27 litre scape - "Bearing new fruit"

Ray

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Clive, that is very interesting - you are getting better and better - I hate to think what kind of botany and bio-chemistry textbooks you must be keeping at your bedside these days! :wideyed:

:?: I think you are saying that a cycling process is important not just from the point of view of fish but also plants and not getting algae. If I put a mature filter on a new planted tank will the bacteria population in the filter crash for want of sufficient organic carbon pollution from the plants?

:?: I presume that turning the light down in the initial weeks is the best approach to allow things to get going slowly?

ceg4048 said:
By the way, an 18 watt light bulb is exactly 4 times better for this tank than a 36 watt bulb. I know you probably feel like Alice in Wonderland tumbling down the rabbit hole? You can just accept this, take the Blue Pill and wake up in your bed tomorrow and everything will be OK. If you take the Red Pill I can explain and show you how deep the rabbit hole actually goes... :wideyed:
Sounds right instinctively from what we already know, but I don't know the science behind where you get the 4x figure. I take the red pill :D
 

ceg4048

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Ray said:
...I hate to think what kind of botany and bio-chemistry textbooks you must be keeping at your bedside these days! :wideyed:
I'll tell you what; there are some killer Microbial Ecology articles on the Springer-Link Journal website. I can't remember the URL right now but T.Barr directed us to the site. There is an article entitled "Strong Indirect Effects of a Submersed Aquatic Macrophyte,
Vallisneria americana, on Bacterioplankton Densities in a Mesotrophic Lake". What is so cool about this article is that it's one of the few tests done specifically using a popular aquarium plant. Most other research are done with terrestrial or invasive plants, leaving us to extrapolate the data to the aquatic regime.

Ray said:
:?: I think you are saying that a cycling process is important not just from the point of view of fish but also plants and not getting algae.
Oh most definitely Ray. Many people view tank cycling as if it were some sort of childhood disease to get over and done with. Cycling is critical because it establishes the very foundation upon which the battle against algae will be fought. The same process that we call "cycling" is actually a process which goes on continuously in the tank. If the plants are the cavalry, the bacteria are the infantry. It is specifically because of low bacteria population in a tank that the levels of NH4 and NO2 rise to such toxic levels. Then somehow we completely ignore this important component once the toxic levels fall.

Ray said:
If I put a mature filter on a new planted tank will the bacteria population in the filter crash for want of sufficient organic carbon pollution from the plants?
Well I suppose it would depend on what condition the tank from which you are pulling the filter from was in, but yes, generally, DOC limitation will cause a loss of population, but so what, you'd have a filter with a much higher population of nitrifying bacteria than if you used a brand new filter, and the bodies of the bacteria that die will contribute to the DOC as they decay (they'll contribute to NH4 as well though). This is one of the reasons we suggest to seed a new filter or to put mulm from the gravel of an established tank into the gravel new tank. We want to get that population up as quickly as possible.

Ray said:
:?: I presume that turning the light down in the initial weeks is the best approach to allow things to get going slowly?
Yep, there is way too much light turned on tanks startups round the world. I start my tanks with 50% to 75% of nominal value. This slows the DOC production a bit but the plants are usually inefficient anyway and lowering the light reduces algae's advantage. I also dose full EI from the start as there are some "good guy" bacteria which can use inorganic phosphates. I see so many cases where people do the exact opposite - high light and no/low nutrients, and it makes me think Hmmmmm... :wideyed:

Ray said:
ceg4048 said:
By the way, an 18 watt light bulb is exactly 4 times better for this tank than a 36 watt bulb. I know you probably feel like Alice in Wonderland tumbling down the rabbit hole? You can just accept this, take the Blue Pill and wake up in your bed tomorrow and everything will be OK. If you take the Red Pill I can explain and show you how deep the rabbit hole actually goes... :wideyed:
Sounds right instinctively from what we already know, but I don't know the science behind where you get the 4x figure. I take the red pill :D

Well you are the electronics guy right? So you are aware that power is a squared expression, i.e Voltage squared/Resistance or Current squared*Resistance and so forth. Well, if you have double the bulb wattage (36W versus 18W) then that basically means that you are pumping 4 times a many photons per square centimeter onto the surface of a leaf. In the science of photsynthesis this is referred to more or less as the Photon Flux Density (the number of photons that pass over a certain square footage per unit time). Each wave of light carries with it a photon energy packet in the same way as an ocean wave carries flotsam onto the shore. Each lap of the wave strikes the beach and delivers the flotsam. Now just imagine a series of waves that strike the beach 2 billion times per second delivering 2 billion pieces of flotsam per second. :wideyed: If I double the wattage I quadruple the number of waves and likewise quadruple the number of delivered energy packets. Each time a photon packet strikes the Chlorophyll, an electron is ejected from the chlorophyll and this electron flow starts the enzyme and carbohydrate production. Enzyme/carbohydrate production requires the availability of nutrients so If I quadruple the electron flow guess what happens to enzyme/carbohydrate production? Yep, quadrupled. Guess what that does to nutrient uptake requirements? The nutrients are required to support the increased electron flow in order to produce the increased enzyme/carbohydrate production rate. Now this is a simplistic view and I'm just using representative numbers but you get the picture. If Steve uses an 18 watt bulb in lieu of a 36 watt bulb the pressure on the plants to uptake nutrients/CO2 drops tremendously.

Cheers,
 

Ray

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Lets see if I got this, because this is quite new, at least to me.

Plants help with the removal of Ammonia not only by taking it in to metabolise it themselves but by contributing Derived Organic Carbon (DOC) to the environment which makes a more favourable environment for bacteria including those that breakdown ammonia in the nitrogen cycle. Hence the more plant biomas you have the more DOC is produced - so a well planted tank will have less ammonia and so is less likely to have algae (since algae is induced by ammonia).

:idea: Can we dose DOC in the early days of a tank without it contributing to the ammonia levels?

(Steve - apologies for jumping all over your thread - if it bothers you PM Clive who I'm sure will move this somewhere else)
 

ceg4048

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Ray said:
Lets see if I got this, because this is quite new, at least to me.

Plants help with the removal of Ammonia not only by taking it in to metabolise it themselves but by contributing Derived Organic Carbon (DOC) to the environment which makes a more favourable environment for bacteria including those that breakdown ammonia in the nitrogen cycle. Hence the more plant biomas you have the more DOC is produced - so a well planted tank will have less ammonia and so is less likely to have algae (since algae is induced by ammonia).

Yes I agree with this. (DOC is Dissolved Organic Carbon not Derived)


Ray said:
:idea: Can we dose DOC in the early days of a tank without it contributing to the ammonia levels?

Theoretically this should be true based on this extract on the summary page: "In ... lakes, high rates of respiration in relation to primary production suggest the presence of other sources of organic carbon for bacteria in addition to phytoplankton-produced organic matter. In ... lakes with large inputs of ... (mainly terrestrial) carbon, there is a greater supply of DOC for bacterial growth than in clear-water ... lakes less influenced by such sources. Further, because the littoral zone can dominate over the pelagic zone on an area basis in many small and shallow lakes, loading of DOC from littoral communities can be significant and may be several times greater than the amount produced by pelagic phytoplankton.

This is a mouthful but what they are saying is that is shallow lakes, organic carbon washed into the water from the shore have a positive influence on the bacteria development. Bacteria in lakes influenced by DOC from the shore have a higher population than in lakes with rocky shores for example which have no source of DOC at their shore. In those types of lakes the DOC is produced from phytoplankton alone so that lake is more likely to be DOC limited than if there is a rich supply of DOC from a nearby forest or heavy carbon content soil for example.

I read another article which discussed the addition of glucose as a substitute form of DOC and it's effect of nitrification but I can't recall the article and I haven't really tried adding glucose myself so I can't confirm. I'll have to ask T. Barr about this because it's not clear. There is a set of dynamics between N, P and DOC so it may not be as straightforward depending on what else you are dosing.

This is probably as clear as mud but let me dig deeper can I?

Cheers,
 

GreenNeedle

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I assume that Tom Barr's love of Leonardite is DOC related then?

Nice tank by the way Steve. Where did you get the wood from that cheap?

Andy
 

ceg4048

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SuperColey1 said:
I assume that Tom Barr's love of Leonardite is DOC related then?
Exactly. Leonardite is basically peat+coal, organic matter and DOC for the substrate bacteria. In the end this is probably a better option than adding glucose.

Cheers,
 

Steve Smith

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SuperColey1 said:
Nice tank by the way Steve. Where did you get the wood from that cheap?
Andy

My LFS, Coventry Aquatics. They don't seem to be able to get any more redwood in at the moment. This bit was in a display tank, so I asked if they'd sell it to me :)
 

Garuf

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Hows this coming along, have you got the algae under control yet? This really should be great when it grows out, I'd be tempted to use some moss stones in their too and maybe some small "thinking" stones in the meadow carpets are nice but they need punctuation by something so they look more interesting.
 

Steve Smith

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Its recovering quite well after mass hair algae. I will have pressurised CO2 soon, but the Excell and lower light has really helped.

I like the idea of some small stones. I'd need to find some good looking smallish stones.
 

Garuf

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just get a single landscape rock and shatter it up a charm, some tiny off cuts of that petrified wood would work well too I reckon. I'm trying to think abit outside the usual realms here and so far its not going well but I think this scape has all the right ingredients its just a matter of bringing everything together.
 

Steve Smith

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Well, the hair algae is now gone. Still no CO2 but dosing Excel and ferts (need to get a correct regime going). Growth is quite good still, though obviously slowed down a lot after reducing the light. I even had 2 babies born about 1 1/2 weeks ago :)

Plans for the future include retrofitting an 18w PC into the hood, adding some cherry shrimp and planting more Eleocharis. I will also toy with the landscape rock idea, as I have some kicking about that I can break up...

I'll post a pic later this week after the next water change :)
 

Steve Smith

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Well, after a lot of advice from Clive and others (read previous pages!) I think I've pulled this back from the edge of destruction! Still no CO2 but dosing Excel and dry ferts. Not got a good routine yet but overdosing the dry ferts for now and seems to be doing OK.

I also had a stroke of luck when I discovered that a desk lamp I've had for several years has the same type of tube as the hood to this aquarium. The bulb is a nicer, slightly brighter one. The old was a half white, half blue tube. This is white, and is 64000k so fingers crossed :) It looks a little yellow but its nicer than the original. Anyhow, some pics:





I'm going to play with Garuf's idea of a landscape rock or two strategically placed tomorrow to see what it looks like. Added some Sylvania Natans and removed the E. Stellata stems I've had growing in there, as it looked messy :)

Comments welcome!
 

Garuf

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It's really really good! give the moss 2 more weeks then trim it back hard so that it forms thicker more tight pads of growth.
I can't wait to see how this comes together It really looks the part.
 

Garuf

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also regarding the rocks I think 3 would work best one largish one just behind the trunk of the tree a smaller one in the corner infront of the tree and one in the meadow of a middle size.
 

Steve Smith

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Thanks Garuf :)

Now all I need to do is sort out better filtration. I can either use the crappy Eden 501 clone or maybe the Eheim 2213, though I think this might be a bit OTT. The endlers don't seem to like too much flow...
 

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