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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, what was it for you. What was the thing that profoundly changed the way you think about Aquariums. The thing that required you to release all your preconceived notions of how an aquarium should be. Allowed you to walk away from popular opinion and develop a better environment for life within your little glass box.

I'll start.

The day it finally sunk into my thick skull that I was doing more harm than good by replacing HOB filter cartridges every month. Tossing away into the trash the bulk of my beneficial bacteria, because of the expectations set by the filter manufacturer.

Once I broke that dogma, I have systematically challenged every aspect of this hobby of which I am consciously aware.
 

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Mine was when I first heard about aquaponics. What intrigued me the most was the aspect of the plants and fish coexisting together in such a great way. I had been keeping fish since I was young and never thought of it as more than neat fish in a neat tank. After reading the guide over on backyardaquaponics I finally understood what the nitrogen cycle was and how the water stayed clean. Prior to that I thought the hob filter actually filtered the poop out of the water.

After spending a bunch of time researching aquaponics I stumbled upon planted tanks as well. Been scoping this forum since.
 

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I too am guilty of the filter pad change tactic influenced by the companies that make them. Not quite sure to the full extent of what your question asks but ill speak a little bit about the definition of aquascaping. I've been doing my senior project on the subject this year and I'm keeping my planted shrimp tank in a public area on display so progress can be spectated and it can be a learning experience to the community. That is considering that the people care enough to take a look or listen to what you say when they ask about it. So obviously a public displayed tank will invoke a multitude of questions so I've had to formulate the best description of what I'm doing. Maintaining a stable miniature ecosystem containing delicate invertebrates as well as a decorated layout with live plants is a mouthful of a title. With that being said I've formulated a more concise description of this part of our hobby. Simply: living art through the medium of an aquarium.
 

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I use a reef light and like it. So what if it has too much blue and not enough red? My plants still grow and I think it looks awesome.
 

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I use a verboten canister filter on my 8g bare-bottom nano reef. With a crusty 425gph Koralia Nano powerhead and a no media Fluval 105 I have enough circulation that pretty much all the detritus collects in the Fluval for removal once a week. Unplug, disconnect, dump, rinse, re-connect, plug in.

Five minute water changes and poo removal. Yay.

:)
 

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"The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad. I would never have gotten back into this hobby if it wasn't for that book. I had memories from my teenage years of constant maintenance, trouble and dead fish when I tried to keep an aquarium. I had no interest in going back to that. This showed me that you can have a low maintenance, beautiful tank while providing a more natural and healthy environment for fish.
 

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I grew up in a family that kept pretty much every sort of animal at one time or another and was big on the bio-sciences. We had a variety of salt water tanks when we lived in Japan, the usual kid-friendly 5g-10g live bearer tanks in elementary school, and a flotilla of summer tanks, jars and bottles holding tadpoles, dragonfly nymphs, crayfish, minnows and unending algae. Toss in my dad's fishing habit, our farm ponds, helping build and maintain a couple no-tech goldfish ponds and a couple clueless boyfriends intent on killing tank after tank of fish until I got fed up and took over... nothing much should have surprised me.

Somehow though, the idea of putting branches in a fish tank just didn't latch onto the old gray matter until I stumbled on an aquascaping contest site. BOOM! The missing element to creating a sense of natural life in that damned glass box was found.
 

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For me it was the gradual evolution of the practice that less is more. Stop trying to monkey with water parameters, lighting, substrate, fish, plants, chemicals, etc. keep it simple, stupid! When I've lived where I have hard water, I kept Rift lake cichlids, now I live where I have extremely soft and acid water, so I went with Amazonian fish. A varied diet, good mechanical and biological filtration, some ferts for plants, and regular water changes are all that is needed for a successful aquarium.
 

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I started with a 2 gallon fish bowl and a goldfish. Very quickly my fish got sick and that's when I started realizing the big responsibility of caring for a fish. It never once occurred to me that water quality was a big deal nor the idea of having proper sized tank for my fish. Little by little I got my information correct and thought of cycling to grow bacteria to help neutralizing waste product was amazing.

Then I bought my first plant (amazon sword) and hands down it was much better than any silk plant. I was hooked. Then I moved into a 50G with 4 goldfish and a ton of plants. Every nite I watch my little water world and it is very satisfying to know my little Eco system can almost run on its own.

It's also very rewarding to figure out the glitches along the way...where's the algae coming? Why is the plant melting? I enjoy being the master maker to my little bit of the kingdom.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here is the inspiration for this threads title. It is a creative thinking puzzle to help you think outside the box..
http://www.brainstorming.co.uk/puzzles/ninedotsnj.html

I believe each and every one of us can talk about a time we changed our position on a topic related to this hobby. How that change in opinion forever influenced our success in this hobby.

I believe that to have a successful aquarium you must have a strong opinion about methods based on evidence, and be willing to change your opinion about these methods frequently based on stronger evidence.

So what's your story. What evidence turned on the light bulb in your tank? Now I know there are many, many examples each of us can site. What I am looking for is the first one you can remember. The one that started the domino effect that continues today. I am hoping that these examples can help turn the light bulb on for the others...
 

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For years I had your run of the mill tank. 29 gallon with fake plants and random fish. Never thought anything different. About 7 years ago I moved near a bigger city that had speciality pet stores. I went and checked out a LFS that specialized in fish and nothing else. What I saw blew me away. Planted tanks all over the place. I spent hours in their just staring at these tanks. Mine looked so pathetic compared to these. Within months I upgraded to a 75 and went with real plants and it has blown up since.
 

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For me, the game changing event was when I saw my first Amano book. I bought the rest of the TFH books and I was convinced that FW had no apologies to make to SW. I have never equaled Amano's work, obviously, but he has inspired me.
Thanks,
Dave
 

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I tried keeping plants in my tank a while back giving it high light, co2, etc, etc. I have all the test kit I could muster but all they do is die on me so I gave up. Then a visit to my LFS and I noticed that they just dump all their plants in the tank one on top of the other and no lighting just the light from the ceiling (not bright at all). So I went home, dismantled all my hightech gadget and tossed some plant in. Guess what? I never lost a plant since. More often hobbyist overcomplicate things when the best solution is to simplify.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
More often hobbyist overcomplicate things when the best solution is to simplify.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery is quoted as saying "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."


If you leave a bowl shaped object in the yard it will eventually fill with dirt and water, and in no time be teaming with life.
 
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