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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How did I find APC? That is a long story!

I actually found it by "googling" Diana Walstad.

I have recently (last month) gotten interested in having aquaria because of the tanks I have seen created by Takashi Amano. When I saw his aquaria I was simply amazed and delighted. I had no idea that aquaria could look like that. I even ordered his Volume 2 book to drool over his designs. Since I am a landscape designer, his work is particularly meaningful to me.

However! Once I began to dig deeper into the whole Amano method, the more I was put off by all of the gadgets and expense. Was all this necessary I asked myself? Why, for instance (I asked biologist self) did one need to add carbon dioxide to the aquarium water? CO2 is what fishes give off! Where else in Nature do plants get CO2? Substrates, yes. And?? In other words, isn't the word "nature" in Amano's business and books sort of a misnomer? If anything, his creations are very, very ARTIFICIAL not natural.

Now, how this perception led me to Diana Walstad I cannot say, although I did see her book on amazon as I was looking around for different books on aquatic plants and aquaria. Her approach really was natural! But it also seemed to me to produce rather typical and not very elegant aquascapes. If I had seen Walstad's aquaria before Amano's I would not even be sitting here right now on this forum! I had aquaria like her's when I was a kid and that was all I wanted of that kind of aquarium.

Amano's aquaria were an EPIPHANY! Yes, but not really within my capabilities or desires. Too much equipment and cost. Walstad's aquaria were "under-whelming" yes, but made sense.

So, where am I now? Well I still do not have a single aquarium. The one quasi-aquarium that I did set up was a glorified goldfish bowl (1.5 gallons) into which I put one Myriophyllum pinnatum into some natural gravel I mined here locally. It is now "disassembled" as I contemplate using a soil based lower substrate level. I have one Anubius barteri 'Nana' coming by mail (hopefully not arriving frozen!) and my Myriophyllum lays on its side in some water. No fish ever entered the equation. (I had planned on putting in a betta until I discovered that the highest temp I could get for that glass bowl without a heater was 68d F.). If I do reconstruct the glass bowl I may try some guppies in that cool water.

Anyway, I can say that I am glad that I did my "homework" before going out and buying an aquarium and some fish! Instead I have spent about $75 on books: Amano's Vol. 2, the Walstad, an "Amano-esque" type entitled The Natural Aquarium by Yoshino and Kobayashi, and Freshwater Aquariums for Dummies! I also have gotten much useful info from The 101 Best Aquarium Plants by Sweeney and Freshwater Aquarium Models by Tullock - these both borrowed from my local library.

At this point I need to find a time when I am not working and when my local aquarium store is open (two apparently diametrically opposed time frames). I have already made the rounds of the Petcos and Petsmarts, where there are some surprisingly well-informed folks and some surprisingly ignorant folks as well. But we do have one real aquarium store here run by one woman who has been doing aquaria for decades. I want to ask her opinion of the "high tech" vs. "low tech" approaches before I go one step further.

Meanwhile I have already gotten some very good info to add to my store from this forum.
Thanks, Breck in Spokane

P.S. Quick question: why are some folks' posts' titles bold and others, like mine, not?
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