Originally Posted by Francis Xavier
[I]The purpose of this challenge isn't that it's low-tech. Low-tech is only a mechanism of budget. It's to prove that, even if you can't afford the latest and greatest, the methodology is the same for both "low-tech," and "high-tech," which we've already established as being purely equipment based.
Frank, I think there are 2 definitions of "Low Tech". I think it's because technology has come a long way so it's not hard to find cheap lighting, it's not hard to get good filtration without spending a fortune, better substrates have come about that may not even cost as much as epoxy coated gravel, etc. Even CO2 is becoming cheaper.
I think 1 mentality is all about budget. I have $xxx to spend and I will make a tank out of that.
I think the other is that I want a tank to suit my needs and therefore I don't need to spend my money on all this expensive stuff with planning. I think the second is more "accurate" to the idea, using lesser technology to get a result, which is only cheaper by nature (and that has it's appeal as well).
I, for example, consider low tech to be lower light, very little fert routine, no CO2. I make my tanks around this idea, not to be cheap, but because they are easy to setup, easy to maintain, and with good planning, you may never get enough algae to ever worry about even cleaning the thing. I own two that I have to clean my outside glass much more often than the inside glass (which is infrequent).
My point is this, low tech has really become a dated word at this point. This is because everyone has a different opinion. Again, someone like me would consider an ADA tank with a canister, lily pipes, AS, and any other high end gear you can throw at it "low tech", assuming the lighting was low enough to not require CO2. I don't see crazy technology here, it's just expensive.
On the flip side, others may see low tech as an AGA tank, gravel, root tabs (which cost more in the long run than a better substrate), T8 lighting, and an internal filter. That is about cost.
Maybe someone who has been in this longer than me has a better explanation but the whole "low tech" and "high tech" has always been about advancement in lighting (which in turn would require CO2 on the high tech side). Even when I started, many people were still using T8's, T5's were just becoming common, and T5HO's were not really used. High light was MH for the most part. Reading my books with an older publishing date really show me how different the hobby has become in even the last 5-6 years.
I am just saying "low tech" seems like it has a different definition to each person. It's going to be hard to really come to a conclusion in this thread as to what would be appropriate. I would just stick with what you consider to be "low tech" and go from there.