Plant impacts on fish capacity - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 09:20 AM
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interesting thread


Liked reading all the info in this thread. I just recently went to only doing a WC every 2 weeks in my 40 gallon, as I do have a lot of plants now in that tank. I checked my nitrates yesterday, before I did the wc, and it was at 10ppm (after 2 weeks) The tank is 100% stocked according to that aquarium stocking site. I only feed once a day, but I think I give them plenty of food. I still did a 40% WC, but I feel pretty confident I can do WC every 2 weeks in that tank.

Still haven't done that in my 30 gal, because of GBR's in there, plus I'm only doing 5 gal WC each week, because I always get a nitrate reading of 0. As Bryon mentions is there other stuff that isn't measured that gives me a reason to take out more than 5 gallons each week?

Gwen



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post #12 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GwenInNM View Post
Liked reading all the info in this thread. I just recently went to only doing a WC every 2 weeks in my 40 gallon, as I do have a lot of plants now in that tank. I checked my nitrates yesterday, before I did the wc, and it was at 10ppm (after 2 weeks) The tank is 100% stocked according to that aquarium stocking site. I only feed once a day, but I think I give them plenty of food. I still did a 40% WC, but I feel pretty confident I can do WC every 2 weeks in that tank.

Still haven't done that in my 30 gal, because of GBR's in there, plus I'm only doing 5 gal WC each week, because I always get a nitrate reading of 0. As Bryon mentions is there other stuff that isn't measured that gives me a reason to take out more than 5 gallons each week?

Gwen
As I said earlier, nitrate is not the sole guage for a water change. A rise in nitrate is one indicator of deterioriating biological equilibrium, but only one and there are other issues that cannot be measured and are not connected to nitrate. So relying on nitrate is not advisable. By the time you see nitrate rising by 5ppm the trouble has occurred.

What does work, and there is sufficient scientifically-based evidence for this, is a regular routine of partial water changes, whatever they may be. There are simply too many factors affecting a tank's biology to come up with "rules" or "guides" that work in every situation. And as I read somewhere a while back, I think it was by Neale Monks who is an acknowledged reliable source on freshwater aquaria, as no one has found any detrimental reaction from water changes every week, and there are certainly benefits--it cannot hurt to do them.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #13 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 02:29 PM
I entirely agree that nitrate does not indicate water changes. I'm more of a plant keeper then a fish keeper. I add nitrates too all my tanks now since it does not come in my tap water. My goal is 20ppm of nitrates and I usually bump it right up to that after every water change. I don't usually monitor nitrates after that. Water changes are done regardless. I know the one time I tested them before a water change the nitrate had still dropped, meaning the tank was consuming everything from the bioload and then some.

I've always viewed planted tanks as having higher capacity then non-planted tanks. If you follow that one stocking sight both my main tanks shoot way above 100%. I have 169% and 175% ATM and that is for permanent stocking. Temporary stocking can be almost double that. That site is good for beginners, but stocking is extremely complex. That site doesn't take live plants into account at all either. Live plants need to grow though, to be of any use. It is the pruning back and removal of plants that is the removal of the wastes that would be in your water. The more growth you have the more nutrients/wastes (depend how you look at them) are being taken out of the water.

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post #14 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 02:59 PM
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I entirely agree that nitrate does not indicate water changes. I'm more of a plant keeper then a fish keeper. I add nitrates too all my tanks now since it does not come in my tap water. My goal is 20ppm of nitrates and I usually bump it right up to that after every water change. I don't usually monitor nitrates after that. Water changes are done regardless. I know the one time I tested them before a water change the nitrate had still dropped, meaning the tank was consuming everything from the bioload and then some.

I've always viewed planted tanks as having higher capacity then non-planted tanks. If you follow that one stocking sight both my main tanks shoot way above 100%. I have 169% and 175% ATM and that is for permanent stocking. Temporary stocking can be almost double that. That site is good for beginners, but stocking is extremely complex. That site doesn't take live plants into account at all either. Live plants need to grow though, to be of any use. It is the pruning back and removal of plants that is the removal of the wastes that would be in your water. The more growth you have the more nutrients/wastes (depend how you look at them) are being taken out of the water.

So how do you add nitrates? I use florish Comprehensive, is that what your talking about? I've increased the amount I feed my fish, and still don't see high numbers of nitrates. Don't get me wrong, I still do a water change weekly in my GBR tank, but only take out and add 5 gal, in a 30 gallon tank. Are you suggesting I take out more water each week. Like I said, my nitrates are at 0, so assume plants are using them up very well.

Gwen

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post #15 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 03:14 PM
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So how do you add nitrates? I use florish Comprehensive, is that what your talking about? I've increased the amount I feed my fish, and still don't see high numbers of nitrates. Don't get me wrong, I still do a water change weekly in my GBR tank, but only take out and add 5 gal, in a 30 gallon tank. Are you suggesting I take out more water each week. Like I said, my nitrates are at 0, so assume plants are using them up very well.

Gwen
You're fine. Mikaila is referring to her high-tech setups, though I shouldn't second-guess her and she can correct me if needed.

Most aquatic plants prefer nitrogen as ammonium. In our natural or low-tech systems, this comes from ammonia produced by fish and bacteria, and there is usually enough to provide all the nitrogen the plants need. Remember, they need 17 nutrients, of which nitrogen is only one.

High tech setups need more nutrients to balance, so more nitrogen. And dosing nitrate is assumed to be safer than dosing ammonia/ammonium. Plants when pushed into the corner will begin using nitrate, but they have to convert the nitrate back into ammonium. It is believed by some microbiologists that they actually might prefer nitrite to nitrate [but here again of course no one is going to suggest dosing nitrite]. Nitrate has less effect on fish than either ammonia or nitrite, so it is in that respect safer to use.

Flourish Comprehensive contains some nitrogen; they don't say in what form. But their Flourish Nitrogen product says it is in both nitrate and ammonium form. But unless you are running CO2 and higher light, dosing nitrogen should not be necessary as there will be more than enough from the natural sources. If there is sufficient carbon, there is certainly sufficient nitrogen.

You want nitrate as low as possible in a natural system, and you should expect to see it no higher than 10ppm. All my tanks are between zero and 5ppm. Nitrate i said is "safer" but it does still have an effect on some fish, depending upon many factors perhaps.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 02-05-2012 at 03:17 PM.
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post #16 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 07:10 PM
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Way back in the day, I always had well planted aquariums with under gravel filters and incandescent bulbs. By today's standards, my tanks were always over-stocked ( I used the standards from Dr. Axelrod's Exotic Tropical Fishes back then). I had some of the most healthy environments. I think that the plants and the light filtering overcame many of my mistakes.
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post #17 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 08:37 PM
Plants are highly over rated. They need extra intensity light, evil chemical fertilizer, trimming, sometimes special substrate and CO2.
Plastic plants look perfect everyday, no ferts, no special lighting or substrate, no trimming, no worries.

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post #18 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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Evil chemical fertilizers?
I like that one! I (humorously) disagree that real plants are overrated. Yes, you can have a tank w/o plants. Planted tanks do better mimic nature, at least as much nature as you can get in a closed-system cube full of water! It's a balance that we maintain either through more natural means (the plants) or unnaturally (the various filters and water changes). As an ecologist/wildlife biologist, I'd have to say my preference is for a system that mimics nature as well as we can - of course that doesn't stop me from using all sorts of filters to stock my tanks more heavily that a "natural" system would ever allow . I also still have fluorescent plastic plants in one tank

Great discussion, thanks for all the responses so far - keep 'em coming if anyone has more opinions to share!

18 species/varieties of fish, 15 species/varieties of plants - The fish are finally ahead of the plants!
*560 gallons (2120 liters) in 5 tanks -> you do the math.

Last edited by DKRST; 02-05-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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post #19 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 10:54 PM
plants are under rated lol! You just can't match a planted tank with a plastic tank . Fertilizers are not evil at all, unless you get into the weird liquid carbon ones that I never suggest. I dose dry fertilizers in all my tanks now. Even the ones that use to be low tech before I moved. There was a major change in tap water parameters and that messed up all my tanks. I use 5 different dry fertilizers in total. All are harmless to the fish if used correctly. They are less chemical then dechlor. Most are considered salts. Potassium Nitrate is my nitrogen fertilizer, KNO3. When added to water it dissolves to NO3- and K+, both are macro nutrients for plants. Then I have Phosphate, potassium, Magnesium, and trace fertilizers.

I agree with what Bryon said above. Though I don't feel that plants actively take Nitrite, at least according to Walsteds research if I remember correctly.

Fish don't interact with plastic plants they same way they do with live plants. Live plants are much softer fish actively make body contact with them, swim into dense patches, and move them around.

Live plants grow and the tank changes day by day making things always new to you and the fish. They help control wastes, inhibit algae growth, provide oxygen and extra filtration, make the tank more stable, and they reproduce much easier then most fish lol.

Maybe one day you will try plants AbbeysDad. They don't have to cost more or be more hassle then any non-planted tank. You might have to bend your ways a little though .

Ignore a planted tank for awhile it turns into a jungle. Then you can prune it and go trade the plants for stuff at the store lol.

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post #20 of 35 Old 02-05-2012, 11:15 PM
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agree!

I must agree with the two posts. Plants are where it's at! I often think what makes some people tire of their aquarium, is how fake it looks, with plastic and colored stones. IMO. :)

Live plants are so nice looking, but to each his own.

I love the look of nature as best as we can duplicate it in so much space.

Gwen

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