Are we really advancing the hobby?

Zeus.

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Stand corrected :oops::rolleyes:;) but my water is well hard can't remember if it's 400ppm or more straight from the tap (on hols so can't do a quick check)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
if it's 400ppm or more straight from the tap
Yes, that is about what our <"tap water"> reads. I think that if your water comes from a limestone aquifer, and is fully saturated with Ca++ and HCO3- ions, that is about the datum value.

cheers Darrel
 

zozo

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Are we really advancing the hobby? Or rather, has the hobby really moved forwards over the last 80 years or so? Has it moved backwards?
That is an interesting and rather philosophical question. It is also a relative, that must be viewed in perspective. If you do this, then a sum of yes's, no's, pseudo's and neutrals can be added. Since there are still many more theories and questions than facts and answers in this hobby. Then I have to guess, the bottom line conclusion probably will be "Actually not so very much".

And what's actually there to advance in?
 

Soilwork

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That is an interesting and rather philosophical question. It is also a relative, that must be viewed in perspective. If you do this, then a sum of yes's, no's, pseudo's and neutrals can be added. Since there are still many more theories and questions than facts and answers in this hobby. Then I have to guess, the bottom line conclusion probably will be "Actually not so very much".

And what's actually there to advance in?
Thats actually a very good question. If there is nothing to advance and we haven’t moved forward, have we stayed the same or gone backwards?

When I say backwards, I mean has our new found interpretation of ones success (how well they can grow plants and combat algae) at the cost of a truly balanced ecosystem and is it making the hobby more difficult than it really is?

We have a whole forum dedicated to algae and most modern tanks are only one miscalculation away from joining it.
 

Zeus.

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Do not most most bodies of water have seasonal algae blooms! My pond gets blanket weed at least once a year when conditions are right for it, sorts itself out most off the time. Having a forum for algae questions/issues is an advancement in itself.
Most tanks may be only one step alway from an issue as folk choose hard things to grow as well as getting somthing wrong. Sharing these errors/problems/succes is an advancement in the hobby. Years ago folk didn't post about algae issues as there was no where to post
 

zozo

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It is a very good question, that i do not deny. It's a question i asked myself after coming back into the hobby again after more than a decade pause. For me personally, i came to the conclusion nothing much has changed the last 45 years. It's more of a status quo in my opinion.

for example, I started with a simple and only one available Eheim canister filter in the early 1970s. Now we have canisters with bells, whistles and digital displays but the bottom line principle didn't change. It's still a bucket with a pump.

To get to a definitive answer we first would need to determine the advance in the perspective of what do we really know. :) And then make a differentiation in the alleged advance, is it an assumption, an opinion or a fact? Another perspective to view is, is the advantage in the hobbyist benefit/convenience or the captive organisms benefit?

Since this hobby from the perspective of the organism still is far from an exact science we have very little facts to go with.

Take for example the general consensus about the benefit/advantage of water changes. Back then it was considered a sin, a disruption of balance. An aquarium should smell like an old swamp. Books advised keeping your hands out of the water as much as possible. Hence the magnet glass cleaner was invented and very popular must-have device. Anyway, even today after decades the need for doing water changes is still under debate. Still enough under debate that a very knowledgable scholar wrote best selling books about it to dispute this new alleged advance. And it's still not fully clear if the conclusion is an opinion and assumption or a fact.

The only fact in the conclusion of the book is we have different scenarios that can make it something to neglect or a necessity. We have little saying in it, it's waiting for it and if the tank and or the organisms in it tells you it's accumulating nasties and it needs a water change you better do it or it suffers the consequences. Viewing a water change in the later perspective, makes it more of a preventive "If it doesn't help it doesn't harm" theory than a fact. And then even doing water changes still doesn't prevent failures..

I thought a lot about your question long ago and i yet only found one answer. "I consider myself still that one idiot that asks more questions than 100 professors can answer." :)
 
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I think that as far as aquariums are concerned, nothing has changed. :p What has changed is our understanding of them, particularly our individual level of understanding. Every fish keeper starts off not knowing much at all. Some remain where they started, some get confused and get the wrong ideas,some don't.

As far as the book is concerned, it is as relevant today as any other. Light, oxygen, plants, plants consuming nutrients, the need of more plants, that most tanks do not have sufficient plants, the importance of clean, odorless water, to avoid overstocking, overfeeding...The only part it got wrong is the understanding on how you achieve clean/odorless water. These type of wrong conclusions are seen among aquarium keepers even today despite all the information available.

Gadgets wise, I am thankful for the availability of better filters and better lights,heaters, and also higher quality fish food . It just makes the hobby much easier.

When I started keeping fish,which was in my first year of school, I hadn't read even one fish related book and I didn't know anyone that kept fish. I didn't happen to read or hear one should not change water, so I did change water weekly because it would get stinky otherwise...I changed pretty much all of the water every weekend. I'd take the fish out in a glass jar, dump the water from the tank, fill with aged water and put the fish back. As for where I got the idea about aged water, my mom didn't let us drink water straight from the tap, she said it needed to degas first so she would fill glass bottles and let them stand. I assumed fish needed the same type of water so I did the same for my fish tank water.

I tried to keep plants but they kept dying. I didn't know why back then but now I know it was mainly because I had no light over the tank.

All my fish were fed dried daphnia for the most part as that's all I had access to. I noticed if I fed too much, water would get milky and the fish would get sick and die, so I started feeding less. ..I did not have a filter. I didn't know I needed one and I had no clue about the nitrogen cycle but I did get myself a "bubbler" because water should be moving, as in the rivers where fish come from..;).. I had also gotten the idea that cleaning the tank glass had a very negative effect. Only later did I understand that when you run a tank with no filter or substrate, the biological filtration is on the surfaces of the glass...That slime my mother kept telling me to clean off.... and I didn't due to laziness, until she did in my absence one day and I came back to dead fish..:rolleyes:

Everything I did those first few years was through observation and intuition, rather than acquired knowledge. I learned about the nitrogen cycle much later in life. So as far as I am concerned, I haven't changed much. My base point has always been my fish, if they're healthy and live long lives, I am doing it right, if not, something's got to change....Only now I have a lot more brains to pick on :)
 

Soilwork

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Now the philosophical bods are creeping in this is good. There’s no real right or wrong answer here. Reminiscing is good. It reminds us things we may have forgotten.

I remember my uncle telling me once. My auntie had a tank and they left for Germany for a year. He said when he came back the tiger barbs had tripled in size but he couldn’t quite see them because of the amount of plants in the tank. All that had happened is that they’d been fed everyday for the past 12 months by my aunties mother who knew nothing about tanks. Got me thinking about the bottled garden that grew for 40 years recycling and cycling what had been put in there before the cork went in. How that little bottle just carried on with no interruption for the outside world.

Then I think, the earth is a lot like that, what is on the earth just gets cycled and recycled, moved around but its the same ‘stuff’

it’s taken me 3 years in and out of high tech to get my tank where it is now and for me it’s the healthiest its ever been. Very stable with absolute minimal input. Algae just does not survive in this tank.

I felt I was losing my way but really I was just missing the picture
 

rebel

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has the hobby really moved forwards over the last 80 years or so?
Yes. Mainly CO2 injection, growing of multiple species in very thick and lush growth. Better and more efficient lights. More reliable silicone, rimless tanks etc etc.

Salt water has advanced even more I think but don't know the details.
 
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There's nothing philosophical at all here :p We still discuss topics such as water changes, or how much to feed....The consensus is more water changes and feeding less is better but there are people on both sides of the spectrum. Some do regular and large water changes, some do none. Some overfeed, some underfeed, some feed just enough. One has got to figure it out for themselves each time one starts keeping fish .....In the end, we all believe in what works best for us individually.

Question is, how much has one's general knowledge advanced since? All those scientific articles and books mean nothing if one has not read them throughout their fish keeping experience...again as an individual because we all start with zero knowledge on the topic. It's not like people do a course or are prepped in school. I don't remember being thought anything much of use about the water world back than. I only remember lions, bears and rabbits.I have friends that ask me if those underwater plants are real plants. Some are not familiar with plants growing under water and 99.9% do not know the names of common tropical fish, never mind endangered species, although they can name almost every land animal in existence.
 

rebel

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Question is, how much has one's general knowledge advanced since?
Not sure about actual knowledge but access to good knowledge is much better now. However access to bad information is also better.
If someone has read the information and understood is another question and maybe related to human psychology than fish keeping.

Compared to 80 years ago, I think most beginners now have an idea on 'cycling' the tank.

In the end, we all believe in what works best for us individually.
This is a great description of the general human condition and doesn't just apply to fish keeping.
 

zozo

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There's nothing philosophical at all here :p
Well, it depends... Since philosophy is the oldest theoretical discipline that expresses the striving and desire for knowledge and wisdom. Making scientific theories contains a huge dose of philosophizing.

Take for example the medieval biologists sharing thoughts/philosophizing about how the hell do pikes end up in an artificial pond dug out exclusively to breed carp? For centuries they were in consensus that they must grow in and from pickerelweed. Since pikes (Chain Pickerel) are opportunistic ambush predators always hiding and spotted in the vegetation. This also explains Pickerelweed etymology.

Keeping aquarium IMHO is very much a Theoretical Discipline. :)

And we philosophize a lot about it. Even more in the internet era... And this is indeed partially advancing the hobby.
 
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Tim Harrison

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I think the central premise of the question, 'are we really advancing the hobby', depends on two factors...

Has the science that can be applied to the hobby advanced?
And are the majority of hobbyists able to apply it effectively?

I think this is where potential problems occur...where half understood scientific theories, pseudoscience, aquarium folklore etc start to clash with current scientific theory, and perhaps more importantly common sense.

The social media revolution has no rival as a tool for disseminating information, and unfortunately misinformation and so can also exacerbate the problem. We've all seen examples of spurious advice handed out on Facebook, for instance.

Fortunately, forums like UKAPS and the Barr Report have a reasonably rigorous scientific approach to the hobby and its problems, which on balance perhaps compensate for this to some degree or other.

Either way when all said and done it depends on the individual and their capacity and enthusiasm for learning, thirst for knowledge and perhaps ability to think critically to get to the truth.

Most of the folk on this forum are here because they want to learn and improve their planted tank or aquascaping knowledge and skills. So as far as our little UKAPS niche is concerned, at least, I think that yes we have advanced the hobby and continue to do so...
 

mort

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For me the hobby has advanced. When I ran a lfs I had lots of tropical fish customers who thought rainbow castles and skulls where the height of decor. Many of us would be disgusted by this type of tank but generally they all actually knew what they were doing, or were willing to learn, so kept the fish better than most. Some of this was by getting problems and learning how to solve them from my advice or searching online and this is where I think we are better, we can learn very very quickly and massively progress at a pace we couldn't before.
In more general terms I think with many dedicated aquarists exploring biotopes and trying to mimic nature as close as possible, we are making some big steps forward. We also have riparium type setups that take things to the next level, actually creating little ecosystems. There are also quite a few non filter tanks, very different from those of the past, which basically run themselves successfully because of our new found knowledge of running them.
 

jaypeecee

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Yes, I think there have been many major advances in the hobby. If I were forced to give just one example, it would be in the field of microbiology and the work done by the likes of Dr Tim Hovanec. We now have a far better understanding of which organisms are responsible for processing fish waste (particularly ammonia). These are quantum leaps. As I understand it, this would not have been possible until the arrival of genetics and our knowledge of DNA.

JPC
 
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I think some of you guys are talking about technological advances. Hence the difference in opinions. Take for example surface scam. We have surface skimmers now but the knowledge of how to prevent the unsightly biofilm appearing is only anecdotal, e.g. surface agitation, the napkin method, siphon it out via a water change, etc..:rolleyes:

Keeping aquarium IMHO is very much a Theoretical Discipline
Perhaps, because we can't prove half the stuff we claim as fact :p

If I were forced to give just one example, it would be in the field of microbiology and the work done by the likes of Dr Tim Hovanec.
Yes, problem is it is fairly recent :) and it is mostly on nitrifiers, as if they're the only microbes in a fish tank....They are billions of them that work together, we don't know exactly how and why.

I'll give another example of how little we have advanced..., we have at least 2 very long threads here on Black beard algae, lots of us rambling about our beliefs :D...still no definitive solution to the algae problem. The threads about algae on plant forums are never ending, so are the threads about sick fish on fish dedicated forums, very little fish keeper development on these topics...which I think are the major ones. If one can't keep plants algae free or fish disease free, then one is a beginner and so are all those that can't help him, which is the rest of us :p
 
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zozo

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Yes, I think there have been many major advances in the hobby. If I were forced to give just one example, it would be in the field of microbiology and the work done by the likes of Dr Tim Hovanec. We now have a far better understanding of which organisms are responsible for processing fish waste (particularly ammonia). These are quantum leaps. As I understand it, this would not have been possible until the arrival of genetics and our knowledge of DNA.

JPC
Sorry for being philosophical again.

But this is an advance in our understanding of how it works. But that doesn't make it an advance in the hobby. Simply because it always worked like this, but a decade ago we didn't know it.
I can't see the advance in the hobby because of knowing we were wrong al this time.

It doesn't change a thing in the aquarium. It changed something in us. And if this advance in us changes something in the hobby maybe needs a few decades longer to proof. But till now it's proven we were wrong and didn't need the specifics we always added. After all, what we really needed came on its own devices. And we added the wrong mix sold in a bottle from the lfs.
 

jaypeecee

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But this is an advance in our understanding of how it works. But that doesn't make it an advance in the hobby.
Hi zozo,

It is most definitely an advance in the hobby because we can now purchase bottled bacteria that can reliably cycle a brand new unplanted tank in a week (using a source of ammonia). By which, I mean that a small number of fish can safely be added to the tank upon completion. And I'm not talking about Zebra Danios. I've successfully done this with German Blue Rams and they are still as healthy today as the day they were added to the tank.

JPC
 

jimi

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You have to be a naive idiot that basses his knowledge on Disney's Lion King or Bambi to believe that to be true. A few liters of water between 5 sheets of glass will never be "a self sustaining ecosystem". Whatever that may be, because in nature ecosystems are always changing. It is nothing more then a romantic notion, that seems to be trendy...

Successful long term aquariums are based on the principle of controlled nature, natural processes closely monitored and corrected wen necessary. So get off that lazy ass and do a proper water change.
I'm not so sure about that. About 10 years ago when I first started in this hobby I had a 4ft clear-seal for about a year. It was chock full of plants. No co2 or anything until I started to try and grow HC towards the end. Anyways, After about 3 months when the plants had matured I hardly ever did a water change, and I do mean hardly ever and the parameters were pretty much 0 all the time. So I do think its possible, with a big enough tank, the right light and the right stocking that you could let nature get one with it. How, I have no idea as I will admit that this near perfect balance I achieved was pure luck and I have never managed to do it since.

So I don't think people are stupid or lazy or an idiot to try this approach as it is obviously possible. I just don't have a lab to set up umpteen tanks and try numerous things to try it again.
 
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