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It seems as though there is a disdain among some in the hobby for any "higher end" product, which I just don't understand. How many times, especially on other forums, when you see anything ADA mentioned does someone invariably make a derogatory comment toward the products or even Amano himself.
 

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@ Margit- I feel the need to respond to your post. My responses are in blue. I will quote your line first and then respond

..this whole discussion centres around a very strange argument: commitment is proportionate to the amount of money spent (the size of the diamond is an accurate measure of love, right?)...

Wrong - the question was not how committed you are to the hobby by show of $$$ spent. It was why are people willing to shell out the $$$ in salt water but not freshwater? Why is there such availability of species flora and fauna in the SW side but not FW side? Usually that comes down to the profitability margin because without the demand there is not supply. If it costs to stock it and bring it in then people have to be willing to buy it.

you need advanced technology to have a "nature" tank...

No one ever said this. We have an entire forum dedicated to "el natural" style methodology. This discussion wasn't necessarily about a "nature" tank, just FW scapes in general. I'm not even sure there is an official definition of a "nature" tank.

When I read some tank journals, inspiration invariably comes from landscapes or fairy tales ("enchanted forest"); seems none of the scapers ever went through the trouble to study biotopes or put on a set of goggles to take a good look around under water.

I don't think these type of aquascapes claim to be biotopes. Why would you assume that they are lacking in education about them?

There is nothing wrong with wanting a showy, albeit unnatural planted tank; some people prefer sculptured boxwood to a garden that's running wild. And so need CO2 and fancy lighting. It's legitimate to do so - but it's not the height of the hobby... and when the beautiful technology breaks down (failed valve), you've gassed your fish to death...

I'm not sure what is at the "height of the hobby". I do know that the aquascape winners are using the fancy equipment. Most that use CO2 have many fail-safe's built into their setups. For me I have a double guage regulator to prevent end of tank dump, a Ph controller and even then I never turn my CO2 higher than it could hurt my fish EVEN if it were continuously running. No one wants to hurt their fish or livestock. Mistakes can happen, even in a set-up like yours.

... Again, if it floats your boat, it's legitimate. But it doesn't mean that you've arrived at the pinnacle of the hobby or that you're setting standards. All it means that there exist many ways to skin a cat, some with technology, others with little or none. But don't take money as a yardstick for seriousness... and do take a minute to consider the ecological costs... chances are that your set up is sustainable only as long as the friendly neighbourhood nuclear plant doesn't blow up...

This is your 2nd use of "it's legitimate" and then you end up with the ecological costs, neighborhood nuclear plant... It's quite clear in your tone that you do not think it's legitimate. We could go on and on about ecology and personal beliefs but this discussion is not about that. Also since you missed the premise of the discussion NOT being about commitment to hobby = $$$ spent you are off topic. No one is trying to decide a winner here or set standards. This is just a discussion

Finally, I have spent months thinking about how I can run a successful tank that is sustainable in an environment, where I can't take a steady supply of electricity for granted. I now use sunlight only, a heater for those chilly Nairobi nights and a circulation pump. My tank is locally made. No filtration; instead, I rely on plants. If there should be no electricity for a month, my tank will still provide a stable environment. Before y'all preach technology, try a bit harder catching up on ecology...

Good for you. I'm glad you have achieved your goal. No one faults you or would want to take this away from you. This was not a thread about preaching technology to sacrifice ecology, which seems to be what you espouse. For me it's more about what amazing availability there is in other countries of flora and fauna and why we don't have it in the US when we do have a high standard of living. What is it that keeps it from this country? Many have said it it that the $$$ aren't there to sustain the availability. I think you missed the point. You sound angry and judgmental. I love the diversity. I don't keep or have biotopes. It's not because I don't know about them. It's not because I think they are inferior. I want to enjoy as many species of things as I can in my spaces. I don't expect you to be me. I'm glad you are happy. I don't want to be forced to be you either. We can all be ourselves and enjoy the hobby.
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Amen.
 

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The thing that stands out to me about the tanks maintained by Bubbles Aquariums are what we consider insane amounts of light and what seems like very low CO2 levels. The one linked by Niko has over 300 watts of T5HO on a 120cm tank with a CO2 bubble rate of 3 bps. Also noticed they use some sort of bacteria fortifying additives with each water change.
 
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