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Another question about Gh booster.

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by Tug, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    I know GH boosters wil not raise KH or pH. But, do GH boosters prevent a drop in pH because of the divalent ions present. Do they have any effect on pH? If it is just used as a source for Ca++, Mg++ and K+ I'm fine with that.

    Gesundheit!
     
    #1 Tug, Mar 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2010
  2. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    SO4-- balances the entire thing if I'm not mistaken.

    Don't go asking me about hydrates though; I'm still trying to figure that out.
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Alkalinity & pH

    Hi Tug, Dan, All,

    The generic answer is no, general hardness (GH) has no particular effect on pH. The direct relationship is between alkalinity and pH. If memory serves, alkalinity in pH below 8.3 or 8.5 is mainly carbonate (CO2-3) and above that is bicarbonate (the preferred term these day, is hydrogencarbonate (HCO3-).
    (As always, there exists a more complex answer, but I would be well out of my depth to try to explain.)

    I do not understand the “sulfate balancing it out.” Then, I do not understand many things. :eek:

    I think of hydrates in salts as dilution of the salt. In figuring the amount of Magnesium in solution from Epsom Salt, MgSO4.7H2O, we must subtract the mass of the water and the mass of the sulfate.

    I took a class at a local Community College while back. Among other things, to demonstrate the mass of water in Epsom Salt we carefully weighed then heated the Epsom Salt until it finished sizzling and crackling heated it a little longer then weighed the resultant and like magic, the lost weight was very close to the predicted value of the water. :)

    The other thing that became readily apparent was how hard it is to keep Magnesium sulfate in an anhydrous state, that however is another story. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  4. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Tug is talking about the Ca++, but it's bound to SO4-- as an ionic bond. Think of it this way:
    (+2)+(-2) = 0
    Ca has a couple extra electrons on its outer shell, the molecule SO4 has a couple missing (the S is +6, but the four O's have -2 each), so they have a nice stable bond that doesn't leave any electron shells lacking or excessive. This makes it neutral as far as buffering goes.

    KH is defined as a measurement of carbonate. Carbonates are not the only buffer at play influencing pH; there are many other things that play with pH besides HCO3-. CO2 is the most prevalent one; if it were to stay in solution rather than gassing off, we would all be much more worried about CO2 buffering. As is, NH4 and PO4 tend to mess with it all the most IMO.

    Understanding both of these things is important to understanding ORP. It's not about what just hydrogen or carbon is doing, it's about understanding things like why SO4 might decide to suddenly split off Ca or Mg and what it will bond to depending on everything else around it. ORP is the true function of bonds forming and breaking rather simple contributing factors that we more frequently measure. I keep coming back to the topic as something to read about, and I'm slowly starting to get it.

    The bit I'm not getting with hydrates is more how they interact on a molecular level, rather than how they change fert mixing in terms of measurement. If I couldn't make the mass calculations for it when mixing my stock solutions, I'd be in real trouble ;)
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    No

    Hi Dan, Tug,

    Kind of figured you might know how to figure molar mass. :rolleyes:

    The bond or balance if you wish with Calcium sulfate is why it is so insoluble in water and among the reasons; it makes a great building material. The sulfate indeed balances, binds and becomes part of the lattice. In the case of Calcium sulfate, the sulfate binds with Calcium, as opposed to the water, in the case of Calcium sulfate dihydrate that attaches to but does not become part of the lattice.

    As I say, I guess I do still not understand the original question. :eek:

    Ionic chemicals with cations of a +2 valence will increase GH. Beryllium (Be), Magnesium (Mg), Strontium (Sr), Barium (Ba), Radium (Ra) and Calcium (Ca) have a valence of +2. Iron (Fe) the ferrous form has a valence of +2. Of these we generally only find Calcium and Magnesium in great quantities in water, so they are simply the easiest to manipulate, ferrous iron in this context is a special case, though it will and does increase the general hardness.

    I am again lost with the ORP value comment. Yes, we can and do track them with ORP or ion specific electrodes. The relation to pH yet eludes me.

    I am not trying to be dense it comes naturally to me. :(

    I believe the direct answer to Tug’s original question is no.

    Biollante
     
  6. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    No would indeed be the original answer.

    The ORP thing is completely aside; I'm trying to encourage people to look in this direction. The reason is not so much just for dipping an ORP meter in the column, but rather to encourage everyone to look at water chemistry as a dynamic system. It's too often that the community thinks of dosing as "toss it in, and it's there in the same form until the plants use it or you do a water change."
     
  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I Am So Glad

    Hi Dan, Tug, All,

    I am glad to hear it; I rather wondered where that was going, I get confused rather easily these days. :eek:

    I also think ORP is a wonderful way to understand our systems, but it is off-limits here. :(

    At some point to express water conditions in terms that are relevant to other fields ORP and conductivity numbers are excellent and that includes the water column, the substrate, the filters and even pumps. It is just plain silly to ignore the water column when we spend so much time and effort amending, conditioning, controlling and cursing the water column. :p

    Just as the water treatment, wastewater, aquaculture industry, the reef keepers, even my pool guy have come to use ORP as shorthand to communicate a condition or situation eventually plant folks will as well. Many of the things we as hobbyist use do not require deep understanding, sometimes just an indication or two.

    I was leery when I first started using ORP for my little aquaculture and the hydroponics operation. :)

    I think it is fascinating; the plant guru team disagrees, sometimes in rather colorful language. :(

    Substrate has proved somewhat trickier, yet interesting, now I have some “fermentation” probes that I just leave buried, it is not what I expected and a couple of kind folks are helping me understand (to the degree my limited faculties allow). Truth be told I think maybe the “experts” were caught a little off guard by the results. I think some assumptions have been made and nothing in our little “toy,” aquariums could possibly provide any interesting data. :)

    Sometimes we have to look and search and try things until we observe something interesting, too bad the plant guru team is unable or unwilling to encourage, granted a lot of what a rube such as myself may stand in awe of is no big deal to folks in the field. So be it, this is my hobby, not my profession.

    Remember I am the guy everyone got angry with for suggesting testing is not always a good thing. I still believe that most folks starting out are better served staying away from testing until they can at least grow a couple of noxious weeds that others would pay millions if you could destroy.

    I think these various tools and instruments are a fact, the prices are down in the range of the average hobbyist and we may as well figure them out as the hucksters are already howling.

    Sorry about the rant, not anything I really wish to argue about, just my view. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  8. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    Counting Permutations

    Thank you both,
    There is a lot of information here to review. Something to think about while I eat my order of General Tso's chicken. :p

    Biollante, I can appreciate the difficulty of understanding my question. It is simple on the surface as well as involutary in its complexity, I think. It is probably one of the reasons GH Boosters are used unnecessarily. They are often prescribed for people worried about low pH. I see this a lot, "don't worry about raising your KH, just raise your GH instead." In my mind this suggested some kind of relation ship. My question about divalent ions was trying to hash out any relationship other then the obvious "no" in your reply.

    Philosophos - as soon as you mentioned SO4, I got it. I was hoping GH booster would reduce any effects NH4 has on pH. The very reason some tanks fail and others don't (when all else seams normal) might have something to do with ORP. Probably we don't consider it because water changes and a clean filter solve this problem.

    I have to ask, why GH boosters have so mush potassium if the are basically used to supply calcium and magnesium? Calcium sulfate dehydrate and Calcium sulfate were also mentioned earlier. Which of these tends to be in GH Boosters and why? What about Magnesium?

    Peace, love and understanding. :cool:
     
  9. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you want something to reduce NH4, I'm just starting to look at Sodium hydroxymethylsulfinate and Sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate since they're used in aquasafe and amquel to handle chloramines, which means neutralizing NH4. I'm not sure what the availability of these two compounds is, but if they'd get along with things like GH booster and cichlid salts, it'd be easy to make 2 in 1 products. The toxicity must be a long ways from the necessary levels given how people dose either one.

    For now though, I'm just happy to have a lb of sodium hydrosulfite to play with; it's a dechlorinator, but doesn't take care of the NH4.
     
  10. Brian20

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    The relationship of GH with pH (If it have any) is used largely on Internet. That was my question in other thread. I prove myselft that GH booster not up pH or not is noticeable. If I add The same amount of GH but use Baking soda instead the pH can go very high. Also I think that you can have hard water with low pH. Just Add GH booster check the GH and use CO2 to low the pH (in the case that you have pH7) and you can have pH 6 water with high GH.
     
  11. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    GH has a relation to pH in that Ca and Mg (primarily, there are others) are metal cations, which is what water hardness is a measure of. KH is a measure of HCO3-, which attaches to calcium and magnesium often enough. Anything like CaCO3 is going to hang around in the water as Ca(HCO3)2.

    The biggest mistake I see made is people thinking that all KH is GH, so GH must be greater than KH. Things like NaHCO3 will raise KH but not GH. Situations such as this are not common, but you'll see them pop up in UK water systems as a method of preventing pipe corrosion now and then. I've even done it to my own tanks when I started out; I thought 1-4KH was important, and 0KH was a bad thing. Yes, I scooped baking soda into my tank.

    Another (perhaps even more) frequent error is to assume that all GH is just an indirect representation of KH by way of measuring Ca and Mg; you'll find people working backwards to calculate their KH because they think all Ca or Mg is bound to HCO3-. I've seen this one happen on every large aquarium related forum that I've ever been a part of.
     
    #11 Philosophos, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2010
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Refection?

    Hi,

    I do not mind answering questions as I can and most anything for you my friend. In a case of a question as you seem to be asking it is only right and fair that you share your underlying reasons and research as to why the question.


    So first I would ask you what reasoning supports the apparent (now apparent) premise of your question otherwise it is less involutory (which is really a reflection) than convoluted. Adding terms such as “divalent ions” does not change the basic “no” and I explained at some length in post #5. Sulfate does not negate that answer. The relation to pH still eludes me.

    I have used ORP meters for some time and I do find that aspect of the hobby interesting, yet I still fail to understand what the sulfate part of the answer illuminated, I really am curious and as I spent time answering, it seems fair that you explain this to me.

    The effect of pH on ammonia appears incidental (coincidental?) to the activity of Nitrobactor and Nitrosonomas as well as [FONT=&quot]Ectomycorrhizal[/FONT] associations. The pH that favors nitrification of ammonia by bacterial action is alkaline (a function of KH), from 7-9 pH, the fungi seem to operate in a wider range of 4.5-9 pH.

    I agree that ORP is a great indicator of condition. Remember though ORP is simply a measured value, not an independent operator, if I add Hydrogen peroxide or Ozone, the ORP value increases. This action may improve the condition of the water column or it may simply raise the ORP. This is an off-limits topic here, if you are interested pm me.

    You may not consider water changes and a clean filter to solve problems, I and many others do, my initial introduction to ORP (as well as a variety of other testing came directly from the need (desire?) to know what is happening in those filters, in the aquaculture case under extreme bio-loads.

    Calcium sulfate dehydrate or any of the hydrates tend to be what is used, gypsum. What about Magnesium the other component in basic GH boosters, Calcium and Magnesium are the metals we use to adjust GH. Both are also necessary for our plants and critters.

    Brian makes an excellent point aside from the internet forums I see nothing in this.

    As a practical matter you do need some KH, I tend to add a bit more than is required, I like the “buffering.” As to GH, unless you are running very high GH tap water, I tend to think raising GH by one degree is not a bad idea. I do not know that it is a fact, but many hold that a GH of 5-7 dGH is perfect for a general fish and plant aquarium. I have seen them run lower and even know of successful planted aquaria in the plus 20 GH range.

    Recently I have heard the concept of “spent” Calcium and Magnesium; I gather that means there plus two valences no longer is there, I am guessing they are speaking ionic-ally. Oddly enough, these folks all have products to sell.

    I think Dan makes a good point about some GH, KH misunderstandings.

    Peace, love and understanding is great now let’s go kill something... :cool:

    Biollante
     
  13. Brian20

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    Well I use now Micros and macros (like before) and GH Booster. The plants seems very healthy now, so I think all helps.
     
  14. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Maybe I'm not understanding your reply.

    I was simply saying that the SO4-- binds to the ++ in Ca++ making it effectively neutral as far as buffering goes in an aquarium. By comparison, pure Ca++ (what Tug was talking about) would sit around as CaO in the air, and turns to Ca(OH)2 in water (plus other things; CaCO3, Ca(HCO3)2). Picking up the two OH- would decrease the pH. Tossing in an acid would send it back over to CO2 + H2O, and away you go on pH buffering via carbonate. I was simply trying to show the difference between reactions of a compound found in GH booster vs. pure elemental calcium (what Tug was essentially concerned with when speaking of Ca++).

    ORP value in freshwater aquariums is something of a debate. I think it relates to sediment (look out for those H2S bubbles) without a doubt. As for the column, I think perhaps it could be used as an early indicator of something changing; a good first diagnostic to go with direct observations. I agree that there's definitely no reason to manipulate the ORP without understanding the details; doing so would be similar to opening the door so the smoke can get out, without actually checking for a fire.

    KH is something I haven't seen evidence of in terms of being something that has to be added. Plenty run on pure RO or undetectable (at least less than 17.86ppm hobby kit measured) tap levels of carbonates. I'm not sure of a practical (acceptable tap water) upper bounds either; plenty of soft water plants seem to do just fine in high KH water. I think it would be worth testing, and I wouldn't mind looking into what actually causes a plant to require hard or soft water as a matter of strict biology rather than just imitation of nature. You would think by now that I would have tried to find an answer, but everything I keep in terms of fauna likes soft, acidic water when it comes to spawning.
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Essentially Insoluble

    The whole having to repost 2-4 times is getting old. (3)

    Hi Dan, Tug, All,

    I think I understand your reply if what Tug was saying is as you suggest, okay, Calcium sulfate is an ionic molecular compound that is just what ionic molecular compound do.

    A good read on Calcium is http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/1282-Barr-Report-Newsletter-Calcium, is also interesting, http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/gh_kh_ph.php, though they sell stuff I think this is a decent http://web.archive.org/web/20030703032331/marineland.com/articles/9hardness.asp read on water hardness.

    Aside from the fact there are no insoluble salts, CaSO4 is essentially insoluble, the listed at 25C is KSP=4.93X10-5, http://www.ktf-split.hr/periodni/en/abc/kpt.html. K(SP) is the "solubility product," I found this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_equilibrium, so I do not have to risk copyright infringement by scanning or copying a page. (I know Wikipedia is a poor source, but it matches a Chemistry textbook I have, so rather than pretend I understand all of this, look for yourselves.

    I would expect the solubility of CaSO4 to increase as the pH went down it is surprising to the intellectually challenged character I am, that the solubility actually increases at higher pH, http://www.citeulike.org/user/constmarin/article/4078278.

    ORP values as with any form of testing are debatable, just not here.

    As I said I do not think there is any magic to an ORP value, substrate, water column or anywhere else, anymore than the person that thinks adding sulfuric acid to lower a pH number will increase the amount of carbon dioxide in solution.

    I will accept that the KH in RO may be undetectable, put it is there. An area of chemistry well enough covered elsewhere, I do not wish to argue about “pure” water.

    I am with you Dan, I think all of this stuff is worth testing and trying and observing, not as some suggest, because we think ourselves so advanced, but because I think it is good to know. Obviously “real scientists” may disagree, if so let them suggest how to make the observations “meaningful” or do them, themselves. This may interest you Dan, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TJ6-46DFTB8-WG&_user=10&_coverDate=06%2F30%2F1991&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1256452207&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=03550c8760052096d4ba7b7b4ecf0033.

    Have fun, after all it is a hobby, not, well…er, Golf. :eek:
    Biollante
     
    #15 Biollante, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2010
  16. Tug

    Tug Lifetime Charter Member
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    This question comes from my fuzzy understanding of calcium depleted soils and the effect that it has on pH. The way these chemicals react once they are in water is still a mystery to me.

    Dan understands the gist of my question. The two of you have expanded on it beyond my wildest dreams. It will take a good day or two of reading just to catch up. At some point I might have a question. Until then feel free to post anything you wish. When I have done some reading, looked at the links you provided, etc. I can try to review what everyone has said and post my thoughts.

    Brian- If you have high levels of calcium and magnesium in your tape water then (from what I am reading here) there is no need for you to add GH Booster to that planted tank, not that it's bad. Just that it might be unnecessary. Your Cichlids (what ever type they be) are another matter. As I remember, you add baking soda (NaHCO3) to raise KH and nothing to raise your GH. That sounds wrong to me. But, what do I know. I'm nobody.

    Just think of me as a child who always asks why. Why does the road run both ways? Or, why is grass green? Some might say God in his infinite wisdom decided that it should be green. That works for some. I would like to think (for what ever good it does me), I am better off knowing chlorophyll is why grass is green and GH Booster is why...

    I was not asking if GH boosters will raise KH or pH. It may be the same question, but to clarify it I thought I would ask if it could prevent a drop in pH because of the divalent ions and/or if it had any effect on/relationship to pH? Apparently, because we also add the SO4-- in GH boosters the answer is still, no - sort of.


    You misunderstood. We all can agree that water changes and a clean filter are critical. At least IMO. Explaining ORP to the average joe, not so much.
     
    #16 Tug, Mar 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2010
  17. Brian20

    Brian20 Guest

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    well I dont reach that Quemical points, im simple Enginner student but know a little of the topic.

    About wc. I have tanks without w/c, filter and all that, still plants and fish living good. When I say plants, i say a "jungle" of easy plants.
    Also i have my High tech with w/c, clean filter every 3 months (I made a huge filter) use Co2, etc... Plants and fish doing great, still changing for more "difficult species". The problem is mid tech, mixing the El natural with High tech can make big problems.
     
  18. Left C

    Left C Lifetime Members
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    I am really liking this discussion. I found out how little that I know about GH. I've got to check out the links.

    Thanks a bunch!
    Left C
     
  19. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    Good links Biollante. I've been looking back over those concepts and some others over the past couple days. To be honest, I really don't understand all of it either. I do find Wikipedia to be better than people give it credit; the science related articles that aren't media popularized tend to be well written and generally uninterfered with.

    I think the details of buffering in an aquarium are completely misunderstood by many, only partly understood by a few, and it's likely a handful of those who actually got degrees related to biochem that have any reasonable grasp. I'm sure they're banging their heads against the wall reading half of what we post; much of what we've discussed in this thread is High School level stuff.

    As for myself, I'm seriously considering picking up the textbooks and such related to UC Berkeley's chemistry courses as the lectures are available for free online: http://webcast.berkeley.edu/
    Chem 1A starts out at a grade 10 level and quickly accelerates, which is probably perfect for most of us.
     
  20. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Sulfate

    (2) imagine my usual emoticons and italics and stuff it is just too much with having to try 2-4 times to post each time, I am sure I ticked someone off. Sorry, see disclaimer, I didn't mean it.

    Hi Tug,

    It would have been handy to know the origin of the question. The issue of “Calcium depleted soils and the effect that it has on pH” is actually the other way around, the lower pH leeches the Calcium from the soil at a higher rate. Neither Calcium nor Magnesium has any significant effect on pH. The pH has a greater affect on them; I probably violated local dogma with this answer, so pm me for more on the subject.

    There are some great resources available if you want to begin to understand the Chemistry of the water column, the substrate, food, your wastewater and water treatment system as I said I took a couple of courses at a community college, two of the classes were at a high school nearby, was not even much of a hassle. Some folks “audit” courses like these, I am a little too competitive (or afraid I might not do the work without the “accountability” of grades ).

    If Dan understands the gist what you were asking he is a better man than I am, Gunga Tug. (That is just awful!) http://www.love-poems.me.uk/kipling_gunga_din_w_insp.htm

    Just curious, why does it sound wrong for Brian to add baking soda (NaHCO3) to raise KH and nothing to raise his GH? Especially after having advised him, he need not raise GH do to the tap water being hard, not a criticism, no wrong answer, just curious.

    My direct answer to your criticism of Brian’s methodology is that Brian probably has Rift Valley Cichlids that like high KH and all due respect to local dogma, wished to raise the pH of the water.

    I am happy to have questions asked, but just as we do with small children we ask them why they have the questions they have, we encourage the child to think things through and search out their own answers. We try to make our answers age and education level appropriate. (Geezer alert!).

    I took (take?) your question to be does GH affect pH? The answer is for the normal ranges of our aquariums, no. Does pH affect GH? I think so, though in the normal range of our aquariums, regular water changes and so forth, nothing appreciable.

    The sulfate is also a non-factor in rising or lowering pH, some seem to suggest that after the dissolution of the Calcium sulphate the remaining sulphate reacts, or “combines” with water to become sulfuric acid. Sulfate is simply too weak to split the water. The sulfate is a salt of, which is the result of the dissolution of sulfuric acid.

    I have an “average Joe” working for me; he is so average he might just be below average. You folks may know him as BigFlusher (there simply is no nice way to explain that moniker); he has caught on to the whole ORP thing very quickly and well.

    This does not mean I or Joe or any of the non-technical staff understand all the nuances, but I think we understand well enough to put the information gained to good and reasonable use. The technical types are trying to gain some understanding of processes that simply leave the rest of us agog.

    ORP is not magic and not terribly difficult to understand in broad strokes, among the reasons I think it would be better to understand some of the basics as to be less likely sucked in by the hucksters. Your Plant Guru Team profanly if not profoundly disagree.

    I just checked out the Chemistry 1A 002 UC Berkley Webcast Dan suggested, if you are the dedicated self-starter type and can get the textbook, not a bad idea. The basic Biology looks interesting as well.

    The Dummy or Idiot’s guidebooks are quite good. I am more a Dummy kind of evil plant monster, though I really like the Idiot’s Microbiology.

    I really also want to encourage you to read the newsletters they are really very good, though, in some little attempt is made for ease of understanding. Start with the older ones, work your way through them. http://www.barrreport.com/forumdisplay.php/7-Barr-Report-Newsletter

    Biollante
     
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