When to know if you are over-thinking fertilization - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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When to know if you are over-thinking fertilization

In planted circles, aquarists quickly learn that nutrient dosing is important. And it is. However, many fall prey to the tendency to over extend this fact to see every change (or non-change) in growth/ form / color as solely linked to nutrients, and overwhelmingly in terms of some deficiency or imbalance. However, plants are affected by a huge number of non-nutrient related issues that can lead to yellowing/stunted leaves. When folks think that it is nutrient related - especially when they are already dosing adequate amounts, then they keep looking for wrong causation, which cause them to never solve their problems. For newer folks many may be unaware that their issues may not be related to nutrient values at all.

I discuss these issues in-depth in the following page:
https://www.advancedplantedtank.com/tunnel-vision.html

I leave this here because I do think that a very part of the forum crowd is over-thinking fertilization.
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post #2 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 06:24 PM
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Just read this on your site. Funnily enough, I am now chasing down answers to my dosing regime for a fertilizer issue. In this case I do believe I have a few other issues, but a deficiency is one of them.
Thanks for all your help to the aquatic plant community.
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post #3 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 06:41 PM
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Wow! What an excellent article. Really puts everything in much needed perspective for the newcomer ( like myself).


I especially liked this quote:

"Humans gravitate towards tools and concepts that come readily to mind, and forums are the number 1 spot for availability bias and group thinking".

After years of participating in numerous forums- there has never been a more correct assessment.
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post #4 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Wow! What an excellent article. Really puts everything in much needed perspective for the newcomer ( like myself).


I especially liked this quote:

"Humans gravitate towards tools and concepts that come readily to mind, and forums are the number 1 spot for availability bias and group thinking".

After years of participating in numerous forums- there has never been a more correct assessment.
This forum seems to be extra bad at not producing any kind of scientific testing or research to base their opinions on. I mean, it is just a hobby for most people and setting up laboratory style tests would require you to have no day job and hundreds of tank and parameter setups.
It's understandable but there is a lot of room for improvement.
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post #5 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 08:26 PM
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I've never seen so much forum bashing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Discusluv View Post
Wow! What an excellent article. Really puts everything in much needed perspective for the newcomer ( like myself).

I especially liked this quote:

"Humans gravitate towards tools and concepts that come readily to mind, and forums are the number 1 spot for availability bias and group thinking".

After years of participating in numerous forums- there has never been a more correct assessment.
This below post really cracked me up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
This forum seems to be extra bad at not producing any kind of scientific testing or research to base their opinions on. I mean, it is just a hobby for most people and setting up laboratory style tests would require you to have no day job and hundreds of tank and parameter setups.
It's understandable but there is a lot of room for improvement.
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post #6 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 08:50 PM
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Sorry, you have no room to bash science.
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post #7 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 08:54 PM
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I am readily agreeing with the OP's assessment: Forums ( all forums where persons of like mind congregate- including this one) tend to engage in exactly what OP has identified in the above quote. I repeat it:

"Humans gravitate towards tools and concepts that come readily to mind, and forums are the number 1 spot for availability bias and group thinking".

I do not at all think this persons intent was to bash this forum- not at all. The above quote describes a human trait- a social manifestation that we, as humans, tend to do when we congregate in one space with others who share in like interests.
Because of this, every group where like minds come together should continually evaluate to ensure certain tools and concepts ( using the OP's language) are not returned to continually (availability bias) in a way that excludes the possibility of other solutions. This leads to circular thinking because of the limits we allow in the scope of our questions.

To conclude that the OP's suggestion was "forum bashing" is to shut down discourse and protect any prevailing "group-think" that may exist in the forum.
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post #8 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Ddrizzle View Post
This forum seems to be extra bad at not producing any kind of scientific testing or research to base their opinions on. I mean, it is just a hobby for most people and setting up laboratory style tests would require you to have no day job and hundreds of tank and parameter setups.
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Originally Posted by Asteroid View Post
I've never seen so much forum bashing.
It is just that, a forum.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly all reside here.
Our tanks are the science project providing our own research.
Few can call this hobby a "Day Job".

Some people are "My way or the Highway" and you have others continuing many myths.
Myth busters are not appreciated much.

Many try to offer advise based on what works for them, in their own tanks.
This is most likely the most common approach.
Almost every tank is different, even from the same tap water.

@Xiaozhuang has an excellent website that should be required reading before anyone purchases their first plant!


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Growing is not that difficult.
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post #9 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 09:10 PM
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@Xiaozhuang has just made me a new devoted reader.
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post #10 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
It is just that, a forum.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly all reside here.
That's exactly my point, if it wasn't clear. There can be no real scientific research with large sample sizes and high confidence levels. Hobbyists with the same parameters end up with different results based on their lifestyle, dedication and husbandry skills.

That's why people who have the same situation say two different things so the best thing to do is go by the majority of user experiences. It is a hobby and a tank exists in ones home not in a laboratory.
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post #11 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 09:46 PM
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I leave this here because I do think that a very part of the forum crowd is over-thinking fertilization.
Dennis I agree with you.

There are many posts that start with "What is my deficiency?". In most cases, nutrient dosing is the least of their worries. And diagnosing deficiencies without knowing every other thing about the tank is unlikely to get to the root cause. In most cases, a more holistic approach will provide better results.

You have to have light, CO2, and equally if not more importantly maintenance in correct balance before adjusting ferts will make much if any difference. Until you get the rest right, adjusting ferts is like playing an endless game of whack-a-mole. You most likely will never solve your problem.

I look at it this way. Take a tank like Burr's. I have seen him run his fert dosing in many different directions over the years. Almost no micros, lathering on micros. Almost no macros, lathering on macros. Yet somehow his tank always looks beautiful and plants are healthy. Why? Because he spends a great deal of time getting every other single thing right, with a great attention to detail.

And that's what most don't want to do. They don't want to hear lower/raise your light. They don't want to hear clean your filters more, get your pH drop from CO2 more precise, get on a regular water change schedule, control mass and trim your plants more. Getting their tank uber clean would be the single best thing to help most, but it's easier to dose more/less of something/everything.

Now all that being said, I do believe once you get things running well, experimenting with fert dosing can fine tune things. I've made a major change to my own dosing recently, with very good results. But that wasn't to fix a problem. That was to see if I could improve and grow in the hobby.


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post #12 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 11:12 PM
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Now all that being said, I do believe once you get things running well, experimenting with fert dosing can fine tune things.
Once you have a tank full of large hungry healthy stems and little hardscape, that have been grown on EI, are filtering the water, preventing algae and supporting high light its easy to say "this works and it will work for you too".

If you don't have a tank full of lush healthy stems, haven't reached a happy medium, maybe you have more hardscape and less plants, maybe instead of thick stems you have a low demand carpet, and after months are still 'establishing' your plant mass, a much different approach may be required. Most likely lower light, lower ferts(especially with CEC substrates) and accepting lower growth rates(less algae too) as being optimal while you are establishing.

I just don't see that emphasized much around here, its often the opposite "I just haven't seen any examples of non EI tanks working".


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post #13 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 11:12 PM
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I've been on boating forums for years, and very similar to 'why won't my motor run' the (smart) responses are always:

Spark
Fuel
Compression



then one can fine tune but until then not much happens.


I'll read the link tonight. Wife is traveling so I'll just be boring myself.
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post #14 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 11:27 PM
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Love the turkey baster/syphon method, I never used both at the same time but I will now!


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post #15 of 125 (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 11:35 PM
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A nutrients dont matter article? Thought I was on barr report for a second...

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