Planted cycle

Utar

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@mbsqw1d thank you for the info, very interesting, learning something new everyday. But that is why I love forums like this one, I can learn stuff that I just can't any place else. What about water movement, the canister flow helps with this. I do have a wave maker and long bubble wand, so maybe that is enough to agitate the water surface for gas exchanges. Also what about vacuuming the substrate or will the plants absorb all this as fertilizer. It is really hard to vacuum the floor of my 55 gallon aquarium because it is covered with plants, and driftwood.

Sorry @myrxn for hijacking your thread...... :blush:
 

eatyourpeas

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@mbsqw1d thank you for the info, very interesting, learning something new everyday. But that is why I love forums like this one, I can learn stuff that I just can't any place else. What about water movement, the canister flow helps with this. I do have a wave maker and long bubble wand, so maybe that is enough to agitate the water surface for gas exchanges. Also what about vacuuming the substrate or will the plants absorb all this as fertilizer. It is really hard to vacuum the floor of my 55 gallon aquarium because it is covered with plants, and driftwood.

Sorry @myrxn for hijacking your thread...... :blush:
I stopped fertilizing the tanks and let the critter waste feed the green bits. The water change is crucial, though. I still do 60% weekly.
 

mbsqw1d

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@mbsqw1d thank you for the info, very interesting, learning something new everyday. But that is why I love forums like this one, I can learn stuff that I just can't any place else. What about water movement, the canister flow helps with this. I do have a wave maker and long bubble wand, so maybe that is enough to agitate the water surface for gas exchanges. Also what about vacuuming the substrate or will the plants absorb all this as fertilizer. It is really hard to vacuum the floor of my 55 gallon aquarium because it is covered with plants, and driftwood.

Sorry @myrxn for hijacking your thread...... :blush:
Yeh shouldve mentioned.. flow and circulation is very important for plants so, saying turn your filter off was perhaps a step too far. Plus you'll still likely want to ahchieve a level of mechanical filtration. A wave maker and/or powerhead are a good idea to keep good circulation
 

mbsqw1d

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With a planted cycle, the way I see it is that the plants 'take the edge off' from ammonia causing harm to fish.
Even in a properly cycled tank that has a filter packed with BB, you can't gaurentee that the fish don't come into contact with the ammonia that hasn't yet been sucked up by the filter and nitrified.
If you have enough plants that are thriving, then arguably they are quicker to absorb ammonia in the water than a filter would be. I say arguably, I haven't read any supporting research on this.
But do we know for example, that when the filter sucks up some water containing ammonia, that all of that ammonia is (a) converted to nitrite and (b) converted to nitrate in one pass?

Its all about balance too: plant mass vs ammonia producing livestock. Ideally plants would take care of all the ammonia produced. But I think that is rare for a lot of people who like to get as many fish in their tanks as possible. So as the general advice has been, add a couple of fish to begin with. Whilst the plants are doing most of the work, theres still the potential that the filter will suck up ammonia and start a small colony of BB.
The more fish you add, slowly, the more plant mass you'll have and also an increase in BB.

I don't think its an exact science because everyones setup is unique. That's why its important to keep testing our water during the early phase to gain an insight as to what is going on and help you out with the balancing act.

All requires a lot of patience unfortunately lol
 
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Utar

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I started with the Walstad method (The Ecology of the Planted Aquarium by Diana Walstad) and it worked until the bioload become too much for the plants to handle. The filter is a nice and necessary addition if you want to have fish. Tanks are heavily planted, and floating plants are ammonia hogs, so everyone is happy.

@mbsqw1d is right, as everything with this hobby it all depends on your tank size and inhabitants.
I have read if and when the Walstad Method is achieved all a person needs to do is add water due to evaporation. Personally I believe this to be wrong, because over time the chemistry and ph will can change significantly from the water source. I believe a person can slow down on weekly water changes when this method is achieved, but still water changes of a percentage is necessary from time to time to keep the water in the tank in balance with the water source.
 

Utar

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With a planted cycle, the way I see it is that the plants 'take the edge off' from ammonia causing harm to fish.
Even in a properly cycled tank that has a filter packed with BB, you can't gaurentee that the fish don't come into contact with the ammonia that hasn't yet been sucked up by the filter and nitrified.
If you have enough plants that are thriving, then arguably they are quicker to absorb ammonia in the water than a filter would be. I say arguably, I haven't read any supporting research on this.
But do we know for example, that when the filter sucks up some water containing ammonia, that all of that ammonia is (a) converted to nitrite and (b) converted to nitrate in one pass?

Its all about balance too: plant mass vs ammonia producing livestock. Ideally plants would take care of all the ammonia produced. But I think that is rare for a lot of people who like to get as many fish in their tanks as possible. So as the general advice has been, add a couple of fish to begin with. Whilst the plants are doing most of the work, theres still the potential that the filter will suck up ammonia and start a small colony of BB.
The more fish you add, slowly, the more plant mass you'll have and also an increase in BB.

I don't think its an exact science because everyones setup is unique. That's why its important to keep testing our water during the early phase to gain an insight as to what is likely going on, and help you out with the balancing act.

All requires a lot of patience unfortunately lol
Very good thank you.
 

mbsqw1d

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I have read if and when the Walstad Method is achieved all a person needs to do is add water due to evaporation. Personally I believe this to be wrong, because over time the chemistry and ph will can change significantly from the water source. I believe a person can slow down on weekly water changes when this method is achieved, but still water changes of a percentage is necessary from time to time to keep the water in the tank in balance with the water source.
Yeh apparently Walstad changed her tune on the amount-of-water-to-change later on.
You're right, the chemistry will change, it'll become more acidic. Small water changes wouldnt change the chemistry too much but it wouldn't match the tap water entirely. The risk here is if you should ever need to perform a large water change. You'd find it very difficult to match the water chemistry that now exists in the tank
 

Utar

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Yeh apparently Walstad changed her tune on the amount-of-water-to-change later on.
You're right, the chemistry will change, it'll become more acidic. Small water changes wouldnt change the chemistry too much but it wouldn't match the tap water entirely. The risk here is if you should ever need to perform a large water change. You'd find it very difficult to match the water chemistry that now exists in the tank
Kinda refreshing to know that the expert of experts who wrote the book can still learn a few things.
 

eatyourpeas

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As @Colin_T and @itiwhetu pointed out somewhere (can't find the thread), nature has a way of renewing the water via flow or rain. In a small contained environment, going without water change can only last so long before nutrients become depleted. I like Walstad as a starting point, but it is never sustainable for the kind of aquariums I want to have. You learn a lot from observing your tanks, though.
 

itiwhetu

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If you don't do at least a 25% water change weekly a planted tanks pH will slide. I once had a Severum tank that was at pH5. For all tropical fresh water aquariums ( bar a few exceptions ) the best pH is around 6.8. This is low enough to turn any ammonia into ammonium and is also just acidic enough to buffer against diseases.
 

itiwhetu

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I would like to talk about large water changes, with the system I use I can never do a large water change ( No dechlorinator ). I have found that 25% water changes is what I can change safely and deal with the chlorine at the same time. If I need to do large changes I can do 25% water changes every 48 hours and have no problems. Chlorine is basically an inert gas in water if you splash it into the tank most of it is dispersed into the atmosphere the remaining Chlorine is absorbed by the plants very quickly and is at so low quantities it is harmless to the fish. I would like to add here that when I started with fish the Professor of Zoology at the local University set me up with my first tank and showed me how to look after it. My father was a Professor of Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Biophysics and we had numerous discussions about chemicals and medication use in aquariums.
 

eatyourpeas

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My biggest challenge is the chloramine content in our water, so I don't have the option of bypassing conditioners. Last Sunday when I was doing water changes, the tap water was dark brown!
 
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