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Old 02-15-2013, 01:20 PM   #1
lilscoots
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new here, question about using a planted sump


Hi, new here and new to plants.

I am building a 55g sump for a 180 gallon, and was thinking of using jungle vals to pull some of the nitrates out of the water, and also to provide a safe place for a few java fern and anubias to get large before placing them in the tank itself...
Here was my original idea before talking to a friend of mine who has planted tanks and who I'm getting the plants from. The substrate would be fluorite and I'd have a 24" grow light above the sump.


And here is the idea he had. His thoughts were that the plants/substrate would utilize the solid waste...

I've got a few jungle vals in a fry tank that seems to be doing well, but I have zero xp in plants.

Last edited by lilscoots; 02-15-2013 at 01:21 PM.. Reason: needed to define substrate
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #2
micheljq
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Why not use floating plants and plants that can grow emersed? but the roots in your sump?

Those have an advantage, they can use the CO2 from the air, hence not limited by the CO2 available in the water. They grow faster, hence using more nitrates from the water column.

I like your idea, and thinking of doing this one day.

Michel.

Edit : the false papyrus, cyperus alternifolius for example. epipremnum aureum, is also a great nitrates remover, it's a well known appartment plant, you place it over the tank, the leaves and stem outside the water, it will send roots in the water.
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Old 02-15-2013, 02:37 PM   #3
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Floating plants are better at taking up Nitrates. Pistia Stratiotes, Salvinia, Lemna Minor, Eichornia Crassipes are all Nitrate or Phosphate removers and will outcompete most of submerged plants.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
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I have seen this done with Lucky bamboo..with the setup in the second picture.
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Old 02-15-2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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But, since your interest doesn't seem to be in max nitrate soaking so much as a safe place to cultivate plants, you should probably avoid floaters if you can. Since they outcompete most submerged plants for nutrients and also block light.

You could have something very hydro hardy like a chinese evergreen (agaloenema) growing in a hydroponic pot of coir/LECA on blocks so it's roots hang in the water which would nitrate scrub but be contained and leave lots of light area for your cultivation zone. Like an old tupperware/margarine tub with a bunch of holes in the bottom and some small ones right below water level, and an airstone in the bottom to kinda churn water through it and keep the roots from anaerobic rot.

You could even just set the pot in the return pump area and use a T diverter with a valve on it to just trickle water through the evergreen roots and back into the sump, no air pumps.
See "Plumbing Part 3 - The Bypass Ball Valve" on this site for an example of the bypass I'm talking about.

As far as the mulm build up/mechanical filtration order I could see it either way, my only worry would be that the solid waste would eventually cake up the rhizome of the anubias/fern and make them rot. I am by far not an expert though, that might be a better question for the "plants" subsection.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:51 PM   #6
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Thank you,
Like I said, I have zero xp with plants, vals were just what he had abundantly available, he had said something about floating some plants, I was worried they'd run over the last baffle into the pump area, but I do like the idea of a semi-submerged plant to soak as much of the nitrates out of the water as possible. I can grow fern and anubias in fry tanks, like i'm attempting to do now and I'm not sure I like plants in the main tank, it doesn't seem to fit with the malawi rock/sand theme (it's a malawi hap/peacock tank).
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielt View Post
Floating plants are better at taking up Nitrates. Pistia Stratiotes, Salvinia, Lemna Minor, Eichornia Crassipes are all Nitrate or Phosphate removers and will outcompete most of submerged plants.
Would any of these grow with a simple 24" T8 gro-light? Also, I'd rather not do duckweed (Lemna sp.).
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Old 02-16-2013, 04:19 AM   #8
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There are some species of Vallisneria that are native to Lake Tanganyika, so they are not totally wrong, but your idea of a planted sump is a much better way to get lots of plant-filter benefit without a heavily planted tank.
Of the 2 designs, I would go with the second version.
The tank water flows through the planted part first, then through the rest of the media. The plants will use so much of the nutrients coming from the tank, and the planted area will be a good settling area where a lot of the debris will stay that the other media will act more as a polishing media.

Occasionally vacuum the planted area. Not a deep gravel vac, but just sort of skim the substrate, and move the plants just enough to break loose the debris.

If you can handle it, leave the light on 24/7.
Aquatic plants seem not to need a night cycle, and the fish produce waste all the time.
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