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Old 05-18-2008, 01:52 PM   #1
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How did you learn?

Hi. I'm new to planted tanks, and I've been pretty overwhelmed with all the information out there: CO2 regulators, mixing dry ferts, balancing nutrient levels, etc. It seems like many people in this forum have a great deal of knowledge, so my question is: how did you learn? Was a lot of it trial and error?

I recently purchased Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants by Peter Hiscock. It's a great beginner book and I learned a lot. I'm also reading the articles in this forum. Any other suggestions for good books/websites?


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Old 05-18-2008, 03:26 PM   #2
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I learned the bulk of my knowledge through this forum and it's very knowledgeable and helpful members (and a certain degree a couple of other forums) as well as some sites by other hobbiests. I highly recommend checking out the articles on this forum (there's a link at the top of the page or there are direct links through the read this first sticky) as well as Steve Hampton's and Rex Grigg's sites. GWAPA also has some great articles.

After reading up and asking questions, it really was a matter of applying what I'd learned to the aquariums so that it would actually start to make sense. Going from learning about dosing and what plants need, to actually having a feel for it just by looking at what algae are present and the health of the plants.

A couple of my favorite books are Planted Aquariums by Christel Kasselmann and Aquarium Plants by Christel Kasselmann. The first is a great book covering the basics of setting up an aquarium and the second is a great reference on a large number of the plants available in the hobby. Oh yes and the Nature Aquarium World Books are great for eye candy.
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Old 05-18-2008, 03:54 PM   #3
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Same here. I learned the little bit I know from this forum and from a local aquatic plants club here in my area.

Read, read, read, ask lots of questions up front. Then, there's always a trial and error period. Through all that, you'll realize you learned more than you thought you did during the research, and it'll all start to click.
In the DC Metro Area? Check out GWAPA and WAMAS
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Old 05-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #4
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I read for about 6 months, got the tank. Got everything wrong. Read more. Then a year later, roughly know what i'm doing.

But hey, i figure you are learning a new hobby so these things take time.

My advice, start slow. It costs less that way.

Best Regards,

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Old 05-19-2008, 12:09 PM   #5
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...is how I learned.
Thank you so much for all your help. I'm back into the hobby with a new vigor!

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Old 05-19-2008, 02:09 PM   #6
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I worked at a horrid lfs and learned what not to do very quickly. We learn by failure
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Old 05-19-2008, 06:29 PM   #7
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I grew up with tanks and live plants--for the more complicated, high maintanence stuff--forums
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Old 05-19-2008, 08:42 PM   #8
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I learned a lot, a LOT through forums, this one especially. Read a lot, and then like everyone else has said, trial and error. And of course, some things by failure. For examplre I learned NOT to leave the lights on for 3 days by going away for 3 days and having my roommate forget to do the lights for me....now I have timers.
20gH Planted tank, 5g Planted tank
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:37 AM   #9
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I have to say that I got taught what NOT to do by several LFSs. Well, all except one LFS... And this LFS now gets my business almost exclusively.

The rest of my knowledge was learned here on AA and on one other forum for Australian aquarists. Cos a little local knowledge goes a very long way.

Must buy a book or two... but the internet is just far too convenient!
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:16 PM   #10
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I learned from forums mostly. Joined one shortly after I setup my first tank and realized my stocking was all wrong. I then joined many more forums and learned about planted tanks. Then I read a bunch of articles on different sites and read other people's experiences. Through trial and error with my own tanks, I learned even more.
2 planted tanks: 40g, 20g ; 38g Reef tank
My links to pics: 40g breeder planted build, 40g breeder planted update, My 38g Reef Build

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Old 05-28-2008, 02:49 PM   #11
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I asked about 100 questions, collected all the information tried a little of everything from everywhere and eventually got it to work for me. The range of advice given here made it easier to get enough different ideas to make it work for me in a way I wanted to do it.

Many techniques I could not get to work like DIY CO2 and layering substrate. Others were easy for me to make work like adding root tabs in mass to regular gravel to get a good amount of laterite in the gravel to support good plant growth. Eventually I got enough responses on different ways to make what I wanted to do work and I can now grow plants pretty well.
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Research. research, and more research. Then came the trial and error. Nothing drives home a learning experience better than making a mistake.
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:48 PM   #13
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I learned almost everything from the kind talented people of this site. I also read everything on planted tanks I could get my hands on. Next step was to set up and try it for myself. After that it was all trial and error as herefishy said. Screw a few things up and learn how to fix them. Best teacher there is. Once you do a planted tank for awhile you get a feel for it, as Purrbox said. It takes awhile to get there, but it's worth it. I still come home from a tough day and sit and look into my planted tank. The stress of the day just melts away.
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