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Is this hobby losing the plot?

Jack Reilly

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10 Jul 2016
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143
Location
australia
These days you can still make a simple low tech tank. There is a wealth of information and beginners can make anything they want.

How can more options, more info, more layers of optional complexity and more ranges of tank styles possibly be a bad thing ? If beginners are overwhelmed, rush or aim too high and fail, only they are to blame. If they love the hobby, they will persevere. If they quit, they were tourists just passing by.

Me, I want to make a low tech, a high tech, a biotope, I want to try it all. And I feel so grateful that I have all the information at my fingertips to make those happen. There's so many helpful people ready to share information.

Takashi Amano's style is my favourite, and I don't like a lot of the new popular aquascapes with the fake trees and fake ocean etc. I don't like when it becomes a model train set type deal. But I'm happy to have the style in the hobby as it just makes it that much more interesting. The hobby seems to be pushing new boundaries constantly and that makes it exciting. I was into this hobby five years before even making my first planted tank. Reading the journals and watching the competitions and learning about the planted tank ecosystem. It was fun enough I didn't even need a tank myself !
 

Aqua360

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15 Feb 2016
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paisley
Some interesting posts here, I'm a relative newbie too; and fell into the trap of high light which of course, produced an algae farm. I've since scaled back to low light, and if I want to grow some of the harder plants I try a combination of liquid carbon, ferts; and if needed co2 injection, which has produced healthy carpets.

Very frustrating when first entering the hobby and reading about very intense (expensive!) lighting, when it's probably the last factor to consider...
 

Aqua360

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15 Feb 2016
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paisley
I should also add, when first starting planted; I received a little criticism for opting to use liquid pre-prepared ferts, instead of jumping into EI method with dry salts.

I've never used EI or dry ferts, solely relying on liquid ferts to this day; and have found them to be effective.

Not saying they aren't as cost effective as salts etc or that they offer micro management, but I think the EI method is very strongly enforced sometimes as the one and only way, when it doesn't need to be.
 

roadmaster

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18 Oct 2009
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United States
EI is but one of a few method's, but easily (in my view) the most favored for those who wish to largely eliminate deficiencies when first starting out.
Leaves only light and CO2 to focus on.
Can start with EI level's and scale down till poor performance or algae becomes problematic, and then bump nutrient's back to previous level.
Hard to tell much if plant's are dying from the out set due to deficiencies of one or more nutrient's.
I have used liquid fert and currently the dry mineral salt's and the mineral salt's last way longer than the liquid (mostly water) in fairly large tank(s).
In smaller tank's,maybe not so much a concern.
 

Jack Reilly

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Joined
10 Jul 2016
Messages
143
Location
australia
I should also add, when first starting planted; I received a little criticism for opting to use liquid pre-prepared ferts, instead of jumping into EI method with dry salts.

People recommend dry salts because they cost a fraction of what the commercial liquid fertilisers do. Are there any reasons to use commercial liquid ferts over dry ferts?

You may have received criticism, but it was probably just people trying to help. If it was zealots, that's unfortunate.

I post on Tom Barr's forum, and even there I don't feel pressure to follow the EI method. Tom himself repeatedly says that it's not the only method that works, and that even if you decide to follow EI, the rules aren't set in stone. But he does suggest you have reasons to deviate from it, based on evidence, which is rational.

Not saying they aren't as cost effective as salts etc or that they offer micro management, but I think the EI method is very strongly enforced sometimes as the one and only way, when it doesn't need to be.

Personally I haven't found that to be the case, that's it's strongly enforced. It is suggested frequently, but that's just because it's a very simple way to fertilise your tank and avoid deficiencies. People suck at explaining it though.
 
Last edited:

Jack Reilly

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10 Jul 2016
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143
Location
australia
I remember a story I heard about a university professor who had been researching and teaching a theory for over a decade. One day one of his students proved the entire theory to be incorrect. The professor walked down to the student, with tears in his eyes, hugged him and said "thank you".

This is the attitude I have towards the hobby.
 

Aqua360

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15 Feb 2016
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People recommend dry salts because they cost a fraction of what the commercial liquid fertilisers do. Are there any reasons to use commercial liquid ferts over dry ferts?

You may have received criticism, but it was probably just people trying to help. If it was zealots, that's unfortunate.

I post on Tom Barr's forum, and even there I don't feel pressure to follow the EI method. Tom himself repeatedly says that it's not the only method that works, and that even if you decide to follow EI, the rules aren't set in stone. But he does suggest you have reasons to deviate from it, based on evidence, which is rational.



Personally I haven't found that to be the case, that's it's strongly enforced. It is suggested frequently, but that's just because it's a very simple way to fertilise your tank and avoid deficiencies. People suck at explaining it though.

Convenience mostly.

But as per the topic, as a beginner it was slightly deflating.
 

parotet

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12 Oct 2013
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1,695
Location
Valencia, Spain
Praxis + persistence is the cornerstone of every hobby I am into. It just blows all the barriers we create for understanding complexity (in our case, low/high tech, high/low light, etc.). Personally I see in my hobbies a learning curve. In the first stages I swallow all the information that gets to my hands and I probably get obsessed with some issues. Then real life or new interests come, but most of the times it comes back again. With panted tanks it's been like this for about 3 years now. And honestly, I just don't know how to classify my light, dosing routine and CO2... i just don't care because I am able to grow most of the plants I love in a comfortable way for me.
Just keep on walking and forget about the rest, it is a very beautiful hobby to get stuck with all this, maybe good stuff for learning and night reading but never a constraint!

Jordi
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
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7 Apr 2008
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nr Bath
Hi all,
People recommend dry salts because they cost a fraction of what the commercial liquid fertilisers do. Are there any reasons to use commercial liquid ferts over dry ferts?
Jack is right, what ever any-one says "an ion is an ion is an ion".

Plants can only take up mineral nutrients as ions.

Potassium (K+) ions are the same whether they came from the dissolution of potassium chloride (KCl), or from the dissolution of potassium nitrate (KNO3).

The potassium (K39) on earth has been present for the last 4.5 billion years (and was formed some time before 7.5 billion years ago), it is highly reactive, soluble and an essential nutrient for plant growth and will have been constantly re-cycled (as an ion) through-out that time from the breakdown of rocks and organic compounds.

cheers Darrel
 

Manisha

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Joined
1 Apr 2016
Messages
762
Location
Bangor Northern Ireland
Hi all, Jack is right, what ever any-one says "an ion is an ion is an ion".

Plants can only take up mineral nutrients as ions.

Potassium (K+) ions are the same whether they came from the dissolution of potassium chloride (KCl), or from the dissolution of potassium nitrate (KNO3).

The potassium (K39) on earth has been present for the last 4.5 billion years (and was formed some time before 7.5 billion years ago), it is highly reactive, soluble and an essential nutrient for plant growth and will have been constantly re-cycled (as an ion) through-out that time from the breakdown of rocks and organic compounds.

cheers Darrel

I understand & agree but feel EI & mixing salts for a new hobbyist can seem difficult & may be a possible barrier? I am yet to use EI & dry salts but dose equivalent amounts on a nano using an all in one simply for convenience!
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
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7 Apr 2008
Messages
13,844
Location
nr Bath
Hi all,
I understand & agree but feel EI & mixing salts for a new hobbyist can seem difficult & may be a possible barrier? I am yet to use EI & dry salts but dose equivalent amounts on a nano using an all in one simply for convenience!
I agree. I recommend the <"all in one"> mixes from one of our sponsors.

It is only really if you have a large volume tank (or you need to count the pennies) that it makes sense to start with dry salts.

I'd be the first to admit that it is a case of "do what I say", not "do what I do".

For the "do what I do" part at the moment I have a coffee jar filled with <"Yara PG mix"> (mainly because I bought 25 kg of it for work), and then when either floating plants on the tank, or the house plants, look a bit peaky I sprinkle a good pinch of the fertiliser into the tank or plant pot. I've only recently run out of the liquid fertiliser from this thread <"What Ferts...">. I'm not going to recommend this as an approach, it would be irresponsible, although my suspicion is that a number of the, more long term, planted tank keeping members do something similar.

Making up reagents (or explaining to people how to make up solutions etc.) has been part of my "day job" for the last ~30 years. I think it is easy to forget that not every-one is familiar with the periodic table, SI units, molarity etc. or has access to a three place balance, a chemical store, a chemistry technician etc.

cheers Darrel
 

Aqua360

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Joined
15 Feb 2016
Messages
1,899
Location
paisley
Hi all, I agree. I recommend the <"all in one"> mixes from one of our sponsors.

It is only really if you have a large volume tank (or you need to count the pennies) that it makes sense to start with dry salts.

I'd be the first to admit that it is a case of "do what I say", not "do what I do".

For the "do what I do" part at the moment I have a coffee jar filled with <"Yara PG mix"> (mainly because I bought 25 kg of it for work), and then when either floating plants on the tank, or the house plants, look a bit peaky I sprinkle a good pinch of the fertiliser into the tank or plant pot. I've only recently run out of the liquid fertiliser from this thread <"What Ferts...">. I'm not going to recommend this as an approach, it would be irresponsible, although my suspicion is that a number of the, more long term, planted tank keeping members do something similar.

Making up reagents (or explaining to people how to make up solutions etc.) has been part of my "day job" for the last ~30 years. I think it is easy to forget that not every-one is familiar with the periodic table, SI units, molarity etc. or has access to a three place balance, a chemical store, a chemistry technician etc.

cheers Darrel

may or may not be along the same lines, but I tend to look at the salvinia natans in my shrimp tank and do the same; helps me avoid going overboard on ferts, while keeping water changes down to a minimum
 

Manisha

Member
Joined
1 Apr 2016
Messages
762
Location
Bangor Northern Ireland
I think it's normal for there to be a discrepancy between 'what I say' & 'what I do' because there will always be other commitments beyond the hobby ☺ One reason why I prefer low tech, as the slower pace means it's more forgiving & I can balance it better with other things.

On a low tech nano the 'salvinia' is far more practical than attempting a 1/10 EI dose :D
 
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