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post #31 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bunsen Honeydew View Post
Eh, I enjoy this hobby for different reasons. I wouldn't call what most folks do in the hobby real science (myself included).

My approach to the hobby is far less precise and driven by precision. I am more of the Bob Ross type that enjoys the happy accidents.

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I actually never said I approach the hobby as a scientific endeavor or that what people do in the hobby is "real science" but I'll take the bait anyway.

If learning and maintaining the nitrogen cycle isn't a study of microbiology, i don't know what is.
If learning all of the macro and micro nutrients needed by plants, and learning how to spot their deficiencies isn't a study of botany, I don't what is.
If monitoring pH, gH, and kH isn't a study of chemistry, I don't know what is.
I could go on, but I will end with this:
Setting up and maintaining an ecosystem in your home is a study of nature.
If the study of nature isn't science, I don't know what is.

Just as Bob Ross painted nature on his canvases, we put nature on ours.

To each, his own. Cheers mate
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post #32 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 04:44 AM
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@Sam the Slayer
You certainly could choose a different chelate. I have not noticed any pH swings by dosing EG. I am curious, have you?
I just meant the ph of the water in the aquarium. EDTA will start to degrade above a ph of 6 where as dtpa will hold until about 7.5. So when they say you’ll get x amount fe per dose which would be false for most people which will also have an effect on the rest of the ferts.


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post #33 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by HerpsAndHerbs View Post
I actually never said I approach the hobby as a scientific endeavor or that what people do in the hobby is "real science" but I'll take the bait anyway.

If learning and maintaining the nitrogen cycle isn't a study of microbiology, i don't know what is.
If learning all of the macro and micro nutrients needed by plants, and learning how to spot their deficiencies isn't a study of botany, I don't what is.
If monitoring pH, gH, and kH isn't a study of chemistry, I don't know what is.
I could go on, but I will end with this:
Setting up and maintaining an ecosystem in your home is a study of nature.
If the study of nature isn't science, I don't know what is.

Just as Bob Ross painted nature on his canvases, we put nature on ours.

To each, his own. Cheers mate
You quite literally said " I also admire the hobby because the technical expertise and knowledge required to set up a balanced ecosystem makes every aquarist a scientist in a way.". I was simply disagreeing with this. This is not to denigrate those in this hobby, just acknowledging that "experimenting" in our tanks, is not the same as running a real experiment. It's kind of in the same babe that the plural of anecdotes is not data.

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post #34 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 02:18 PM
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I'll confess that I skipped ahead when I saw some scientist/lab tech bashing. I've been in the hobby over 50 years, but I'm a fishkeeper that uses plants for water purification. Oh I really like my planted tank with surreal naturalization. However, most of my tanks leverage fast growing floating plants to make for better water for the fish. I only use enough ferts to keep the plants growing well. With that in mind, EI just doesn't make sense to me. I've tried different brands but right now I'm trying Select Aquatics Rapid Grow plant fertilizer. But instead of the dosing method Greg Sage suggests, I'm adding a little after each water change. I'm not far enough along to swear by it yet, but it sure seems cost effective. (I too like the "all-in-one" ferts, but don't much like the cost...especially since they're mostly water.)
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post #35 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
I'll confess that I skipped ahead when I saw some scientist/lab tech bashing. I've been in the hobby over 50 years, but I'm a fishkeeper that uses plants for water purification. Oh I really like my planted tank with surreal naturalization. However, most of my tanks leverage fast growing floating plants to make for better water for the fish. I only use enough ferts to keep the plants growing well. With that in mind, EI just doesn't make sense to me. I've tried different brands but right now I'm trying Select Aquatics Rapid Grow plant fertilizer. But instead of the dosing method Greg Sage suggests, I'm adding a little after each water change. I'm not far enough along to swear by it yet, but it sure seems cost effective. (I too like the "all-in-one" ferts, but don't much like the cost...especially since they're mostly water.)
Different strokes for different hobbyists...what works best is what works best for you!
I have been wanting to try Greg Sage's mix actually! I am also a fishkeeper first who enjoys the beauty of plants as well as how much they help me with my water. I totally agree with what you said about EI being too much for that kind of tank.
One thing we really haven't touched much on is how much fish load affects the amount of fertilizer needed. I generally overstock and over filter my tanks. Because they are over stocked I feed a lot of food per water volume which puts a lot of phosphates and nitrates in the water everyday. I also remineralize my RO water with seachem equilibrium which is loaded with potassium. So my NPK's are already decently high before I dose anything, at least for a low CO2 tank. I think that could be another reason why an AIO might work for me but not work for someone @Greggz or @burr740.

Knowing Greg Sage doesn't do CO2 and also runs heavily stocked tanks and autofeeders, I bet his fert would be perfect for me. I have been wanting to try it for a while now so hearing that it works well for you gives me a bit more motivation. Does anyone else use his ferts?

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Originally Posted by Sam the Slayer View Post
I just meant the ph of the water in the aquarium. EDTA will start to degrade above a ph of 6 where as dtpa will hold until about 7.5. So when they say you’ll get x amount fe per dose which would be false for most people which will also have an effect on the rest of the ferts.


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I actually really hadn't considered that. You are certainly right, dtpa would be a better choice. Kudos!

I don't think it degrades but I get your point. EDTA has four carboxyl groups each of which loose a hydrogen at a different pH. The pka of EDTA's four carboxyl groups are 2, 2.7, 6.2, and 10.3. So even at the pH of 6 its already a 2- which I would think is enough to chelate ferric iron. When they do the chelation they do it at a pH above 10 so they have the 4-, but once ionically bound it should be relatively stable above pH 3.

I found this paper "Effect of pH, light, and temperature on Fe–EDTA chelation and Fe hydrolysis in seawater (Sunda et al, 2003)" which suggests in salt water ferric-EDTA begins to significantly dissociate at 7.7. Of course the sodium will help with the hydrolysis, but i wasn't able to find a freshwater reference. I'm very curious about this! @Sam the Slayer if you have any references about how much ferric EDTA dissociates above 6.3 I would love to read them!

It is amazing how much I can learn from other hobbyists!

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Originally Posted by Bunsen Honeydew View Post
You quite literally said " I also admire the hobby because the technical expertise and knowledge required to set up a balanced ecosystem makes every aquarist a scientist in a way.". I was simply disagreeing with this. This is not to denigrate those in this hobby, just acknowledging that "experimenting" in our tanks, is not the same as running a real experiment. It's kind of in the same babe that the plural of anecdotes is not data.

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I meant only that the aquarist is a little bit of a scientist at heart. I never said experimenting in the tank was the same as running a real controlled experiment. Obviously I agree they are not the same which is why I said seachem was backed by the best science, because they actually did the controlled studies. I think this whole thread really is evidence that the planted aquarist is at least dabbling in science.
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post #36 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Edit: I just read a post from @Greggz on @burr740 tank journal. I will quote it here, assuming that isn't against the rules? Page 118 for reference.

"As to adjusting ferts based on fish load, here are my thoughts. Base your dosing on what the tank tells you, not what you think should happen. Every time I lowered NO3 thinking the fish load would take care of it, some plants rebelled and I ended up going back up. I don't factor in a thing for fish load, and just dose based on what the plants are telling me."

For some reason sometimes it wont let me edit a post, and I have to do back to back... anyone know why?
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post #37 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by HerpsAndHerbs View Post
I actually never said I approach the hobby as a scientific endeavor or that what people do in the hobby is "real science" but I'll take the bait anyway.

If learning and maintaining the nitrogen cycle isn't a study of microbiology, i don't know what is.
If learning all of the macro and micro nutrients needed by plants, and learning how to spot their deficiencies isn't a study of botany, I don't what is.
If monitoring pH, gH, and kH isn't a study of chemistry, I don't know what is.
I could go on, but I will end with this:
Setting up and maintaining an ecosystem in your home is a study of nature.
If the study of nature isn't science, I don't know what is.

Just as Bob Ross painted nature on his canvases, we put nature on ours.

To each, his own. Cheers mate
Love this. So, so true.
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post #38 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by HerpsAndHerbs View Post
Edit: I just read a post from @Greggz on @burr740 tank journal. I will quote it here, assuming that isn't against the rules? Page 118 for reference.

"As to adjusting ferts based on fish load, here are my thoughts. Base your dosing on what the tank tells you, not what you think should happen. Every time I lowered NO3 thinking the fish load would take care of it, some plants rebelled and I ended up going back up. I don't factor in a thing for fish load, and just dose based on what the plants are telling me."

For some reason sometimes it wont let me edit a post, and I have to do back to back... anyone know why?
If more than a few minutes has passed you need to enter in a "reason for editing" the post. The field is right about the "Save" tab.

Now you got me curious as to your thoughts on that quote??
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post #39 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bunsen Honeydew View Post
You quite literally said " I also admire the hobby because the technical expertise and knowledge required to set up a balanced ecosystem makes every aquarist a scientist in a way.". I was simply disagreeing with this. This is not to denigrate those in this hobby, just acknowledging that "experimenting" in our tanks, is not the same as running a real experiment. It's kind of in the same babe that the plural of anecdotes is not data.

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You miss the point completely. Science is also the curiosity all have for the natural world. I think everyone can tap into this curiosity and try to, in their own natural intelligence, explain these rhythms through experience- to themselves. No it is not conducted in a lab, under controlled parameters or put under rigorous peer-review- but, it is an appreciation fore the natural world that can make all "a scientist in a way". Just like was said.
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post #40 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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If more than a few minutes has passed you need to enter in a "reason for editing" the post. The field is right about the "Save" tab.

Now you got me curious as to your thoughts on that quote??
Thanks, very helpful!
I've actually spent an hour or so thinking about that quote. It has to be true that feeding-->amonia-->nitrite-->nitrate increases the amount of nitrate available to plants. Why would that amount be negligible is really the question.
I have not actually tested how much nitrate is added with each feeding, I just, as you say, "listen to the plants". Certain foods have higher or lower phosphates, but the ammonia has to be produced by the fish (assuming you aren't wildly overfeeding) so it should, in theory, just be a function of how many "calories" are being processed.
I really don't know but I am kicking around a couple ideas. The bows are big and consequently have big poops. I keep much smaller fish, I also keep lots of shrimp which process the fish poop down even smaller. I wonder if there is any correlation between amount of available nitrate produced, and the size of the final waste product after exhausting the food chain. Granted a lot of the fish produced ammonia is going to be liquid, but I have to imagine a lot of it also comes from their solids. I also wonder, since you keep bows and cannot keep shrimp, if the waste products coming from your snails has different bio-availability from the waste products of my shrimp.
Who knows, but I am really enjoying pondering the topics that have been coming up on this thread
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post #41 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 06:54 PM
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You miss the point completely. Science is also the curiosity all have for the natural world. I think everyone can tap into this curiosity and try to, in their own natural intelligence, explain these rhythms through experience- to themselves. No it is not conducted in a lab, under controlled parameters or put under rigorous peer-review- but, it is an appreciation fore the natural world that can make all "a scientist in a way". Just like was said.
I understand the point, I am just disagreeing with it. From my perspective, there is a pretty clear distinction between conducting science and enjoying a hobby that involves scientific topics. I make that distinction because I am much more interested in the hobby for the latter rather than the former. Not because I want to denigrate the hobby or those in it. I love this hobby, please don't take this as a knock. Perhaps what I am saying would be more palatable as the hobby is more of an observational science than an experimental one? We can agree to disagree on this, but I don't want anyone to think that I meant anything negative to this hobby or it's hobbyists. I just happen to think that those rigors that are not in place in the hobby make a world of difference.

The thing I disagree with (and why I chimed in at all) are the strange metrics that seem to get applied from time to time. Above it was said that scientists drop in and act like they know what they are talking about, but we never see them growing sensitive plants. Why should it be assumed that was ever their intention? The was another thread (that got locked) where someone was told that they don't know much about lighting because that person doesn't aquascape particularly well. I don't get it and don't think these non sequitur metrics of success are helpful.


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post #42 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bunsen Honeydew View Post
I understand the point, I am just disagreeing with it. From my perspective, there is a pretty clear distinction between conducting science and enjoying a hobby that involves scientific topics. I make that distinction because I am much more interested in the hobby for the latter rather than the former. Not because I want to denigrate the hobby or those in it. I love this hobby, please don't take this as a knock. Perhaps what I am saying would be more palatable as the hobby is more of an observational science than an experimental one? We can agree to disagree on this, but I don't want anyone to think that I meant anything negative to this hobby or it's hobbyists. I just happen to think that those rigors that are not in place in the hobby make a world of difference.

The thing I disagree with (and why I chimed in at all) are the strange metrics that seem to get applied from time to time. Above it was said that scientists drop in and act like they know what they are talking about, but we never see them growing sensitive plants. Why should it be assumed that was ever their intention? The was another thread (that got locked) where someone was told that they don't know much about lighting because that person doesn't aquascape particularly well. I don't get it and don't think these non sequitur metrics of success are helpful.


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I like what you said here. I think that phrasing is definitely more palatable. I am not sure that we disagree much at all really because I was never trying to make the point that the hobby is an experimental science.

I agree completely that some metrics that get applied don't make sense. I was equally troubled by the metric of choosing to grow sensitive plants vs non-sensitive plants. Having healthy sensitive plants is a testament to the skill of the aquarist but not having sensitive plants is not a testament to someone's lack of skill.

Personally, I have grown sensitive plants in many tanks many a time. I do not, however, currently have any sensitive plants and I don't feel that my enjoyment of the hobby is any more lacking for it. There are also a great deal of incompatibilities in this hobby. There are many fish that cannot tolerate large pH swings caused high levels of CO2 that are a necessity for some plants. Additionally some fish require water parameters that are just not good at growing plants, high pH and hard water for example. This is a planted tank forum though so I think, to a degree, it is to be expected that the focus is on the plants.
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post #43 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 07:29 PM
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Above it was said that scientists drop in and act like they know what they are talking about, but we never see them growing sensitive plants.
I didnt say scientists. I said people with a chemistry background. It may have come across like I was saying that's how chemists or scientists are in general. I did not mean it that way at all.

I only meant that people who tend to chime the loudest in and tell everyone else they are wrong about ferts usually throw out a bunch of chemistry talk and lean on it to back up their claims. Anyone who's been around this place for very long knows the type Im talking about. if not then they probably dont.

I meant no offense to all the scientists and chemists out there, I assure you.


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post #44 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 07:38 PM
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I like what you said here. I think that phrasing is definitely more palatable. I am not sure that we disagree much at all really because I was never trying to make the point that the hobby is an experimental science.

I agree completely that some metrics that get applied don't make sense. I was equally troubled by the metric of choosing to grow sensitive plants vs non-sensitive plants. Having healthy sensitive plants is a testament to the skill of the aquarist but not having sensitive plants is not a testament to someone's lack of skill.

Personally, I have grown sensitive plants in many tanks many a time. I do not, however, currently have any sensitive plants and I don't feel that my enjoyment of the hobby is any more lacking for it. There are also a great deal of incompatibilities in this hobby. There are many fish that cannot tolerate large pH swings caused high levels of CO2 that are a necessity for some plants. Additionally some fish require water parameters that are just not good at growing plants, high pH and hard water for example. This is a planted tank forum though so I think, to a degree, it is to be expected that the focus is on the plants.
Perhaps I am too sensitive in my own view of what a scientist and science are. I have personally seen it watered down quite a bit and think that has eroded the trust many have in science, but that is a topic for another forum. Either way, I didn't intend to make it a big deal.

I think that one's success in this hobby, or any other, should be measured versus that person's intent, not someone else's. I happen to prefer big low tech jungles. Could I keep a high tech tank and chase water chemistries all over the place and meticulously maintain a tank? I think so, but that would feel like work to me and not a hobby. I like my hobbies to be a change of pace. I feel like if i am engaging in my hobby and I am getting what i want from it, then I've been successful.

Back to the topic of an all in one fertilizer, I prefer to us dry ferts. I have a 210 gallon tank with a sump, so it isn't terribly difficult to just dump the salts into the sump to dissolve them. I think I might get winded trying to use one of those pumps set up for 1 pump per 10 gallons.

Bump:
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I didnt say scientists. I said people with a chemistry background. It may have come across like I was saying that's how chemists or scientists are in general. I did not mean it that way at all.

I only meant that people who tend to chime the loudest in and tell everyone else they are wrong about ferts usually throw out a bunch of chemistry talk and lean on it to back up their claims. Anyone who's been around this place for very long knows the type Im talking about. if not then they probably dont.

I meant no offense to all the scientists and chemists out there, I assure you.
Fair enough. I too have ran into the type as well. Its always fun when those arguments start contradicting themsleves. I think anyone that has had the experience of getting a PhD in chemistry has usually had the notion of knowing everything about anything beaten out of them. I wasn't trying to call you out on the statement in general, it was an example of the application of the metric in general. If I seem overly opinionated on something, its not because I think i know everything about it, its because I'm and a$$hole. Its a congenital character flaw.

Bumping to add that I don't think poorly of the high tech, high maintenance tank, but its just not my cup of tea. Especially right now with a busy job and young kids. I don't get as much time as I'd like with the tank, so I prefer to have more of it sitting with a beer in my hand and enjoying the view. Maybe when I retire.
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post #45 of 112 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps I am too sensitive in my own view of what a scientist and science are. I have personally seen it watered down quite a bit and think that has eroded the trust many have in science, but that is a topic for another forum. Either way, I didn't intend to make it a big deal.

I think that one's success in this hobby, or any other, should be measured versus that person's intent, not someone else's. I happen to prefer big low tech jungles. Could I keep a high tech tank and chase water chemistries all over the place and meticulously maintain a tank? I think so, but that would feel like work to me and not a hobby. I like my hobbies to be a change of pace. I feel like if i am engaging in my hobby and I am getting what i want from it, then I've been successful.

Back to the topic of an all in one fertilizer, I prefer to us dry ferts. I have a 210 gallon tank with a sump, so it isn't terribly difficult to just dump the salts into the sump to dissolve them. I think I might get winded trying to use one of those pumps set up for 1 pump per 10 gallons.
I think another aspect of this discussion is how many tanks a person has. As you allude to here, a high tech tank generally requires a lot more monitoring (not to mention the expense). If you have many tanks, there simply isn't time to do your due diligence to all of them at the high tech level. At least I don't have the time for that.

I too, like the big jungle/nature feel myself, but at the same time cant take my eyes from a flawless dutch.

Yeah, pumping 21+ times would be silly, not to mention you'd go through a bottle in a week. Having a sump would make the dry fert system a breeze but I am too much of a coward to drill my big tanks. I am definitely going to have to try the Greg Sage stuff.

On another note do you do anything once a thread has run its course or just leave it?
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