05-10-2011, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad
Maybe I didn't read her post closely enough as unless a given bio-load suddenly increases, existing bacteria colonies should handle the load just fine. A neglected tank could become a nitrate factory that typical water changes would not dent, but likely few folks here would ever let that happen
its what separates the planted tanks from non-planted tanks. Sure maybe if you put a LOT of soft barked wood in a non-planted tank you might see some spike in nitrate, if the tank has a decent bioload you shouldn't see anything else. It will make mulm which decomposes to release nutrients/wastes(depending how you want to look at it) and eventually will form a much smaller amount of humus-like material if not removed. In a non-planted tank I expect there to be regular gravel vacuuming so its not like one should expect considerable mulm build up in these tanks even with actively decomposing driftwood... So why would nitrates increase that much? In a planted tank it may not be a concern regardless of water changes. Nitrate uptake varies alot in these tanks. Mulm is usually not removed but it doesn't matter as much because planted tanks have much more of a real cycle, compared to a non-planted tank; which in truth we 'cycle' but its not a complete cycle biologically...
My filterless-soil tank hasn't had a water change in 2-3 weeks, it has an 1" of black dirt under the substrate along with a decent amount of driftwood and bioload. From my experiences with it I would guess at this point nitrates should be lower then my tap water if not close to zero.