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Old 04-09-2012, 03:51 AM   #391
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Basically everyone who isn't in Houston, CA, or Hawaii has to order online as well, but a lot of people still use it for a reason. What you're 'saving' by buying potting soil, you're just paying for later with your time and energy by actually having to deal with potting soil.
I agree with you, thats why for my next tank I am going to use aquasoil.

but anyway, i think what frank is doing is really interesting. curious on what he will use for this set up.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:55 AM   #392
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Why can't AS be low tech?

It's a hobby fallacy that "low tech" has to = Walstad NPT with dirt and ugly plants. If he really wanted to go low tech, he could just use inert. That's even cheaper and comes without a lot of the hassles of potting soil.
Very true, not sure why more folks have not done the low tech non CO2, but the method itself attracts cheap scapes, while ADA attracts fan boys/girls that have little issue spending 300-500$ for a 5 gal tank.

Few...... there are exceptions...........cheap scapes tend to do well with scaping. They simply do not have as much invested in it. Set and let it done its thing, it it survives and looks decent, great. I've seen maybe 1 out 100. 1% is rare. There is a certain type of person that GENERALLY is attracted to various products and styles. There is also a whole group that tries to copy everything ADA with knock off brands or DIY ADA. My stands and tanks all fall into this group. The ADA soil does not.

ADA AS and soil/potting soil, clay loams etc, are NOT the same thing aesthetically and how they are used, they might contain similar nutrients/grow plants the same even, but a sand cap is not something I've liked much. In some set ups where aesthetic sand is used, desired, then sure.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:03 AM   #393
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I just wanted to chime and say so far this has been a really awesome read. Regardless of whether you agree with every word or not, these types of journals with wisdom (and eyecandy) I feel really add to our community.

I'm cheap. Back in high school, I mixed neon blue gravel with eco-complete. It was a disaster and I sincerely hope the pictures have been burnt. After 6+ years in the hobby, I haven't had a tank without an algae meltdown of some sort. The difference is when I first started, I just figured that "algae happens", and now I know exactly the reason why and I can assign blame to myself.

As I've gained aquarium experience, I've started to do things more on feel than based on rigorous calculation and research. I've had far less algae when I switched to aquasoil from flourite, so I'm more apt to try the complete ADA substrate system in the future. I don't want to start a debate, but it's important to remember our hobby is very much an intersection of science and art. It's okay to want scientific evidence for something or debate on a scientific level, but it's also okay to do something that works for you even if there isn't quantifiable scientific evidence to back up your claim.

I've become a bit more "zen" as time has gone on too (sorry if I completely misused "zen"...). I'm less inclined to start a plant farm tank, and more inclined to create a well-executed aquascape. I'm a bit of an iwagumi fan, and while only getting to try a few different plants takes some adjustment, there's a certain peacefulness in keeping things simple. Granted all of my aquascapes are rather lackluster, I still enjoy it. If/when I graduate and get a "real" job, I could very well go on a drunken aquarium spending bender...
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:26 PM   #394
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I want to see you do a manzanita driftwood lay out with petit, bolbitis or java fern, moss, a bunch of "beginner" stems that are readily available in the S&S at any given time, and a three plant mixed foreground with hair grass, glosso, and riccia.

You can only use AS + bacter 100 and clear super for the substrate
Brighty K + step 1 through 3 for ferts plus one liquid additive.
DIY co2 only.
Lighting is up to you, as long as there's an equivalent alternative fixture available for under 100$. Hard mode: you use a desk lamp.
For kicks, I'm going to say you should use an aquaclear HOB filter, but you could cheat and just say that for the price of that + your 50$ you saved up for a 2211 instead
you only get to use one pair of scissors, and one pair of tweezers

Your total budget has to come out under 200-300$ if you were to buy everything new, hardscape and plants included, tank not included, with an itemized list of your costs.
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If this is going to be a low tech budget tank then I think you could trim it down a bit more and be more stereotypical (that's the goal here, right?). For example, one of the popular low budget methods is to use organic potting soil and a sand cap. The desk lamp is perfect. HOB filter is even better.
Let's start hammering out these details that can be agreed upon.

1.) No canister filter
2.) Let's just go ahead and say no Aqua Soil for kicks and grins. I'm up for a challenge.
3.) obviously, no pressurized co2

Under this plan, what I would then suggest is I'm not going to use potting soil. Defaulting to this strategy is infinitely more hassle to deal with than not, and isn't something I'd recommend in any event. With a no Aqua Soil plan, I would immediately go to saying "okay, so the substrate can be inert."

For plants right now we've got on the list:

Glosso
Riccia
Anubias Nana Petite
Bolbitus or Java Fern
Moss
Stems readily available on the market

Let's hear some more input!
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:41 PM   #395
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Back to the Mini-M for a bit:

Day 23:







Right Side





More Right Side

There isn't a whole much more to talk about this tank. 3 weeks and I'm more or less done with the hard work part.

I may switch out the "true," willow moss on the right with a different variety - originally was looking for what Amano calls "willow moss," which tends to actually be what we call Christmas or Peacock Moss. Now that I have some, The switch will be made.

There's a bit of a brown and green algae out break and the diffuser needs a cleaning tonight (overdue a bit).

I'm not worried about the Brown and Green Algae, the Amano's and the ocat i'll add will take care of it - these are the types of algae's you -hope- for.

The layout isn't done yet, but we'll switch the segment more and more over to trimming and cultivation as it grows in.

Fish will be soon. Maybe even today depending on a few inbound fish shipments.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:46 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by Francis Xavier View Post
Let's start hammering out these details that can be agreed upon.

1.) No canister filter
2.) Let's just go ahead and say no Aqua Soil for kicks and grins. I'm up for a challenge.
3.) obviously, no pressurized co2

Under this plan, what I would then suggest is I'm not going to use potting soil. Defaulting to this strategy is infinitely more hassle to deal with than not, and isn't something I'd recommend in any event. With a no Aqua Soil plan, I would immediately go to saying "okay, so the substrate can be inert."

For plants right now we've got on the list:

Glosso
Riccia
Anubias Nana Petite
Bolbitus or Java Fern
Moss
Stems readily available on the market

Let's hear some more input!
How about some free rice paddy clay soil? Has the same nutrient profile as ADA AS less the NH4.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:52 PM   #397
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im curious, has anyone ever use aquasoil to cap MTS?
i was thinking about my next tank (still a year away, but IMO planning it is half the fun), and remember reading somewhere that MTS provides nutrients longer than AS, which means the substrate would last longer on root tabs (after it begins to decline in nutrient value) before finally biting the dust.
also, the MTS, if used right after finishing the mineralization, would provide an additional inoculation of bacteria, as it should be teaming with them.
any thoughts frank?

btw i keep staring at that HC in awe.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:44 PM   #398
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Inert substrate sounds good to me. I agree soil is a hassle. Also, I swear this tank reminds me of the Mayan maps on Age of Empires II the way the stone and slightly overgrown look is. That piece of E. tenellus is perfect btw.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:02 PM   #399
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Is the CO2 critical?

In an earlier post Frank said it was.

I'm never going to use CO2 as I just don't want to get into the chemistry/mechanics of DIY or the expense (& mechanics) of a "real" system.

For many people it's a simple "thing" & no big deal to set up. It would be for me.

Other than than the CO2, I second Dollface's suggestions.

Very cool idea Frank
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:09 PM   #400
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Is the CO2 critical?

In an earlier post Frank said it was.
Yes if you read this thread you will see frank talks about everything in the tank working together using his methods. CO2 is a piece of that. I will say as someone that has done tanks both ways, you will never have a consistently good tank without it.

CO2 is not difficult or expensive. DIY is not hard, no real need to be a chemist, and pressurized isnt that expensive. The amount of additional plant growth you will have will 1. save you money by not continuously killing and buying plants. 2. Probably make you enough money to pay for the time or money you invest in it, by selling your excess growth in the SnS.
It is not difficult to setup a pressurized system for less than 100 dollars. If your tank is smaller start with DIY and save your money for pressurized.
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:40 PM   #401
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So, here's a good exercise for this challenge:

How do we define "Low-Tech"

Is it a reference to light?
To budget?
To equipment?
To plants?

What can we agree on as a something that is "low-tech," and what options are there?

Does Low-Tech mean no co2? does it mean co2, but cheap co2? does it mean dirt, does it mean inert soil?

As you follow this line of questions, it will become apparent the point moving forward.

Here's another gem of an idea! Why not participate with me in the challenge so you can learn more, have a great tank and see first hand your own results!
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:13 PM   #402
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Moral: do not waste your time with the NPT. It's a nifty high-school experiment, but that's about it.
This is why reading this thread is painful. There is no need to ridicule a method that is different than yours, yet equally effective.

The tank below requires zero maintenance. No water changes, fertilization, or any chemicals, only top off due to evaporation. Some might say it looks better than your tank, but it's just a matter of personal preference.



Why not just tell us about your method, rather than ridiculing other methods?
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:23 PM   #403
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This is why reading this thread is painful. There is no need to ridicule a method that is different than yours, yet equally effective.

The tank below requires zero maintenance. No water changes, fertilization, or any chemicals, only top off due to evaporation. Some might say it looks better than your tank, but it's just a matter of personal preference.



Why not just tell us about your method, rather than ridiculing other methods?
Well, I think he has some right, as I doubt that level of growth was achieved in 23 days as franks was. So his method is in fact more effective. Also since you are doing NO water changes and NO fertilizers there is a question of sustainability. What will happen once the AS becomes depleted? Where will the plants get the nutrients necessary to grow?
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:18 PM   #404
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Well, I think he has some right, as I doubt that level of growth was achieved in 23 days as franks was. So his method is in fact more effective. Also since you are doing NO water changes and NO fertilizers there is a question of sustainability. What will happen once the AS becomes depleted? Where will the plants get the nutrients necessary to grow?
The tank above is a dirt tank, so I would imagine it will last like that indefinitely; much longer than a typical high tech tank. The tank above is not mine.

Personally, I am a high tech person. I have an ADA 60P and I'm quite pleased overall with ADA products. However, I don't claim that ADA has a monopoly on all planted tank knowledge, and people using ADA methods could learn a lot from NPT, and vice versa.

I just don't see the point in ridiculing another method as a "high school experiment," when clearly, the results speak for themselves, and are equally beautiful to look at.
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:31 PM   #405
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This is why reading this thread is painful. There is no need to ridicule a method that is different than yours, yet equally effective.

The tank below requires zero maintenance. No water changes, fertilization, or any chemicals, only top off due to evaporation. Some might say it looks better than your tank, but it's just a matter of personal preference.

Why not just tell us about your method, rather than ridiculing other methods?
My friend,

We share the same thought process. I would encourage you to continue reading past that statement, in which you would find the final point behind that line of thinking (which I referenced in the first post starting that series to bear with me until the end).

Yes, I will bash the 'low-tech,' method, the 'high-tech,' method, the 'NPT method,' the 'ADA method,' and 'EI dosing method.'

Why? Because there are no separate methods! They are all the same method! An argument between the different 'methods,' is a silly, silly argument and has no place in a discussion.

The reason: these 'methods,' only describe equipment, rather than process.

The function of the planted aquarium - how plants grow and thrive is the same regardless. That's the point!

So, by following the principles of The Method, you can more or less achieve a beautiful aquarium regardless of what equipment you are using.

Refer here, to the final statement of that line of logic.

Aside from that, that tank isn't an NPT!

NPT's use no filtration and no artificial lighting. The problem is, there is no such thing as an infinitely self-sustaining planted aquarium.
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