Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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River 02-11-2008 02:29 PM

quick cycling nutrients
 
Hi! I'm mostly a *lurker*, so before I ask I'll introduce myself. I have been an avid fishkeeper for the past 10 or so years, with mostly freshwater. I currently have a 35 gal fw, a terrarium with toads, and 2 1 gal betta tanks.
Now, I have been asked to do a demonstration for a classroom of college kids in nutrient cycling (no fish involved) to show how a wetland filters out some nutrients / chemicals.
The whole demonstration has to take place within no more than 2 hours from beginning to end. Any ideas on a nutrient that I can cause to lower by biological and filter media in under 2 hours?
Thanks!

fish_4_all 02-11-2008 03:30 PM

2 hours? I don't know if there really is way to demonstrate it in that amount of time. Maybe filtering over some peat moss to show changes in pH and possibly other parameters. Possible filtering it through some kind of organic.

CO2 might be a good option. Completely saturate the tank with CO2, 80-180ppm and show this with test results. Have the tank with high light and then test again after 30-60-90 minutes to see if the pH changes and CO2 levels go down. They should. Wisteria, elodea and other nutrient sponges would be the best bet. Whatever you try, the more plants the better the chance you will see results in 120 minutes.

A tank full of Wisteria, and I mean a ton of it with Elodea floating on top. A 10 gallon with 50-60 watts of lighting and CO2 saturation is going to give you the best chance to see a noticeable nutrient difference. Just make sure to have absolutely no surface agaitaiton during the test or the CO2 part would be invalid as it would gas off instead of be used by the plants. Start wiht 0 nitrates, phosphates, and anything else you can measure then dose them to known measured levels and see if they drop.

The peat mos thing could be a side experiment to show how peat in peat bogs filters an alters water chemistry. Maybe filter over crushed coral or some other calcium carbonate based substance will give enough of a change to measure GH, KH and pH changes in 2 hours or less.

Best of luck and I would be extremely interested in your results if you can get anything measureable.


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