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Re: [AGA-Member] RE: AGA-Member Digest, Vol 13, Issue 11

First let me say I am not a scientist, what I've learned comes from over 20
years of practical fish keeping, the last ten with more emphasis on plants.
I say this simply because I tend to skip over lengthy articles focusing on
laboratory science and studies, especially when the results are seemingly at
odds with my own experiences. Aquairum keeping is one of those areas where
experience is as valid as scientific study seemingly, which is not to
discount your knowledge, simply to say that what happens in a lab can not
explain everything and there are exceptions to virtually any rule,
especially when one considers that for any study to be applied to the hobby
overall, one would have to assume that every tank is virtually identical to
the study subject, obviously this is not the case. Scientific minds seem all
too eager to discount anecdotal evidence (real world experience) unless it
can be explained, I subscribe to the idea that if it works, it has merit and
perhaps we don't neccessarily need to know how or why it works, as long as
we accept that like science, it might not neccessarily work in all

I don't claim to know why Amano is having the problems with his substrates
he seems to be saying he is, again, I don't know what he uses, what it's
properties are or for that matter where he gets it, all need to be
considered obviously, but the reality is his experiences can not be applied
to someone elses methods if they aren't using the same set up and science
certainly does not profess to have duplicated every nuance amongst tanks in
order for it say this can work or can't work. I say my system is working,
you can't refute it, nor can I tell you why it works, I have ideas why, but
I haven't the time nor the inclination to question why or why not, that's
where my enjoyment level tends to suffer, my goal is to grow healthy plants,
I have and continue to succeed in that endeavor.

I'm not saying Amano is wrong, just that others don't seem to be having the
problems he is experiencing and perhaps instead of trying to discount what
others have experienced simply because it goes against conventional wisdom
and "science", our efforts may be better spent determining why what some are
doing works and how it can be adapted into other systems.

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Apsley" <japsley@msn.com>
To: <aga-member@thekrib.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 2:20 AM
Subject: [AGA-Member] RE: AGA-Member Digest, Vol 13, Issue 11

> [John Apsley] Responses below...
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 19:06:16 -0500
> From: "Troy E Hendrickson" <t_hendrickson@qwest.net>
> Subject: Re: [AGA-Member] Possibilities of Sozo Haishoku, etc
> To: "Aquatic Gardeners Association Member Chat"
> <aga-member@thekrib.com>
> Message-ID: <001b01c58807$dabe9980$0200a8c0@domain.actdsltmp>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Sorry, I disagree, you assume an absence of oxygen in the substrate when
> fact there are both aerobic and anaerobic areas in a healthy substrate.
> Perhaps the question is the primary qualities of the substrate Amano is
> using, in the context of whether or not they are allowing sufficient areas
> of both bacteria to flourish.
> >[John Apsley] If you look at the studies done with substrate, in home
> aquaria without UGF systems, the oxygen in the substrate is very low. It
> not an assumption. In the case where anaerobic bacteria dominate, you get
> great deal of BOD. BOD and remediation, two areas that are valuable for us
> all to study. Studies clearly show that yes, there is oxygen in
substrate -
> AT THE VERY TOP. As you proceed down the substrate column, it goes more
> more anaerobic - quickly. Hence, the reason why roots have adapted to low
> oxygen levels, and the reason why so many creatures like worms have a
> critical niche they fill. All this is the strategic reason why hydroponic
> farmers use H2O2, it excites nutrient uptake via the plants' roots quite
> remarkably. All anyone has to do is look at SW studies, studies done on FW
> by limnologists, hydroponic studies, and long held principles of
> and sewage treatment. All must oxygenate heavily because otherwise the
> substate will go anaerobic locking up waste (i.e., keeping it
> bio-unavailable).
> On the other hand, if you want to keep your substrate forever, DO keep it
> anaerobic so the roots can only grab onto the substrate's nutrients very
> slowly. Increasing the oxygen in the substrate will deplete the substrate
> much more quickly unless you are re-fertilizing it somehow. If you were
> now setting up a tank with a nutrient rich substrate, and then still grew
> nice plants 18 years later, I promise you one thing - if you analyze
> left in the 18 year old substrate, most of the original nutrients would be
> long gone. One must put new fertilizer back in, or conserve the removal
> the substrate by feeding the plant foliage (stomata). There is no way
> this my friend.
> By the way, you talk in general terms regarding what Amano is using. Has
> one seen the breakdown of the nutrients in Amano's substrate? How is this
> the same or different from what you are using? What is his plant density,
> what is his fish population compared to yours? What is his depth of
> substrate, what is his light intensity, etc....A lot could be gleaned
> High intensity lights necessitate a rapid source of nutrients (in this
> from his substrate). As I said before, context is everything.
> Troy: Certainly there is sufficient anecdotal evidence amongst hobbyists
> show that a proper substrate can be healthy for many years with no
> impact on the aquarium.
> [John Apsley] Anecdotal evidence is the tricky thing. It says a lot, but
> one knows for sure what it means. I like to combine both together, science
> and the anecdotal reports. Walking cautiously on the anecdotal reports
> no science behind it, and walking confidently with strong science behind
> IN CONTEXT. As I said, there are ways to enrich substrate that if not
> quantified, someone can go around claiming no loss of plant growth with 18
> year old substrate. But what did they do during tank maintenance all those
> years??? Silence....Fish food residues are high in nitrogen and potassium,
> fish waste, dead fish, plant waste, but the key is recycling, and that
> energy and oxygen. The organic farmers are experts in this field. And they
> still need lots of manure to refertilize their fields, lots of compost,
> of planting and then burying whole nutritious plants like buckwheat, LOTS
> WORMS, etc...
> In context, Amano is growing his plants and pushing their photosynthetic
> function to high limits "through nourishing their roots", not their
> This suggests some interesting possible strategies in addition to
> outcompeting the algae - is Amano keeping the roots extremely well fed so
> can lessen other foliage demands on feeding so that his plant's foliage
> becomes dedicated to photosynsthesis, pearling, and pigmentation vibrance
> only? I haven't got a clue, but it is an interesting thought. Now I know
> many achieve pearling, but his way works in a consistent, reproducible and
> superior manner.
> Most of us can conserve the substrate better by (1) feeding plant foliage
> and (2) by using substrates that dissolve more slowly. But this is not the
> effect Amano has found to be what he is looking for. He wants a rapid,
> consistent response. He wants his roots dedicated to what they are
> to do, to feed. He wants his plants' leaves to shine, really shine, and
> that's it. The point is his works, as does yours in the context of what
> grow and what he grows, and what yours and his both look like over a
> exact time frame.
> To reiterate - Even for those who have substrates for 18 years unchanged,
> nutrient base was added during this time, and perhaps a homeostasis
> with (1) fish detritus, (2) fish food, (3,4 & 5) bacterial, plant and fish
> carcasses, (6) some plant fertilizer, (7) water repletion, and (8) not too
> high of a lighting intensity in stark contrast to what Amano uses. Anyone
> with 18 years experience with the same substrate, unchanged in the same
> aquarium, who uses 800watts per square meter surface area intensity in
> tanks??? I doubt it. This is all about context, and the problem with
> conjecture out of context.
> With high fish populations and high plant density, something is going to
> used up. Substrate is one source. But adding anything into the tank that
> fertilizer value can enter into the tank's nature recycling process. My
> point was, as yours, you can keep a substrate going, and build it up, if
> there is enough new enrichment coming in plus oxygen to render the BOD
> reusable... no assumptions.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Erik Olson" <erik@thekrib.com>
> To: <aga-member@thekrib.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 5:11 PM
> Subject: [AGA-Member] Possibilities of Sozo Haishoku, etc
> ------------------------------
> Message: 4
> Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:18:41 -0500
> From: richard goodkind <goodk001@tc.umn.edu>
> Subject: Re: [AGA-Member] Possibilities of Sozo Haishoku, etc
> To: Aquatic Gardeners Association Member Chat <aga-member@thekrib.com>
> Message-ID: <F2A150B6-9E73-4ABE-9A5D-9090E25C8805@tc.umn.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=WINDOWS-1252; delsp=yes;
> format=flowed
> Richard wrote :
>      Your comments were quite interesting. Would you mind telling me
> where you purchase your H2O2 and what is the recommended dosage you
> use to avoid killing your fish and plants? Appreciate your feedback!
> ------------------------------
> Message: 5
> Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:42:48 -0500
> From: Cheryl Rogers <cheryl@wilstream.com>
> Subject: Re: [AGA-Member] Possibilities of Sozo Haishoku, etc
> To: Aquatic Gardeners Association Member Chat <aga-member@thekrib.com>
> Message-ID: <42D5DF38.5020301@wilstream.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed
> H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide, like you put on cuts to disinfect them. You
> can buy it at any drugstore or grocery store. I have used it
> successfully to kill green fuzz algae without any casualties. I used
> about 15 ml in a 30 gallon tank for 3 days in a row. Dead algae all over
> the place, no dead plants, no dead fish.
> Cheryl
> richard goodkind wrote:
> > Richard wrote :
> >     Your comments were quite interesting. Would you mind telling me
> > where you purchase your H2O2 and what is the recommended dosage you  use
> > to avoid killing your fish and plants? Appreciate your feedback!
> [John Apsley] Cheryl's comments are well stated. However, I would obtain
> H2O2 from the hydroponic sources. They use food grade. Simply dilute it to
> 3%, which is what Cheryl is using. Be very careful handling the stuff, it
> can burn you at the 35% concentrate (food grade). It should cost you
> $45.00 per gallon, which lasts a LONG time. The U.S. Fishery and Wildlife
> people use this stuff to prevent and treat a slew of diseases. 15mg/L is
> quite good for a bath for up to 30 minutes with most tropical fish, like
> guppies. You can use up to 500mg/L in serious disease conditions for some
> fish, but this needs expert attention. If you look on Medline, there are
> about 2 dozen recent articles on this subject. To convert ml into mg,
> by 1000. 1 ml/L H2O2 equals 1000mg/L. Always use 3% H2O2, never use 35%
> directly for anything.
> I use 3% H2O2 in the amount of 0.8oz per 10 gallons. That's around 24
> gallons. I wait for several days before redosing a large community tank
> which is suffering from fin and tail rot or other viral/bacterial/fungal
> problem. Usually I only dose twice weekly for three weeks in such cases.
> However, Cheryl uses a smaller dose with excellent results. She is using
> this perhaps more prophylactically. She uses 1/2 oz per 30 gallons or
> 0.167oz/10 gallons (5ml/10 gallons) once a day for three days straight,
> which is extremely safe. Better to err on the side of less anyway. H2O2
> a half life of 8 to 40 hours, depending on the BOD and DOM in your tank.
> you have a lot of algae, maybe it lasts only a few short hours. Hence,
> Cheryl's strategy is well within these safety parameters.
> John Apsley
> ************
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