Plants processing ammonia?

🐠 The poll is open for the February TOTM! 🐠
FishForums.net Tank of the Month!
🏆 Click here to Vote! 🏆

cynic

Fishaholic
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Messages
441
Reaction score
9
Hey, this is something I have been wondering about lately. To the point I am going to get a new test kit.

In my tank I have,

RTBS (adult)
Bristlenose plec (adult)
10 harlequin rasbora ( approaching 5yrs old)
quite a few assassin snails (started with 2)

Plant wise,

3 different Anubis, congensis (growing nicely along some bogwood but slowly), hetrophylia and nana bonsai.
Microcosm Windelov that grows like mad and if unchecked blocks filters and powerheads.

Vallis that are reproducing well and leapfrogging along the bottom of the tank as well as a monster Java fern that has been in there for years and is now 4 strong plants with more showing.

the tank is 5ft x 18in x18in filtered with a tec 1200, a powerhead (due to the length) and 2 t8 plant biased 4ft flouresants on a timer giving approx. 5hrs light in varying periods. With liquid Ei ferts, 50ml macro and 50ml micro twice a week. And a big chunk of bogwood. Seems a good balance for my tank. (add negative OMG entries here)

Ok, set up done, I'm not getting anything on my testing, I didn't give it much of a thought but its starting to bother me. My filter was bought from a member on here years back fully cycled and made setting my big tank a breeze. Now, 6 or 7 years on, fish have come and gone, some from age, others from illness etc but I'm wondering if I have enough fish to keep the filter live or are the plants doing it all?

I know it is a good problem to have in a way but I'm looking at putting some more fish in, I'm hoping I could add some shrimp. Always something I fancied, (especially with aiming loosely for a thai river feel based around the RTBS) and with the planting giving plenty of places to hide, can lose the plec for days! I'm just worried if I increase the stock and the filter has stopped processing enough ammonia?

Or am I just paranoid.
 

Byron

Supporting Member
Tank of the Month!
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Messages
19,665
Reaction score
11,563
Location
CA
Plants will take up ammonia faster than the nitrifying bacteria. Having said that, some plants do this more or better than others--the faster growing plants need more nitrogen, and ammonia/ammonium is their preferred source. In a well planted tank with fast-growing plants, the majority of ammonia is being used by the plants. Floating plants are often referred to as "ammonia sinks" because of the amount of ammonia they can take up.

Second point is that the nitrifying bacteria do not suddenly disappear or die off when ammonia levels lower. Once established, Nitrosomonas sp. bacteria can go into a sort of suspended animation or hibernation so to speak. Factors like temperature and pH are part of this equation, but it is nothing to be concerned about provided the plants remain healthy. However, other factors combined may kill off the bacteria over time; I am being very general here.

As for adding more fish, with a good growth of fast-growing plants you cannot ever add "too many" fish from the perspective of the increased ammonia. Obviously there are many other factors involved, but dealing only with the additional ammonia, this is simply not going to occur with fast-growing plants.
 
OP
OP
cynic

cynic

Fishaholic
Joined
Sep 18, 2011
Messages
441
Reaction score
9
I figured I was being a worrypuss, just figured it was better to check.

Cheers for that.
 

Most reactions

trending

Staff online

Members online

Top