just an idea,

Discussion in 'Hardware & DIY' started by big chris, 23 Sep 2008.

  1. big chris

    big chris Newly Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    southampton
    i plan to install two boxes in the corners of my tank which are black acrylic with slots in them i plan to put my ext filter inlet in there and a ph probe and a heater of course along with whatever else i wanna put it there,, firstly i havnt seen this done on here, and no im worried there may be a reason for it, im sure you will not see them much and once planted they will just blend into the background,

    i also hope the boxes at the levels they are should provide a small amount of surface skimming to, (fingers crossed)
     
  2. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    it is ok, it is basically like having an internal though. once planted, you wont be able to see the heater & filter anyway! You could always use glass if you are that bothered.

    why are you using a ph probe? is that for CO2 monitoing?
     
  3. big chris

    big chris Newly Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    southampton
    i have a background in marine and have this kicking about, i mainly want it in there to see if i get a ph swing during the day and to have a play around with it, if i decide to go with co2 later i have it there, and if i decide not to then it will prolly go on the bay.

    basically it doesnt hurt to have it, but to answer your question it wont be controlling anything, but just be used as a monitor for a while,

    chris
     
  4. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    It think the reason is really one of aesthetics, black boxes in the corner of a tank don't look great (personally speaking). It's often why people remove the jumbo filters juwel tanks come with.

    Sam
     
  5. big chris

    big chris Newly Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    southampton
    i know what your saying but. other wise i have to put the heater in the tank in full view so i thought that this flase weir box type thing would do the trick,

    ill try and think of other ways to get round hiding kit
     
  6. Themuleous

    Themuleous Member

    Messages:
    4,126
    Location:
    Aston, Oxfordshire
    Yeh true. Don't forgot that a weir will drive off CO2, so try and fill it as full as possible.

    Sam
     
  7. mick b

    mick b Member

    Messages:
    80
    Cover the front face of the box, with a piece of mirrored glass.
    (Use silicone to stick it to the box, and seal the cut-edges to prevent any of the metalic mirroring being exposed to the water).


    Cheers, Mick B
     
  8. a1Matt

    a1Matt Member

    Messages:
    2,498
    Location:
    Bromley
    I can't see why you shouldn't go ahead with this. As long as the box doesn't restrict flow it won't hurt. It's just a question of aesthetics, so if it looks pleasing to you then go for it.

    When I had internal equipment in the tank I had it al lined up in a row form fornt to back with a tall thin piece of bogwood right at the fornt hiding it all. That worked really well, but just took up a bit more room .

    I love your sig by the way. I smile everytime I see it :lol:
     
  9. big chris

    big chris Newly Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    southampton
    yeah i have made the box and it looks flawless as the backing if black aswel i think it will dissapear into the background,
    the weir box will hopefully surface skim to a degree so i know it will effect the ph but that is easily rectafied. i have a plan lol,

    ill post some pics up once i have it sorted, hopefully my missus will look after it while im away diving in mid oct and when i get back it will be. or nearly cycled,

    i love the sig, its true though isnt it!?
     
  10. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    In a freshwater planted tank surface skimming is much less relevant than basic surface agitation. Furthermore, pH is completely irrelevant. If the skimming does have an effect on pH it is more likely that this is because it is removing CO2 from the water column, which is a cardinal sin and as Sam points out, will have a direct negative impact on plant health. These are not insurmountable obstacles (as you can increase the injection rate) but they are simply unnecessary complications which have zero benefit.

    Although mick b has an excellent idea regarding the use of mirrors, the reason internal boxes are shunned as if they were Bubonic Plague is because they severely restrict ones aquascaping options. Now you are forced to have "box hiding" as a central theme of the scape instead of being free to explore options such as open or savannah type scapes, or even simple placement of individual plants.

    If an in-tank heater is worrisome then a better option would be to use an external heater such as a Hydor or even a thermofilter instead of tank invasion. These add cost however so that might be unattractive as well.

    Cheers,
     
  11. big chris

    big chris Newly Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    southampton
    so what your saying is, ph wont be effect with co2 in the tank?

    what i thought was,
    i need to add co2 for plant growth? and adding too much will have a serious effect on fish health because of the ph drop?
    so i thought monitoring it especially when first starting will be key?
    incase i add too much (mistake happen esp when setting up), also adding r/o with less buffing potential as tap will also have an effect on ph?

    it wont be skimming the surface compltely if alot at all, as it will have vents in it, but will aid in the fact that any surface skum wont stay for long

    i have a fx5 already from previous ventures and a hydor wont fit as i have said before,
    the way i see it it either have a heater and a filter outlet on show or hide it in a small box that hopefully you wont notice

    it looks alot better than a int juwel box as it blends in with the background and is alot thinner then one too (enough room to put the kit in), not to mention imo looking better
     
  12. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Well, yes mate, if you think it looks better then that's the bottom line, definitely go for it. Your question was why others don't use the box method and why you haven't seen anyone else using it. That's the query I was addressing.

    CO2 affects the pH of the tank radically. Of this there is little doubt, however neither you plants nor your fish care about fluctuating water pH. Adding too much CO2 has a negative effect on fish due to the pH drop in their bloodstream, not due to the pH of the water. This is called blood acidosis and it has a lethal impact on fauna. The pH of the water column though has no effect on the pH of the bloodstream. In order to monitor the CO2 content it's better to use a dropchecker filled with 4 dkh water, as well as to monitor the behavior of the fish.

    This is a crucial misconception and this is why many worry needlessly about buffering and so forth. It's completely irrelevant. Fauna have mechanisms to prevent H+ ions from penetrating the blood stream, however CO2 must be ejected from the blodstream in the same way we exhale. This happens by osmotic pressure so if the CO2 concentration of the water is lower than the concentration of the blood then CO2 will travel from the blood to the water. If the concentration of the water is too high then the external CO2 osmotic pressure is higher in the water and therefore CO2 cannot escape from the blood. The bloodstream therefore gets flooded with CO2 from the water and the Carbonic acid formed in the blood wreaks havoc on nervous system, liver and other systems.

    If low pH in the water column was a problem then all the South and Central American fish would perish because these water are extremely acidic. Not only that but the acidity varies wildly from one body of water to the next, and from one day to the next due to rain and taniic acid leaching into the water from the leaf litter and sediment. In fact, many species use the extreme pH fluctuation as a trigger for breeding. So there is no way low pH, pH crash or fluctuating pH is problematic. My suggestion is to forget about water ph and think more about CO2 concentrations.

    If you are having surface scum it's more an indication of poor CO2 and/or poor nutrition. Proper nutrition combined with adequate surface agitation, regular fluffing of the plants to dislodge detritus and proper flow eliminates this condition.

    Cheers,
     
  13. JamesM

    JamesM Member

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    1,913
    Location:
    The BIG End, South Wales
    Use a drop checker to measure co2 levels - info in sig :)
     
  14. aaronnorth

    aaronnorth Member

    Messages:
    3,955
    Location:
    worksop, nottinghamshire
    in general the ph (of water) suaully drops by about 1ph.
     
  15. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Interesting stuff. Presumably though we're talking about general community fish. I'm sure malawi cichlids wouldn't be happy in a pH of 6.5.
     
  16. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

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    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    Actually I know someone who has kept and bred Neolamprologus brichardi (now included in N.pulcher) in acidic water and they are reknowned as being fussier than mbuna. It seems the water has to have a high TDS and be hard, rather than the pH being critical. I'm not sure I'd want to try it though...
     
  17. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,952
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Yeah, I guess I'm not so sure because I haven't figured out a meaningful way to drop the pH to that level while maintaining the other water parameters such as KH that this type of fish needs. How can one be sure otherwise? Fundamentally the fishes system is designed around salt management. Have you ever wondered why a marine fish can't survive in freshwater and why a freshwater fish can't survive in marine water? It sounds obvious yet it's poorly understood. The reason is the diffusion, or, the movement of water across the cellular membranes as a direct result of the presence of salts in the water and the effect of osmosis these salts generate.

    Think about what osmosis is. When two liquids (solvents) of different concentration of a solute (like salt) are separated by a semi-permeable membrane the solvent typically moves from the less concentrated liquid across the membrane to the more concentrated liquid. This has the effect of equalizing the concentrations between the two liquids. The force driving the solvent across the membrane is called the osmotic force. It can be measured by pressurizing the side that has the higher concentration. This amount of pressure required to stop movement of the solvent across the membrane is called the osmotic pressure.

    Consider a freshwater fish. The salt content of its bloodstream is higher than that of the surrounding water and the semipermeable skin tissue. The solvent in this case is water and the main solute is salt (NaCl). The mechanism of this tissue is such that the water is attracted by osmotic forces to flow across the skin from the less concentrated water to the more saline bloodstream and the freshwater fish is therefore constantly being hydrated. Because of this, freshwater fish don't drink water. Their system is designed to get rid of water. If this fish is then placed in marine water the effect is reversed and the water will flow through the tissue from the less saline bloodstream to the higher salinity of the water. This fish will die of dehydration because it has only a limited mechanism to stop the egress of water from it's cells.

    Marine fish live under this threat of dehydration so they drink lots of saline water to increase their salinity and they have mechanisms to rid the body of excess salts through kidney functions. Placed in freshwater a marine fish receives an influx of water and in a way, drowns.

    The significant difference between a Lake Malawi fish and an Amazon Basin fish has more to do with the level of salts in the water, so while Amazonian waters are low in KH/GH Rift Valley waters are high in KH/GH. Osmoregulation occurs as well for these other types of salts. It just so happens that waters high in KH also happen to be high in pH due to the effect of buffering, but the fishes osmoregulatory system is designed to manage dehydration based on the level of and type of solutes in the Lakes. The pH is a secondary effect.

    So it would be difficult to design an environment wherein the KH is high enough to satisfy the requirements of the Lake Malawi fish and at the same time to drive the pH relatively low. If you tried to do it using CO2 you'd have to inject toxic levels. If you tried to do it using direct acid addition you'd likely have to add toxic levels of acid. People worry way too much about pH without considering it's context within the rest of water chemistry.

    Cheers,
     
  18. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Thanks for that Clive. As Sam says, "always learning"!
     

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