To bubble or Not to Bubble?
I am so confused. I am aiming to start a low light planted aquarium and was wondering about bubbles! some people i see say you dont need bubbles int a planted tank? is this true? does it depend on how many plants you have,fish what?
The reason for no bubbles in planted aquaria is that it drives CO2 out of the water. Surface agitation from the filter does the same, so this should always be minimal (just enough to keep the surface clear).
Plants require CO2 during the daylight in order to photosynthesize, and CO2 comes from the fish and biiological processes. It can (but should not) be the limiting factor for plants, which means it is the factor in least supply by comparison to light and the other 16 nutrients. It is easy to increase light and add the other nutrients. And these factors must balance; plants will only photosynthesize to the lowest factor. Plus, algae will avail themselves of the opportunity if light and other nutrients are in excess; most plants cannot easily assimilate carbon from carbohydrates, but algae can so it has a slight advantage when CO2 is in short supply.
If you want a thriving planted tank (without added CO2), don't think about airstones and bubbling devices.
aburani-what part of fl??
in a low tech set up some will say you want good surface agitation.
this causes a good gas exchange. gassing off co2 is not a problem as there be very little extra added by fish and bacterial processes.
higher surface movement is more about getting a good level of O2 into the tank. obviously an issue for the livestock and just as important for the bacteria present
In a tank without CO2 injection, aeration is a very good thing, as it helps increase the levels of atmospheric gases dissolved in the water, both oxygen and CO2.
If you were adding CO2, then you would already have a higher amount of CO2 than is present in the atmosphere, and aeration would tend to make your water equalize with the atmosphere, so you would in effect be wasting CO2.
I have air-driven sponge filters plus a 10" airstone located along the back wall. The airstone creates a rising curtain of bubbles which really enhances water circulation in my 75 gallon tank. It is comparable to having a powerhead helping circulate water.
I live in oviedo,fl "Central"
Thank you everyone for the clarification. I am only starting out with one or two plants and slowly adding more along the road. would i also gradually slow down the bubble or take them out from the beginning?from the way it looks i should remove them from plant one lol.
The fact that plants grow faster with CO2 injection is evidence of how important CO2 is to plants. Therefore, when we maintain a natural system where the CO2 is being provided for the plants naturally, we must do nothing that has any chance of limiting or reducing the already-limited CO2 available. This is why the growth rate of the plants in a "natural" system will be good and steady but slower.
There is no shortage of oxygen in a well-planted aquarium, unless the fish load is way overboard. Plants produce oxygen when they photosynthesize at the same time they are taking in CO2. During daylight far more oxygen is produced than what is used by the plants and fish during darkness.
Water movement should be minimal in a planted aquarium. There is scientific evidence that nutrient absorbption by plants is diminished iwith increased water movement. Aside from "mixing" the water in the aquarium, the flow from the filter will ensure the nutrients (including CO2) get closer to the leaves and roots of the plants. However, scientific studies have shown that with increased water flow, photosynthesis decreased porportionally. Consequently, in a healthy balanced system, minimal water flow is all that is needed.
do have links for the water flow and low surface agitation thing?
i know its what welstad talks about it in the book but i dont think she says how much CO2 fish and bacteria produce and i've been wandering that myself recently as i'm planning a low tech tank.
the reason i ask is i think the opposite and i don't know if the reason is valid.
i see it like this,
if a lighting break helps a planted tank sometimes, this is because CO2 levels rise back up after being slightly depleted bay the plants, so at the second lights on the CO2 has reached "ambient" levels.
so going by that if there was surface agitation the tank would always be at "ambient" as the movement gives good gas exchange.
so if the output form fish and plants is tiny and the excess gasses off fairly quickly even with no movement?
I think there has to be a balance. We can tell from the slower growth in "natural" or low-tech tanks that obviously plants are using the CO2 that is available. And light and other nutrients have to be kept in check because plants can't use light or CO2 or any other nutirent if there is a deficiency in one of these. Many writers say that light should be the limiting factor; Peter Hiscock goes into this in detail, and I read much the same in two articles during the past year on planted aquaria low-tech style in TFH and AFI. I've not yet seen any formulae.
I've not read that the "siesta" period with no lights helps plants, but rather it is recommended to discourage algae. Hiscock mentions this in his book, and again I've read it in several articles. Never tried it myself, as algae is not a problem and I'd rather not unsettle the fish with this when there is no need. You theory makes sense though, because many of the typical plants have more trouble taking carbon from carbonates whereas algae easily do this, so if CO2 is in short supply, algae have the advantage; but eliminating the light mid-day defeats this advantage.
As I understand it, plants will just continue to photosynthesize provided all they need is available, at least up to the point of literally burning themselves out, but I can't see this being the case in a natural (low-tech) setup as nutrients (esp CO2) will be insufficient to reach that stage. I stock my aquaria fairly heavily, and in more than 15 years of pretty much the same type of setups I have always had what I deem very good plant growth, minimal algae, and healthy fish. Four weeks ago I cut my liquid fertilization in half, as there were signs on the plants in one tank of excess magnesium and perhaps other nutrients; the plants are now responding with improved growth, so clearly the balance got out. I used to worry about fertilizing because the Echinodorus leaves would begin to yellow without twice weekly liquid fertilization, but since then I have inserted root tabs (Plant-Gro sticks actually) next to the largest swords and that has probably reduced the need for twice weekly liquid fertilizer. Algae was also increasing marginally in another tank, and this has brought that back in line, even after only 4 weeks.
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