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Hello all,

DISCLAIMER: Admins, Mods, feel free to squash this thread if you like. People have become somewhat hostile when this topic has been discussed in the past. I'm attempting only to give some updates being that our friends at ADA seem to be carrying some of the Penac line now. Besides, I have my fire extinguisher handy in case I get flamed.;)

I have used some of the Penac products in the past and have had very good results. Better than when I didn't use the products? Hmm...probably. I can tell you I had less algae and the plants were stronger and brighter. Does that mean you should use Penac products? Well, no. What I hope you do is find out more about it. If it's interesting to you, test it out.

I found that Penac has a bad rap because of the "mojo-like" marketing pieces that are out there. One needs to understand that most of that was written for markets where people are much more receptive to such things than the US. Dig deeper and you may be intrigued.

Here is a piece on research that is being done: http://www.nuferscience.ch/www-support/reports/dossier_e.pdf. This website also has decent English descriptions: http://www.organicsa.co.za/Products/Penac/penac.html.

Lastly, look into the use of organics and minerals in hydroponic culture.
 

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Im not gonna flame here but people have tested this product as useless and pure hocus pocus. Do I have data from the test. no. I think Tom barr gave it a go and pretty much proved its nonsense. Not positive it was him though, but I do know that he knows his stuff and he doesnt think it does a damn thing, and thats good enough for me. If you can tell me how it works then Ill listen, until then, you may be better off sacrificing live chickens to the aquatic plant gods then waste money on this. :tinfoil3:
 

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Hey, thanks for the comment TFML! Didn't have to use the extinguisher!

With all due respect to Mr. Barr or whoever did the testing, perhaps we can think through this a little bit and see about finding some valuable nuggets of truth/fact that we can use. Mind you, I don't have a vested interest in anyone buying the Penac products. I do have a vested interest in helping to expand the boundaries of this hobby.

Allow me to share my perspective from many years in this hobby. I have come to realize that there is still MUCH we don't know about aquatic plants and their long-term cultivation in the aquarium. I would suggest to you that we can always try to better understand by studying how these plants grow in nature.

In nature, most aquarium plants grow in what is now being termed "Living Soil." That is, the soil they grow in is full of organisms (fungi, bacteria, worms, etc.) some of which are very important for cycling key nutrients. We have no clue what others do. However, we do know that plants grown in living soil do much better than plants grown in inorganic or non-living soil.

In addition to the substrate ecosystem, living soil is rich in minerals that provide both major and minor nutrients. These nutrients play an important role in long-term plant development in conjunction with the substrate ecosystem. The soil becomes a nutrient storehouse for plants.

One of the Penac products, as our friend quite rightly pointed out, is very similar to bentonite. Bentonite is used as kitty litter because of its capacity to absorb but it is also used as a very beneficial amendment to soil to enrich it. It's mineral composition is very interesting for plants. It's cation exchange capacity is also very beneficial as it functions as a nutrient storehouse for plants.

So, if I took the sterile substrate that we typically use for our aquariums and sprinkled bentonite (or a substance that will increase it's CAC and provide a series of minor nutrients), is this a bad thing? I think not. What I would be doing is helping to transform my sterile substrate into a nutrient storehouse for my plants and providing for the long-term success of the aquarium.

What do you think? Good alternative to sacrifices to the plant gods?
 

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Hey Art, I will bring the chicken, you do the honors of yanking its head off and swinging it around while chanting "grow plants, grow plants, grow!":rolleyes:

Seriously, what we do in our tanks is much more related to what farmers do in their fields than to what nature does in the wild. And, many years of agriculture research certainly does mean that there is very little that is not understood about growing plants. I don't know a lot or understand half of what I do know about growing plants, but the knowledge is out there. Even aquatic plant growing is well understood - rice farmers do grow aquatic plants.

I know nothing about Penac. When rice farmers flock to it I will join them.
 

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Tom barr gave it a go and pretty much proved its nonsense.
Oh it must be garbage if Tom Barr says it is, after all his opinion is the only one that matters! Hail the Barr nation!

What is Penac supposed to do Art? I seem to remember the last time it was discussed the explanations were rather vague. There is also a big USA corporation that uses it as a water sewage treatment product if I remember correctly.

So, if I took the sterile substrate that we typically use for our aquariums and sprinkled bentonite (or a substance that will increase it's CAC and provide a series of minor nutrients), is this a bad thing? I think not. What I would be doing is helping to transform my sterile substrate into a nutrient storehouse for my plants and providing for the long-term success of the aquarium.
That part makes perfect sense. Increasing CEC and adding another source of minerals. Nobody seems concerned about CEC any more though, (you said CAC, I presume that was a typo) and there are lots of ways to add minnerals. Even the use of soil is somehow not enough for a source of minerals without "mineralizing" the soil. That is the current fad. Is that over kill? People don't seem to think so. Would adding Penac to increase CEC and minerals be overkill?

About those rice farmers, www.cgiar.org/pdf/10_cn_ait.pdf look at the second page, third paragraph. The use of bentonite to increase yields.
Hoppy, step out of the Barr box for a moment! ;)
 

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Hey Robert,

Stepping out of the way of your Barr comments.

My point is that some of the Penac products are being used today in many areas. Unfortunately, because of the marketing they've had, it's become mumbo jumbo to English-speaking aquarists.

And, yes, I meant CEC. It is important if we are planning our aquariums on a long-term basis. If your focus is on aquascaping and taking a picture a few months out then redoing it, you don't need to take a long-term view.
 

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Bentonite is a clay. Penac is???? Clay has long been known to be good for plants, and is a component of any good loam soil. I use silt collected from the river behind my condo, as a lower level of my substrate, largely for the rich clay in it. Laterite is another form of clay, also good as a lower level of the substrate. I have been experimenting with zeolite sand as part of a substrate, thinking its super high CEC might give some benefits. But what the heck is Penac?

Robert: it's cozy in the Barr box.:D
 

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I think if ADA was more open about what it is or how to use it folks would be more willing to try it. I think I have seen a translation where it says something about Makes plants happy or adds Earth goodness, something along those lines. Until I know what it is and is supposed to do, its not going in my tanks!
 

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Art, you are speaking of CEC, as well as bacterial and fungal interactions. These things are very important for healthy growth of plants, without a doubt.

Looking over your links, they refer to "holographic data transfer" that allows bodies of water to become healthy by "reminding" them of their healthy state.

Could you explain how the two are related?
 

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:hand: I was trying to ue Tom Barr as an example of an expert....didnt go over so well i guess :der: Anways I was being partially sarcastic and am open to new ideas but I would require an explanation as to what it actually does, as tom barr did give an explanation was to why it didnt work.
 

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:hand: I was trying to ue Tom Barr as an example of an expert....didnt go over so well i guess :der: Anways I was being partially sarcastic and am open to new ideas but I would require an explanation as to what it actually does, as tom barr did give an explanation was to why it didnt work.
I don't think that went over badly. Some people agree with Tom on most of his ideas and others don't. Like many people who really do know a ton about what they say, he can have a short fuze when people disagree with him.
 

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Geez Art, are you bored or what?

As I understand it, some guy somewhere in Asia "invented" a "machine" that produces magic pixie dust called Penac. As I recall, it's supposed to align the "energy" of the molecules or some similar explanation. Per my own knowledge of science, physics, and biology, it's 100% pure hogwash. Mostly what the machine does is make money for its snake-oil owner.

Now, the same sort of thinking lies behind magnetic bracelets, weigh-loss formulas, and 99% of the other non-FDA approved human "supplements" sold on TV. As a scientist, I can's see any merit in it beyond the ability to take advantage of gullible people with money to throw around. Many people swear by all sorts of nonsense "miracle cures". The placebo effect and one's desire to see a benefit that doesn't exist cannot be underestimated - especially in a desperate person.

People in Asia will call me naive, out of touch with nature, and insensitive to my inner energy whatchamacallit.

Whatever.
 

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See what I mean, still no explanation on how it actually works. As soon as I Start hearing words like "aligning energy" then I know its nonsense. Its not thinking outside the box that is the problem, its actually finding something useful while your out there.
 

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Hey, thanks for the replies all. That's what I like to see, some real passion about the subject.

Lets see. First, don't get stuck on the english translations. They are garbage and geared to a different part of the world where 80% of the people practice tai chi. I don't want to get into a discussion as to whether tai chi is good for you because it centralizes you chi and improves your body's flow of energy. In the US, this type of thinking doesn't go over well (yet...). However, can we not agree that tai chi has some real benefits (tangible, perhaps?) that we can agree with (e.g., relaxation, focus, etc.)?

Similarly, Penac products (German engineered, btw) are tagged with a lot of mysticism that we are not accustomed to. However, most of the products do have some tangible benefits we can measure and appreciate. For example, Penac W is essentially a type of bentonite clay that, when added to your substrate, will increase it's CEC and add needed micro nutrients/minerals. Penac K adds minerals plus organics.

In my opinion, what Penac has done is taken items that are very beneficial and sprinkled some marketing pixie dust on them in order to sell more of them in certain parts of the world. That doesn't work here.

Likewise, ADA initially had marketing mumbo-jumbo on all their products. I had a hell of a time trying to translate their catalogue and product instructions because they focused on harmony, balance and nature rather than on hard facts about what they contained. It's the same thing here.
 

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Yeah, it's probably a cultural clash as much as anything. Scientists universally have a hard time understanding beliefs and opinions that are not founded in facts and figures. Of all of the planted aquarium ideas that we've borrowed from the Germans and Japanese, this stuff is at the bottom of the list.
 

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When rice farmers flock to it I will join them.
well, then why don't rice farmers use Naphthalene 3-acetic acid on thier crops? its effects on root elongation, and nutrient absorption is well documented and understood. so why don't they use it?
for the same reason most farmers don't grow terrestrial crops hydroponically.
1. Perceived Cost
2. Tradition
3. Lack of good information.
 

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Most farmers in today's world, at least in the USA, are corporations, looking for profits above everything else. They use whatever will maximize their profits. Rice farming here in California is a massive corporate business, where I'm sure tradition and lack of good information is not in the picture at all. UC Davis is a major agricultural college, located almost next door to the rice fields, so good information is very available to those corporations. Cost considerations are another matter, of course, and may be what keeps innovations from being adopted. Our little "farms" aren't nearly as constrained by cost considerations.
 

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i went to an ag school (cal poly slo), studied ag for 2 years before i switched my major to botany. today i work with farmers supplying all kinds of materials, i also do transportation for them. i work next door to farmers whom ive known personally for years, and talked about farming a lot. my point is, there are not enough farmers out there trying new methods of ag here in the US for other farmers to compare yields to, or to do a really excellent cost analysis. lastly, most of the farmers i know run thier own land. they are recommended to grow one thing or another, but in the end its thier decision what to grow and how to do it. and the problem is, most large manufacturers (heinz)doesn't really consider quality of the produce, they only consider raw tonnage. so, how is a farmer who takes the time=$ supposed to recoup his expenses when the consumer doesn't factor in the thing making his crops more expensive? its a lose lose.

same goes for us plantedtank keepers. when a new product comes on the market, most are skeptical about weather or not to try it cause we have at least had marginal success without it. we see no need to spend more money for a product that may only marginally improve the tank. but, if you really are after the ultimate tank with lush growth and no algae for years at a time, possibly other factors should be considered.
 

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Well I'm a scientist and I have to admit that the world is a lot more complicated than anything science can predict.

There is a lot of interest recently in the power of prayer in medicine. The classic study was done in 1999. Here is a reference:

http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/159/19/2273

If prayer can improve the outcome of cardiac patients, I'm not surprised that penac can help plants.

OK here is a suggestion. Set up two identical aquariums. In the first, control all the inputs as carefully as you can but don't use penac. In the second, do the exact same thing but use penac. Report your results periodically. If there is a difference, note what it is. This way everyone can repeat what you did and decide for themselves if penac works.
 
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