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Top beginners' FAQs

There is already a step by step on how to set up a hightech tank. This is great.

There are already tutorials on lighting, co2, EI etc.

An FAQ for this site should perhaps contain a small primer on each subject with a link to the tutorials and then a 'further information' link to either sub forums or searches (eg CO2 Diffusers, CO2 Reactors, Lighting Reflectors...)

If it's for the book then...

Why should I have Live Plants?
Ok, you convinced me, but what's all this about high tech and low tech?
Pretty plants but why all this algae?

So I need loads of lighting?
Do I need special plant lamps?

Wont it poison my fish?
How much should I add?
How do I monitor it?
DIY vs Pressurised?
Diffuser or Reactor?

What do all the chemical symbols mean?
Macros and traces?
How much do I need to add?
Powders vs liquids?

Do I need a special substrate?
Should I layer different types?

So what do I need to do to keep it looking beautiful?
Why do you plant with tweezers?!
How do I prune Plants?
How do I attach plants to rocks and wood?
Help my plant is struggling/deforming/dying!

Is there such a thing as an algae crew?
Which snails are plant friendly?
So many shrimps, which ones work best in a planted tank?
What fish should be avoided in a heavily planted tank?
I know it's an FAQ, but many of the above questions can be answered with a single word.

I think it would be better to properly explain the differences between different setups, and I think that maintenance is the most important part (that's the part the manufacturers don't tell you about when you are spending hundreds on their products).
PM said:
I know it's an FAQ, but many of the above questions can be answered with a single word.
Of course they can, as can 'Should I use control coupling to make my code more versatile?' the answer is usually no but it doesn't explain what control coupling is or why it's not usually the good idea it sounds (sorry if you're an expert programmer it was just the first example that came to mind!)

When looking at an FAQ you need to stop thinking like someone who knows the answers and start thinking like someone who's just starting out, when they ask that question it shows a gap in the understanding which is what you need to fill with an FAQ.

Well that's my 2p anyway
That's very true Egmel. Many questions we can think of, such as referring to high tech, low tech, CO2 etc might not even occur to people who want plants in their tank as they may not even know that plants need CO2 or have come across the terms high tech and low tech.

That age old question about fertilizers is a good question to answer IMO:

"I've always been told that nitrate is bad for my fish, why should I be adding it to my tank?"

and on similar lines....

"Everyone knows nitrate and phosphate causes algae, why should I be adding it to my tank?"

I've always thought that a good structure for a book would be to split it into two. The first half is more of a step by step for beginners, this is what you should do to get started kind of thing building up from low tech to a high tech setup with guidelines on why you might want to add more "tech" and the second half would be more theory and technical which would give the reasons we do certain things, e.g. why clay substrates work, cations, EI with powders, photosynthesis etc. I think in this way, a beginner won't be bamboozled with technical jargon. If K2SO4 and PO4 were thrown in at the start many people would give up before they got started.

I've rambled enough I think....
Okay George what about:

"I have already kept a few fish in a community tank but now want to progress to a planted tank. Unfortunately I'm not loaded with cash. What small improvements can I make to get plants growing healthily? Is there a list of things I could introduce sequentially so that i can work my way towards a planted setup, without breaking the bank?"

I feel that a lot of people are being put off by the high-tech approach in terms of cost so perhaps you could set out a sequence of "aspiration" where small steps would get results.