My Wife thinks I should buy a new tank...

Discussion in 'El Natural & Low Tech' started by bugs, 8 Sep 2007.

  1. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    :wideyed:

    A Juwel Lido to be precise...

    Tired of the cost of CO2 and time dedicated to EI, I'm thinking of going down the Diana Walstead route.

    I want to keep using my Eheim 2324 Thermal cos it's great, albeit the turnover it probably too high (but I can throttle it down). Then I just need to soil, plants, and overfeed the fish a bit.

    Discuss...
     
  2. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    Diana is a member here too, so maybe shell have some input if you get any specific issues. I for one am really interested in the natural techniques but know almost nothing about it. Id be fascinated if you start a tank based on the methods.

    If you do go for it, maybe youd like to run this thread as a journal? warts and all? Im sure that most, if not ALL of us would love to read how your doing.

    Good luck.

    ps. If your wife actually SUGGESTS buying another tank, GO FOR IT BEFORE SHE CHANGES HER MIND!!! HAHA
     
  3. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    No expert in this either, but I do have one soil tank/no CO2 running at school. I have to say that I'm pretty impressed really, as it takes hardly any maintenance (that also has to do with the mainly crypt planting too). It has got some BBA growing though, but I seem to have this in all my tanks and am slightly at a loss what to do about it at the moment!

    If you want some really expert advice I'd look at the APC section too, http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/el-natural/
     
  4. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    Im having BBA issues too Ed, and like you, Im at a loss.

    The old accepted ideas that BBA was caused by CO2 cant be applied to me in this case, CO2 is bang on, lots of circulation etc. There has to be more to it.. one of my thoughts was that NH4 was leeching out of my aquatic compost substrate and causing the most prominent algae in the tank (BBA) to take off a bit. I wonder if its similar with you.
     
  5. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I don't know but I don't think so. I have BBA in every tank I own! It grows in this tank where NH4 may well be an occasional issue as this tank has 2 big wild angelfish, 10 cories, 4 big congo tetras and a pair of Pelvicachromis suboccelatus 'Matadi', so it's pretty well stocked and as it's in the entrance at school it doesn't get much maintenance at all. The fish are also fed by an automatic timer. It's also low light as it's only got a 24W PC T5. But the plants do ok!

    However my other tanks vary a lot;
    3ft, No CO2, Laterite under sand with high stocking and 36W PD T5, about 1.5wpg (Under which I'm growing Cabomba furcata!!!) Again occasional NH4 spikes very possible and BBA growing on Anubias and wood and slate.
    3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft, Pressurised CO2, Flourite under sand, 2.5wpg, Very high filtration from Ehiem 2128 filled with sintered glass media. With this I'm pretty sure this tank has incredibly minimal ammonia so I don't think that, or CO2 are an issue in this tank and even with 3 SAEs this tank has some BBA on the slate backdrops and bits of wood.
    2ft Apistgramma eremnopyge breeding tank. No CO2, Laterite under sand 24W PC T5, a bit under 2wpg.
    1ft cube with DIY CO2, Tetra Complete under sand, EI fertilisation, 11W PC. In this tank BBA grows mainly on the Marsilea at the front and really ruins the foreground!

    I'm thinking of getting pressurised CO2 for the nano and trying Excel too and I have to say that EI isn't for me so will be discontinuing that experiment I think! I'm thinking of switching this tank over to Aquasoil Amazonia with Powersand so I can do my usual much leaner dosing system while not sacrificing plant growth.
    I've also added Purigern to the nano to see if that helps! Like you, I'm at a loss really!
     
  6. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Is a cap (sand etc) put over the soil? I was wondering if you could do a planted tank with a substrate of pure soil. Admittedly any fish activity would disturb it a little but if it were purely tetras and the like, then it shouldn't be too much of an issue.
     
  7. Matt Holbrook-Bull

    Matt Holbrook-Bull Founder

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Dorset, UK
    You need something over the compost yes, but Id use a gravel, not sand. Sand tends to seal in the compost, preventing water from circulating through it and resulting in a build up of undesirable substances like NH4, which then leech into the water column. Gravel lets the water through and the gases out.
     
  8. Ed Seeley

    Ed Seeley Member

    Messages:
    3,262
    Location:
    Nottingham
    I've heard this before, even from Diana Walstad, but I'm not too sure about the science behind it really! Once you get roots growing then I am sure that they are transporting more water and nutrients from the substrate than natural diffusion, and that is a pretty potent force itself and will diffuse across any void that is premeable. There will be a concentration gradient built up between the substrate and the water column, but I'm not convinced particle size will make such a huge difference, especially once the tank is established. Sand still has voids in it to allow water exchange. Personally all my tanks use sand and I only ever hoover the dirt off the top and plant growth in all is great. I've never had a stagnant substrate AFAIK. I've also got a small IKEA vase with about 4" of soil and an inch of sand on top with a Echinodorus x osiris Rubra in. Gas bubbles out from the algae growing on the vase's inside, but believe it's O2; there's no sulphide smell.

    On the other hand Diana seems pretty insistent on gravel rather than sand in the APC El Natural section, and she has obviously done way more tanks with soil than me. I'm just not sure it's another case of one way working well and then everyone copying it slavishly, rather than there being a sound reason for it, know what I mean?
     
  9. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    I have sand in my 2' tank which has quite a few crypts growing in it and there doesn't seem to be any problem. The sand has certainly compacted to some extent from when I put it in, but I'm not sure it's enough to stop water travelling through it.

    When I'm at the beach building moats around my sand castles I try and compact it but the water still drains out. It 's very frustrating....

    Oh, and er...I meant when I'm helping my son with his sandcastles...cough.....
     
  10. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    The Lido may be off the shopping list now... I've looked around and, to be frank, it's a lot of money to spend for something that's not a helluva difference to my existing Fluval 600 Deep. The fake wood is a bit meh too...

    So, me thinks I may look out for a tank to use as temp accommodation whilst I re-do the Fluval. If the whole "natural" thing works, then I may persuade my wife to let me have something slightly larger - particularly given that the Natural method means that I'll not be spending a fortune on CO2 and spending ages on maintenance/water changes.
     
  11. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Latest news...

    Long term plans:
    4ft tank, maybe planted, maybe something else... Built in to an alcove in dining room. I'll do all the cabinet construction with storage below and above with a space inbetween for the tank and access space, finished off in solid Cherry or similar hardwood. May even incorporate the plumbing necessary to syphon water out to the garden for water changes. A much larger project than originally intended, therefore...

    Short term plans
    Convert my existing tank to El Natural whilst I do all the other work around the house...

    I've created an index thread in El Natural for ease of reference for anyone else that may take this route.
     
  12. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Today I "won" a Rio 125 on eBay - £41.03 (beat the other bidder by 2p!).

    This will be the interim measure, allowing me to set up an El Natural tank before shutting down my old tank.

    The project is likely to move forward quite slowly as I'm also in the midst of decorating...
     
  13. beeky

    beeky Member

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Chippenham, Wiltshire
    Did that include the cabine as well?
     
  14. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    No stand (which is good as I don't like the look of aquarium stands ) :) I'll make one.
     
  15. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    Somewhere in another post I mentioned that I'd come by a Rena monster tank, complete with stand and Xp3 filter...

    That was a few weeks back and today I set about lifting the floor to build some supporting piers under the joists toward the front edge of the tank. Cut through a couple of boards, lifted one, and there before my eyes, courtesy of Spencer (the builder of my house) was a set of piers just fore of the front edge of the tank. Yeay!

    So, having dropped the board back down I managed to spend the remainder of the day rearranging a shelf that needed to be moved to above the tank - complete with a whole separates system to be reassembled. And moving my RC sailing boat from one wall to another. Also picked up a some flooring grade chipboard to go under the stand to stop the feet punching holes in my floor boards.

    Back to decorating the living room next weekend... :( But I may find time to tinker now that all the time consuming bits (i.e. the bits for which I need to negotiate weekend time away from the DIY) are done...
     
  16. bugs

    bugs Member

    Messages:
    356
    The monster tank is going... The history of my tank shenanigans for your amusement...

    Fluval 600 Deep High Tech
    Bought new and been running for approx 18 months as high tech and almost 6 months stripped of CO2 injection and with reduced lighting while prep to go El Natural. Decided I needed a tank to temporarily house fish while re-doing the Fluval and stumbled across a...

    Rio 125 in Black
    Good condition. Hell - I'll set this one up and sell the Fluval rather than use the Rio as a temporary home. No stand so it sat in my garage waiting for me to find the time to make stand. And it waited, and waited, and waited, and, then, I spotted a

    350 litre Aqualife...
    ...on eBay. Grabbed that. Sold the Rio 125. Cleaned up the Aqualife, tested all the filter etc, checked the floor could support it, laid a chipboard base for it to stand on, filled it with water. Left it to wait while I finished renovating our living room... Finished renovating the living room, thought about the prospect of moving a huge tank when I come to decorate the dining room (i.e. where the tank lives), thought about how now is perhaps not a good time for me to have a huge tank, thought about the running costs, selling it on eBay... Decided to revert to...

    A Rio 125 in Black without a stand because...
    ...I plan to make my own. Sounding familiar... Do you think I can find a bargain Rio 125 without a stand on eBay?! Nothing. Considered a Rio 180 but things are creeping again so, have decided to...

    Re-do my Fluval 600
    Only this time I have a spare tank to put the fish in while I do it.

    :lol:
     

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