about the Dupla tank *failures*?). And to me thats one of the things
that makes the hobby so interesting.

dan
- -- 
Dan Resler                            email: dresler@vcu.edu
Dept. of Mathematical Sciences          
Virginia Commonwealth University           
Richmond, VA 23284-2014 USA


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This page was last updated 18 February 2002