Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Houston, Tx
In Regards to Lessons of the Planted Aquaria
Really, what it comes down to is that the majority have learned how to do things incorrectly from the start.
Most people focus on equipment. Equipment is intricately tied into the success of the planted tank. At the end of the day we need proper filtration, an aquarium, substrates and fertilizers. So, it's no wonder that people focus on that first.
The most common questions are: what filtration, what lighting, what co2 and so on.
If you are new, you've asked these questions recently. If you aren't, you've long since established your bias' one way or another. But the thing of it all is:
Everyone is focused on the 'what,' instead of the 'how.' People also haven't evaluated the 'who,' is using what techniques and which tools.
When our hobby is so incredibly linked to the 'what,' it is easy to see how a person focuses almost exclusively on 'what.' Frankly, you aren't drawing on a piece of paper where skill is immediately evident as the primary need. You can have the best pen in the world that does exactly as it says it does in the advertising, but if you can't draw, well, you can't draw, and it isn't the pen's fault.
The other issue with this focus on the 'what,' is that without really knowing any better, you aren't able to judge the difference between the 'what's.'
If your trimming techniques are improper and poorly managed or only done every few months, then there's no way for you to know what to look for in a pair of scissors, or when to use what type of scissor or how.
For example, I'm not a good golfer. I don't know golf techniques and I don't know the mechanics of each club. I know I need to get a ball into a hole on the other side of a really long grassy-knoll thing. I know that I use a driver to get it most of the way, and a putter to get it the rest of the way.
But I have no idea what each iron does, why it's used when to use it or anything. I'm just aimlessly hitting golf balls towards a target and 'hoping,' that I pick the right club.
Would you say that I'm in a position to give advice on what club to use and when? If you answer yes, please consider a psych evaluation.
I don't even know -how- to tell the difference between one or another.
Unfortunately, this focus on 'what,' leads to an inexperienced user base, providing feedback on equipment they haven't used, while using techniques that are easily among the worst ways to do something. Skepticism based or spread based on these parameters is nothing more than an uninformed opinion of the worst kind.
You wouldn't want to take advice from that person any more than you'd want to take my advice on what club to pick when you go golfing.
We like to say that there's many ways to skin the cat, that each special snow-flake is unique. And that somehow, when I'm new, and take the advice of someone who has kind-of-sort-of made something work mildly okay that I'm going to magically get a different result. They have a word for that: it's called insanity.
Let me use another example here on the predictability of technique and tools. Dollface started her aquarium following the same water change technique, the same quality of water (RODI), the same fertilization method, the same tools and the same substrate system.
What's the result? She's gotten exactly the same kinds of minor algae, the same growth rates relative to the amount she planted, and the same water clarity. Really, the only mistake she's made is not planting -enough- from the start. She could have started with double the plant mass and had much quicker growth. But we do know that the HC will start kickin' this week and start spreading.
What can be learned from that? All she has to do at this point is follow step-by-step with my journal and will know more or less what's going to come her way and how to deal with it.
Similarly, if you do the same techniques as someone else, you are going to get their same result. So why on earth would you want to do the same methodology of relatively bland layouts and plant growth? Your result won't be any different!
There really aren't multiple ways to skin a cat here.
Every technique and method system is all based on the same overall way to grow and curate plants. They just do the job to varying levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
If you use eco-complete, you are essentially doing the same function as aqua soil, but the path you take is going to be infinitely more troublesome to get the same result. You could start with literal dirt in your tank: it will do the same function, but not as well and you'll introduce all sorts of weird stuff from the yard.
I'll continue this line of thought later, for now that should be enough food for thought. I would just say to reserve judgement until I post up the whole line of thought.