AGA 2019 Vin Video Presentation - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by EdWiser View Post
What is he web address ?
https://www.golias.net/akvaristika/index.php

Unfortunately you have to use Google to translate the website
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post #17 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 10:07 PM
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Thanks I am fine with that. I use to translate German aquarium books by hand.
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post #18 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 12:32 AM
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Thanks @happi and others for the kind comments. Wish more of you were there. Great to hang with Immortal1 and a few others in Seattle.

I've been called many things but I post as Saxa Tilly here and as Pikez over at Barr Report.

The first two-thirds of my talk was a summary of my Rotala Kill Tank experiments, which was set up to figure out why Rotala stunt so often for so many people. The last third was a summary of takeaways from my 'social media database' and finding commonalities in tank conditions of experts and semi-experts who grow Lythraceae (Rotala, Ammannia, and Cuphea) without any tip stunting under a wide range of conditions.

I hope the AGA makes the video available for streaming soon for non-attendees. I pushed my 1 hour time slot to 1:15 but even then, I was unable to get to some of the nitty gritty details. I was unable to go into details on Marcel Golias' results, which I feel deserves more attention. His experiment design is damn near flawless and no one else has come close, which means you can use his results as a jumping off point for future experiments.

Having said that, I am just as interested in finding out WHY Tom Barr is successful. The current state of the hobby says Tom's approach is successful because of very high CO2 and excellent maintenance. Sure, good CO2 and great maintenance are important, but that is a woefully inadequate and inarticulate explanation for the success of that method. The 'it works in my tank, therefore, critiques have been falsified' is an equally unacceptable retort. Arguing about these things is a hobby onto itself here on TPT and FB.

Anyway, it turns out there are surprising commonalities in approaches. I haven't cracked this nut yet and I don't have all the answers. There are two conditions that seem to drive chronic tip stunting - no, it is not CO2 or maintenance - and they are the bicarbonate content of the water (KH) and WHERE the nutrients are provided to the plant.

The easiest way to stunt these plants (worst case scenario) is hard water with high KH + inert substrate + high water column dosing. If you move the nutrients deep into the substrate and leave the water column completely unfertilized with NPK + traces, there is little or no stunting.

On the flip side, if you have very low KH, EI ferts and inert substrate do not cause stunting, at least in R. wallichii.

There is a hypothesis that suggests that HCO3 interferes with nitrogen uptake. This needs further work. There are also published papers (I've only read the abstract) that suggest high bicarb content interferes with calcium transport to shoot tips. Iron too. It appears that these bottlenecks are bypassed if you root-feed...again, possibly due to nutrient selectivity of root cells vs leaves.

Clearly, there's still lots to unpack here. But at least now I know EXACTLY WHY Tom's approach is successful. I also know why Marcel and Happi are equally successful. It all makes sense to me anyway.

Kill Tank Experiments continue...I'm scheduled to speak at Chicago in September. CAPS club. Don't know details yet.


- Vin (find me on FB and message me with anything that might be relevant).
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post #19 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 01:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Saxa Tilly View Post
Thanks @happi and others for the kind comments. Wish more of you were there. Great to hang with Immortal1 and a few others in Seattle.

Kill Tank Experiments continue...I'm scheduled to speak at Chicago in September. CAPS club. Don't know details yet.

- Vin (find me on FB and message me with anything that might be relevant).

Well worth the trip to Chicago - really enjoyed what I heard in Seattle. Keep us posted when you can
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post #20 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 02:19 AM
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Kill Tank Experiments continue...I'm scheduled to speak at Chicago in September. CAPS club. Don't know details yet.

- Vin (find me on FB and message me with anything that might be relevant).
Great post and interesting stuff Vin.

Chicago in September....count me in!
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post #21 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 02:32 AM
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Hi all, some questions.

I'm still in the process of reading through the Rotala Kill thread, but I had a question (or three) I was hoping some kind person here could answer, not necessarily Vin, though I'd love to hear his opinion as well.

Given the results from the above mentioned thread and subsequent presentation...

1) What is the bigger detriment : high kh or high EI fertilizing? In other words, in a tank with high kh water and ei fertilizing, would it be more impactful to switch to RO water or moving fertilizers to the substrate?

Which leads me to...(and this may be a really newb question, please forgive me)
2) To what extent can root tabs work with an inert substrate? Is it beneficial (and to what extent)? Pointless? I've briefly familiarized myself with the idea of CEC but not how impactful it is.

When I started this post I had more questions but they seem to have escaped me for now.

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Originally Posted by Saxa Tilly View Post
Having said that, I am just as interested in finding out WHY Tom Barr is successful. The current state of the hobby says Tom's approach is successful because of very high CO2 and excellent maintenance. Sure, good CO2 and great maintenance are important, but that is a woefully inadequate and inarticulate explanation for the success of that method.
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Originally Posted by Saxa Tilly View Post
Clearly, there's still lots to unpack here. But at least now I know EXACTLY WHY Tom's approach is successful.
Sorry if I'm dense but could you elaborate? You do know or you do not know?

I'm not privvy to the FB discussions and have yet to make my way through the Rotala Kill thread, but...

Honestly, seems like there is a LOT of infighting within this community. That is incredibly deterring. This hobby is supposed to be calming and peaceful but reading some stuff is just...ugh...yuck.
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post #22 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by happi View Post
https://www.golias.net/akvaristika/index.php

Unfortunately you have to use Google to translate the website
There is a lot of good info posted by Marcel, I'd rate it as a good read by all means!


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post #23 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Saxa Tilly View Post
Thanks @happi
There is a hypothesis that suggests that HCO3 interferes with nitrogen uptake.
This has also been taken even further in Strawberry plants(I forget if I sent this to you), that the use of Ammonia can mitigate the deleterious affects of high bicarb content.

Which can shed light on why @happi and Marcel have seen positive results and reduction of stunting with using Ammonia/Urea why many popular fertilizers (Tropica and others) also use a variety of N sources.


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post #24 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 05:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Saxa Tilly View Post
Thanks @happi and others for the kind comments. Wish more of you were there. Great to hang with Immortal1 and a few others in Seattle.

I've been called many things but I post as Saxa Tilly here and as Pikez over at Barr Report.

The first two-thirds of my talk was a summary of my Rotala Kill Tank experiments, which was set up to figure out why Rotala stunt so often for so many people. The last third was a summary of takeaways from my 'social media database' and finding commonalities in tank conditions of experts and semi-experts who grow Lythraceae (Rotala, Ammannia, and Cuphea) without any tip stunting under a wide range of conditions.

I hope the AGA makes the video available for streaming soon for non-attendees. I pushed my 1 hour time slot to 1:15 but even then, I was unable to get to some of the nitty gritty details. I was unable to go into details on Marcel Golias' results, which I feel deserves more attention. His experiment design is damn near flawless and no one else has come close, which means you can use his results as a jumping off point for future experiments.

Having said that, I am just as interested in finding out WHY Tom Barr is successful. The current state of the hobby says Tom's approach is successful because of very high CO2 and excellent maintenance. Sure, good CO2 and great maintenance are important, but that is a woefully inadequate and inarticulate explanation for the success of that method. The 'it works in my tank, therefore, critiques have been falsified' is an equally unacceptable retort. Arguing about these things is a hobby onto itself here on TPT and FB.

Anyway, it turns out there are surprising commonalities in approaches. I haven't cracked this nut yet and I don't have all the answers. There are two conditions that seem to drive chronic tip stunting - no, it is not CO2 or maintenance - and they are the bicarbonate content of the water (KH) and WHERE the nutrients are provided to the plant.

The easiest way to stunt these plants (worst case scenario) is hard water with high KH + inert substrate + high water column dosing. If you move the nutrients deep into the substrate and leave the water column completely unfertilized with NPK + traces, there is little or no stunting.

On the flip side, if you have very low KH, EI ferts and inert substrate do not cause stunting, at least in R. wallichii.

There is a hypothesis that suggests that HCO3 interferes with nitrogen uptake. This needs further work. There are also published papers (I've only read the abstract) that suggest high bicarb content interferes with calcium transport to shoot tips. Iron too. It appears that these bottlenecks are bypassed if you root-feed...again, possibly due to nutrient selectivity of root cells vs leaves.

Clearly, there's still lots to unpack here. But at least now I know EXACTLY WHY Tom's approach is successful. I also know why Marcel and Happi are equally successful. It all makes sense to me anyway.

Kill Tank Experiments continue...I'm scheduled to speak at Chicago in September. CAPS club. Don't know details yet.


- Vin (find me on FB and message me with anything that might be relevant).
we might have answer to several questions as of now, we still need to explore more and still need to answer some of the unanswered question including the one you have mentioned, but We are not that far away from answering those, i wish Marcel Himself was here, am pushing him to come back in the hobby again, we still exchange emails and i am hoping that one day he will return and shed more lights, even though his website always shed tons of lights on these topics.

there are many plant sp. which are prone to stunting, Ammania, Wallchi etc for example, we can actually grow them in majority of waters, i have seen some people grow these even in Utah's Hard tap water, this water here is rich in Ca, Mg, Cl, S, Na etc as well, but wallachi seems to grow quite well in it, anyways for me personally i can grow almost any plant, i have tried wide ranges of fertilizers, chemicals, ratio, chelated, non chelated, organic, non organics etc, in my experience plant grow well if they have to spend less energy to derive nutrients, Urea vs KNo3 for example, you will constantly be trimming wallachi no matter if other nutrients are present in bit higher amount, i have already covered most of these topics in the past and am sure people can easily find it. we can certainly grow plant in inert substrate without root tabs if water column dosing is derived from easily available nutrients. Ammania sp. obtained very fast growth but still had some minor leave twist, which vanish when that same dosing become less and more frequent instead of one single dose. we put Marchner ratio to test (require pure Ro/DI water) the results can be seen in Marcels website or the pic i pointed out earlier, where the entire solution was totally based on this ratio, where N was based on 50% in NO3 and 50% in NH4 form, results were quite amazing even with such a high doses of N and little Micros, when i tested this under different environment such as water with added Ca, Mg, Co3, KH etc, i started to see issues again, first one was twisting in some sp, Fe deficiency etc started to appear quite often, when KH was reduced, good results appeared again. i was able to pull off different results with different methods, if one really want to grow plant they should keep the KH low, like i have said before, if KH could interfere with the fertilizer solution, imagine what it might be doing in your aquarium. Marcel have covered the Co2 part as well, where he talked about higher co2 act like steroid and actually make things worse for plant and contributes to twisting and other issues in plants, he recommended 15-20 ppm for Co2.

here's another quote from him, which is referring to that pic i posted earlier, some of these were personally shared with me, they are subject to change as he have mentioned " preliminary" :

"​First two tanks (from left to right) are EI recipes, tank #3 and #5 are Marschner's recipes (the tank #5 runs on the recipe I have gave you; the tank #3 runs on 2-times more concentrated recipe which had the same amount of nitrogen as EI recipes).

So now we seem to know what are the optimum ratios of elements for (at least some) plants. Our findings are only preliminary yet, but it seems that plants really prefer to uptake nutrients in a well-balanced ratios. This is not our own discovery. Scientists found this out long before us, but we were not sure if it applies for aquatic plants also. Some hobbyists recommend to add an extremely high amounts of nutrients into our water thinking that the excess is best for them, or that it is not detrimental. But this is not true. It is a proven fact that the terrestrial plants grow best when the nutrient levels are low, but continuous. To ensure a continuous supply of small amounts of nutrients to the terrestrial plants is a problem, but not so in our tanks where we can add all the essential nutrients on a regular basis. So we have try it, and found out that the continuous supply of a small amount of nutrients is the key to the best growth even with the aquatic plants."

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Last edited by happi; 06-28-2019 at 05:45 AM. Reason: Typo
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post #25 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 06:06 AM
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Hi all, some questions.

I'm still in the process of reading through the Rotala Kill thread, but I had a question (or three) I was hoping some kind person here could answer, not necessarily Vin, though I'd love to hear his opinion as well.

Given the results from the above mentioned thread and subsequent presentation...

1) What is the bigger detriment : high kh or high EI fertilizing? In other words, in a tank with high kh water and ei fertilizing, would it be more impactful to switch to RO water or moving fertilizers to the substrate?

Which leads me to...(and this may be a really newb question, please forgive me)
2) To what extent can root tabs work with an inert substrate? Is it beneficial (and to what extent)? Pointless? I've briefly familiarized myself with the idea of CEC but not how impactful it is.

When I started this post I had more questions but they seem to have escaped me for now.

Sorry if I'm dense but could you elaborate? You do know or you do not know?

I'm not privvy to the FB discussions and have yet to make my way through the Rotala Kill thread, but...

Honestly, seems like there is a LOT of infighting within this community. That is incredibly deterring. This hobby is supposed to be calming and peaceful but reading some stuff is just...ugh...yuck.
Pick your poison? Ha. EI vs high KH? Based on what I've learned in the last few years, I'd choose EI over high KH any day.

Lots of people grow Rotala and Ammannia well under EI. No matter how much it might upset your world view, lots of people grow these plants under high nutrient levels. I'm not interested in proving them wrong! I am interested in the whys and hows of their results.

I continue to learn new mechanisms by which high KH (bicarbonates) interfere with good growth in many plants. 95% of plants are tolerant of high KH but Lythraceae do not seem to tolerate high KH well at all...in the presence of high nutrients. They do fine in high KH water if you dont fertilize. They do fine in low KH water if you do or dont fertilize. The issue is not necessarily the fertilizer levels, but the conditions under which you apply that fertilizer.

I'm having issues uploading images...pardon me if this backfires.

R. wallichii in high KH + EI


Same tank, same plant. Zero KH + EI


Switching to RO with close to zero KH and a decent amount of GH will help a lot. Doing that with commercial clay substrate and some root feeding will help even more. Doesnt have to be either or.

If you're unable to produce RO or purchase Aqua$oil, then use stuff like rootabs or Osmocote along with MTS. It'll work.

As for the bickering and arguing. Yeah, it's hard to find good info when you have to wade thru all that crap. I tune it out. I have my circle of people offline that I talk to. And I visit TPT may be once a month.
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post #26 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 11:47 AM
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Higher KH is definitely a limiting factor, but what is "high" KH? The KH out of my tap is about 3-3.5. Is that high? Hmmm
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post #27 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 12:36 PM
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Higher KH is definitely a limiting factor, but what is "high" KH? The KH out of my tap is about 3-3.5. Is that high? Hmmm
This would be very dependent on what you are growing now or what you plan to grow in the future.
3-3.5dKH is not a high KH level, most plants would be fine.

My target is 1dKH but never as low as "zero".
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post #28 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 03:00 PM
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This would be very dependent on what you are growing now or what you plan to grow in the future.
3-3.5dKH is not a high KH level, most plants would be fine.

My target is 1dKH but never as low as "zero".
In my case, r.wallichii and cuphea a. are on my list for the upcoming tank. Tap here is 6.7 dKH and the logistics of changing it are difficult, so I may have to give up. I would like to hear from Saxa Tilly on the thresholds first though.

Getting back to the hobby and up to speed.
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post #29 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 03:19 PM
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Higher KH is definitely a limiting factor, but what is "high" KH? The KH out of my tap is about 3-3.5. Is that high? Hmmm
There is no definite number. It is rather a linear rate of deterioration with increasing KH.

When I use slightly KH leaching substrate, I can see on wallichii shape the increasing KH levels. Usually, 0 – 1.5 dKH is fine, at 1.5 – 2.0 dKH it starts growing little smaller, at 2.0 – 3.0 dKH it looks bad, and at > 3.0 dKH it stops growing. This is with CO2 and very strong light intensity.

Without CO2 and under low light it grows ok in 5 dKH water, looks green though.

I’ve been talking about growing plants in zero KH water for two decades. Every time I mentioned it, I received “resisting” responses. Nevertheless, it is nice to see fewer people resisting and more people accepting it.
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Honestly, seems like there is a LOT of infighting within this community. That is incredibly deterring. This hobby is supposed to be calming and peaceful but reading some stuff is just...ugh...yuck.
The impact of hatred and hypocrisy.
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As for the bickering and arguing. Yeah, it's hard to find good info when you have to wade thru all that crap. I tune it out. I have my circle of people offline that I talk to.
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post #30 of 138 (permalink) Old 06-28-2019, 06:39 PM
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In my case, r.wallichii and cuphea a. are on my list for the upcoming tank. Tap here is 6.7 dKH and the logistics of changing it are difficult, so I may have to give up. I would like to hear from Saxa Tilly on the thresholds first though.
HCl is an option!


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