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Ecology of the Planted Aquarium [Hardcover]

Diana L. Walstad
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Hardcover CDN $42.22  
Hardcover, June 2003 --  
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Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
As an experienced aquarist with a flair for biotop-aquariums I have a huge library of aquarium and ecology books at home. Most of them are printed with luxury paper and coverage including breathtaking pictures. But very few of them include key information that I exactly need. Can fish food alone cover all the nutrient needs of aquatic plants, if yes how? Do I really need additional CO2 and fertilizers? How can I maintain healthy low-tech natural aquariums free from algae with sun light? What are the most significant bio-chemical reactions that take place in the aquarium gravel & soil and how do they affect the general aquarium ecology, pH, KH, CO2, Iron-levels etc? Do plants really purify water, if yes how and which plants are better purifiers? Why are emergent plants better water purifiers? What does this heavy metal talk mean concretely? Do plants consume ammonia, nitrit and nitrate? Why do they generally prefer ammonia over nitrate? etc... etc...The author of this book apparently anticipated my unanswered questions of past and answered all of them in a step by step manner without a single logical gap. Don't let yourself negatively impressed by the modest look of the book. Its content is perfect!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best Aquarium book I've read Oct. 28 2004
I've read possibly over 100 books on keeping aquariums from all perspectives. The information in this book is real (though possibly exaggerated at times) and the results are real.
The information provided by Walstad was sufficient to allow me to turn a high maintenance hobby into one where fish and plants thrive with minimal work.
I have seen some authors dispute the theories that Diana puts forward, but I have seen nothing practical that supports their opinions either.
The bottom line is people walk into my house and are stunned by the beauty of my tanks, and the truth is, all I do now is add water.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down, took pages of notes. Feb. 28 2004
A few years ago, my brother and I owned pet shops, so I thought that I knew a bit about water chemistry.
This book showed me that I didn't.
So much information that has practical relevance. e.g.:
If pH is quite low, nitrification stops and ammonia takes the form of non-toxic ammonium.
If you raise the pH under these conditions, the ammonium converts to toxic ammonia, and you'll be countin' the floaters!
Want beautiful pictures? buy Takashi Amano.
Want beautiful plant tanks? buy Diana Walstad
One warning!
I found that the soil-underlay method tends to produce a lot of Hydrogen Sulphide (=rotten roots) during the first few weeks.
Don't supplement this type of tank with any Sulphate containing fertilizers! I think I'll try a tank with just a 1/4" of soil, or try soil that's not quite as rich.
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5.0 out of 5 stars best aquarium plant book Feb. 5 2004
By A Customer
Excellent, excellent..
This is a great book, because it doesn't simply repeat "conventional wisdom", or the same stuff that
is in every other book.
Sure, it reads like a science book.. but it's great because everything that Diana claims in the book
is supported by hard evidence/other studies.. So you can see the reason for everything.
Even if you don't know high school chemistry, she breaks it down to such an understandable
level, that it's easy to understand.. Plus, you can skip the chemical reaction formulas if you
wish and just take in the information.
The chapter on algae prevention/control alone is worth the price of the book.
There are no pictures, but you must keep in mind, the purpose of this book is to give information
on how to succeed with a "low tech" approach (no CO2 injection, expensive lights, etc).. The
high tech way works too (I've tried both approaches).. However, even high tech people can
benefit from the information in here.
This is simply the best aquarium book on plants.. period.
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By A Customer
There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been written about this book. The glowing reviews are well-deserved. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Devil's Advocate: "1) It isn't inexpensive, and 2) it is way too complicated."
My responses:
-1) You'll save youself a LOT of money.
I followed the author's EASY steps in chapter XI - "Practical Aquarium Setup and Maintenance" (it's barely over 10 pages long!) and - voilà! I now have aquarium plants (even more difficult ones) THRIVING - not merely surviving or slowly rotting! This may come as a shock to those who've spent a lot of time and money trying to replicate the look of the Dutch or Takashi Amano aquariums (myself included.) But really, all that aquarium plants need is light and - even more importantly - a proper substrate! You don't need to have more equipment than a hospital!
-2) It doesn't HAVE TO be complicated. I simply followed the few, simple, easy steps in chapter XI. Although the underlying mechanisms of the aquarium ecosystem are fascinating, they undeniably are complicated. But you don't need to read the book in its entirety: as the author states, "In order to make the scientific studies more relevant to hobyists, I have interspersed the text with typical or actual 'Questions and Answers.' These Q & A, plus practical discussions at the end of chapters, show how the scientific information applies to hobbyists' aquariums."
So, if you adhere to the "K.I.S.S." (keep it simple) philosophy, this book is for you, and your planted aquarium (that includes the fish) will thrive - even if (like me) you read only chapter XI and the Q & A boxes.
P.S. The book's website...shows pictures of her aquariums.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Information
Really wish I had read this before I set up my tank. Could have saved a lot of money, especially when it comes to buying a lighting system for my tank. Read it!
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars University trained Chemist speaking
Couldnt put it down, makes a lot of sense. Some of the evidence borders on anecdotal, but b/c it is unique it is not widely duplicated and DW could not have been expected to run... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Nonaldehyde
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Superb!
Great information on practical aspects of keeping a "low-tech" planted aquarium. I have both low and high tech planted aquariums, but have found the information in this... Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Philip C. Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word, SUPERB!
Anyone interested in creating a successful planted aquarium definitely needs this book! The author gives very scientific information in regards to the chemistry behind the beauty... Read more
Published on July 29 2003 by Barb D.
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't be FOOLED...
This book is nothing more than a scientific put-down of modern aquariums. Her instructions are exactly the opposite of common beliefs among what she calls "High-tech" aquaria;... Read more
Published on March 13 2003 by Ramin Shafai
4.0 out of 5 stars A good reference
I admit that I'm an information junkie and over the last 15 years have acquired quite a few aquarium plant books. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2002 by R. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally: a really great book!
One of the best books I've ever read. This book is for the professional aquarist; it is certainly not for the beginner who wants book with more photos and less text. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2002 by Yehuda Malul
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
A totally different approach to an aquarium. I tried out her suggestions, the aquarium is incredible! Other than pruning the incredible plant growth, there is nothing to maintain. Read more
Published on Aug. 22 2002
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