In the reply to the posted comments you again display your ability to write in a manner to convey information very well.
Still and all I'll try to explain why I feel a blending of planted aquarium keeping and traditional tanking methods into a starter guide creates confusion on a number of points. I feel your opening remarks qualify well your goals and explain in brief the reasoning for the cross forum posting of this 'modified' guide.
It also answered (for me) why some of the information hiccups are present, the adapting of your prior work to planted methods of tank keeping. Posting to attain sticky status sharing tanking beliefs and experiences is a foreign thought for me so I didn't read it that way.
Did see the link posted to the list of articles on the TPT in your guide and intended to link it again in the context of my post.
Site Admin & Discuspaul cross posted his beginners guide to discus keeping here on TPT October of last year.
(not aware of whether or not you've read it)
Beginner's Guide To Discus
I posted regarding similar concerns in his thread. The same concerns regarding information I brought up posting in your thread are on topics of tanking that caused me problems at different times. Those topics continue to cause others the same problems based on the way we in the hobby treat the topic of water quality or rather ignore the basics of it with regards to tank setup.
"99% of the time, your natural water source (tap or well water) is more than sufficient to use for your tank" but put that statement into the context of millions with hobbyists tanking worldwide then that 1% remaining is a pretty fair size number. We in the 1%
do indeed feel special when trying to figure out why we have problems when others don't. Emphasizing the basics of water chemistry (without being chewy about it) and adding some parameter checks starting out virtually eliminates those concerns. Concerns about the pH crashes you report as common to cycling tanks can also be prevented by knowing or monitoring KH values, sadly that's not been well documented.
I'm most web interactive here but also active on an angelfish breeding forum. The water parameters kept by those focused on breeding fish won't allow plants to survive. The parameters I routinely keep in my tanks would send them running to do a water change. The methods used are vastly different when it comes to water parameters. Common knowledge among hobbyists of one focus won't necessarily transfer over to all the others.
Even pH readings with healthy aquatic plants involved changes things on what a person will see in tested values simply based on the time of day. More accurately based on lighting. As it relates to a fully planted tank photo synthesis during the lighting period and the various processes that take place can create as much as a full point swing in tested pH values as a normal daily occurrence in a lightly buffered planted aquarium. Even in a low or medium light level non injected system plants can produce these daily changes in 'tested' pH.
I don't believe you find this happening in a fish only tank.
Mg and calcium levels (general hardness) don't even factor at all in a pH reading but sure as hell change the TDS and osmotic pressure. Cross value reference testing is much more accurate and not so hard to explain. I can easily get a tested result of 7.4pH in both 4dGH and 14dGH water. Flip a fish outta the net from one to the other in either direction and you just hit the critter in the face with a 2x4.
So does a tested 7.4pH really tell me anything?
TDS 2-5ppm, API GH, KH titration tests reading zero but testing 6.8pH is this safe water for fauna? (I don't think it is)
Can plants grow in it? (I don't think so)
Without the GH & KH testing how would you know?
I don't consider a pH discussion accurate even at the beginner level without at least brief KH/pH, range of acidity or alkalinity being covered in the same statements. For the novice reading a guide can lead them to believe based on pH alone that the osmotic pressure (what actually effects critters) was the same from one water source or another with the reality being that it's vastly different.
As long as the temperature is matched I routinely swap fish with a flip of the net between tanks with 5.9/6.2pH and 7.4/7.6pH.
Temps the same, the TDS is very close and fish don't care about pH differences in any experience I've had here. Shifts (rapid swings or changes) in GH, KH, TDS and the resultant osmotic pressure that's the yada yada that causes our critters issues not pH changes per say.
Some post that hardness values are required to be in equal ratio or a similar value (GH/KH), this is opinion not fact. Across the U.S. alone vast differences in mineral content are reported by many. Posts pop up on the forum almost weekly with wide ranging results, creates confusion for many it would seem. Tap safe to drink is not always the best or safe to tank. Eliminate the confusion by linking water quality to values of GH, KH, TDS and let pH fall where it may in the KH/CO2/pH relationship.
Starting out new to the hobby or simply moving to a new location advice to be aware of what is in your source water so it can be addressed or added to the ignore list. Beyond the test or not test question what I try to convey / contribute is that you shouldn't ignore the water you tank with.
What's in your water? What's not? Both for the fish and the plants.
(in my opinion) GH, KH are the important water quality measurement not pH, for fish, plants and bacteria. pH values follow alkalinity or carbonate hardness most
of the time but not always.
The links provided regarding bacteria in the reply were a good read (TY). Even the one from Fritz though broad and covering saltwater as well provided good general information (imo). 'Phosphate blocking' was mentioned on the Fritz site and being a situation I've dealt with I smiled.
Section 9, Never trust a test kit
right out of the box.
Invest less than a dollar in a gallon of distilled water and at the very least verify zero as a baseline. API & Seachem chemical tests are of great value (imo) as entry level hobby kits and reasonably accurate as a rule.
Some of the best test kits are
Lamotte, Hanna, Hach.
Section 19 is thin on guidance (temperature, PH, etc.). Th
e single referenced link (F&S) mentions very little on the true hazard of NH3/NH4 conversion that starts happening the minute you open the shipping bag allowing O2 levels to rise with or without an air stone and the easy way to eliminate it.
In discussing fertilizers you linked to one of my favorite reference sites starting out due to the posting style of the author and accuracy of the information, you mentioned and linked to Rex.
Any reference to Rex Grigg on this site normally carries multiple red flags with the moderators due to his long term absence from the internet.
I'm hoping this does not lead to the removal of the information link because his posting style is rather unique. While dated the information is accurate and provided for me the easiest of formats to understand starting out.
Needed disclaimer when linking:
DO NOT BUY/ORDER from his site store without direct personal contact with him first. Last known web activity was 12/5/2010.
As with all purchases caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware but be aware.
A planted tank is a little more involved than a basic water and fish tank. Considerations in the set up and maintenance are different.
If you want to tank plants they need to be fed properly if the system is to succeed.
There are literally endless ways discussed in these day's of the internet information exchange to 'method' a planted tank.
As long as I have NO3 10-30ppm, PO4 2-5ppm and TDS doesn't rise more than about 100ppm I don't change water. Let's just say there are a zillion other ways to do it.
After being burnt by moving 12 miles and having odd water issues I'm just not as trusting of water as I use to be. I learned what I need to test, I test. After losing MANY
fish to ion exchanged water and then MANY
more to internal parasites I don't skip using entry quarantine on anything added anymore either.
>30yrs tanking fish and I never tested anything but pH except during a new tank cycle. After payments were made lessons were learned.
On the forums I simply try to share so others might skip some grief.
just because someone sounds like they know what they’re talking about, it doesn’t mean they are always correct…
makes a great tag line