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Self sustaining ecosystem.

This is a discussion on Self sustaining ecosystem. within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Mildly planted definately needs regulat w/cs, but soil substrates that are extremely well planted don't require w/cs nearly as often. Diana Walstead, who quite ...

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Self sustaining ecosystem.
Old 12-09-2010, 09:12 AM   #11
 
redchigh's Avatar
 
Mildly planted definately needs regulat w/cs, but soil substrates that are extremely well planted don't require w/cs nearly as often.

Diana Walstead, who quite literally 'wrote the book' on soil substrates, says she only changes water every 6 months.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:43 AM   #12
 
You should get a test kit. My soil tank has parameters that were very unstable when I first set it up.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:51 AM   #13
 
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Some experts discourage lack of frequent water changes due to the build-up of (fish pee). The plants don't do much for that, do they?

Test kits are a must. Liquid test kits are the most accuarate.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:01 AM   #14
 
I think it is very hard to make a Self-Sustaining Ecosystem. I believe it would also have to be enclosed and have no outside contact - like air or food or a filter etc. Generally aquariums are not self-sustaining and require human intervention to work. Your fish may find ways to survive without you, but they wont be happy and it wont last long.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:07 AM   #15
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by redchigh View Post
Mildly planted definately needs regulat w/cs, but soil substrates that are extremely well planted don't require w/cs nearly as often.

Diana Walstead, who quite literally 'wrote the book' on soil substrates, says she only changes water every 6 months.
Yes but that depends on a lot of variables. With fry IMO its just not right. They are quite sensitive to deficencies and build up which can have chronic effects. First its good that you started feeding otherwise I wouldn't of given the fry much of a chance. You can wait a long time between WCs in planted tanks IF you make sure it is balanced. Balance is very important and gets very narrow as you push off WCs. If your stock is too high or plants don't grow as fast you get nitrate build up. This can cause a lot different effects depending on the water. The opposite too few fish and too much plant growth and the plants will rob the water of all macro nutrients when this happens a lot of plants suffer a die back. If you are slightly unbalanced effects are not very obvious. Its the micro nutrients not the macros that are often the concern. Examples: iron copper manganese calcium magnesium ect. are all important minerals. Most of these are actual essential for the vast majority of life. Pushing WCs gives these a greater chance to run out. Depending on your tap water this may or may not happen. Plants are often the first to show signs these deficencies. Fry however also have a high growth rate and will suffer if there is a deficency.

Self sustaining tanks can't be magical. Tanks consume nutrients. Its the bases of life. A tank is not really self sustaining in a true sense if its functioning with no nutrient input. It may function for a long time but eventually something will run out.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:12 AM   #16
 
im going to side with red on this because i have rcs that are actively breeding,which obviosly means that the params are fine.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:04 PM   #17
 
I think RCS just breed incessantly... Even if conditions arent ideal, they just make babies continuously. However, i dont think you need to worry about RCS as they are algae eaters and will keep their population in check with the amount of algae available, the amount of RCS will be proportional to the amount of algae growth you are having. It's the fish fry that you need to think about in terms of feeding and water changes.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:06 PM   #18
 
Yes I understand that. You are not looking at the whole picture though. I too have cherry shrimp that are nice and happy in a tank that hasn't been filtered, fed or had a water change in at least a month. And has been running this way for almost 2 years I believe. Parameters are fine for now, I too couldn't tell you what they are. But make sure you remember that now is not the future. I know exactly how I set that tank up and how long it should be able to be maintained in this manner. It is almost self sustaining, but IMO such a thing is almost impossible in this hobby. IF you create a tank that is close to self sustaining, it is going to have a "life span" in a sense. Like I said its not magic. Every tank is going to be different. Depends on how much food you add, fish load, and plant growth. Dirt is still dirt, just like enriched/mineralized gravels it can be depleted. This is generally the result of pruning and removal of plant matter. The drain on a tank depends on how it is setup. The soil/substrate is like a big gas tank, but isn't an indefinite fuel source. Most do not run tanks like this because they become depleted and often need to be torn down and have new soil put down. For soil this is alot of work IMO compared to making sure your tank isn't depleting itself. Thats why I only run my little paludarium this way and it will have to eventually be redone, probably this summer with new dirt. If you are ever running a tank this way and notice one type of plant that was happy suddenly stopped or died back thats a good sign you hit a deficiency if nothing else in the tank changed. Especially if most the other types of plants continue to grow.

Also cherry shrimp breed all the time and I can tell you my high tech community tank that get 50% weekly WC breeds shrimp at least 3 times as fast as the one I never touch which is shrimp only.
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Old 12-09-2010, 12:15 PM   #19
 
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I wasn't saying it was a truly self-contained ecosystem, only the bit about the water changes.

I agree he needs to feed his fish.



As far as the "fish pee", fish wastes are mostly ammonia, along with a few other elements... The plants can take them up.
I'm not brave enough to go 6 months without a w/c, but I change it every couple months usually.
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