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

Hi Troy,

I agree with almost everything you say. I also have
over 30 years of "practical" aquarium keeping
(Although many have argued the "Practical" part:-)).

If it works and your results can back it up then does
it really matter if you can explain why and back it up
by peer reviewed scientific publications, nope. 

Yes, scientific minds are always trying to prove or
disprove a theory that is what science is all about,
but the key is always reproducibility. If you can
reproduce something under a controlled environment it
is impossible to argue even though you may not be able
to explain why or how.

However, you also say " I don't claim to know why
Amano is having the  problems with his substrates
 he seems to be saying he is"

I disagree, you seem to be saying he is having
problems not him. Amano treats his apparently
inorganic substrate in the same way we treat an
enriched substrate. He replaces it. Just like we would
a soil based tank. This is not a problem for him.

Cation Exchange Capacity may or may not be a good
measure for us to rate a substrate. It certainly is
not the only criteria. If it was there would be a lot
more folks using cat litter.

 What if there is a finite amount of FE or another
trace element in the gravel that leaches out over time
and then it is gone. In a substrate feeding - water
column lean approach this would make sense.

The bottom line is that many aquarists feel the same
way as you substrate if working properly is covered by
plants. Who cares if it is brick red. 

Amano is an artist the substrate is a critical part of
his artistic medium. More so recently with his open
substrate works. If he can find or make a substrate
that gives the visual impression in color, hue,
particulate size and give him good plant growth even
if only for a limited time then to him and many others
it is just not a problem for them to change it every
two years.

I will also tell you that many of the tanks you see in
the aquascaping contests are under a year old. Many
under 6 months. Many of last years award winning tanks
have already been completely redone again. 

That being said my planted tanks use flourite or
eccocomplete and have been set up for 2-7 years
continuously. Planned obsolescence is not something I
like in a planted tank. Like your tanks mine are set
up with the intention of keeping them going.

However, I like the color of Amano's substrates and
will likely buy some in the near future for my next
tank. However, I won't be replacing it in two years. 

Like you Troy I think that if I can grow plants in it
for two years that I can make up any nutrient
deficiencies through water column ferts and FE tabs or
Jobes Spikes, etc in the substrate. If the substrate
has the ability to support plants for two years any
micro that leeches out can be replenished as long as
you know what it is. 

I guess the you could put some of the substrate in a
tank of distilled water and test it over time to see.
I will see for myself after the tank has been set up
for a few years. Time will tell.

Amano is getting good results with his system which is
comprised of more than just the substrate. Others  use
a Sears Conlin- Tom Barr modified approach. If his
system works even though he is apparently throughing
out substrate then why knock it. 

His is just a different approach and the results that
this approach gets are difficult to argue with aren't


Larry Lampert
--- Troy E Hendrickson <t_hendrickson@qwest.net>
> 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
> situations.
> 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.
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