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Old 04-12-2012, 02:33 PM   #436
Francis Xavier
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Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
the fx method?
Maybe one day the "fx method," tag line will catch on, hah!

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Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
I guess I'm out of the challenge with my non ferts, non co2, akadama soil 6 gal because I use a canister.... Boooo
See my post above! You can still participate, the goals being:

1. Healthy Plant Growth
2. Great Scape
3. Viable use of 'low-budget,' in getting started and following through right.

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Can't wait to see your tank marko.

I started my foray into planted tanks w/ a 6 gal eclipse for a betta.

Fluorite base & a few plants (crypts, sword, dwarf sag) & minimal ferts.

It's now my quarantine tank - soon to be just a place for a few plants. Which means it will probably become a betta tank again
Focus on plant density, placement and growth and you'll do great!

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Originally Posted by Lludu View Post
Plants: Java Ferns, Mosses, Anubias, Crypts

Equipment: HoB Filters (or one of the following Canisters: 2211/13, Zoomed, Toms Rapid), Lighting Fixture under $80, No Pressurized Co2 - Only Flourish/Excel (Liquid Co2), No other additives (unless it is part of your discretionary funds). Eco-Complete, Akadama, AquaSoil, or Fluval Stratums

Pricing: Maximum of $300


I think that will make a very nice low tech tank... thats how I run my tanks and I love them... lets see what you can do with that...
I'll post some ideas for the challenge I'm thinking about here shortly.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:28 PM   #437
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Everyone keeps mentioning no co2 for this new setup, however, from why I can gather, the method Frank has been discussing always has co2. As in having no co2 injection wouldn't follow the method. The low tech challenge is to prove that you can go low tech and still be as successful as high tech.

I propose a budget setup like this:
Aqua clear or similar hob filter
Schultz aquatic plant soil or other cheap "planted tank" substrate
DIY or preferably a paintball co2 setup. Very basic.
A small t5 fixture or similar.
This could even go heater less and keep shrimp and white clouds or something.
Additives that are essential to "the method" such as the Bacter, fertilizer tabs, iron bottom or whatever.

This setup would be very cheap and basic. No fancy extras (co2 is not an extra, it is deemed as necessary at the tank itself). If one cannot afford such a setup while possibly DIYing a few things, like a fixture, than you cannot practice the fx method in the way it is being outlined.

This is my understanding from reading the entire thread. Frank, please correct me if I am mistaken.
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Old 04-12-2012, 05:38 PM   #438
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Everyone keeps mentioning no co2 for this new setup, however, from why I can gather, the method Frank has been discussing always has co2. As in having no co2 injection wouldn't follow the method. The low tech challenge is to prove that you can go low tech and still be as successful as high tech.

I propose a budget setup like this:
Aqua clear or similar hob filter
Schultz aquatic plant soil or other cheap "planted tank" substrate
DIY or preferably a paintball co2 setup. Very basic.
A small t5 fixture or similar.
This could even go heater less and keep shrimp and white clouds or something.
Additives that are essential to "the method" such as the Bacter, fertilizer tabs, iron bottom or whatever.

This setup would be very cheap and basic. No fancy extras (co2 is not an extra, it is deemed as necessary at the tank itself). If one cannot afford such a setup while possibly DIYing a few things, like a fixture, than you cannot practice the fx method in the way it is being outlined.

This is my understanding from reading the entire thread. Frank, please correct me if I am mistaken.
the conditions were no PRESSURIZED CO2. yeast CO2 and glutaraldehyde are ok.
IMO, paintball CO2 is the same as "regular" pressurized CO2, the only difference is the size of the bottle. the main cost of CO2 is the regulator, solenoid, and pH controller (if you chose to use one instead of a timer), not the bottle anyway.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:20 PM   #439
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There is only one methodology and one planted tank that works. One that follows rules and secrets to success.

Takashi Amano successfully grew layouts that make the highest tech tanks today look like absolute jokes back in the late 80's early 90's, before the ADA product line was really developed, more or less using a sand gravel bed.

What were the few things that really carried over from those days? Bacter 100, Clear Super, Tourmaline BC, 8000K (flourescent at the time) lighting, Co2.

So if you have the low-tech mind set, stop it.


Your budget constraints shouldn't in any way, shape or form, limit your ability.

Really when we talk 'low-tech,' we're talking Co2 and lighting. Get yourself any cheap fixture that will hold an ADA 27w 4 square pin bulb (on a nano) or 36w 4 square pin bulb (need 2 for a 20 gallon, 4 for a 40 gallon).

Always, always, always use Co2

Even if you cannot afford a pressurized unit, rig up a DIY yeast system and just make it work until you can afford a pressurized unit. Don't even bother trying to do a layout without Co2. It's not worth the hassle.

If you can't afford Aqua Soil, get yourself some basic gravel-like substrate, get some root tabs, Bacter 100 & Clear Super and you've at least got something that will work efficiently (efficiency being a measure of doing the job, effectiveness being a measure of doing the job well).

So now I've put together a basic lighting system, a co2 system, and substrate system on the super-cheap.

Congrats. You're now "high tech." Are you starting to see how silly it is to pre-determine yourself as "low tech" or "high tech."

I'll continue on later, but I hope by now you are beginning to understand where I'm going with this, and why you should start focusing on "why," and "how" techniques.
[/SIZE]
Okay fine, no pressurized. But there must be DIY co2 as it is deemed a requirement of the fx method.

As per the quote above, we shouldn't be referring to this new build as low tech, but instead a budget build. How can we break the mold of low/ high tech if you go right back to it?

My overall point is that people are asking for no co2 when the requirements are that co2 MUST be used. Excel isn't co2. It's another compound that plants can use for carbon but it's not nearly as effective.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:02 PM   #440
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Okay fine, no pressurized. But there must be DIY co2 as it is deemed a requirement of the fx method.

As per the quote above, we shouldn't be referring to this new build as low tech, but instead a budget build. How can we break the mold of low/ high tech if you go right back to it?

My overall point is that people are asking for no co2 when the requirements are that co2 MUST be used. Excel isn't co2. It's another compound that plants can use for carbon but it's not nearly as effective.
agreed
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:19 PM   #441
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Here's where we do run into a dilemma, and I'm thankful that you had the insight to bring it up, jcgd.

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.


So, the challenge now almost forces a hand of not using Co2.

Not because not using Co2 has value first and foremost to learn - I will always be a proponent of having pressurized Co2 to play the game. But rather because the lesson might be disqualified by others if Co2 is used.

So it's a bit of a catch 22.

At the end of the day, the emphasis here is that there isn't a whole lot of difference (if any at all) between the application of 'high-tech,' and 'low-tech.'
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:49 PM   #442
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So, the challenge now almost forces a hand of not using Co2.

Not because not using Co2 has value first and foremost to learn - I will always be a proponent of having pressurized Co2 to play the game. But rather because the lesson might be disqualified by others if Co2 is used.

So it's a bit of a catch 22.

At the end of the day, the emphasis here is that there isn't a whole lot of difference (if any at all) between the application of 'high-tech,' and 'low-tech.'
I'm glad you pointed this out, Frank. Every successful method acknowledges the need for all life on this earth to have a carbon source. We are all carbon based life forms, after all. They just do it through different methods. High tech uses pressurized Co2. NPT uses dissolved organic carbon (DOC) that accumulates in the substrate.

If you want to be successful, I would recommend using something like Miracle Gro Organic Potting Mix, and capping it with inert gravel. Just using an inert gravel alone is probably asking for failure.

In my opinion, dirt tanks work well, however it's nowhere nearly as nice to scape with as Aquasoil as you have to be careful about disturbing the soil or digging up plants with large root structures.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:12 PM   #443
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Is there any reason why the carbon source cannot be Leonardite?
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:13 PM   #444
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[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.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #445
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I've decided on a filter:

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Old 04-12-2012, 08:48 PM   #446
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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).
This is a really great point, and I wish more "high-tech" people would consider this. A lot of "low-tech" people aren't necessarily cheap. Maybe they just don't want to spend time every day maintaining their tanks. Maybe they don't want to have to trim growth weekly. Even if it only takes a few minutes every day, those minutes add up and you do end up spending a few hours a week maintaining a high tech tank. The beauty of a low tech tank is that you can go on vacation and leave it for a few weeks and it will probably look almost as good when you return. With a high tech tank, it will probably turn into an algae farm without regular maintenance.

My point is that we all have different goals when it comes to the hobby. Some people just want a nice tank to relax and look at, without all of the maintenance. Others want a tank that can win a contest and are willing to work on it daily. Your goals and commitment should choose the method.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:16 PM   #447
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This is a really great point, and I wish more "high-tech" people would consider this. A lot of "low-tech" people aren't necessarily cheap. Maybe they just don't want to spend time every day maintaining their tanks. Maybe they don't want to have to trim growth weekly. Even if it only takes a few minutes every day, those minutes add up and you do end up spending a few hours a week maintaining a high tech tank. The beauty of a low tech tank is that you can go on vacation and leave it for a few weeks and it will probably look almost as good when you return. With a high tech tank, it will probably turn into an algae farm without regular maintenance.

My point is that we all have different goals when it comes to the hobby. Some people just want a nice tank to relax and look at, without all of the maintenance. Others want a tank that can win a contest and are willing to work on it daily. Your goals and commitment should choose the method.
Exactly. Don't get me wrong, I like to push boundaries of what people to believe is possible (hence my new 10 gallon, ultra low budget experiment) but at the end of the day, my best tanks are the ones that fit into my lifestyle.

Ironically, one of my best tanks is at my girlfriends. I often don't see it for more than 2-3 day out of the week and that doesn't mean I have time to maintain it. I couldn't find a 20 long rimless but I would have paid for one. It has an Eheim 2234 on it. I skipped on the substrate as it wasn't necessary to get something great but that was more due to color choice as my GF wanted a light colored substrate. I consider it "low tech" even though I have a relatively expensive light fixture, canister, etc. I spared no expense for my goal, which didn't happen to include CO2. Same with her 5 gallon, canister, custom light to my specs, no co2, doesn't fit my lifestyle.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:56 PM   #448
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See, I kind of disagree with the typical idea of high/ low tech. I consider the differences in simply the amount of tech. Like Frank, I feel that there is more in common with successful aqua scapers than differences. Not to stomp on anyone's feeling, but I've seen about two natural, or dirt or walstad tanks that were spectacular. I'm not going to get into a debate about what is attractive or not, but my standard is along the lines or amano's scapes. Most people who place among the best use a similar method.

Low tech to me is turning on/ off the co2 in the morning and at night. Pulling the return out of the water at night for oxygenation. Dosing ferts by hand, etc., etc. high tech is auto dosers, solenoids, ph controllers, etc.

In other words, I determine if tank is high or low tech depending if it has high or low tech. In my own opinion, and you may disagree, there is methods for planted tanks that are more right and more wrong.

An analogy: Joe walks into Pete's Pets and says he wants to buy a five gallon aquarium and four fancy goldfish. The employee recommends that Joe puchase a much larger aquarium, cycle it and return for the good fish later. Joe is aghast and says that his friend John has had great success with bowl and two goldfish that have been alive for a few years and that he doesn't need the larger aquarium or cycle.

Another: two neighbors have lawns. One is "natural". It was sod laid on old dry alkaline soil that has never been weeded, trimmed or fertilized. Sure it's a lawn, but it isn't exactly one of the better lawns you seen. The other lawn was properly prepped soil, well manicured, weeded, aerated, fertalized, etc. Now this is a lawn. This is done properly and it shows.

Just because plants sometimes grow in a bucket doesn't mean it's ideal. I believe that a proper water garden has certain equipment that is standard issue. I don't know about the fancy bacter and super clear (because I can't know what's in it I won't use it) but I agree with almost everything Frank has said. High tech and low tech should be defined by the advanced tech that is actually used to lessen the workload. Not the equipment I deem necessary but other people wish to forgo because it's expensive.

I would not buy a dog I couldn't afford to neuter and feed. I would not set up a planted tank for which I could not afford substrate, co2, lights, ferts, etc.

* I am not trying to be disrespectful at all, just voicing my opinion here if any of this comes across wrong.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:05 PM   #449
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See, I kind of disagree with the typical idea of high/ low tech. I consider the differences in simply the amount of tech. Like Frank, I feel that there is more in common with successful aqua scapers than differences. Not to stomp on anyone's feeling, but I've seen about two natural, or dirt or walstad tanks that were spectacular. I'm not going to get into a debate about what is attractive or not, but my standard is along the lines or amano's scapes. Most people who place among the best use a similar method.
I feel their is a difference between growing plants well and being a good aquascaper. Not to jump in to disagree but I have seen a ton of "low tech" or whatever you want to call it tanks with amazing looking plants. That doesn't mean the scape was good. I have also seen amazing scapes with OK looking plants but the scape makes up for it. I will even admit I like the second. I do agree that maybe a small amount of "low tech" or "dirt tanks" are scaped really well. But, that is a different goal all together.

Sorry, I don't want to hi jack Franks thread at all and anything I say is not trying to be argumentative by any means.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:00 AM   #450
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Originally Posted by pejerrey
the fx method?

Maybe one day the "fx method," tag line will catch on, hah!

I actually think "The Frank Method" is more suiting due to the upfront nature of these discussions and "The Method"
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