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Newbies: please read this 1st

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  • Newbies: please read this 1st

    Well, you want info?
    It's here.

    The issue is that to learn, you will want to start by reading as much as your brain can handle, then try a few things and ask questions, after you have read up.

    You have time, relax, read at your own pace.
    Little by little you will learn more and become better at keeping plants.
    Ask for help, that's what other more experienced folks are here for, do not worry, we will be easy on you, see, everyone was a newbie at some point and we all recall what it was like.
    Sometimes we go off on tangents, but we do get around to making sure you get it and understand what you should focus on.

    Folks come to this hobby from a very wide background.
    Some of us have harder times understanding things than others.
    It is also good to join a local club or plant group, there are many these days.
    You can learn 100X more in the same amount of time with a group like that.
    Try and talk with folks at your same level to share the pains and successes.

    This will help you and make the hobby more enjoyable.
    Now you will have a tougher time learning off the web versus in person, so give folks here/elsewhere and yourself a little grain of salt and latitude.
    It's far more difficult on the web versus in person when it comes to communication, I know this very well after well over 10 years helping folks out over the internet
    Also, it takes time to learn all this, you might never want to know everything, just enough to get by and enjoy the hobby at a slower pace. That's is fine, many do this and have great results.
    I came at things from a more common sense perspective and then go really interested as time progressed, but I recall when I was really turned off by all those "plant people", who c/would do those planted gardens that took uo 100% of the aquarium?" I really did not the looks of chemicals and formulations in PMDD (see the Krib) and thought I could just do without any of that. Little by little I started adding things. Over time, it was really simple and easy. Took me awhile to come around is my point, so do not feel bad if you do not jump on board and go "whole hog". The technical aspects are here whenever you desire (or not), in reality, they are not that different than gardening in the yard.

    I come across crotchety at times, I'm not that way at all in person and do try very hard to help everyone I can and straighten things out as well as misconceptions.
    If I was really mean and cranky, I'd never do this and would have burned out back in 2000 or so. I am very patient and try to help folks when everyone else has given up.
    I can be blunt and honest on line/written word. I often come across very well, onerous this media.
    I am persistent, you should hopeful be aware of this, and I often speak in general terms, I do not attack anyone personally, I do however debate the idea aggressively. Please do not misunderstand me there, I try not to judge folks, I ask the same in return. The debate process might seem harsh to a newbie, but it's effective at rooting out the best methods and information. Anything worth discussing, should be discussed with some passion and debate. Folks can hash things out better this way in the long run.

    Please do not be afraid to pose a question.
    I do try to give honest answers as well as most hobbyists that keep planted tanks.
    We all where newbies at one time also and have been the same things you are likely to go through.

    Tom Barr

  • #2
    Hear hear!

    I recently gave a very similar speech to students in my computer lab. I told them that they have to *do* things, and make mistakes along the way, to learn. Reading about it is fine, and gets one thinking, and introduces new ideas. However, it is through the repetition of doing that one learns.

    Get to it, and stick with it! :-)


    • #3
      i think i can learn a lot from this forum and im really glad there are places like this to learn from


      • #4
        im new at this forum thing and i dont fully understand what im doing


        • #5
          Originally posted by custom240g View Post
          im new at this forum thing and i dont fully understand what im doing
          Neither did I a long time ago, and there was no net, no books to speak of, not much really.

          So I little choice but the try things out.
          Learn by doing and making mistakes.

 can also learn a lot by seeing where other folks went wrong and what they did to solve it.

          Still we all learn by doing, we cannot pick up math books and just look and automatically know Algebra, or Calculus.

          You all know what happens when you do not do the homework in math when it comes to the test...........and what happens if you do all the homework.

          Many folks forget this and some seem to think or feel they can just read and then know everything they need for aquariums.

          Same with scaping, many think it's just some in born gift, no, it takes work and practice.

          Same here.

          Same with Bonsai, farming, most jobs..........

          Tom Barr


          • #6

            Still we all learn by doing, we cannot pick up math books and just look and automatically know Algebra, or Calculus.......

            Tom Barr[/QUOTE]

            This is very important. When I first got interested in planted tanks I read and read and read some more before I actually started setting up tanks. Set the sucker up and let it rip. Make mistakes, fight algae and go through the learning process. Keep reading but keep planting.


            • #7
              The problem with reading up on the subject, then rushing into a planted tank, is that you don't know if some of what you considered to be just icing on the cake in the instructions is really critical. I think a common mistake of that kind is not planting the tank very heavily from the beginning. This isn't for esthetic reasons, but to prevent lots of algae starting to grow. Many of us decided to start with a few plants, then slowly add more as we get them. Surely that couldn't be a problem, huh? Oops! Big mistake.


              • #8
                I would like to add that people learn/assimilate at different rates and for different subjects.

                I know for me at times the answer was given, but I either missed it or didn't understand it AT THE TIME.

                However, as my general and specific knowledge increased, I reread many threads and was able to pick up a little more each time.

                Also, one subject may be easier to understand than another for the same individual.

                Keep plugging away.

                Also have patience, tanks can go bad quickly, but may take 1 to several weeks to get back into shape, based on what the issue(s) are.

                Hope this helps.


                'When something's not right, it's wrong'. Bob Dylan

                Current 220 scape



                • #9
                  I started this hobby less then a year ago and I really got into planted tanks back in March of this year. I have been on this forum for several weeks now and I must say that this is the best forums I visit. The people here seem very knowledgeable
                  and willing to help. Tom and his team really do a fantastic job here.

                  I must admit that some of the articles and the terminology used here is still way over my head. . Still, I think I have learned a lot since November of last year.

                  I would like to express my gratitude for all the help they have given me so far. This forum offers a unique perspective to the hobby that I have not seen anywhere else.

                  Thank you for putting this forum together and making what it is.


                  • #10
                    I'd not worry too much about Planted tank terms or technical talk, the terms and nouns are not that critical to the understanding of the concept.

                    You pick up that language as you go.

                    Every area of study has it's own language, English teachers have amny specific terms and ways to discussing their field, Math teachers have theirs, Computer Nerds have their terms and talk, there are many that are not Web Savy as well, they think we are all nuts!

                    Point is, every field has it's own unique set of specific terms and talk to help to clarify concepts and be very specific about what they are talking about.

                    Yes, this takes some time to understand, a city person that has never been out to farm might feel too at home with the talk and terms there, likewise, someone who's never been to the New York might also feel out of place initially.

                    Many like their comfort zone and do not like to get too far from it. Nothing wrong with this, but if you want to learn and get into this hobby, it'll sure help to get your feet wet and learn, there's no test at the end of the day or anything

                    And you have all the time in the world you want to put into it, there is no rush to try and learn it all. I think a mix of doing and reading will help, but also discuss with a local group of folks as well. The feedback you get from people in person, seeing their tanks etc, is very valuable.

                    This is both experience and reading/book learning at the same time.

                    So read, and do not put too much pressure on yourself about fully understanding it the first time or two. Then try and set things up, ask around what you should do, talk to local folks, ask for help.

                    Then make mistakes and learn from them.

                    We all go through this and have done it before as well. One of the reasons folks respond is that they themselves have had issues and want to help you not make these same mistakes.

                    I think 90% of the folks that respond on all boards/forums etc are like this.
                    They also teach themselves more by going back and helping others, like those that helped them before.

                    Tom Barr


                    • #11
                      Hello to all!

                      I am so glad that I have discovered this site. I am a newbie--to say the least--and I am truely thrilled to learn not only about my wonderful fresh fish, but to learn about the plants they need to be happy and to make my tank more natural for them. I look forward to navigating thru all this info!


                      • #12
                        And great to hear Elizabeth.

                        It seems from my experience on many fish and planted forums that there are less and less newbies prepared to do the research first and then ask about the parts they don't understand or are confused by.

                        More and more basically say 'I have this tank. I've already bought 4WPG which IS needed (It isn't) I have pressurised CO2' and then expect someone to give them a simple set of instructions to follow.

                        It is great when someone like yourself is there prepared to read and learn rather than just follow someone else's preferences which may not even work on someone else's setup.

                        Good Luck and happy reading



                        • #13
                          Some come with a wide array of the guy who thinks they will do well with Bonsai right away............or the clown who thinks they can play Stanley Jordan on the guitar or Jaco and Victor Wooten on the bass. Takes some time to really understand what is required.

                          Some have to take that road before realizing it's not so easy as they initially thought.
                          Then they come around or quit.

                          My thumb is still sore, but double thumbing Victor style ain't for quitters.

                          Tom Barr


                          • #14
                            What a great site! While visiting Barrreport you can also learn the style of "double thumbing" and Victor Wooten. This man is all in one: Techniques, melody and rhythm. Incredible!!!
                            He's a genius.

                            By the way Tom, if your left hand fingers are not sore you're not practising enough!
                            No, it's the other way round, take a breath and don't play so hard!

                            Best regards,
                            Last edited by detlef; 01-12-2009, 12:47 PM.


                            • #15
                              I get a lot of pre medical , dental, pre vet, pre Pharm students coming through Bio courses. They are a smart lot but often have very different expectations about the Hollywood version of what it is like and Parent's nagging them to become a doctor etc.

                              I tell them to go talk to a doctor in person sometime, see how much stress, free time they have etc. See how little most really make, and what the others have done and sacrificed to make a fair amount.

                              It's a lot of work and you make mistakes along the way, but you better love what you do. Otherwise don't do it. Most of us already love the hobby.
                              But some of us know what is in store and the work required, and we try to help the new folks realize what that entails. There are many ways to go about a planted tank, some require lots of work, some not, some less work and more experience.

                              The more seasoned folks owe it to the newbies to help reduce the pain and effort they will have. It's good to learn from experience as long as it's not your own.
                              Still, you are going to mess things up, make mistakes and need experience to do well and feel comfortable later.

                              No way around it.

                              The left hands(yes both of them) are doing fine
                              Gaining artistic independence with plants, bass, gardening, painting requires you do a large number of examples along the way.

                              This is no different. Some will come along and seem to get it much faster than you.
                              But they often are more willing to do the work and practice. Some just pick up on the art faster, much like I might pick up math faster than some folks, or recall weird names, locations etc. We all have our strong areas, and they are different everyone else. Some are professional photographers, that can obviously help taking good pics, but they can also the rest of us.

                              Same with an Aquatic Biologist etc or some bassist who's really got some fun music.

                              Tom Barr