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Ground cover question

Discussion in 'Aquascaping' started by Scaretsky999, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Thank you. I may be able to suggest an alternative that should help here. First, the siesta approach is a response to the issue of CO2, so that is why for the plants it works. The period of no tank lighting in between two periods of lighting allows the natural CO2 to rebuild. So the result is that the tank lighting can be on longer (in total during the day) than otherwise. Some may not understand why, so I'll explain.

    Light drives photosynthesis in plants. Without adequate light intensity (spectrum does enter in too) photosynthesis cannot occur. Once the light is adequate to drive photosynthesis--and every plant species is different--the plant will photosynthesize full out (assuming the other essential nutrients are all available). But as soon as some factor in this balance of light/nutrients is missing, photosynthesis slows and may even cease, depending. This botanically is known as Liebig's Law of Minimum, which says that plant growth is not governed by the amount of resources but rather by a minimum of some factor--the limiting factor. This in an aquarium is usually CO2.

    Carbon (CO2) is one of 17 nutrients, but it is a macro nutrient. It is relatively easy to add most of the other nutrients. Some are present in fish foods, others in water changes, and in plant additives. When we rely on natural CO2, it can become depleted. This is because the plants in the aquarium, under usually much more intense light than what they would see in their habitat, and assuming we supply sufficient of the other nutrients, will be photosynthesizing more rapidly than in nature, generally speaking. So CO2 tends to be the first essential factor to give out.

    There is a lot of natural CO2 in an established aquarium. The respiration of all fish and plants, and some species of bacteria, supplies CO2. But much more occurs from the breakdown of organics primarily in the substrate. During darkness, which for our purposes means when the tank lighting is off, the CO2 builds up. When the tank light comes on, the plants begin photosynthesizing and using this CO2. Depending upon the light intensity, the plant species and numbers, and the other nutrients being available, at some point the CO2 will be exhausted, or at least less than what is necessary to balance the light. Photosynthesis then slows. If the light intensity is not reduced, plants cannot continue to use the other nutrients because CO2 is lacking, and algae takes advantage. So the siesta allows the CO2 to rebuild, as plants are not taking it up during periods of "darkness."

    So, back to your situation. I would reduce the period of tank lighting to one continuous period but fewer total hours, or you will almost inevitably see algae increase. I have experimented for months with my lighting, and it took a couple years but I got it to the balance between light and nutrients, at eight hours daily. One tank is seven hours because the tank is shallower and the same light is thus a tad stronger, so reducing the duration by an hour took care of that. I have the windows heavily covered during summer, as the additional intensity/duration of daylight in summer was enough to tip the balance and cause outbreaks of brush algae. It is all part of the balance.
     
  2. StandbySetting

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    The siesta method was designed to boost CO2 levels during the lights off period, but in reality it doesn't really work as CO2 remains in a pretty constant equilibrium if water agitation is sufficient - not only is it detrimental to the fishes health, it can promote algal growth.

    CO2 injection is easy and simple - pressurised gas is hazardous but with a little common sense and care you will be fine should you choose to go down that route.

    I've seen a handful of comments about it being detrimental to fish health - as of yet I am yet to see any scientific or anecdotal evidence to support this, I myself along with 1000's of others on UKAPS are keeping fish in tanks with CO2 injection successfully with no measurable Ill effects, from an ethical view point it is up to you make a decision based on the evidence presented.

    Some plants will not grow without additional CO2 - period - Hemianthus callitrichoides being an example, but as above there are plenty of low tech options for carpet plants at your disposal, but they are typically very slow growing.

    Given light drives photosynthesis and is the determining factor for the rate of photosynthesis - CO2 injection is pointless unless you have the high lighting to suit, otherwise your plants won't be utilising the additional CO2 and your money will literally be going up and into thin air...

    If you do decide to go high tech and use CO2 and high lighting, you will also require additional plant nutrition, if you decide to use flourish comprehensive you will need to add additional sources of Nitrogen and Phosphate as flourish comprehensive lacks any measurable amount of these nutrients. My personal preference is to use an all in one, if you're located in the U.K. aqua essentials neutro plus would be my suggestion, if you're elsewhere Tropica plant nutrition plus should be available where you are.
     
  3. flchamp89

    flchamp89 Fish Crazy

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    Siesta valuable with diy co2 and those that work 16hrs day and want to see thier tank for couple hours when they get home.

    Im not a fan of low and high tech terminology. But I believe all plants can benefit from co2 with minimal risks to fauna

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  4. Scaretsky999

    Scaretsky999 New Member

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    So I've had java moss recommended to me which I will look into but do you have any low profile easy plant suggestions for a tank without extra co2? I'm interested in hearing options.
     
  5. StandbySetting

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    Pogostemon helferi, Cryptocoryne Parva, Echinodorus tenellus to name a few otherwise any type of aquatic moss, though it won't spread on its own so it will need attaching to a mesh mat first. Carpet plants will take a long time to spread under low light conditions, it is worth planting heavy from the outset.
     
  6. flchamp89

    flchamp89 Fish Crazy

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    Good advice. Im a big fan of helferi and parva. D.sag and hydrocotyle are a couple of others that may work for you.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     

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