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Old 01-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #31
Wy Renegade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dprais1 View Post
Every once in a while I search for some evidence to support the whole "high-tech filters are better than a sponge filter" theory but I have yet to ever find any.
I think the debate between effectiveness of high-tech filters and sponge filters is a different conversation than the effectiveness of high-tech filters vs. substrate. There is a lot of evidence to show that modern high-tech filters provide more surface area for bacteria colonization than the average sponge filter, however sponge filters not only provide a surface for bacteria growth for biological filtration, but they also provide direct mechanical filtration as well. Therefore a comparison of effectiveness between the two would be pretty difficult to accomplish.

Some references for you to look at;

http://www.fishchannel.com/setups/po...al-filter.aspx

http://www.biofilters.com/webreview.htm

http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebi...filtration.htm

http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ja...46.1150&org=11

http://www.pondshop.com/catalog/megalite.htm

That last one is an advertisement, but contains information on the actual surface area of bacteria and sand grains.

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Originally Posted by Beer View Post
You have to have a decent plant mass for this to work.
To have no water movement at all, would have to be determined by the inhabitants and types of plants. some fish need water movement to be happy. Some plants grow too slow to do well without water movement to remove sediment and discourage algae growth. A good cleanup crew would be essential too (shrimp and a moderately small snail population). People mention water movement for nutrient dispersal, but I think an active fish population can help provide that. Nutrients aren't being depleted that rapidly in lowtech tanks.
I wouldn't recommend this though for tanks that don't get observed frequently. Just setting it up and leaving it to its own devices could be disastorous for the inhabitants.
I think another factor you would need to consider is substrate. If for example you are using a very fine sand with no to minimal water movement, then debris is quickly going to settle and fill in the void space and surface area of the sand, reducing your effective aerobic zone for bacteria colonization to only the top surface area of your substrate.

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Originally Posted by Beer View Post
NavyBlue, FYI fish don't actually put out waste from their gills (other than CO2). Gills are strictly for breathing. Look up the osmotic process, which is where GH and KH come into play for proper hydration and expultion of waste for freshwater fish (for salt water too, but salt water fish actually drink water constantly and also use the process to regulate internal salt content)
Actually, not quite.

http://www.marietta.edu/~mcshaffd/aq...nt/excrete.htm

Just a brief introduction. A quick google search will quickly reveal lots of scientific abstracts on the subject if you want to look into it further.
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:33 PM   #32
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I'd say this qualifies as evidence

http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ja...46.1150&org=11

I think i was too brief, so let me explain.

You have a 2 20 gallon tanks both identical in terms of plants and fish and one tank has a sponge filter and one is running a big canister.
After a year which tank is cleaner? They should be the same because bacteria has colonized the tank and filter media to the point it needs to. More surface area allows for more bacteria but there will still only be as much bacteria as there is food to feed it such that much of the space will in effect be wasted.

I personally feel that these high tech filters and the desire to have them is driven solely by the manufacturers of said filters.

My daughter wants a laptop, the best, fanciest, and most expensive. Why? because it is the best. Okay fine. Why does she need the best? To send emails, watch You-Tube videos, and play around on the net.

Having the best and needing the best are very different things.

So a big, fancy filter might be better, but that does not make it more effective.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:40 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dprais1 View Post
I'd say this qualifies as evidence

http://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=ja...46.1150&org=11

I think i was too brief, so let me explain.

You have a 2 20 gallon tanks both identical in terms of plants and fish and one tank has a sponge filter and one is running a big canister.
After a year which tank is cleaner? They should be the same because bacteria has colonized the tank and filter media to the point it needs to. More surface area allows for more bacteria but there will still only be as much bacteria as there is food to feed it such that much of the space will in effect be wasted.

I personally feel that these high tech filters and the desire to have them is driven solely by the manufacturers of said filters.

My daughter wants a laptop, the best, fanciest, and most expensive. Why? because it is the best. Okay fine. Why does she need the best? To send emails, watch You-Tube videos, and play around on the net.

Having the best and needing the best are very different things.

So a big, fancy filter might be better, but that does not make it more effective.
Gotcha! And yes, I agree with you a 100%. Its a very similar as the question of cycling a tank, either salt or freshwater.

How do I cycle my tank?

Set it up and add ammonia to it till the ammonia gets converted into nitrites and then nitrates.

How much ammonia?

X ammount for a X gallon tank?

Why?

Because X amount will give you enough bacteria to support a fully stocked tank of that size.

What if my tank isn't going to be fully stocked? What if I only want a few fish?

Its always been my thought that a full cycle is rather silly without finding out what the stocking intentions and time frame of the individual are. Why go to all the time and trouble of fully cycling a tank, only to allow that built up bacteria population to die back when only a few fish are added to the tank to begin with anyway?

That, I think, is a subject for a different thread perhaps?
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:02 PM   #34
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Wow, lots of great thoughts on this subject. I appreciate everybody who has commented and/or offered other areas of study.

If we look back say 100 years ago, what kind of filtration methods were being deployed then? Does anybody have any documented examples?

In regards to my opening post, are our plants in competition with the filters? Plants seem to be the higher life form, but do they out compete bacteria for nitrogen?
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:06 PM   #35
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In regards to my opening post, are our plants in competition with the filters? Plants seem to be the higher life form, but do they out compete bacteria for nitrogen?
There isn't much competition when it comes to the nitrogen source; plants are more efficient at N-uptake.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:25 AM   #36
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I don't know anything about saltwater but I do know that in the freshwater area the success of a tank, from an aesthetic standpoint, is in the eye of the beholder. It seems to me that the decision to go with hi-tech, lo-tech, no-tech or somewhere in between is driven by the desired aesthetic outcome as much as anything. In other words, it depends on what you want. Call me nuts but I bought an eight or ten gallon glass cylinder about 8 years ago at Pier One. I think I put some laterite in the bottom, then a couple inches of eco-complete and an inch or so of grungy mulmy stuff has built up over the years. It sits next to a window and is jam packed with healthy looking Vals that reach to the top -- say two feet. I don't change the water. No filter, no circulation, no extra lighting no ferts -- and no fish except the occasional one who needs a temporary home. I happened to test the water out of curiosity the other day using a test strip and it was the same as my well water. It is really a big vase that has planera, some hydra and some of those little copepod things and a whole lot of other inhabitants that are only visible with a microscope, I'm sure. I had scuds in it but there was a population explosion and subsequent crash. Oh, and there is an amano and nerite in there. In the summer it can get pretty green (and it is a pretty green) but it always sorta fixes itself and, come winter, it clears up. I think it is interesting to watch the way the algae ebb and flow and, all in all, the tank pleases me. (I also like the completely unnatural "nature" tanks that are sustained only be the careful and exacting control of their parameters -- but that is a completely different aesthetic.) I think that when the algae bloom dies it must provide food for the Vals but I've not bothered to research it.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:07 AM   #37
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Something anecdotal, but I removed 1 of 3 canister filters from my tank last week as well as about 75% of the filter media from the other 2... and now my plants are going gangbusters.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:02 PM   #38
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Great thread! Much appreciated for the deep analysis of some of you!

From my experience I would be inclined to say bacteria *can* outcompete plants at N uptake. Bacteria works without light as well. Whatever Ammonium gets in the water it will be taken by plants during the photoperiod, then comes the night. Bacteria will strip whatever Ammonium is in the water and plants will need to consume energy for Nitrate processing.

Unless a soft spot is hit with the bio load there will be problems in the long run. Currently I'm facing a constant water acidifying effect because I have an Eheim 2080 hooked to a 300L tank. Which is 4 times smaller than the tank size for which this canister was designed.

Bacteria generates H+ as a byproduct of Ammonium and Nitrite oxidation. I will soon start a new tank to test this method. Will use just a powerhead for water circulation, some lava rock bits, zeolite, potting dirt and inert gravel. I have some AquaMedic Volcanit leftovers.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:53 PM   #39
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I tend to think that Nitrates are an indication that Nitrification bacteria have been at work. No Nitrates tells me that plants are doing their job. I know we don't usually get zero Nitrates, but that's when nitrates have come in.

In the end, it's hard to offer a conclusive answer. I think threads like this are good to help people develop their own there own theories, and maybe sometime an answer.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:00 PM   #40
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It got my wheels spinning at least :P

No Nitrates might also mean bacteria is killed with water changes straight from the tap.

I know a buddy of mine that realized he was killing his bacterial flora with tap water
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:14 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielt View Post
It got my wheels spinning at least :P

No Nitrates might also mean bacteria is killed with water changes straight from the tap.

I know a buddy of mine that realized he was killing his bacterial flora with tap water
He must have been killing his fish too between the chlorine from the tap and ammonia from no bacteria.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:37 PM   #42
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Fish no, some RCS occasionally and low breeding. Few females berried. The weird thing is that he did this to a Discus tank as well. Didn't lost any fish and he has a pair that frequently spawned.

The rate spawning rate increased after he started to mature the water for a couple days before the water change.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:02 PM   #43
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Fish no, some RCS occasionally and low breeding. Few females berried. The weird thing is that he did this to a Discus tank as well. Didn't lost any fish and he has a pair that frequently spawned.

The rate spawning rate increased after he started to mature the water for a couple days before the water change.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:47 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy va View Post
I don't know anything about saltwater but I do know that in the freshwater area the success of a tank, from an aesthetic standpoint, is in the eye of the beholder. It seems to me that the decision to go with hi-tech, lo-tech, no-tech or somewhere in between is driven by the desired aesthetic outcome as much as anything. In other words, it depends on what you want. Call me nuts but I bought an eight or ten gallon glass cylinder about 8 years ago at Pier One. I think I put some laterite in the bottom, then a couple inches of eco-complete and an inch or so of grungy mulmy stuff has built up over the years. It sits next to a window and is jam packed with healthy looking Vals that reach to the top -- say two feet. I don't change the water. No filter, no circulation, no extra lighting no ferts -- and no fish except the occasional one who needs a temporary home. I happened to test the water out of curiosity the other day using a test strip and it was the same as my well water. It is really a big vase that has planera, some hydra and some of those little copepod things and a whole lot of other inhabitants that are only visible with a microscope, I'm sure. I had scuds in it but there was a population explosion and subsequent crash. Oh, and there is an amano and nerite in there. In the summer it can get pretty green (and it is a pretty green) but it always sorta fixes itself and, come winter, it clears up. I think it is interesting to watch the way the algae ebb and flow and, all in all, the tank pleases me. (I also like the completely unnatural "nature" tanks that are sustained only be the careful and exacting control of their parameters -- but that is a completely different aesthetic.) I think that when the algae bloom dies it must provide food for the Vals but I've not bothered to research it.

Fascinating! I would like to try a tank like that...on a small scale...

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