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Lessons from the journal...

Tannin Aquatics

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Some thoughts on better aquarium keeping are always in order, right? I mean, we practice this art with tremendous effort and expense, so it's nice to glean a few things that can be helpful to others. 

I keep a journal of all sorts of absurdly obscure aquarium stuff...have forever. Some of the information I recorded didn't lead to any revelations. Some did result in some interesting information. I look at a ton of aquarium and aquarists, not just my own, and am always looking for little "pearls of wisdom" from them. There are some interesting things I've gleaned from it over the decades. I've made some conclusions based on many of these observations.

 Here are a few that you might find, well- interesting!



1: Practice Diversity on multiple levels in a community aquarium.

What strikes me most about many community aquariums is their refreshing diversity. They feature a complete range of life forms, such as fishes, plants, and even invertebrates. These aquariums are lush, and make no apologies for the complex growth of plants. Just like in nature, these systems incorporate life forms that provide beneficial collateral benefits for their inhabitants, such as food, shelter, and nutrient export.  Well-stocked community aquariums are beautiful systems that are a visual delight, affording many opportunities to see examples of the endless variety of aquatic life forms.



2: Green is Good!

It seems to me that most hobbyists, in our frenzy to get rid of algae at all cost from our reef systems, have banished them. In many natural systems, they are front and center.  With the unique substrates now available, consisting of more nutrient-rich materials than we have traditionally used in aquariums, there is a very  positive impact on the growth of plants and algae. And of course, with botanicals, the biofilms and algae are an integral part of the web of life i the aquarium. Just like in nature.


And that's not a bad thing, really. I wish that more hobbyists would see the real beauty of algae, and embrace them when they make an appearance. Like so many things in nature and in aquariums, they are harmless in small quantities, useful in larger quantities, and invasive in huge quantities, so care must be taken to strike a balance. As long as they do not smother other life forms in the aquarium, your algae can provide aesthetic and functional benefits, such as nutrient export, supplemental food sources, and an attractive alternative to the “pristine" aquarium featuring only plans, rock, and wood. (click to read more)

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