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Thread: Getting Back To Basics

  1. #1
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    Default Getting Back To Basics

    I don't spend a lot of time here these days but when I have a look, I see the same old problems coming up that I saw when I first joined the forum.
    Certainly, the aquatic plant hobby has come a long way....heaps of new products to help grow even the most difficult plants. New substrates, LED lighting (No plasmas as yet?), Chemical amendments.....
    And yet, the same basic problems with deficiencies crop up over and over.
    You may be surprised to see me state that the vast majority of plants can be grown in quartz gravel, some water movement,temp around 25C and simple old fluoros at 6500 K.
    Starting there, a fair understanding of the actual nature of a plant genus (and species) is usually enough to make very simple amendments that will allow even a new hobbyist to enjoy a planted tank.
    I think this is where the discussion can start....lol

  2. #2
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    controversial...
    you mean to say i dont need to spend $$$ on a commercial substrate?
    and that said substrate isn't a blanket product that can grow every aquatic plant from anywhere around the world?

    still a miserable downer i see.
    [sigpic][/sigpic]
    We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
    We borrow it from our Children.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PiL View Post
    controversial...
    you mean to say i dont need to spend $$$ on a commercial substrate?
    and that said substrate isn't a blanket product that can grow every aquatic plant from anywhere around the world?

    still a miserable downer i see.
    Why , thank you PiL.....that was a most uplifting reply and yes....as always....you are correct.

  4. #4
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    but the marketing would tell us otherwise...
    you need to buy all the additives, powersand, soil and then the whole range of step by step liquid ferts as well as high wattage lights, glassware and special glass tanks to reproduce the impeccable algae-free displays they do in the showrooms, right? i mean if you shell out on the equipment, one must expect perfect results, right?
    [sigpic][/sigpic]
    We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
    We borrow it from our Children.

  5. #5
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    Slighty on-topic and slightly off-topic, but here is my two cents.

    I just pulled down my 3 ft low tech for a few reasons (moving house, about to start a renovation etc), but one reason was the up-keep.

    This was my first 'proper tank' and got sold so many lemons by random petshop staff very early on. . I also rushed the set up, and as such I was always playing catch up... bought a shitty cheap light and internal filter. Hated the fiddly maintenence of the internal so got a canister (best decision ever), added a few plants and they struggled, so got a MML. Then had to rejig my fert dosing. Figured out I wasn't dosing exactly what I needed. Then I got a heater, got different fish etc etc. You get the point. My tank will never look like the tanks in the shop because 1) I am not as skilled) and 2) I am not as diligent on up-keep... yet I still planned for it to be fancy and was always disapointed.

    The two things I have learned is 1) dont rush it and 2) research and plan ahead.

    Next time around, I will be much better planned, and much better prepared to 1) have a plan and 2) execute it. I will save time and money and not fall for all the tricks.

  6. #6
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    Panda.....I'm glad you have learned enough to have a plan for your next attempt.
    Believe me....anyone you see with a beautiful tank will have a history of disappointment and failure to tell you about. Good luck.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panda View Post
    Slighty on-topic and slightly off-topic, but here is my two cents.

    I just pulled down my 3 ft low tech for a few reasons (moving house, about to start a renovation etc), but one reason was the up-keep.

    This was my first 'proper tank' and got sold so many lemons by random petshop staff very early on. . I also rushed the set up, and as such I was always playing catch up... bought a shitty cheap light and internal filter. Hated the fiddly maintenence of the internal so got a canister (best decision ever), added a few plants and they struggled, so got a MML. Then had to rejig my fert dosing. Figured out I wasn't dosing exactly what I needed. Then I got a heater, got different fish etc etc. You get the point. My tank will never look like the tanks in the shop because 1) I am not as skilled) and 2) I am not as diligent on up-keep... yet I still planned for it to be fancy and was always disapointed.

    The two things I have learned is 1) dont rush it and 2) research and plan ahead.

    Next time around, I will be much better planned, and much better prepared to 1) have a plan and 2) execute it. I will save time and money and not fall for all the tricks.

    hey Panda, def on topic. this is excellent advice that cant be understated and this applies to some people that have kept fish tanks for years, not just beginners. Just cos you have been running an aquarium a long time it does not mean it has been done been done correctly. Take me, for example, been running and aquarium for 15 and only just realised in reality i had no idea i was doing it wrong.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthonyrae View Post
    I don't spend a lot of time here these days but when I have a look, I see the same old problems coming up that I saw when I first joined the forum.
    Certainly, the aquatic plant hobby has come a long way....heaps of new products to help grow even the most difficult plants. New substrates, LED lighting (No plasmas as yet?), Chemical amendments.....
    And yet, the same basic problems with deficiencies crop up over and over.
    You may be surprised to see me state that the vast majority of plants can be grown in quartz gravel, some water movement,temp around 25C and simple old fluoros at 6500 K.
    Starting there, a fair understanding of the actual nature of a plant genus (and species) is usually enough to make very simple amendments that will allow even a new hobbyist to enjoy a planted tank.
    I think this is where the discussion can start....lol
    Hi Anthony, great topic for conversation and i have to agree with you here but like to add something

    These days we are flooded with information, getting info is no longer a problem rather sifting through it all to weed out all the rubbish is quite a task lol

    anyway you are spot on... these days things are waaay to over complicated and snake oil is everywhere.. to be honest i think i knowingly have been sold some

    If beginners picked up your suggestions and learnt about the basics of keeping an aquarium (water chemistry, plants, lighting, filtration, flow, CO2) and create a balanced aquarium they would grow successful plants for sure.

    I also agree that a lot of things are sold to us these days we dont really need, but a lot of these items certainly help in getting better more vibrant growth in plants.

    substrate - yes quite expensive to buy, but can get successful and cheap DIY substrate and even inert like you say but when you have a good commercial substrate it will help in growing a wider variety of plants to the less knowledgeable, sort of foolproof.

    then fertilising for macro's and trace elements.. but yes very expensive unless you get DIY ferts and mix them up yourself

    CO2 and Lighting are both important. dont need to be used to grow plants but you can grow much nicer plants with them. LED is great in the fact that it will reduce your electricity costs not for better growing v t5 or other and lets face it electricity has gone and is still going through the roof

    If you improve flow, not just increase it, it will do wonders for the plants by just getting CO2 moving around the tank. This can be improved by just studying your tank flow with little bits of flake food to see the flow and playing with what you got to improve it.

    so yeah ur right but some small adjustments, not necessarily cost based, and you should be able to go from nice to amazing.. well thats the theory anyway, hope i dont eat my own words

  9. #9
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    I think that mostly what these fancy substrates bring is convenience, eliminating a need to purpose buy something like Ozmocote or another tab fertiliser to get the same results... at least that's my two cents. I also think companies like ADA are a lot like Nike or Adidas in the sense that the product may not be that great but it's almost like fashion to have the "branded" (and much more expensive!) equipment. However, in saying this as I've branched out into some of the more tricky softwater crypts I've found that ADA Amazonia in particular due to its low pH has been very helpful and convenient especially for replicating beech tree litter in beaker culture. I am fully aware there are plusses and minuses to both substrate types but I can't imagine using something like ADA substrates for anything but the occasional pot for a fussy plant.

    PS (and here go my ethics again) but I also don't like the idea of supporting such overpriced products (Kessils, ADA products, etc.).
    Last edited by Cryptocorynus; 11-08-17 at 07:54 PM.
    Rainbowfish, Cryptocoryne, Echinodorus

  10. #10
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    Haha AR you are stirring it up again.

    Back to basics: My main advice is to GADAWC*. Then repeat frequently.




























    GADAWC = Go and do a water change.

  11. #11
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    Thank you MrKrabs....valid points and you won't be eating your words.
    Luke.....good point about certain products making life easier. And since you are running a full blown nursery facility rather than a planted tank, I certainly understand your view.
    Rebel.....bloody good advice and both sensible and accessible to anyone.

    When I was about ten years old, everyone used Nepean River sand and gravel. We used ordinary fluorescent lighting, often supplemented with (the now dreaded) natural sunlight. I had a 120cm tank in the sunroom which got about four hours of slightly shaded sunlight every day. About 7cm of Nepean Gravel and....I kid you not....the tank was absolutely FULL of Cryptocoryne cordata ( its name back then). This was considered normal in those days....fifty years ago.

  12. #12

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    As always, knowing what you dont have to know, is just as important as knowing what you have to know. Every part of the hobby is information saturated to a mad level. So you can never know everything, and you barely need to know 1/100th of the data available to be highly successful. Those of us who live to over complicate life, are basically in heaven with planted. The more you push the high tech, the more tweaks you discover and the more problems caused by solutions you have to deal with. I love this hobby, its like a mad scientist deciding he wants a garden. So just some plants in dirt in the backyard? oh heavens no! We are gonna need 5 powerboards for this 2 foot.

  13. #13
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    I think we should post our pics of tanks that were very low tech and very low maintenance just to prove a point.
    Whatever

  14. #14
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    Post some pics would love to see

  15. #15
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    In the spirit of keeping things simply: it really galls me when a beginner wants basic advice and gets asked for information on town water parameters, chromium levels and god knows what else and then, when the information is provided, it has no bearing on the advice given in return. I like the idea of showing off well planted and functioning low tech tanks for inspiration.

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