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Looking for opinions on spray bar positioning

This is a discussion on Looking for opinions on spray bar positioning within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by Byron The algae bloom is not a surprise. I think I mentioned previously in another thread when this tank was being ...

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Looking for opinions on spray bar positioning
Old 12-11-2009, 01:59 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
The algae bloom is not a surprise. I think I mentioned previously in another thread when this tank was being set up that the light was double the intensity necessary. Reducing the period may help a bit. The only problem with this approach is that at some point the period will be inadequate. Plants require light of a specific intensity and duration, and increasing either does not work if the minimum of both is passed. HO light is approximately 1.5 times the intensity of regular (T8) tubes of the same length, and you have two of them over a 55g. I would myself consider reducing the intensity if the reduced period does not clear up the algae issue. I also consider the fish; floating plants would help with that (and the algae of course). Studies have shown that 1 watt per gallon of regular full spectrum with floating plant cover provides all the light necessary for all but some of the stem plants.

Byron.

I think I recall you telling me to reduce the light period as well. It worked. The algae is gone but for a few spots here and there.

The fixture is going to go over a 75g that I have to reseal, I'm using it on the 55g to stimulate growth that I'll transplant in to the 75g. Then the original hood will go back on the 55g.

I positioned my spray bar as you suggested, at the opposite end of the inlet with the bar facing the end glass and just slightly down. The surface turned to a massive protein slick. Is this bad for the fish or the plants?
I repositioned it last night so that the spray bar is running down the back corner, spraying across the end glass and into the front glass. It gives the tank a nice light current, but still have the slick on the surface.

I had the bar positioned so that the top of the bar was just at the surface of the water, when horizontal at the end. The surface was agitated between the bar and the glass and there was a slight surface current, but it did not seem to break up any of the protein.

I seem to recall you mentioning that you do not have a surface protein issue. Should the spray bar be below the surface to allow the protein over the top of the spraybar and into the agitated area between the bar and the glass???

Thanks again for your help,


B





...
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:29 AM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by RogueGypsy View Post
I think I recall you telling me to reduce the light period as well. It worked. The algae is gone but for a few spots here and there.

The fixture is going to go over a 75g that I have to reseal, I'm using it on the 55g to stimulate growth that I'll transplant in to the 75g. Then the original hood will go back on the 55g.

I positioned my spray bar as you suggested, at the opposite end of the inlet with the bar facing the end glass and just slightly down. The surface turned to a massive protein slick. Is this bad for the fish or the plants?
I repositioned it last night so that the spray bar is running down the back corner, spraying across the end glass and into the front glass. It gives the tank a nice light current, but still have the slick on the surface.

I had the bar positioned so that the top of the bar was just at the surface of the water, when horizontal at the end. The surface was agitated between the bar and the glass and there was a slight surface current, but it did not seem to break up any of the protein.

I seem to recall you mentioning that you do not have a surface protein issue. Should the spray bar be below the surface to allow the protein over the top of the spraybar and into the agitated area between the bar and the glass???

Thanks again for your help,


B





...
All water will develop a surface scum naturally. The more light and nutrients available, the thicker it will be, in my experience. I have it from time to time, some tanks more others hardly ever. Like algae [I have read authorities commenting on certain algae appearing in one tank but never others] there are probably several factors involved.

I used to use the surface skimmer attachments on my Eheim filters, but have taken them off because in two tanks I have very small fish and they kept getting pulled in. Adding a fine screen was useless, because then it gets clogged up with the scum and plant leaves. My spray bars are as previously described, and there is minimal current out into the tank. This seems to work in the 90g and 115g. The 70g was getting it quite thick, I just syphon it off during the start of the weekly pwc, and interestingly it hasn't been around the past couple of weeks. May go through a cycle? I also have cyanobacteria in that tank (I know the biological balance is off, still working on this tank) and it appeared when the surface scum disappeared, so probably some connection with nutrient availability.

The scum presumably inhibits the gas exchange at the surface, but in a planted tank that needs to be minimal anyway, and I've seen no discernable issue in tanks with scum compared to those without.

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Old 12-19-2009, 01:22 PM   #13
 
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The point here is that nothing should be allowed to negatively impact the CO2 in a natural planted aquarium.

The rate of water flow through the filter plus the level of surface disturbance has an impact on the amount of oxygen drawn into the water, and carbon dioxide (CO2) expelled from the water in what we call the gaseous exchange. Surface disturbance speeds this up, as does higher flow filtration, airstones and bubble effects and powerheads. There are two detrimental issues to this: CO2 which is extremely important for plant growth is driven out of the water faster, and oxygen is brought into the water at levels beyond what is good for the plants. Plants have more difficulty assimilating nutrients when the oxygen level increases. But the more significant aspect is the CO2.
So limiting surface disturbance is good for the plants because it minimized the loss of CO2...am I reading this correctly? I always have my water level below my filter output because I like the water sound and the bubbles in the tank that it creates. Is this maybe why my plants always look a little more yellow than green?
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:44 PM   #14
 
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So limiting surface disturbance is good for the plants because it minimized the loss of CO2...am I reading this correctly? I always have my water level below my filter output because I like the water sound and the bubbles in the tank that it creates. Is this maybe why my plants always look a little more yellow than green?
I can't say what specifically may be causing your plants to not grow (be greener) better, as it could be any one or a combination of things. But, absolutely, water movement drives off CO2. In a low-tech or natural type of planted aquaria (one without CO2 injection) you want to conserve as much CO2 as possible, since it only comes from the fish and biological processes that release it, and it is limited by the number of fish (and type of fish, size, etc). CO2 is usually the culprit in planted tanks that are not successful when the light is adequate and fertilization is supplied. The aquarist can control the light and fertilizer (mineral nutrients), but not directly the carbon, so you should do nothing that is likely to reduce the CO2.

Plants will grow (photosynthesize) up to the point at which one of the essentials is no longer available. This is known as Liebig's Law of Minimum. The limiting factor for plants should always be the light. If it is something else, then algae will inevitably take control. For instance, with more light than CO2, algae will occur because it is better adapted to absorb carbon from carbonates than the majority of plants; bog plants are particularly weak at doing this, because they have abundant carbon from CO2 in the air and when submersed the water, and many aquarium plants are bog plants in nature (swords, crypts...).
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:03 PM   #15
 
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Is this maybe why my plants always look a little more yellow than green?
Not to disturb you 2 here...but more often then not, your plants leaf turning yellow is less a sign of your filter set up then more a sign of poor or no nutrition.
Also don't forget the w/c > The more water you change and dump back in the greater you're driving out the CO2.
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:17 PM   #16
 
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Not to disturb you 2 here...but more often then not, your plants leaf turning yellow is less a sign of your filter set up then more a sign of poor or no nutrition.
Also don't forget the w/c > The more water you change and dump back in the greater you're driving out the CO2.
Re the water change, this actually has minimal effect. While the tank water will have some CO2 in it, the fish are continually producing CO2 whatever the water in the tank, and provided there is no surface disturbance or unnecessary strong flow from the filter, the CO2 will get replenished fairly quickly. Remember that plants are slow in their uptake of carbon from CO2. The real critical issue is eliminating that water movement and surface disturbance to retain the CO2 in the tank so the plants have time to use it.

I agree yellowing is most likely lack of mineral nutrients, but the CO2 question was asked and that is again an important point in a balanced planted aquarium.

One other observation, many report increased algae near filter outflow into the tank. In other words, where water movement is greater. Brush algae is known for this; certainly is in my aquaria. Perhaps another reason to keep that water movement down in the tank?

Byron.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:00 AM   #17
 
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So if I am adding Flourish Excel (it is supposed to help supply CO2), and have just enough light, then my plants should "flourish" and if they are still yellowish, then I need to look at other fertilizers?

(on a side note, I bought the Flourish Excel after Byron recommended Flourish Comprehensive but the LFS didn't have it, so I've been using that for about two weeks now and I think it's making a difference--a small one, but a difference nonetheless).

This has all been very helpful, thanks. It makes me want to go and buy an aquarium book so I can learn all these subtleties.
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:47 AM   #18
 
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So if I am adding Flourish Excel (it is supposed to help supply CO2), and have just enough light, then my plants should "flourish" and if they are still yellowish, then I need to look at other fertilizers?

(on a side note, I bought the Flourish Excel after Byron recommended Flourish Comprehensive but the LFS didn't have it, so I've been using that for about two weeks now and I think it's making a difference--a small one, but a difference nonetheless).

This has all been very helpful, thanks. It makes me want to go and buy an aquarium book so I can learn all these subtleties.
Plants require 17 nutrients, one of which is carbon that Excel provides. The others include nitrogen (obtained from ammonium/ammonia from the fish and such) and some 15 minerals in rough proportion to each other. If any of the essentials are lacking, the plants won't grow, or will grow poorly, depending upon what nutrient is missing or insufficient.

As carbon is easily obtained from CO2 produced by the fish, I would start with a comprehensive fertilizer like Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive or Kent Freshwater Supplement. I would not use Excel at the start. Reason being that I would want to see if the CO2 from the fish will balance on its own; if it does, then you save money not having to use Excel. Using Excel at the start will offset the balance if you understand what I'm getting at, and more minerals will be needed to balance.

Excel should make a difference, being carbon, and depending upon what minerals are available via tap water, fishfood, etc. I would recommend stopping the Excel, observing plant growth over 2-3 weeks, and during this time be prepared to use a comprehensive liquid fertilizer. One thing I can be certain about, and that is that if you continue dosing Excel you will be providing carbon and assuming the light is adequate there is going to be a deficiency in minerals. All authorities who suggest CO2 (carbon) supplementation make a strong point of using mineral fertilization sometimes daily to balance. I would not suggest starting out that way.

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Old 12-22-2009, 01:11 PM   #19
 
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Rogue, have you found a plant that your Silver Dollars don't devour yet?
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:43 AM   #20
 
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So far the only thing they don't eat is Temple Green. I keep the tops trimmed so it bushes out instead of shooting up and looking leggy.

They really like: Java Moss, Italian Val (twisted), Star Grass, Blixa Japanica, and a couple others I can't remember. Penny Wort holds up pretty well, but they do keep it trimmed.
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