The Keep It Simple (KIS) method uses natural fine sand substrate as the primary planting substrate and full spectrum lighting systems commonly available at local hardware stores. Mature KIS systems require very little to no fertilization. The KIS method is the primary method used in biotope displays.
The other common methods planted aquarium hobbyists can choose are:
- High-tech (organic substrate, carbon dioxide (CO2) injection, fertilizer dosing, high output lighting explicitly marketed for planted aquariums). Dirted/potting soil (capped with sand, a.k.a Walstad method), full spectrum lighting system.
- High-tech and Walstad method systems have disadvantages. The KIS method eliminates the disadvantages of high-tech and dirted/potting soil methods and increases the enjoyment of the planted aquarium hobby.
The high-tech systems have an associated initial high cost, frequent water changes, tuning and maintaining a CO2 system, and regular fertilizer dosing. Walstad methods have issues with soil being brought to the surface when excess plants are removed from the substrate.
This ebook aims to highlight the KIS method that hobbyists use to have an equally impressive display without the disadvantages of the other two methods.
Some may refer to the KIS method as “Low Tech,” but it is the method built upon decades of science in multiple disciplines. The KIS method uses water chemistry, microbiology science, botany, limnology, light science, and beneficial organisms to achieve mesmerizing displays.
The KIS method considers the entire ecosystem, from large fish to the tiniest bacteria living deep within the substrate.
Biodiversity is the key to the KIS method. All organisms interact with each other, even down to the microscopic single-celled organisms. The health and diversity of microscopic life are fundamental to all life within the system, including plants, fish, and invertebrates.
Many hobbyists will find some of this ebook's information to be the opposite of what they have been told, read, or viewed on YouTube. The aquarium hobby is full of myths and misconceptions promoted by misinformed but well-meaning hobbyists and product manufacturers. Aquarium products have been created to target common aquarium myths. Many aquarium products on the market are unnecessary, placebos, and in some cases, harmful. Through the three decades of writing for the aquarium hobby, the author often highlights the myths and misconceptions and never endorsed placebos, and harmful products.
The KIS method relies on proven and repeatable science. References will be provided throughout the ebook should you wish to dive more in-depth into the science. References to the covered content will have a number in brackets  with a hyperlink to the resource. A list of the references is available at the end of the ebook.
This ebook is not intended as a comprehensive guide for aquatic plant identification. Many published books and websites can assist with aquatic plant identification. Captions will be provided for photos used in this ebook that will identify the plants for hobbyists.
This ebook may have many terms the reader has yet to see in other aquarium books. An effort was made to consider this when presenting the information by defining the term in the text.
The author has chosen to publish this ebook through aquaworldaquarium.com so that it will be free to hobbyists and supported by Google advertisers. Any reference to specific products in the book is made based on experience. The author has not received any paid endorsements to highlight products.
Planted Aquarium Keep it Simple is being published in HTML5 format, so it is fully searchable, loads quickly, and provides dynamic interactive content. The author will update the ebook periodically to add new information and make any needed edits.
All photos and graphics are by the author unless otherwise stated.