Journal My best low-tech 'scape so far

Discussion in 'El Natural & Low Tech' started by George Farmer, 30 Oct 2015.

  1. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,485
    Location:
    Leicester
    I think that perhaps water parameters aren't really that important, within reasonable limits that is.
    Further, most hobby test kits are blunt instruments and not really that accurate.
    In the UK our water standards are very strict, so if it potable it's got to be OK for our critters and plants.
    Most of the fish we buy in the UK have been bred in similar water conditions to those in which they are kept, eg hard water.
    And densely planted biologically stable tanks are well documented, albeit anecdotally, to absorbe metabolic wastes very efficiently. So water changes aren't always needed on a regular basis.
    Similarly, I've kept Hi-energy tanks that also didn't need frequent water changes - every 1-3 months or so were fine.
     
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  2. nicpapa

    nicpapa Member

    Messages:
    201
    Location:
    Greece
    Hi Troi ,
    I dont know about your tap water, heres mine is very hard 24gh and 22 kh, and i make my own water mix ro and tap.
    So you dont know how the newest read this..
    Yes a planted tank dont need regular basis water change it depedn how much ferts you add and how fast plants grown , but its a must knowing after a week or more how much the nitrate is to calculate the water change. :)
    As i said , i dont have a problem , and i believe you that u can do water change after 3 months.
    But think that if new member read this post, they believe that they can buy fish without knowing water parameters and do water change after 2-3 months...
     
    George Farmer likes this.
  3. Tim Harrison

    Tim Harrison Global Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess we all have to consider our options in the context of our own unique environment and experience.
    The Tutorial section, is very helpful for those just starting out and looking for guidance:)
    And failing that most members are only too happy to offer advice regarding specific queries/problems.
     
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  4. dw1305

    dw1305 Expert

    Messages:
    8,156
    Location:
    nr Bath
    Hi all,
    I think that is a relevant point regarding soft and hard water fish. You can get parameters for hardness from your water supplier in the UK.
    That is the real problem for me. I'm not anti-testing, quite the opposite I'd really like to know what the water parameters are in my tanks, but to get accurate, repeatable values is really difficult for a lot of parameters, even with lab scale kit and a lot of time.

    I started from the premise that I was going to have a planted tank that was "over-filtered". The difficulties with water testing were why I started using tank management techniques that didn't require testing, but could use plant health and growth rate as an indicator of nutrient status. I also knew that the prime metric for biological filtration was oxygen availability, and that "plant/microbe" filtration systems were a lot more flexible and resilient than "microbe alone" filters. The only dip meter, or quick test, that I could find that gave accurate repeatable values over a large range of water conditions was a conductivity meter, so I used that to give me a datum point for my tank water. It isn't the most useful value, but it was the best I could do.

    Because I wanted to take CO2 and PAR out of the equation I choose a floating plant as my indicator of nutrient status. Initially I used Duckweed (Lemna minor) and called it the "Duckweed Index". After a bit of experimentation I found that Amazon Frogbit (Limnobium laevigatum) was an improved Duckweed (Lemna doesn't grow well in soft water and yellows, even when nutrients are available), and I recommend this as my floater.

    I know I'm biased, but the "Duckweed Index" is a much better method of tank management than water testing which can lead to chasing the "ideal water" pH values etc. The method is the simple for beginners. You plant a tank with low tech plants, including a floater, you leave the plants to grow in, and then you add the fish. You take conductivity readings during the set up process when the tank is growing well, and then you use a mixture of tap and RO (or rain-water, I use rain-water), to keep your conductivity readings somewhere near those values.

    You might not get the result George has achieved (the tank is a triumph), but you will get a stable, resilient tank.

    There is a more complete description in <"Setting up empty tank.......">.
    I think that is true to some degree, and I definitely like dense planting.

    Personally I change a small volume of water on a regular basis (usually about 10% a day), but that probably is more than is necessary.

    cheers Darrel
     
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  5. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Ah, yes, you raise a good point! Thank you. Please allow me to clarify...

    I do know the approx parameters of my tap water in terms of hardness, at least, because I have a conductivity meter built-in to a filter on another aquarium. I have very hard water but the soil helps to counteract that. So I know the water is ok for the species chosen. I also know the the soil substrate I am using buffers the water at approx pH 6.5.

    From experience I know that the plant growth will be dealing with any excess nutrients such as NO3 and I constantly observe the fish in terms of their health and well-being.

    Of course, the welfare of the fish should always be paramount and I apologise if my posts may indicate otherwise.

    I do recommend initial testing your water supply or getting a reading from the water supplier themselves to ensure the baseline parameters are appropriate i.e. hardness. Thankfully the vast majority of available fish are captive bred and adaptable to a wide range of water parameters.

    Cheers,
    George
     
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  6. Bacms

    Bacms Member

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    299
    Hi George,

    In which edition of the PFK is this scape going to feature?
     
  7. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

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    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Not sure yet. I'll post on this thread when I know.
     
    Bacms likes this.
  8. hogan53

    hogan53 Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,115
    Location:
    Hemel Hempstead
    Hi George
    Might have missed you stating the substrate question...which substrate are you using?
    Cheers
    hoggie
     
  9. Bacms

    Bacms Member

    Messages:
    299
    It is listed on the first page as being the Colombo Flora Pro aqua soil
     
  10. hogan53

    hogan53 Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,115
    Location:
    Hemel Hempstead
    Cheers l though it might be that Colombo...is this substrate different to Flora Base?
    hoggie
     
    Last edited: 4 Nov 2015
  11. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    It's their complete soil. I think it's the same as the original, just rebranded.
     
  12. hogan53

    hogan53 Global Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,115
    Location:
    Hemel Hempstead
    Okay George!
    Cheers
     
  13. AquaMartin

    AquaMartin Newly Registered

    Messages:
    5
    Hi George,

    Impressive tank you've got! I really love it. Great how you've managed to get some colour differences in the green plants!
     
  14. darren636

    darren636 Member

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    Location:
    dorset
    How long is the photoperiod?

    This tank is simply stunning
     
  15. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    9 hours. Thanks
     
    darren636 likes this.
  16. PARAGUAY

    PARAGUAY Member

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    1,459
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Just read the article in PFK ,well done George,great read:)
     
  17. George Farmer

    George Farmer Founder Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,091
    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Thanks! :)
     
  18. chrism

    chrism Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Wales
    I've been waiting for this to be published! Is the article online? I'd love to have a read if it is... Does anyone have a link? I couldn't find it on PFK. Cheers


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. PARAGUAY

    PARAGUAY Member

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    Lancashire
    Its available to subscribers now but it is usually be on retail not long after.
     
  20. chrism

    chrism Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    North Wales
    Ah ok, cool thanks for letting me know


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

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