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Possible UKAPS booklet?


4 Dec 2009
Brighton, UK
I would love to see an article even if it is only quite general. At least here from other experiences. High tech gets so much attention it is hard to get info on this stuff. I am starting my first 'el natural' this week and would love to here from others doing the same. Maybe people who have had theres setup for a long time.



Staff member
7 Apr 2008
nr Bath
Hi all,
Barr's method is basically the Walstad method without using the organic substrate and adding a little ferts to make sure there are zero deficiencies, nothing that different really:
As for allelopathy/anaerobic substrates et al in planted tanks. I don't buy either of these. I think these are old old theories still pushed around.
Wow you seem really put off using commercial composts/top soils from your time working in the industry & I would think that if you used your own garden soil, sieved it, left it to dry out then it would be purer. Then put a load of leaf litter underneath to add to the 'organic rotting'.
These would pretty much be my views as well, I don't think that adding nutrients as extra fish food is probably the best method of providing plant nutrients, and I remain healthily sceptical about allelopathy in higher plants (although not amongst sessile marine invertebrates or soil micro-organisms etc.). I have also had experience of composting and horticultural composts, and SuperColey's experience and suggestions would be very similar to mine. It is very much a cost driven industry.

I would differ from both Diana and Tom in that I think that, if you keep fish, low tech. tanks are easier to maintain with regular small volume water changes. I also think that water changes might not be necessary if you had a really efficient planted bio-filter, and a small bio-load. It may also be the case that as the tank matures the volume and frequency of water changes could be reduced.

I also don't think there is any single answer or path, and I don't see any reason why people can't use a "mix and match" approach, using experimentation and observation to find the components of each technique that best suits them. I'd also encourage people to be sceptical of any claims (for example "special phosphors" or "naturally extracted phytoncide") that can't be backed up by some easily demonstrable experiments or genuine scientific research.

While we are on the subject of scepticism, I'd also encourage people to have a look at the other planted tank forums mentioned and also to have a look at the "Skeptical Aquarist", Brett doesn't up-date them any-more, so many of the links don't work, but the descriptions of the "Nitrogen cycle" <http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/nutrient/nitcyc.shtml>, "Biofilm" <http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/biofilm/devbio.shtml> etc are still the most readable that I've found on the WWW.

cheers Darrel