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Water Level in Planted Tank
What is the best depth for the water level in a planted tank? I used to fill the tank up to the black rim of my 55 gallon tank. At this depth it would be about even with the output (?) of my Marineland Eclipse 400 filter. I recently lowered the water level to create more of a splash (oxygen) because I was treating for ick. The plants seem to have taken off since lowering the water level. Is this just coincidence or is it really better to have the water level lower?
Good point. My plants are about 6 weeks old. So maybe it is just a coincidence.
could be almost anything also.
Like perhaps more co2 for the plants.
Too water water movement/splash at the surface will outgas needed C02 for the plants so you want minimal splash from everything I've heard although I am no plant guru. I would keep your water level filled as high as you could to reduce splash.
Here's an excerpt from one of Byrons articles on planted tanks:
The filter should produce a water flow sufficient to ensure the water circulates through the tank and filter. This is important for bringing nutrients to the leaves and roots, and keeping the leaves free of sediments. The rate of water flow through the filter also has an impact on the amount of oxygen drawn into the water, and the carbon dioxide (CO2) expelled from the water in what is called the gaseous exchange. Surface disturbance speeds this up, as do higher flow filtration, air stones, bubble effects and power heads—devices that should not be incorporated into a well-planted aquarium. Plants produce considerable oxygen as they photosynthesize, more than sufficient for the needs of the fish and bacteria. Extraneous water movement is detrimental in two ways: 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, which have more difficulty assimilating nutrients when the oxygen level increases. This is because oxygen easily binds with many nutrients, such as iron, making them too large for assimilation by the plants. But the more significant aspect is the loss of CO2.
There are two schools of thought on this issue of surface movement and loss of CO2. I am still in the camp that recommends minimal surface disturbance, as set out in my article that jeaninel cited from earlier. And so far, to my knowledge, this is the prevailing view. And bear in mind, we are talking natural tanks here, meaning those that do not have diffused CO2. There is no question anywhere but that surface disturbance does drive out CO2 when it is being added via diffusion.
The thinking behind this is that CO2 will move naturally from the area of highest concentration into the area of lower concentration. So in CO2 diffused tanks, there is going to be more CO2 dissolved in the tank water than in the air, thus surface disturbance will drive it out. When it comes to natural planted tanks, with no CO2 being added, some think the CO2 in the air is going to be higher than in the water. And this leads to the view that increasing the surface disturbance in natural planted tanks (NPT) will bring CO2 into the tank rather than drive it off.
I raised this issue in a major plant group, and after several experienced members had contributed, there was no concensus that this is actually true. Studies to prove this are lacking, as far as I/they know. My thinking is that there is more natural CO2 occurring in a NPT (and the diurnal pH fluctuation would support this view) than many realize, and this may well be higher than what is in the air above.
So I am staying with the minimal surface disturbance camp for the present.:-)
I actually prefer less surface disturbance as it makes the tank quieter with no splash. If I was the scientific type I would set up two tanks with the same plants, substrate, lighting and fish, one with minimal disturbance and another with lots of splash and see which one does better, but I am not the scientific type so I won't :-D
It is interesting that there is no real consensus on this.
Just setting up two tanks doesn't always give accurate results because each aquarium is different. And to definitively say one way or the other, one needs absolutely identical tests, which is not easy for us, but more feasible in a professional lab setting.
When I treated for ick, my plants took off too.. I used the heat and salt method.
My theory is that most of my nitrification bacteria died off, and it freed up nutrients for the plants.
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