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Media to Waste Ratio

Discussion in 'Water Chemistry' started by aarhud, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    Thanks Darrel.

    I think it was much more common to rely significantly on plants, at least in the Netherlands, before aquarium keeping became heavily commercialized and the mindset changed to technical versus biological solutions. In my previous house we made a pond attached to a wetland, a smaller second pond backfilled with dirt and growing tons of plants, and it was a zero-maintenance pond. I think the undetectable nitrate and other waste product levels in a plant-filtered tank help with keeping/breeding fish that require ultra-clean water. In addition, I'm trying to get the pH of some of my tanks down to the 4-5 range where nitrifying bacteria no longer work but plants are just fine.

    Cheers, Bart
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  2. ButtNekkid

    ButtNekkid Active Member

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    Very interesting blog!

    I once pondered whether I could cover my whole tank surface with Pistia. I got 75% coverage before bailing. It was insanely beatifull.
    Never again dared to complete it.

    I think TomC has a collection report on his website which has a pic of river that´s completely covered with Pistia?
    Anyone remember which one was it?

    Attached Files:

  3. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    Here are pics of my latest apisto tank that has 100% floating plant coverage, mostly Salvinia minima with some frogbit and small water lettuce. Other plants are still growing in the shade below the cover.

    Short side of 48x24x12 50 gallon tank showing panduro, norberti and pantalone. A pair of norberti spawned Friday a just over a week ago and I was hoping to see fry this morning but the female is still frequenting her cave so maybe tomorrow.
    50G-short.jpg

    Long side of the same tank. It sits on a peninsula between kitchen and living room so you can view it from three sides. The breeding pair has 'taken over' the entire length of the other side. The central portion contains a 2.5x2x1.5 foot piece of driftwood and some smaller pieces to break lines of sight.
    50G-long.jpg

    Top of tank showing 100% cover of floating plants and pieces of driftwood sticking out the top.
    50G-top.jpeg

    The left light is a commercial Aqueon Optibright plus LED light. The right is a DIY LED that produces more light, even when run at half power, costs at least 5 times less to build, and is twice as efficient (~170 lumen/watt). You can find a description on how to make these very easily at my blog biodives.com/blog. No solder required, just a bit of tape.

    Even my breeding boxes use a layer of floaters. I believe fish feel safer, the roots provide ciliates and other infusoria-like nibbles, and it makes it impossible for the fry to jump out. These are A. rubrolineata that spawned in June.
    rubrolineata-fry.jpg
  4. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    Bart, I'm sure you are right, there is no money to be made in telling people "plants and time" are all you need for a successful tank.

    I think if you look on German, Dutch and Scandinavian forums you will get a lot more people with an open mind about biological filtration when compared to English language ones.
    This is another area where scientific research has shown that the traditional linear view of nitrification is just wrong, and that in low fixed nitrogen environments the nitrifying organisms are overwhelmingly from <"the Archaea">, and not as constrained by pH.

    If you haven't seen it, take a look at "Aquarium Nitrification Revisited: Thaumarchaeota are the Dominant Ammonia Oxidizers in Freshwater Aquarium Biofilter" <"http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0023281#pone-0023281-g004">) and the papers that cite it.

    I should have access to most/all of them, if there are papers you would particularly like you don't have access to.

    cheers Darrel
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  5. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    Great stuff. I'll check out those papers. Should have no problem getting them via my University library.
  6. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    Best of luck, the more people who are out there posting about the advantages of planted tanks and floating plants (Diana's "aerial advantage") the more chance that new comers to fish keeping will find them and hopefully that should increase their chances of being successful fish keepers.

    Can I post the link to your blog on the UKAPS forum? I think a lot of people will be interested in reading it.

    cheers Darrel
  7. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    Yes please post the link. The more readers the merrier.
  8. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you for posting Bart and Darrel.

    You can consider me a convert at this point. I'm trying plants out on two ten gallon tanks with the plan being to convert my 125g to a riparium. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time but never got around to attempting.

    I was reading an article/comments by Joe Gargas and he made the statement that if you are changing your water just for the sake of changing water, then you are spinning your wheels. His comment was in regards to water quality. I am guilty of changing water because it feels like the right thing to do. I have spent the majority of my hobby thinking the more the merrier with water changes as far as water quality. In my case, my tap water has a small ammonia reading and nitrate. I do believe this forum has told me countless times to add plants and ease up on water changes, but I found it hard to accept.

    Here is my new ten gallon. Corner filter with creeping jenny and pothos. The plants seem to be doing well. The creeping jenny is growing roots into the water right by the heater. Forgive the looks, this was kind of thrown together in anticipation for setting up a display rimless tank. But I have since decided to stick with "ugly and effective".

    On the bottom I have elodea, dwarf sag, valisneria, and some anubias. I don't know if the submerged plants will do well competing with the plants that have the "aerial advantage".

    [​IMG]
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  9. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    I love your creeping jenny, above water. I have a Brazilian pennywort in a 3" deep guppy tub that is growing out of the water and has now made a white flower. I have a few tanks that really do need work in terms of eliminating (most of) the algae but I have breeding apistos in them and don't want to cause too much stress. Also, there will be loads of microbe-sized food in the algae layer so I'll put up with the eyesore and just focus on the happy fish.
    I have been surprised at how well plants grow underneath a full layer of floating plants. I expect that 90% of filter-function comes from the floaters but I still like my submerged plants for looks, diversity, and fish shelter.

    Here is the pennywort with flower
    Pennywort-flower.jpg
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  10. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    That is really cool Bart! I will have to try pennywort.

    I dropped the water line on my 125g to see what it would look like. Forgive the mess, I added a ton of structure to keep the current residents from killing each other.

    I'm not sure if I should go high humidity or low humidity. You can see the condensation on the glass. The tank is filtered with a corner filter (left side) that is powered by a 500gph pump. I could arrange a sort of wet/dry setup by having the water distributed through the plant media. Aeroponics is the term to describe that I think? Do floating plants and "bog" type plants perform equally well at filtration?

    I am going to remove all of the rock and add leaf litter. I am ordering a group of A. cacatuoides from Wetspot.

    [​IMG]
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  11. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    I think there is another plant called pennywort, the one I have is Hydrocotyle leucocephala (Brazilian pennywort). It normally forms long submerged strings. All my tanks are open-top tanks with low humidity, especially in winter. A lot of people use pothos that only have their roots in the tank as supplementary plant filtration. Bog plants would work well too I would expect. As long as they are emerged they are not growth-limited by CO2 and also don't compete for CO2, leaving more for the pretty submerged platns. The only theoretical special feature of floaters is that they can't cheat by taking nutrition from the soil and must squeeze whatever they can from the water column.
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  12. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Thank you Bart.

    I really like Brazilian pennywort! I will have to source some!

    The sand in your Apistogramma tank looks extremely clean. Is that a new setup or do you have any tricks for keeping the sand looking clean?
  13. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    This tank was set up on April 25, so still relatively new. I don't use a gravel vac and only siphon of detritus if the layer gets too thick, otherwise I consider it plant and fry food factories. In this tank neither windows or sand have ever been cleaned. For the last little while the tank also runs without filter or even circulation pump. In winter I do add a circulation pump to make sure that heated water get circulated.
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  14. aarhud

    aarhud Active Member 5 Year Member

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    Emergent plants are becoming a new hobby. Bart, is your Hydrocotyle leucocephala rooted in any substrate?
  15. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    I think it is rooted somewhere but there are too many side branches to really know what goes where (and in this very shallow tub I don't really get to see through the sides). Sometimes I have bits of plants that are too small or all-but dead and would normally be discarded but I throw them in those tubs with direct sunlight. Sometimes they just disappear, sometimes life's amazing strength makes them come to life again. And then the tub plants are used to seed other (new) tanks.
  16. dw1305

    dw1305 Well-Known Member 5 Year Member

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    Hi all,
    This is the response to my Bart's blog post on UKAPS.

    <"Interesting blog">.

    cheers Darrel
  17. Bart Hazes

    Bart Hazes Member

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    Wow, finally some people who take the concept seriously and give it some real thought! I've had locals interested in the ultimate outcome but not so much the process. That's ok, you don't have to know how a combustion engine works to be a good driver, but part of the aquarium hobby is to learn about all aspects of nature and apply that to run better aquariums and appreciating them more.

    I just signed up for UKAPS so I can participate in the discussion, though will probably postpone until the weekend. I bet there is a lot of other interesting stuff on the forums.
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