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-   -   Anybody running without filters? (http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=219833)

Rich Guano 01-20-2013 11:39 PM

Anybody running without filters?
 
After reading Diana Walstad's book, I have become obsessed with the idea that my filters are in direct competition with the plants. I don't see the point any longer in running them and I am on the brink of disconnecting them.

I want to see if anybody else has successfully run a tank with only a power head to move the water. NO FILTER.

bikinibottom 01-20-2013 11:46 PM

Back in the day I ran my saltwater tanks with no filters. And I did a 25% water change maybe once every 3-4 months. And I never had a fish loss or coral loss until I lost power for a week straight during the derecho.

Rich Guano 01-21-2013 12:59 AM

Your a brave soul. From what I read about salt tanks, proper filtration is the biggest push. Sorry to hear about the power outage messing up your tanks. What problem put an end to you run? Loss of lighting?

funkman262 01-21-2013 01:06 AM

I only used a filter until my plants were able to keep up with the bioload on their own. I had a heavily planted tank with no filter, no water changes, nutrient dosing, and CO2 running for nearly 2 years (would still be running like that now but had to restart when I moved for a year and left the gf in charge of running the tank...).

manzpants92 01-21-2013 01:11 AM

interesting thread. I too just read the ecology of the planted aquarium and the idea is pretty crazy but it all makes sense. I'm planing on doing a small set up and was thinking about not running a filter

Rich Guano 01-21-2013 01:39 AM

@funkman Way to go! Thats what I talking about.

I have a 38G that has been running continuously since 2004. I have always used Marineland BioWheel Filters on this tank. Prior to having plants (added Feb 2011) The BioWheels always had a thick layer of bacteria growing on them. After the plants became established, the biowheels became void of bacteria, and since have been removed.

I would like to ween the tank off the filters entirely and reduce them to simple power heads moving water around internally.

I recently read that a engineer knows his work is finished not because anything else can be added to the design, but that nothing else can be removed. Its simplicity that I seek.

Dtitus1 01-21-2013 02:05 AM

Idk, I still wouldn't do it, the reason saltwater works without a filter (I still run one in mine regardless) is because your live rock builds up bacteria colonies that break down the waste.

Your plants aren't going to break down waste into usable nutrients, they're just going to use them, but if there's nothing to grow bacteria on to break down the waste it's just gonna build up and look nasty.

Now there should be some bacteria in your substrate, but this isn't really an efficient place for them to colonize in large numbers, so it would work to have no filter if you had incredibly low stocking in livestock, but still I'd just have a filter and more fish.

Dtitus1 01-21-2013 02:10 AM

Just thought about it, you could get dry rock and use freshwater live rock with the powerhead, same theory as saltwater. Wonder if anyone has ever done that....

Diana 01-21-2013 02:15 AM

I have run plant only tanks with just a power head. (often Koralia style)
My tanks that are infested with fish, though, all have filters of some sort. At least a sponge over the intake of the power head. (traditional style PH with a place for a sponge).

funkman262 01-21-2013 02:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dtitus1 (Post 2301089)
Your plants aren't going to break down waste into usable nutrients, they're just going to use them, but if there's nothing to grow bacteria on to break down the waste it's just gonna build up and look nasty.

A little confused here. Why would breaking down the waste via bacteria be better than the plants actually consuming the organics? Plants are much more efficient at nutrient and waste removal than bacteria is, which is why more research is being put into constructing wastelands or algae ponds for the use in wastewater treatment in which bacteria removal is currently the conventional method. Certain species like duckweed varieties especially are being researched for their ability to remove heavy metals.

bikinibottom 01-21-2013 02:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rich Guano (Post 2300169)
Your a brave soul. From what I read about salt tanks, proper filtration is the biggest push. Sorry to hear about the power outage messing up your tanks. What problem put an end to you run? Loss of lighting?

Combination of things. One major stress was the temperature -- it was like 104 degrees after the storms, and the corals have a pretty narrow thermal range. Fish didn't like it either. Probably the next biggest stress was no water movement, meaning low oxygen. More of a problem for the fish, but corals do rely on water movement so that sediments don't settle on them and irritate them. No light -- corals depend on light for their nutrition. So everything combined was just too much.

One reason I was able to get away with no filtration is because I kept small tanks, less than 50 gallons. My filtration was totally biological -- lots of "live rock" and sand. The filter I currently run on my planted tank is just some sponges and the little ceramic rings -- yeah, I'm catching more of the fine debris and cleaning it out monthly, but really what you're doing is creating more surface area for bacteria -- biological filtration. You could achieve the same thing by creating more area in your tank to perform the same function.

funkman262 01-21-2013 02:28 AM

Since we're also discussing a bit of SW here, I'll add that the only filter I run on my 27g reef is a biopellet reactor (which is essentially a biofilter that provides a consistent carbon source for improved growth).

aokashi 01-21-2013 03:00 AM

Ive done plenty of such filterless tanks. I love to keep a flow but there have been tanks that are stagnant and still do very well. I've never had a problem with things breaking down in the tank. if its a dead leaf or something, they snail will be sure to process it further.

Dtitus1 01-21-2013 04:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by funkman262 (Post 2301265)
A little confused here. Why would breaking down the waste via bacteria be better than the plants actually consuming the organics? Plants are much more efficient at nutrient and waste removal than bacteria is, which is why more research is being put into constructing wastelands or algae ponds for the use in wastewater treatment in which bacteria removal is currently the conventional method. Certain species like duckweed varieties especially are being researched for their ability to remove heavy metals.


Plants don't remove waste, they remove the nutrients after the waste breaks down from the biological processes occurring in your tank. Not saying filterless won't work, but when you take out your main biological filter solid wastes are gonna build up. Like I said, like 1 or 2 small fish in a 10 gallon could probably work out nicely, but seems to be a method that people use for tanks that are mainly focused on the plants.

aokashi 01-21-2013 04:36 AM

detritus really doesnt hurt a well planted tank :)


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