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The Fish Are Fine, but the Plants Are Fabulous
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Author: Mitchell, Sherry
Date: Oct 2, 2003
Start Page: H.07
Section: HOME

"[Takashi Amano] is responsible for bringing aquatic gardening to America," said Erik Olsen, president of the Aquatic Gardeners Association, a nationwide group dedicated to aquatic plants. "The Japanese style is newer in its application to aquatic style, and in the past five years aquascaping has really begun to gain momentum."

People are drawn to underwater gardening for a variety of reasons. Some, like Ivo Busko of Cockeysville, Md., are challenged by engineering the systems that run the tanks. Busko, who was educated as an astrophysicist, keeps Amazonian and Southeast Asian water plants and fish in his 120- and 46- gallon "geographic" aquariums. The two tanks rely on compact fluorescent lighting, automatic water changers and carbon dioxide delivery systems that he designed and built himself.

The success of planted tanks relies, in part, on advanced technology like intense, high-tech lighting and carbon dioxide tanks that trickle bubbles of CO2 into the heavily planted aquariums. This equipment is beneficial, but not necessary for beginners. [Liz Mehok] got her father's old 10-gallon tank and experimented with a fluorescent light, low-light aquatic plants and simple equipment for a couple of years before making the jump to a fully equipped 36- gallon bow-front aquarium. The old tank cost next to nothing to outfit and helped her plan for the bigger vessel.

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