bubble wand ok with live plants??
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bubble wand ok with live plants??

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bubble wand ok with live plants??
Old 04-01-2010, 12:45 PM   #1
 
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bubble wand ok with live plants??

I'm new to the live plant thing and have been reading some info about bubble wands with live plants, but haven't really got a clear answer. So i have about 13 plants, and a bubble wand and when I unplug the bubble wand my fish act like they have a harder time breathing. I plug it in, and they seem fine. I guess my question is, will the bubble wand completely keep the plants from growing? Will the plants eventually create enough O2 for my fishies? How many plants are recommended before they will have adequate oxygen? Sorry for all the questions, but Byron, you seem to be the most knowledgeable and any imput from you or anyone else will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:05 PM   #2
 
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On the plant side, bubblewands and airstones and any bubbling device are not recommended because they cause CO2 to be driven out of the water faster than normal, and plants havea hard time assimilating CO2 as it is. I fully explain this in part 3 (filtration, especially paragraphs 3-5) of the 4-part sticky series, here's the link: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34858/

But I am more concerned over your comment that your fish have difficulty respirating without the bubblewand; if true, something must be wrong. Can you explain what causes you to think this? Also, how many fish and what types, what size tank, water temp, and what filter?
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:23 PM   #3
 
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A bubble wand isn't good with live plants. Since it seems you have a lot of live plants, your fish SHOULD have no problem breathing, and I think you might be imagining that they aren't getting enough O2 without it. If you had 1 plant and 100 fish then yes the plant probably won't make enough O2, but you have 16 plants, and if I remember, your tank isn't too large, so the plants should keep up with the fish just fine. ;)

If you have a test kit there may be a way to test for CO2 using Kh, Gh, and PH. You should check that out.

Fish getting enough oxygen in a well planted tank shouldn't be a worried, and you should do w/e you can to keep the precious CO2 in there for the plants. The bubble wand may not stop the plants from growing, but it will inhibit their growth and CO2 may become the limiting factor in their growth.
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Old 04-02-2010, 08:51 AM   #4
 
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+1 on both.... i would lose bubble wand, but more importantly, with what B said.....if your fish are gasping for air...something might be wrong.....

what are your water parameters?? do you have a test kit?
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:37 AM   #5
 
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is your tank overstocked?

plants release o2 during the day, but at night they use it. some people use airstones at night for this reason. i personally prefer not to have different things running day and night, so i have figured out the right way to position my outflow tube to create the right amount of surface disturbance to ensure that enough o2 is getting in. i also have the fish gasping thing when i have no surface disturbance so i will be following your thread.
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:26 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanieleah View Post
is your tank overstocked?

plants release o2 during the day, but at night they use it. some people use airstones at night for this reason. i personally prefer not to have different things running day and night, so i have figured out the right way to position my outflow tube to create the right amount of surface disturbance to ensure that enough o2 is getting in. i also have the fish gasping thing when i have no surface disturbance so i will be following your thread.
Steph, can you explain this a bit more? B.
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Old 04-02-2010, 10:34 AM   #7
 
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I don't understand why both your fish are gasping when there is no surface disturbance. I have absolutely no surface disturbance. My spray bar actually points downward against the wall, not upward towards the surface.
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Old 04-02-2010, 11:21 AM   #8
 
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I'm curious about this too, I'm using a sponge filter (DIY) so there's a lot of surface disturbance...however, the only place the bubbles actually come out of is half an inch under the surface, because my tube is quite long (if this makes any sense at all). Is the bubbling more of a problem if it's driven from the bottom-up, or if it's causing surface disturbance?

This may be unlikely, but just try doing a water change, as water changes bring a nice amount of fresh, new oxygen into the water. Just a thought.
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Old 04-02-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxabc View Post
I'm curious about this too, I'm using a sponge filter (DIY) so there's a lot of surface disturbance...however, the only place the bubbles actually come out of is half an inch under the surface, because my tube is quite long (if this makes any sense at all). Is the bubbling more of a problem if it's driven from the bottom-up, or if it's causing surface disturbance?

This may be unlikely, but just try doing a water change, as water changes bring a nice amount of fresh, new oxygen into the water. Just a thought.
All "disturbance" of the water, whether at the surface or caused by bubbles from airstones and wands beneath the surface, increases the gas exchange because the "surface" area of the water is increased (such as by the bubbles). In terms of "surface area" this is something akin to filter media: the more or greater the surface area of the media, the more bacteria can colonize the media. Thus, the more "surface area" within the water, the more will be the exchange of oxygen and CO2.

I explain the problems for plants when the oxygen is increased and CO2 is decreased in this article: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34858/
Obviously a small amount of disturbance is not going to matter too much, but as explained in the cited article our aim is to minimize that disturbance.

When we speak of a "balanced planted aquarium," we mean that the fish load will be balanced with the plants and bacteria within that specific volume of water; the natural biological processes including the normal exchange of oxygen/CO2 will remain relatively stable. This stability is easiest to achieve with minimal levels. What I mean here, is that keeping the light at the lowest level necessary (for the plants) means fewer nutrients need to be added (nutrients including CO2, nitrogen (ammonium), and minerals or fertilizers). And the less we add, the more "natural" and stable the balance will remain.

This state of balance involves the plants producing oxygen, far more than the fish and bacteria need, and consuming CO2 from the fish and bacteria in the process. This occurs during the day, when the light is on and plants photosynthesize (grow). There should certainly never be a need to increase water movement/surface disturbance in order to increase oxygen for the fish during daylight; if there really is such a need, then something very serious is wrong with the balance.

During darkness, plants continue to respire, as do the fish and bacteria; they all consume oxygen and produce CO2. The oxygen produced during the day can be utilized during darkness. There will be an increase of CO2 during the night, and this is reflected in the change in pH that occurs in all planted aquaria. The pH rises during the day as CO2 is taken out of the water by the plants in greater quantity than the fish and bacteria can continue to produce during the daylight; during darkness, CO2 increases and the pH lowers. During each 24 hour period, this is known as the diurnal variation. This occurs in all planted aquaria--and it occurs in all natural habitats.

Fish are evolved to deal with this; they are non-active at night (except of course for some catfish that are nocturnal) so less oxygen is required. The fluctuation is usually minimal, and Peter Hiscock and others have written that provided it is less than 1 degree in pH it will not cause any problems for fish. One degree in pH means it changes from say pH 6.5 to 7.5 and then back to 6.5 during this diurnal fluctuation. Unless the aquarium is significantly out of balance, the diurnal fluctuation will never be this much; in my heavily-planted and heavily-stocked aquaria, I have repeatedly measured it at .3 to .4 of 1 degree maximum. This is simply no where near sufficient to cause any oxygen shortage on its own; Hiscock recommends adding an airstone diffuser at night only if the fluctuation approaches 1 full degree in pH. And this sort of level is only likely to occur when CO2 is added to the aquarium, which is why most aquarists who use additional CO2 diffusion turn it off at night.
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Old 04-02-2010, 06:09 PM   #10
 
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Alright then, I'll see what I can do about that. However, when I did have absolutely 0% surface disturbance, there was this gross oily stuff across the water. Byron, do you ever get this? What could I do with removing it and keeping it away?

(Sorry for stealing from OP!)
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