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Old 04-19-2006, 01:01 PM   #16
GulfCoastAquarian
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tazcrash69
I'd have to go with the low lights (< 2WPG), which means that CO2 optional, and little or no ferts.



Sorry, but I'm not sure I agree with this. I've seen some pretty high tech stuff done with DIY. ODNO lights, multiple DIY CO2 bottles, etc..
True, and DIY requires a certain amount of expertise.

I think the idea that Low Tech is definitively Low Budget is a misconception. By nature, it should be cheaper, but not necessarily.
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Old 04-19-2006, 01:24 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GulfCoastAquarian
True, and DIY requires a certain amount of expertise.

I think the idea that Low Tech is definitively Low Budget is a misconception. By nature, it should be cheaper, but not necessarily.
True, I doubt you could call a 180 gallon tank "low budget" for instance although I assume one could be set up as low-tech.
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55 gallon - Hi-Res — 2wpg CF lighting; pressurized CO2; 18 watt Turbo-twist UVS; Eheim Pro II 2028; eco-complete; 2 Pearl Gouramis; 7 Harlequin Rasboras; 3 Otocinclus catfish
10 gallon — lo-tech; 1.8 wpg DIY CF light; no CO2; Aquaclear mini; Schultz substrate; java fern; java moss; 7 Neon Tetras; 1 flame dwarf gourami
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Old 04-19-2006, 03:58 PM   #18
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How nice of the site moderators and administrator to set up this new low tech forum so that no one can agree what it even is.

For starters, I don't know that it can be exactly defined. Pretty much every set up is unique, and as such it would be hard to draw a hard and fast line. If low tech is less than 2 Watts per gallon and no CO2, what do you do with a tank that has 2.1 WPG and no CO2? I think that it's best, in general, to leave it up to the owner of the tank to determine whether or not it is low tech. Here's my reasoning:

Watts per gallon: an inexact measurement that breaks down at the high and low ends of the scale. Plus it fails to account for efficiency of lighting, reflector, etc.

CO2: There seems to be a lot of disagreement about whether or not it should be used in lower light tanks. In my case, I'm using it on my medium-low (!?!) tech tank because I already had the equipment.

Fertilizer dosing: Every tank has fertilizers added. They just might come in the form of solids, liquids, root tabs, substrate, fish food, etc.

Water changes: Again, there seems to be disagreement about whether or not these are good for low light set ups. And it also brings up the issue of bio-load. How much bio-load is appropriate for low tech.

DIY equipment: Again, this could also be true of high tech. It could be that your DIY equipment is metal halide lighting.

My example of low tech is my old 30 gallon. Lighting was two NO T-8s. Substrate was gravel with laterite and a thin layer of top soil added. I dosed a comprehensive liquid fertilizer once or twice a week, plus root tabs for my swords. I changed 20% of the water every other week. CO2 was a pop bottle reactor, fed into the filter intake. Filtration was just a regular old HOB.
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Old 04-19-2006, 05:23 PM   #19
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Canoe, I think your line of reasoning is sound. There are too many variables to define low-tech narrow enough to be able to specify an actual wpg, dosing regimen, etc. But in my book, I have to draw the line at CO2.

I think low-tech has more to do with growth rates, and how challenging a plant species can be kept. Once you throw CO2 into the equation (whether is a full-tilt pressurized system complete with a pH controller, or a DIY yeast jug), growth rates grow tremendously (on the order of 5x-10x, according to Tom Barr). This requires careful monitoring of nutrient levels on both the macro and micro level.
Without CO2, things happen more slowly, and are therefore more forgiving. You have weeks rather than days to respond to deficiencies.

Bottom line: If an aquarium is equipped with CO2 - it's pretty near impossible to consider it low-tech, don't you think?
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Old 04-19-2006, 10:29 PM   #20
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To me, Low-Tech = Low-Maintenance... and CO2 = maintenance.

I consider my office desktop tank low tech. No CO2, no water changes except to replace evaporative losses, no heater, and is probably a little overstocked. However, in my defense the fish are happy, show bright colors, and have spawned in the tank before, though none of the eggs survived hungry residents. With the fishload and plantload that I have, the tank maintains a pretty constant nitrate level of about 5 - 10 ppm. It's kinda cool.

It has 2wpg, and I dose a couple drops of flourish and flourish excel every few days, but this is by no-means a regular occurence. It's an office tank, so I don't always have time to stick to a tank maintenance schedule. The only thing I do regularly is feed the fish, and put in a cup or two of RO water to replace evaporative losses.

I have generic cheapo peat substrate, with about 2" of 5mm gravel to hold it down. That's about it. With this setup, my Bacopa puts on about 2" - 3" a week. I've trimmed and replanted this plant as well; and I just got it from aquaphish about 3 weeks ago. Anubias runners are everywhere, and my Java Fern (rooted in the substrate) has had 2 new sprouts.

I think if you can take care of a tank using just your spare time, then it qualifies as Low-Tech... or you have too much free time.
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Old 04-19-2006, 11:12 PM   #21
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Yes, I agree with GulfCoastAquarian that adding additional CO2 should be the demarcation line for the Low Tech Forum.

As plant growth rates increase - response time for correcting deficiencies decrease:
• High Tech = Fast Growth-regardless of the equipment that gets you there.
• Low Tech = Slow Growth-regardless of the equipment that gets you there.

Since CO2 is the primary nutrient that drives growth rates, we should probably use it as the determining factor for delineating "High Tech" and "Low Tech" tanks.

Light levels chosen are predominately driven by CO2 levels. The CO2 level in the water forces you to maintain appropriate light levels – algae growth is the check that will keep on the straight and narrow. So, the amount of light you use is up to you. For non-CO2 tanks it could conceivably range from one light bulb over the tank to all the way up to one sun over the tank.

Do I hear anybody else vote for using CO2 as the barometer for the Low Tech Forum?

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Old 04-20-2006, 12:15 AM   #22
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I also define lo-tech based on CO2 (or Excel) usage.

CO2 is the marker that indicates if you need a sophisticated fertilizing regime, and high-lights and other related needs.

As this relates to budget, I think that my 125g with just 2wpg costs around the same as a 55g with 3-4wpg and CO2 and ferts...

CO2 is the line in the sand....
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:15 AM   #23
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I had a 43 gal tank in my garage, sponge filter, shoplight (inefficient, ~1.8 W/gal, no good reflector), and rarely dosing of small amounts of fertilizers.

Low tech? I think so!

But, I had a soda bottle attached that produced CO2. Still low tech? I'd say so!

I would not draw the line between CO2 yes/no. IMO, there are low tech tanks with low light, no ferts, but a little bit of CO2. I used it mainly to reduce pH from 7.8 to a fish & plant friendlier 7.3 or so.

Maybe the CO2 level in the water would be an indicator? Anything over 10 ppm is high tech?

Obviously it is not easy to draw the line.
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Old 04-20-2006, 12:28 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
Maybe the CO2 level in the water would be an indicator? Anything over 10 ppm is high tech?

Obviously it is not easy to draw the line.
True, the line is difficult to draw. I think that the use of 10 ppm would be difficult for some of us, especially me, as I rarely ever test. That is why simply the use of CO2 would be the definer. It would be difficult to get above 10 ppm without the use of CO2 (either pressurized or DIY).
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:15 AM   #25
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This is why I suggested that we define it at the point where C02 becomes: Optional.

Quote:
We need to locate the "High-End" of it--because anything below it: is Low-Tech.
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:44 AM   #26
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I think my 82 gal is low tech, I have 1.5 watts per gallon (4 32 watts fluorescent lamps) 10 hours a day, no co2, the filter is an Eheim Classic 2250, I do 30-40% water changes every 2 or 3 weeks (even a month), when I set it up I put two bags og Azoo plant grower bed mixed with regular gravel, but it was almost 3 years ago, recently (March 12th, 2006) I began to put some root tabs for the crypts and its the only way I fertilize the tank.

I think it needs a re-scape, but I like the looks of it for now.

I took this pic some minutes ago:



Thanks for reading
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Old 04-20-2006, 01:56 AM   #27
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Nice!
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:03 AM   #28
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I consider my tank low-tech, and while it, by no means, defines low-tech, I am in agreement that low-tech inherently implies low-maintenence. Not that there cant be high maintenence lowtech tanks, just in what I've seen.

55gal, 2x 40W NO Flourecent bulbs, HOT Magnum filter, pea gravel substrate, no CO2, no ferts AT ALL. Plant growth is vigorous, but I cant say as to it being fast, given that I have never had a tank with CO2 and high light to compare. From the sounds of it, my "vigorous" plant growth is more like creeping plant growth in comparison to high light CO2 tanks :p.

I can say this however: Given that the tank is at home, and by technicallity it is my sister's tank (I just buy the plants and such, she keeps it at home while I'm at school, gee, who got the short end of the straw here?) its nice to not have to worry about massive plant trimming every time I go home (generally every other week, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter). We have several tanks from reef to freshwater and everything in between, reptiles, cats, etc, and its nice having one tank/critter that I dont have to attempt to communicate either through email, phone or instant messaging for tips to care for. Its pretty much takes care of itself with waterchanges ranging in frequency from weekly to monthly.

When we move the tank to another room in the house, we may decide to go more towards the "high tech" side, but not much :p Generally speaking, it costs more.
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Old 04-20-2006, 02:53 AM   #29
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Thanks Cheese S., glad you like it
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:36 AM   #30
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I guess there needs to be a mid-tech.

I still consider mine low-tech even though I run CO2. To me, there would have to be some “tech” somewhere in my tank for it to be “High-Tech”. I think it would depend on how dependent you are on technology for upkeep.

Lighting – I think more along the lines of what type of lighting rather than ho much (even though they would pretty much go hand-in-hand). CF, HO, VHO, MH, etc…high-tech. NO, Incandescent or my choice, Halogen,…low-tech.

CO2 – Pressurized with all bells and whistles = high-tech. DIY yeast jug = low-tech.

Ferts – A powdered bucket of each and every macro and micro available = High-Tech. Basic plant tabs, general liquid ferts that include iron and a few others, Excel = Low-Tech.

I find it hard to take water changes into consideration unless you are doing it for EI reasons. Then you could say High-Tech. Yes, I do 2 water changes a week, but not because I have to. I do it for precautionary maintenance and the fish and plants thank me for it. I’m sure I could go over a month and everything would be fine, but doing a water change is a lot easier than dealing with problems from algae, poison or disease.
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