AGA 2006 – Day 2 Speakers

November 14th, 2006

AquaForest ADA StandDay 2 of the AGA convention was a packed day of events. The Vendor room was always buzzing, mostly around Aqua Forest’s (left) table of ADA goods. They had everything from trimming tools, to supplements, substrate, and even a small-sized ADA tank.

I missed the first presentation of the day by Dorothy Reimer about “Basic Growing and Keeping Live Plants.” However, Troels Andersen, from Tropica, presented next about “Plants’ Acclimation to Life Under Water.” Troels gave a brief overview of some of the research he’s done at Tropica and during his graduate studies. Basically, he talked about the basic requirements most plants have in the aquarium. He offered up a few statements such that fertilizing your substrate is often more efficient than fertilizing the water column, saying that most plants will develop the roots necessary to find those nutrients, while keeping the elements out of the water column where algae can use them.
He also talked about lighting and CO2, saying that generally in a tank, 100% of your light reaches the bottom in the center of the tank, while the corners see 25% of the light that is in the center. He also claims that harder water encourages more species of plants to grow in the same area. Finally, Troels showed a number of slides talking about how plants changed when they’re underwater verses immersed. Basically, they increased their surface area when underwater in order to maximize the CO2 exchange between the plant and water. When, immersed, due to the abundance of CO2 in the air, this is no longer necessary.

Ricky Cain gave a short presentation of people and things that inspire him in the hobby. He listed a number of folks including Amano, Jeff Senske, Luis Navarro, Oliver Knott, and a number of other folks.

Next, George Batten of Seachem gave a short chemistry lesson about “Chemistry in the Planted Aquarium.” Not a huge aquarist himself, George presented from a different viewpoint than most of the people in the room view the hobby. Basically, various growers and scientists tell him what chemicals and proteins a particular plant needs, and he works to manufacture something that meets those needs. He described a number of chemical reactions that go on when a plant actually extracts a nutrient from the water column/substrate. For example, a rooted plant will release a weak acid from the roots into the substrate. This acid/chemical will solibolize iron, converting it from the ferric to the ferrous form, which can them be absorbed by the plant. Later in the presentation, someone tried to get him to talk a little bit about Excel’s algaecide properties, but in the funniest part of the talk, he already had a prepared statement from SeaChem’s CEO that was the usual legal EPA verbiage.

The last speaker of the conference was Ole Pedersen, also from Tropica. Ole gave an interesting talk about “aquascapes in the natural world.” Basically, Ole showed a number of videos and pictures of various places across the world, from Denmark to Greenland; all of them contained underwater planted lakes or streams that where quite beautiful. He called these natural creations, “Natural Aquascapes.” Also, he gave a slightly different theory than Troels about how plants exist. Basically, he says the most plants in streams uptake nutrients from the water column, while plants in lakes uptake most of them from substrate. The reason, Ole states is that streams are high flowing, constant enriched by CO2 and nutrients from upstream, while lakes are mostly sedimentary, with few currents, leaving nutrient poor and CO2 poor environments. As far as the natural aquascape goes, the currents in streams shape the plants according to the flow of water, while lakes usually have less impressive aquascapes because there this shaping factor is usually missing.

Finally, Ole picked a couple “best of show” natural aquascapes below: