Depicting Barr's system

Dennis Singh

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Depicting Barr System


Heres my original question, Why can't we do it like Barr? He must be hiding something? He must be lying. No, No, I believe him to be very credible. So here I put together things to depict his system and why we may not be achieving what he can achieve. First off he has like 30 years of experience growing plants or even more.......sink. Studies, credentials, learning curve, abilities and potentials of this guy is also a plus? This is why his EI works, high lighting, high co2, superb hungry fish and whatever else he got going for plants. First off his system is 120 gallons, a larger aquarium which leaves more room for error. But each system he brings to the table achieves a balance and has chi to the system. You take a look at his system and you see wide range of plants and colors, plants that are nutrient hogs, these plants are a factor to the system. Pantanal grows an inch per day? Those suckers are sucking a lot of nutrients in. His lighting spread and intensity are both impressive (look at both quantity of bulbs he uses and how high they're hung) gauge this. Or just measure PAR? My import buddy says Barr is an expert at fertilizer manipulation, I totally agree. Meaning he knows how to find the right balance of it all. Now people are going on about micro toxicity which goes against sayings if I got each type right. I just don't buy the toxicity thing. Not yet. In this hobby patience is key. A big shot out to joraan for all he knows and all his help, this guy can really observe and give advice. Back to it, Barr knows maintenance. We are LAZY! Pruning and trimming and fluffing and topping, vacuuming the soil, cleaning the filter, etc and etc and etc it can keep going, Barr knows these things with experience. He also has all the good expensive how can you afford stuff. So take all these things into consideration. Am I right? Please add on feel free comment or whatever you'd like


PS.


Water changes are miraculous.
 

UDGags

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I think you hit on the main two differences between Tom and a lot of people, time he puts into the hobby/business and experience. I was able to mimic his system pretty well for a few months but soon learned the maintenance required on a daily to weekly basis was tough to keep going. Equipment, EI, timer settings, etc. were all easy to copy for me but when it came to trimming, cleaning filters/sumps, removing algae, even livestock that's where I struggled looking back. Not knowing how much or how little to do in fear of disrupting the balance of the tank really came back to haunt me after a while.
 

Chris Noto

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UDGags said:
I was able to mimic his system pretty well for a few months but soon learned the maintenance required on a daily to weekly basis was tough to keep going.

Discipline, that's the difference that makes a difference, right there! I found out over the last year, even with just one ten gallon aquarium going. I cut back, about a year ago, to that point. Lovely little aquarium. Lots of love.


Then my daughter got engaged, and much of that attention went toward the wedding plans and execution. Now, with the wedding two and a half weeks in the past, I'm getting back with the aquarium program. Refilled the CO2 tank, more regular water changes, filter cleaning, gravel vacuuming, plant trimming, and fertilizing! Things are looking much better, new growth looking good. Rewarding. :)
 
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Pikez

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Correct infrastructure + heavy maintenance + nutrients in slight excess = "secret"


Correct infrastructure = uncompromised gear: lighting, filtration, substrate, tank, flow, CO2. A lot of us who whine don't put in the effort up front on these things. My dinky canister filters are still sub-Barr.


Heavy maintenance. Water change, cleaning, trimming, vacuuming etc. This is where most of us fall way short. Time (and attention to detail) required rises exponentially with tank size.


Nutrients in slight excess. Not sure why most of us dose EI and still think we have deficiencies. We don't. CO2 past 40 or 50 ppm is probably not necessary and is luxury. If you think you're dosing too much, do big water changes and ease up on dosing.


It's not magic. It's work.
 
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I'm not lazy. I've spent hours each day looking and trying to troubleshoot the constant problems I've had. To no avail. Nothing I tried worked and and if it did, it wasn't repeatable. Once the problem was identified, everything made sense, including the reason why a lot of people think it's a CO2 issue. It has nothing to do with CO2. That's why I can now turn it on with the lights and turn it off hours before the end of the photoperiod and the plants are still healthy and have a lot less algae as a result. It also has nothing to do with tank size, the amount of plant mass, or the amount of light; all of these are simply correlations around one issue. Address this one issue and the problems resolve.


"Balance" is also a myth. High light intensities (e.g. >100 PAR) don't require equally high CO2 concentrations (e.g. >30ppm), nor does it require high nutrient concentrations (e.g. nitrate>30ppm, phosphate>5ppm, K>30ppm, GH>4, Fe>2ppm, etc.) There's a correlation but it's all centered around one variable. Change this one variable and this "balance" is exposed for what it is, a myth not based in reality.


Plants grow with what they acquire. If they can't have access to enough carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc., they stunt. But stunting does no harm by itself. This is why stunted plants survive for months with no issues. Just add the depleted nutrient(s) and they will grow again.


As for maintenance, it doesn't have to do with this, either. Perhaps the flow is low because the filter is clogged which correlates to problems, but it's not a cause. Perhaps the plants are severely overgrown but this doesn't cause problems by itself, either.


In the time I've spent trying to solve the perpetual problems in my tanks, I've experimented with lots of things, including different plants and arrangements. If plants were in bad health, I either replaced them or used another plant to hide the issues. For example, Eleocharis parvula (DHG) would always stay very short, curl severely downward, and not spread; it never had a grassy lawn appearance. So I also added Marsilea crenata (dwarf clover) to the grass and this created a much more natural appearance. Then Taiwan moss was added to hide the empty patches of growth and allow it to grow between the leaf blades. This also gave a pleasant effect. From trying to cover up one issue, I learned how to create natural-appearing foregrounds. There were a lot of other things I learned from trying to hide/solve these issues, so while I spent more than a year and a half trying to figure it out, the time wasn't entirely wasted. Oh, and DHG is now growing normally, growing long, erect leaf blades that spreads easily.
 

denske

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Solcielo lawrencia said:
I'm not lazy. I've spent hours each day looking and trying to troubleshoot the constant problems I've had. To no avail. Nothing I tried worked and and if it did, it wasn't repeatable. Once the problem was identified, everything made sense, including the reason why a lot of people think it's a CO2 issue. It has nothing to do with CO2. That's why I can now turn it on with the lights and turn it off hours before the end of the photoperiod and the plants are still healthy and have a lot less algae as a result. It also has nothing to do with tank size, the amount of plant mass, or the amount of light; all of these are simply correlations around one issue. Address this one issue and the problems resolve.

"Balance" is also a myth. High light intensities (e.g. >100 PAR) don't require equally high CO2 concentrations (e.g. >30ppm), nor does it require high nutrient concentrations (e.g. nitrate>30ppm, phosphate>5ppm, K>30ppm, GH>4, Fe>2ppm, etc.) There's a correlation but it's all centered around one variable. Change this one variable and this "balance" is exposed for what it is, a myth not based in reality.


Plants grow with what they acquire. If they can't have access to enough carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc., they stunt. But stunting does no harm by itself. This is why stunted plants survive for months with no issues. Just add the depleted nutrient(s) and they will grow again.


As for maintenance, it doesn't have to do with this, either. Perhaps the flow is low because the filter is clogged which correlates to problems, but it's not a cause. Perhaps the plants are severely overgrown but this doesn't cause problems by itself, either.


In the time I've spent trying to solve the perpetual problems in my tanks, I've experimented with lots of things, including different plants and arrangements. If plants were in bad health, I either replaced them or used another plant to hide the issues. For example, Eleocharis parvula (DHG) would always stay very short, curl severely downward, and not spread; it never had a grassy lawn appearance. So I also added Marsilea crenata (dwarf clover) to the grass and this created a much more natural appearance. Then Taiwan moss was added to hide the empty patches of growth and allow it to grow between the leaf blades. This also gave a pleasant effect. From trying to cover up one issue, I learned how to create natural-appearing foregrounds. There were a lot of other things I learned from trying to hide/solve these issues, so while I spent more than a year and a half trying to figure it out, the time wasn't entirely wasted. Oh, and DHG is now growing normally, growing long, erect leaf blades that spreads easily.

So what was the issue? You write 5 paragraphs about your issues, but not 1 resolution? Your sticking with the CSM-B toxicity huh?
 
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Yes, it's a toxicity of micronutrients. The way the system works is incredibly simple, not as convoluted as it's been believed. A lot of the correlations that have been noted have one root cause: toxicity of micronutrients. Notice a correlation between low CO2 and poor plant growth or health? Micro-tox. Need good light? Micro-tox. Increased flow improved things? Micro-tox. Frequent water changes improves things? Micro-tox. Algae growing everywhere? Micro-tox. All of these correlations are directly related to this one variable, which just happens to be the direct or indirect cause of the issues.
 

Tom Barr

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Yes, but the same baloney was also leveled using the same bandwagon approach for PO4 and algae.


I'm dosing the CMS+B at higher levels and not such issues. It does not say nor imply why or what your issue may be...........it just states what it is not, same as when I dosed PO4 and did not get algae, there's a lot of correlation there...........also.
 

Tom Barr

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I think the larger problem for many is the fact they use TOO much light, "light toxicity". ADA's tanks all are about 60% less than my 120 Gallon, but about the same as my Buce tank, about 50umol on the bottom. That tank is easy as pie to care for. So are ADA lighted tanks overall, and trimmign those vs uprooting styles the Dutch often use....well..........that's going to be much more labor also. So if you want a nice tank and less work, it can be done with some trade offs.


The 120 is a PITA but mostly because I have to trim it often. Nothing to do with the ferts.


Ferts are the easiest part.


Now I can dose both tanks at the higher levels without issues.


But I can certainly not dose the buce tank near as much and the tank is fine in both cases.


How the tank is set up and the goal makes a HUGE difference.


There's no one method fits all and I've never stated that there is.


Hobbyists often over generalize.


And that's where the trouble starts.


The buce tank is a nature style tank, the 120 is a Dutch stemy color based tank.


They are very different in terms of labor and rates of growth. But so are the goals, i have just one high labor tank, but I get a lot out of that tank also. So there's the motivating factor.


If I leave for awhile(say 1-2 weeks), I raise the light and reduce the intensity a fair amount. Plants are a bit pale but they color back up after a week or less.
 

Tom Barr

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And as far as promoting just one method, I actively support and have shown many times, the fact that the non CO2 methods work awesome.........as well as lower light.


http://www.barrreport.com/forum/barr-report/estimative-index/11496-hate-water-changes-ei-can-get-you-there-with-a-small-modification


http://www.barrreport.com/forum/barr-report/estimative-index/4426-hybrid-methods-fusing-dry-start-excel-with-non-co2


Non CO2:


http://www.barrreport.com/forum/barr-report/articles-aa/487-non-co2-methods


But why in the heck would you support high light, little CO2/ferts and waste all the light and make it harder for yourself? That's less efficient and also creates more labor than you need, since....after all.....it's all about less labor right? Match the light to the rate of growth you want, Tropica showed this long ago with CO2 and light.


http://www.barrreport.com/forum/barr-report/estimative-index/6989-the-light-limiting-growth-management-method


Why not go whole hog and go non CO2?


Algae eaters also play a massive role both in terms of number and type.


http://tropica.com/en/guide/algal-control/
 

Tom Barr

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Solcielo lawrencia said:
Yes, it's a toxicity of micronutrients. The way the system works is incredibly simple, not as convoluted as it's been believed. A lot of the correlations that have been noted have one root cause: toxicity of micronutrients. Notice a correlation between low CO2 and poor plant growth or health? Micro-tox. Need good light? Micro-tox. Increased flow improved things? Micro-tox. Frequent water changes improves things? Micro-tox. Algae growing everywhere? Micro-tox. All of these correlations are directly related to this one variable, which just happens to be the direct or indirect cause of the issues.


Okay, I'll bite, but you have been pretty vague about this "toxicity"(as are most generalist claims). Name the plant species of question, the dosing routine for the CMS+B and the symptoms.


I am going to see if I can falsify the claim on one specific case.


I have a lower light tank and a higher light tank, pretty wide range of light and plant species differences.


Each tank gets reasonable care, nothing magic or special.


A new cohort of folks with some troubles and intermediate experience, more than the newbies............comes up with some new correlation about once every 2-5 years, basically after they figure things out for real..........then......they move on and stop carrying on about everything that happens down the speculative pipe. I've seen this with K+ overdosing(also very similar to this) in 2000-2003, PO4 from 1970's till about 1998.........NO3 is bad in 2005-2008......anaerobic sediments are bad, you need heating cables.......now micros cause toxicities..........high CO2 is bad according to some but do not offer any decent methods to measure it........


So...........name the plant and the dosing routine you think causes the symptom.
 
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Substrate: inert sand


CSM+B: suggested dosing for the volume, 0.5ppm of Fe as proxy. No other added iron sources.


NPK: 15-2-15


Ca/Mg: 15-10


Plants and symptoms:


1. Ammannia pedicellata "Golden" - new leaves twisted/deformed, eventually looking like a burnt matchstick from necrosis; older leaves may develop necrotic spots.


2. Alternanthera reineckii - leaf margins undulate, older leaves lose color, weaken and die.


3. Ludwigia sp. "Red" - leaf margins undulate


4. Hygrophila pinnatifida (and other Hygros) - older leaves develop pinholes and necrosis


5. Rotala rotundifolia "Green" - twisted/deformed new growth, leaves curl upward.


6. Eleocharis parvula - leaves bend severely downward, slow growth.


These symptoms vary depending upon species, hence the reason for the vagueness. I also don't know which micronutrient causes which symptoms. I've only been able to test manganese (using MnSO4) and it appears to be responsible for the induced calcium deficiency resulting in twisted/deformed new growth. There may be other symptoms of Mn-tox such as induced potassium deficiency in Hygrophila's. But regardless, until the specific nutrients are determined to cause specific symptoms, I will continue to refer to the symptoms generally as a micro-tox.
 

Pikez

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Tom Barr said:
Okay, I'll bite, but you have been pretty vague about this "toxicity"(as are most generalist claims). Name the plant species of question, the dosing routine for the CMS+B and the symptoms.


I am going to see if I can falsify the claim on one specific case.

Solcielo has been clear on which species has been suffering in his tanks. I am not diagnosing his tank, but here's my situation:


I have been going on and on about Lythraceae family of plants (Rotala, Ammannia, Nesaea, Didiplis, Cuphea) being particularly susceptible to what I call 'tip misbehavior' that is not necessarily CO2 related. Yes, CO2 causes these issues.


Typical symptoms are: stunting, twisting, bending. In extreme cases, Ammannia and Nesaea display a torched look like you exposed it to fire. Rotala, Didiplis and Cuphea do not exhibit this scorched behavior and it may be unrelated to the typical symptoms.


CO2 is the first place to start trouble shooting, in my experience. My CO2 is dialed in, humming and smooth. It is precisely maintained with ultimate paranoia and distrust.


But there is SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES CO2 that causes tip misbehavior as well. This I am certain of. No one said there can't be multiple pathologies. What exactly causes it? No clue.


I'm hoping it is trace toxicity because that'd be an easy fix. But I am not convinced that it is.


Tip misbehavior is common in Alternanthera as well. Non-potassiuium related pinholes in Hygrophila is another trouble spot. However, these issues may be completely unrelated to the behavior in Lythracea.


Having said that, my Rotala mac is looking really sweet these days. It is my indicator. And sadly, the only Lythraceae species in my 180.
 
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Pikez said:
I have been going on and on about Lythraceae family of plants (Rotala, Ammannia, Nesaea, Didiplis, Cuphea) being particularly susceptible to what I call 'tip misbehavior' that is not necessarily CO2 related. Yes, CO2 causes these issues.
No, it does not. I've seen the pictures you posted of your plants. Micro-tox, without a doubt. Not CO2.

Typical symptoms are: stunting, twisting, bending. In extreme cases, Ammannia and Nesaea display a torched look like you exposed it to fire. Rotala, Didiplis and Cuphea do not exhibit this scorched behavior and it may be unrelated to the typical symptoms.
Typical symptoms of micro-tox, unrelated to CO2.

CO2 is the first place to start trouble shooting, in my experience. My CO2 is dialed in, humming and smooth. It is precisely maintained with ultimate paranoia and distrust.
Why? Because high levels of CO2 increases nutrient uptake which reduces heavy metal concentration which reduces toxicity. Hence the need to keep CO2 high throughout the photoperiod. Also, if you wanted to reduce micro-tox, extend the photoperiod by 4 hours. Or 6. The plants will uptake the metals at an even higher rate.

But there is SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES CO2 that causes tip misbehavior as well. This I am certain of. No one said there can't be multiple pathologies. What exactly causes it? No clue.
Micro-tox. CO2 does not cause these issues.

I'm hoping it is trace toxicity because that'd be an easy fix. But I am not convinced that it is.
Cease dosing CSM+B and you no longer have to hope.

Tip misbehavior is common in Alternanthera as well. Non-potassiuium related pinholes in Hygrophila is another trouble spot. However, these issues may be completely unrelated to the behavior in Lythracea.
If you want me to be more specific, I suspect these symptoms are a Mn-tox.

Having said that, my Rotala mac is looking really sweet these days. It is my indicator. And sadly, the only Lythraceae species in my 180.
I've never kept this plant, but I suspect that the leaves probably curl a lot more under toxicity than under optimum conditions. Care to share a picture?
 

Tom Barr

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Solcielo lawrencia said:
Substrate: inert sand
CSM+B: suggested dosing for the volume, 0.5ppm of Fe as proxy. No other added iron sources.


NPK: 15-2-15


Ca/Mg: 15-10


Plants and symptoms:


1. Ammannia pedicellata "Golden" - new leaves twisted/deformed, eventually looking like a burnt matchstick from necrosis; older leaves may develop necrotic spots.


2. Alternanthera reineckii - leaf margins undulate, older leaves lose color, weaken and die.


3. Ludwigia sp. "Red" - leaf margins undulate


4. Hygrophila pinnatifida (and other Hygros) - older leaves develop pinholes and necrosis


5. Rotala rotundifolia "Green" - twisted/deformed new growth, leaves curl upward.


6. Eleocharis parvula - leaves bend severely downward, slow growth.


These symptoms vary depending upon species, hence the reason for the vagueness. I also don't know which micronutrient causes which symptoms. I've only been able to test manganese (using MnSO4) and it appears to be responsible for the induced calcium deficiency resulting in twisted/deformed new growth. There may be other symptoms of Mn-tox such as induced potassium deficiency in Hygrophila's. But regardless, until the specific nutrients are determined to cause specific symptoms, I will continue to refer to the symptoms generally as a micro-tox.

L. red margins undulate post trimming if you top and replant only the tops. Last a day or two till new roots are put out. If you cut like hedge, then there's none of this.


A pedicillata does well in cooler temps and does not take kindly to being uprooted and replanted, several plants fall into this group, but if you trim the tops and let the new side shoots grow up, then there's little issue.


You have pictures?
 

Dennis Singh

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I bet you if you uprooted those eriocaulons, you couldn't replant them in the front. I remember the hainan islands(so big...thats what she) was impossible to replant in my 3-4 inches of substrate. I had to force split it.
 
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Tom Barr said:
L. red margins undulate post trimming if you top and replant only the tops. Last a day or two till new roots are put out. If you cut like hedge, then there's none of this.


A pedicillata does well in cooler temps and does not take kindly to being uprooted and replanted, several plants fall into this group, but if you trim the tops and let the new side shoots grow up, then there's little issue.


You have pictures?

Why would L. "Red" undulate post trimming? I can get the same undulations without trimming, even from side shoots. Grown under toxic conditions, the leaves will undulate. But once conditions improve, leaves grow normally even on the same stem.


Here's A. pedicellata "Golden":


Ammannia%20pedicellata%20tox_zpsu6mxoj27.jpg



It was stunted for months and simply would not grow. You can see new growth coming out of the matchstick head when conditions improved.
 

Dennis Singh

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Why would L. "Red" undulate post trimming? I can get the same undulations without trimming, even from side shoots. Grown under toxic conditions, the leaves will undulate. But once conditions improve, leaves grow normally even on the same stem.

I or anyone experience with this plant can confirm this one. Even newly acquired the leaves will undulate. Just as B said, lasts a day...quite normal