I've always wondered about how AS would do in a super-low-tech setup, so I'm interested to see the results. No doubt it's do-able, but I wonder if there are any unanticipated issues that may arise...I guess we'll find out. Where did this idea come from? Curiosity I guess?
I might add that (for most people) it is counter-intuitive to think that a low-tech setup would actually be more difficult to maintain than it's high-tech counterpart, seeing as there are less variables to manipulate, you sort of have to just rely on the system itself. This will, no doubt, be eye opening for those who think that the less equipment, etc. the easier to maintain....It's not often that one sees high-tech tanks that are doing really, really poorly. I mean sure, we all have our occasional algae outbreak or whatever, but I've seen tons of low-tech setups that are just a mess, a disaster. (Not anyone here, of course).
Thanks coleman for taking a serious interest. My discussions with Tom Barr actually sparked my interest in this. I know many folks use ADA AS with high tech benefits to get maximum benefit. I wanted to see what would happen with a low tech setup using ADA AS II. It is a given that ADA AS II is a highly nutrient dense substrate and in as part of a low tech setup, the plants in theory should utilitize nutrients even more slowly. I wanted to see how long(years) the tank would hold up without water column fertilization before nutrient exhaustion set in. The other issue is that role of light and nutrient imbalance with respect to algae. Would any leaching of nutrients from the substrate be enough to give rise to any algae with only 13 watts fluorescent bulb 6500K lighting. Given that I am doing weekly water changes, I don't think so, but we will see.
Other than a diatom algae bloom, which the otocat I put in has pretty much cleared up. I have noticed a little bit of green spot algae, which kind of surprised me given the 13 watts
is not something that I would consider high light and green spot algae is often an artifact of high light setups.
I will post updated pictures at the end of April 09. The java moss wall is taking forever to fill in. After 4 weeks, I did experience some melting of crypt leaves. The ludwiga repens, rotala indica, and pygme chain sword(has given off tons of runners) has grown faster than I have ever seen in any other tank. The otocat appears to be doing well. When I first got him, he appeared so stressed, his color really faded. Now, his color has returned and he appears fairly active. I also have some cherry shrimp in the tank, hoping I don't end up with a population explosion. They also appear to be doing well.