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Well, my opinion is that the planted aquarium people have not yet developed the hobby into a thoroughly scientific process.

A lot has been accomplished but wherever you go you get people complaining about various problems and other people saying “try this.” This is not meant as a criticism of the people who are trying to build planted aquaria or those helping them but this is not how to develop the hobby.

If this hobby were well developed scientifically, there would be formulae for building perfect aquarium. They would be detailed like this:

Equipment List:
1 20 gal tank All-Glass Model 108 or equivalent
1 45 gal/hour canister filter Fluval model 105 or equivalent
20 lbs. substrate Eco complete or equivalent
etc.
etc.

Plant list
12 Corkscrew val.
2 Amazon Swards
etc.

Fish list
5 Cardinal Tetra
2 Axelrod’s cats
etc.


Directions:
Wash down tank with 10 % bleach and rinse thoroughly with tap water
Add substrate sloping so that back is higher than front
Etc.
.......
Set lights for 12 hours on and 12 hours off
Etc.
.......
Add 5 ml of fertilizer solution A every day
Etc.
......
Feed fish 1 pinch of dry food A on Monday morning
Feed fish 1/4 cube of frozen brine shrimp on Monday evening
Etc.
......

The idea is to give ENOUGH DETAIL; so that anyone who follows the formula will succeed. This is the essence of science. Everyone who reproduces your experiment should get the same results.

If you think this is ridiculous, you have to understand that there are people around where I live in the New York City area who have such formulae and they make a pretty good living setting up aquaria in offices and homes that never fail. That is the level of science that the hobby needs.

Now I don’t mean that these formulae aquaria are the right aquarium for everyone. I’d surely like to try different plants and fish but the point is these “standard plans” should give you a 99.9% chance of success and making slight changes should not result in an out of control condition.

The idea is to have a well defined and attainable starting point that people can branch off from. This will give new people two things: a path to success and an estimate of the needed time commitment to the project.
 
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