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Superman's 180ltr Rescape

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21 Feb 2009
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stroud, glos
ceg4048 said:
Superman said:
Bit of a shock tonight, I came home from work to find the drop checker bright yellow and most fish gassing. I think I got them just in time. Pointed the spray bar upwards and the koralia is bubbling away to increase oxygen levels in the tank. Phew!
Clark, a CO2 overdose does not negatively affect oxygen levels. If anything the O2 levels can actually be higher as the plants produce more of it. The fish are not suffering from O2 loss, they are suffering a form of blood poisoning referred to as acidosis. Fish cannot use barometric pressure differences (i.e. exhale) to rid their body of CO2. They must use osmosis. Generally the concentration of CO2 in their blood is higher than the concentration of CO2 in the surrounding water, so the CO2 dissipates outwards across their gill membranes. If the water column CO2 level is higher than that of their bloodstream they cannot purge the blood of CO2 as it flows backwards from the water column into the blood. In effect their blood vessels become a dropchecker. The carbonic acid lowers the blood pH, which affects many of their systems. CO2 buildup is especially toxic to their nervous systems.

When your tank suffers from a CO2 toxicity you are wasting time and risking their lives by fooling with the spraybar or Koralia. Oxygen is not an issue. Do a massive water change to immediately lower the water column CO2 concentration so that the CO2 in their blood can move across the gills in the right direction and thereby purge their bodies of CO2 and carbonic acid. With individual specimens this can mean the difference between life and death. :wideyed:

Cheers,

but wouldn't moving the spray bar/power head to create massive surface water disturbance drive the co2 out of the water very quickly as well as add oxygen(which as you say is not really going to help)?
so, therefore not be a waste of time as you stated?
 

ceg4048

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The issue is the amount of time it will take to drive off the CO2. A water change can be accomplished in a few minutes. Surface disturbance may take much longer...

Cheers,
 

John Starkey

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Superman said:
Yes Clive, it's rated as 1,500lph and I've never been sure about it giving anything good.
Tonight I've had a good clean of all hose pipes and connectors. Not sure if it's made a difference. It just doesn't seem to pull muck from the water column, the particles need to go really close to the intake for it to pull it in. I'll do a flow test tomorrow evening as I've been working on the tank for well over 5 hours!

Sometimes I'm not sure the automatic doser works as I'm never in when it does it. This week it has gone through all the liquid. I might try a bottle mix and add manually as I dose my nano each morning.

Could anyone recommend a nice fast growing stem that'll fit into the style I'm trying to get to?
Hi Clarke,what about hygrophila difformiss it grows fast and helps by taking up nutrients quickly so competeing with algae,
Regards john
 
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john starkey said:
Could anyone recommend a nice fast growing stem that'll fit into the style I'm trying to get to?

Hi Clarke,what about hygrophila difformiss it grows fast and helps by taking up nutrients quickly so competeing with algae,
Regards john

Hi, i've been wanderin about this "competeing with algae" thing, i read it a lot in many places!
I know a fast growin stem "locally" discourages algae, but how would this help the tank as a whole?
Because obviously algae needs very little in the way of nutrients to thrive. So the plants cant out compete as such.
The only conclusion i can come to is that the stems use up any excess ammonia before it can "trigger" the algae out break!

Could someone put me straight on this please?
 

ceg4048

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Hi,
"Plants competing with algae" is another myth generated in The Matrix. This is like saying that elephants compete with mice. There is no way any plant can compete with any algae. They would lose. They do not share the same niche. Like elephants, plants require thousands of times more nutrients than algae. That's why the only way to ensure that a plant does not suffer phosphorous starvation for example is to dose 3 part per million PO4 per week, yet, algal blooms can occur at PO4 concentrations of less than 0.3 part per billion - a 10,000X difference. There is no competition with such a lopsided difference in nutritional requirements. In fact, when the plant become malnourished it starts to decay which actually releases not only ammonia, but Nitrogen and Phosphorous back into the water column due to disintegrating proteins and enzymes (which are constructed of Nitrogen and Phosphorous). So algae don't require anywhere near as much nutrition, and when the plants starve algae then have a ready made source of nutrients as well, so they are bulletproof.

Thinking about plants versus algae in terms of a competitive environment is the worst way of trying to understand the dynamics of the two and can lead to bad decision making if followed even to it's most logical path. That's because this assumption is fundamentally flawed. It's better to think in terms of antelope versus vulture. The vulture senses weakness and death of the antelope and attacks when there is an advantage. A vulture would never attack a strong and healthy antelope.

The interaction of plants is that they make chemical changes to the environment, making the environment friendly to certain forms of bacteria. Healthy plants oxygenate the water column and the soil which encourages the growth of nitrifying bacteria. If anything, it's these bacteria that would do the competing with algae. The more plants that are available, the greater the impact they have on the environment. Having said all that, it should be noted that plants also do absorb a certain amount of NH4 from the environment thus keeping it away from algal spores, therefore the more plants mass the more NH4 removal occurs. In that sense one could consider this to be a competitive scenario, but this does not account for all the other nutrients that are available to both plants and algae.

Cheers,
 
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ok, thanks clive, that makes sense!
I can understand how that "myth" is commonly thought to be correct tho, cant remember which book i read it in last night, either the tropical catalog or the denerlle system book says exactly that.

So, by your way of thinkin instead of addin stem plants someone could agitate the surface more with spray bar or air stone etc and as long as the co2 was increased to match the extra dissipation the same goal could be achieved?
 

aaronnorth

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baron von bubba said:
ok, thanks clive, that makes sense!
I can understand how that "myth" is commonly thought to be correct tho, cant remember which book i read it in last night, either the tropical catalog or the denerlle system book says exactly that.

So, by your way of thinkin instead of addin stem plants someone could agitate the surface more with spray bar or air stone etc and as long as the co2 was increased to match the extra dissipation and achieve the same goal?


adding stem plants is still useful as the faster growth ensures better chances of utilising all the ammonia quicker.
 

nry

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Fast growing healthy plants will take up ammonia (which will be present even in minute levels) very quickly - given ammonia is the main algae trigger, this is exactly what you want to be happening.
 
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which is exactly what i said i thought a few posts ago.

However, clive seems to say that creating a healthy enviroment for the bacteria is the MAIN reason.

Obviously not everyone would want the extra maintenance that fast growin stems cause, so i was puttin forward another possible solution to achieve a simular end for ppl to either agree with or refute.
 

Superman

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ceg4048 said:
It should be on the order of around 700LPH.

I've just done a flow test and it works out to be about 720lph, not fantastic. It works out to be about 7x turnover per hour based on the 100l of water to fill from a wet substrate.

I think I'll need another pump to help flow.
 

ceg4048

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baron von bubba said:
...So, by your way of thinkin instead of addin stem plants someone could agitate the surface more with spray bar or air stone etc and as long as the co2 was increased to match the extra dissipation the same goal could be achieved?
Surface agitation serves no purpose in this scenario. Increasing the CO2 to match the dissipation rate would serve only to empty your CO2 cylinder faster. Plants can produce much more oxygen in the water column and sediment than any aeration can so the idea is to preserve or increase the CO2 concentration level.

As stated by NRY and Aaronorth, the ammonia uptake issue is critical. This is especially true at new tank startup when the bacterial populations are small to nonexistent. fast growing stems grow fast by high rates of nutrient uptake in addition to high rates of ammonia uptake. It's not a matter of one factor or the other - support/acceleration of the bacterial colonies in sediment/filter via plant oxygenation and direct ammonia removal by plant uptake work in unison to suppress the conditions that trigger algal blooms.

Many hobbyists get confused and assume that there is some kind of Formula 1 race where the fast growing stems somehow remove all the nutrients from the water column before algae have a chance to get to the nutrients. This is patently absurd because in EI we constantly maintain high nutrient levels by frequent dosing. So we never let the nutrient levels run out (or even get below our minima thresholds) so how can this concept possibly be valid? Algae in the tank has equal access to all nutrients at all times and furthermore, their minimum threshold is orders of magnitudes lower than plants. The idea is to lower the ammonia production rate which triggers the blooms. Large masses of healthy plants curtail NH4 directly by uptake and support other organisms which also remove NH4, so that algal spores do not sense a deteriorating environment (which is typically characterized by high NH4 production rate) and therefore the spores do not bloom and attack.

Superman said:
ceg4048 said:
It should be on the order of around 700LPH.
I've just done a flow test and it works out to be about 720lph, not fantastic. It works out to be about 7x turnover per hour based on the 100l of water to fill from a wet substrate.
I think I'll need another pump to help flow.
Clark more flow is always good but i think you're missing something here. No filter, when installed in the typical home will produce the rated turnover. They always produce somewhere between 40%-50% especially if they are filled with media. you can increase the throughput by removing some of the media but then you lose filtering capacity, which may or may not matter depending on your stocking levels. This is how I guessed that your 1500LPH filter would only produce an actual flow of around 700LPH. This is completely normal. This is exactly why we have the 10X rule which is based on filter RATING, not on filter actual output. The 10X rule takes all this into account.

In any case, some tanks need even more flow and/or better distribution so I wouldn't discourage you from getting more flow but you need to consider the visual impact of strapping more large turbofan engines to the interior of the tank.

Cheers,
 

Superman

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Yes Clive, I understand the fall from the rated output from the filter, I've never really worked it out before.
Today, I added a Koralia 1 to the tank having only a Koralia nano in there already, and wow what a difference. Whilst it immediately kicked up some new muck, you could see it immediately that it improved the circulation, it was a good buy.

I also added a huge java fern narrow, I've not properly planted it as I've not had time yet so left it on it's original wood. I might even keep it like that. It helps immediately with increased plant mass plus a visual impact which looks fab.

I'm trying to source some hygrophila difformis or rotala sp green but can't seem to get them locally. Might have to wait for when I'm back off holiday. I don't want to upset too much before I go away, just get things stable.

I'm cheered up now and back on track.
 

Superman

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So, all seems to be well after the holiday. Nothing major seems to have changed, a little algae growth but that was already there.

I was thinking over the holiday seriously about swapping this tank over to something more into my style now, whilst I like the scape, I don't like the frame it's in. I might just be picky but that's the way I feel. I'm sure many people go through this stage. I'm looking at a 90x45x45 size as then I only need to swap the tank and stand over.

I'll see if I can justify an optiwhite and a new substrate etc - spesh with a birthday coming up :D
 
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