Looking for opinions on spray bar positioning
Hello my Fishy friends,
As I'm sure most of you have come to realize 'The Aquarium' is an ever evolving and changing creature. I'll post some updated pics and vids soon for all you Loach fans. My tank has taken a decided turn toward the 'Dutch Style' of appearance and is nearing what I think I want it to look like.
In all the rearranging and positioning I've come to place where I'm not well enough informed to continue without some help. Any opinions or thoughts are welcome no matter how unorthodox they may seem.
The details of the set-up are in my 'Loach tank' profile so I'll just mention the obvious here: This is a; planted, with fish 55 gallon tank. I'm using an Eheim Pro3 with a spray bar and a Koralia 3 for filtration and circulation. I also have a Koralia 1 and 2 that I can use as well. There are 4 Dojo loaches, 5 Kuhli loaches (always hiding because the dojo's are bullies), 7 otos, 7 Harlequin Rasboras, 7 Cardinal Tetras, 1 Siamese algae eater (his partner got eaten by a Loach), 10 Amano Shrimp and 30 Ghost Shrimp. I have the filter intake in the back left corner of the tank. The spray bar outlet just below the surface across the left side pointing straight out just below the surface. The Koralia 3 is half way down and toward the back on the right side below the spray bar pointing up at a 45 degree angle toward the surface. I have good flow through out the tank and the surface is agitated about 3/4's of the way across the tank.
Here is my dilemma: I would like to move the spray bar away from the surface, either vertically down the right back corner spraying along the back or horizontally on the right side about 3" off of the bottom. And I have no idea what to do with the Koralia. I would like to reduce the flow in the tank and still maintain a light current for the plants and fish. What I don't know is if I reduce the surface agitation, will it have an adverse effect on the O2 levels in the tank or will the plants put out enough O2 for the fish???? If I need the surface movement I can use one or more of the Koralias.
Sooo, what do you think???
Any advantages or disadvantages to moving the spray bar away from the surface??
Are the plants and fish better off with a strong or light current??
What is your preference with spray bars and circulators????
I remember seeing photos of the tank when you set it up; it was and is very lovely. But I can't remember how long that has been. If this has been setup more than 2 months, I would expect more plant growth, assuming the video is recent.
This is not a heavily-planted aquarium, but it is also light on the fish load. And that means CO2 is not in abundance. From the video I think you have much too much surface disturbance; this drives off CO2 quite rapidly, and the only source of CO2 is fish respiration and biological processes ongoing in the tank. You need to conserve as much of it as you can.
In a natural or low-tech system, the balance between the 17 nutrients (one of which is carbon) and light has to be there; so anything that may impact however slightly can become a critical factor in less success. The one thing we cannot "control" in this type of setup is the CO2, by which I mean that it is entirely dependent upon the fish and biological processes; with light we can control it, in intensity and duration, to balance, as we can with the other macro- and micro-nutrients through fertilization. Plants will photosynthesize up to the factor in least supply--this is known as Liebig's Law of Minimum. Many have planted tanks that fail because the CO2 is the limiting factor, and algae will take over because it is better able to use carbonates for carbon than most (but not all) plants. The point here is that nothing should be allowed to negatively impact the CO2 in a natural planted aquarium.
The rate of water flow through the filter plus the level of surface disturbance has an impact on the amount of oxygen drawn into the water, and carbon dioxide (CO2) expelled from the water in what we call the gaseous exchange. Surface disturbance speeds this up, as does higher flow filtration, airstones and bubble effects and powerheads. There are two detrimental issues to this: 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. Plants have more difficulty assimilating nutrients when the oxygen level increases. But the more significant aspect is the CO2.
Submerged plants have difficulty obtaining enough CO2 in nature and in the aquarium; this fact is believed by many to be the reason for the inherently slow growth and low productivity of aquatic plants over terrestrial. Further, freshwater emerged plants have been shown to be more than four times more productive that submerged plants. The reason is because CO2 diffuses so slowly in water as opposed to air, and this limits the underwater plant's uptake of CO2 because the CO2 molecules don't contact the leaves quick enough to meet the plant's needs. Aquatic plants have to use enzymes to rapidly capture the CO2. When the CO2 levels in the water become depleted, these enzymes sit idle, so to speak, but the plant still has to provide energy to them. This results in a reduction in photosynthetic efficiency and therefore growth of the plant because energy is being wasted. Thus, any thing that removes CO2 in however small an amount will be detrimental to the plant's growth.
With respect to oxygen for the fish, in a planted tank the oxygen produced during photosynthesis by the plants greatly exceeds what the fish require even during the night--provided the tank is not overstocked. There is never an issue over low oxygen in a healthy planted aquarium.
The water flow is important for bringing nutrients to the leaves and roots, and keeping the leaves free of sediments. But there has to be a balance so as not to adversely affect the plants ability to assimilate nutrients including carbon from CO2. In planted aquaria, the filtration should be minimal and suited to the fish (rasbora, characins prefer little or no water movement; loaches like a little current. And the plants require a small flow past them.
In my tanks with spraybars they are positioned along the end wall and directed toward the wall and slightly down so I have the absolute minimum of water movement throughout the tank, and basically no surface disturbance. The outflow to the filter should be positioned at the opposite end of a 4 foot tank to provide this flow throughout the tank.
Thanks Byron, I think I get the idea.
You're right, there is a lot more growth than what is in those pics and videos. They are a couple of months old and I think the tank is around 6 months old now. I divided the plants into a couple of other tanks to get them started too.
This pic was taken today.
NICE set up, I like that a LOT, job well done!!!
You've changed quite a bit around. Still a nice looking setup though. Reduce that flow/surface disturbance and you'll be fine. B.
Thank you, it's been a learning process and a lot of fun. Once the plants fill in it should be a lush and happy place. :-D
The evolution of this tank established 07/06/09, started out looking like this:
It is now 5 months almost to the day and looks like this:
You took quite some plants out hadn't you - for other tanks or did they not wanna grow on you?
I like it a lot! Just keep an eye on the Pennywort in the center back - That stuff grow SO FAST, I had to clip mine more often then i did w/c :-)
The Waliichi all died out or got thrashed by the loaches as did the other delicate plants in the tank whose names escape me. The Penny Wort, Temple Green and Java Moss were all reduced to about what you see in the first pic when the tank was first planted. The trimmings and new plants were used to start two new tanks. One group became food for Gold Fish and Silver Dollars while trying to find plants that will survive those two species. The other group is in a breeding tank currently hosting 7 White Cloud Minnows, who despite being bloated with eggs, refuse to breed.
So what you see in the current photo grew from a similar density to the first tank to what it is now in about 2 months on an 8 hour light period. I had a massive algae bloom, so my LFS recommended cutting back to an 8hr light period until it subsided. It's back on a 12hr light cycle as of 2 days ago.
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