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Old 04-03-2013, 05:04 PM   #1
HamToast
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Aeration in heavily planted tanks...?


I have asked this question before but never in a dedicated thread. I never did get a solid answer so I'm asking it here again right now.

On planted tanks that are heavily filled with beautiful and lush plants, I do not often see any sort of bubbles or other aeration to speak of. What exactly is it that they use in tanks like this?

Is it due to the plants being dense enough to provide the needed amount of oxygen? Or is it that the filtration methods provide sufficient aeration?

I have only been able to achieve good aeration using bubble wands and I absolutely hate them. I do not like the look of the bubbles in my tank and want to do away with them. I suspect that in my tank it's due to the simple HoB filter I have and a lack of overall tank circulation.

Anyway, any tips and answers are appreciated.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Aeration in heavily planted tanks...?

A few questions, what size tank do you have and what filter are you using? If your filter is underpowered for your tank size, then you will have a problem with circulation and keeping all areas of the tank oxygenated.

Edit: also, good surface agitation will help with aeration.

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Old 04-03-2013, 05:15 PM   #3
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Planted tanks benefit from current or flow and not directly from aeration persay. This promotes the chemical exchange throughout all levels of the plant. airstones are often added to eliminate dead spots in larger tanks.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:48 PM   #4
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I have a whisper 60 and a powerhead with a large prefilter, as well as a UV sterilizer in my 30 gallon tank. Filtration and circulation SHOULD be fine, but I seem to have dead spots in the far corner (opposite the power head) and use a bubble wand for that area. I only recently started using it and have noticed marked improvements.

I understand that water circulation and surface aggitation are primary, and also that airstones are used to supplement both of those, but what is it that large, heavily planted tanks (typically appearing to be high tech) use to provide adequate circulation and surface aggitation, and thereby aeration? Is it simply a better filtration method? Or the plants? Or what do they use?

Hopefuly my tone isn't misinterpreted here, I'm not trying to be rude. Merely trying to eliminate any miscommunications or anything that may arise via electronic communication media.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:01 PM   #5
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Default Aeration in heavily planted tanks...?

IMHO (in my holy opinion) lol!

I think Airstones add movement and surface agitation more than exchange of air thru their bubbles as people believe.

An airstone is not such a good idea in a tank with co2. It's like shaking ur beer.

Aeration is successfully accomplished by surface agitation (like spray bar ripple) without splashing.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
IMHO (in my holy opinion) lol!

I think Airstones add movement and surface agitation more than exchange of air thru their bubbles as people believe.

An airstone is not such a good idea in a tank with co2. It's like shaking ur beer.

Aeration is successfully accomplished by surface agitation (like spray bar ripple) without splashing.
I was educated some time ago by Diana on these forums that aeration occurs from surface aggitation and water circulation, not from contact with the bubbles.

So in advanced tanks aeration is accomplished through better filters? Mainly the outlets causing greater surface aggitation and the inlet providing good circulation...

I've been wondering for some time now, I'm sick of bubbles. They look "tacky" to me, and take away from any kind of natural look. I plan on getting an Eheim classic in a couple months, I look forward to it more now than ever.
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:38 PM   #7
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Hi HamToast, (PS:you have a delicious name)

Essentially, for gas exchange to occur, the surface tension of the water must be broken. Air stones do this by bringing water from the bottom of the tank to the top and breaking open on the surface. It is an adequate method of aeration, but a power head driving water from the bottom of the tank to a small bulge on the surface would be even more effective. There is, however, a complication in planted aquariums. We want Growth! Fast growth! Massive Growth! Growth to extremes mother nature never intended! In order to do this, we must have adequate CO2 in the water column. When gas exchange occurs on the surface, CO2 is transfered to the air, and O2 is transfered to the water. The more surface agitation, the more CO2 is lost.

How do we naturally get CO2? Well, plants do themselves exhale CO2 (24/7 - though they will process and expel O2 as well during the day). Fish release CO2. Bacteria which process amonia, nitrites, and detritus release CO2. And...Well that's pretty much it. The plants NEED the carbon in the CO2 to build a structure. So if we have too much surface agitation, the plants will in fact starve - as carbon (not nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium) is the basic building block.

In short, give the tank a little flow - and get a CO2 PH bulb. During the day, the plants will process enough CO2 to keep the O2 up. If you still feel that the fish aren't getting enough oxygen at night, you can run an air pump on a reversed timer from your lighting schedule.

Hope this helps,
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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Default Aeration in Planted Tanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by HamToast View Post
I have asked this question before but never in a dedicated thread. I never did get a solid answer so I'm asking it here again right now.

On planted tanks that are heavily filled with beautiful and lush plants, I do not often see any sort of bubbles or other aeration to speak of. What exactly is it that they use in tanks like this?

Is it due to the plants being dense enough to provide the needed amount of oxygen? Or is it that the filtration methods provide sufficient aeration?

I have only been able to achieve good aeration using bubble wands and I absolutely hate them. I do not like the look of the bubbles in my tank and want to do away with them. I suspect that in my tank it's due to the simple HoB filter I have and a lack of overall tank circulation.

Anyway, any tips and answers are appreciated.
Hello Ham...

The reason you don't see a lot of air stones (aeration) running in a heavily planted tank is because several of them will mix too much oxygen into the tank water. Oxygen is a plant waste product, so it makes sense that plants won't thrive in an environment high in O2.

Filtration equipment with a gallon per hour (gph) rating of a minimum of 4 times the volume of the tank in gallons is sufficient for a planted tank. The filters alone will do the job of "gas exchange", mixing oxygen into the tank water and removing carbon dioxide (CO2). Add to this, by removing and replacing half the tank water weekly and you'll have a stable environment for the living things in your tank.

You don't need to run anything that creates bubbles. Some tank keepers like that effect and in that case one, small air stone is fine.

Hope this answers your question.

B
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello Ham...
Oxygen is a plant waste product, so it makes sense that plants won't thrive in an environment high in O2.
B
This is absolutely untrue
co2 is a fish waste product but with good oxygen levels they survive in much higher co2 levels. plants likewise share a symbiosis with bacteria which only benefit frm higher oxygen levels.

a little theory on bacteria is that efficient bacteria can promote nutrient uptake by the plant, but that is theory

there are many of us out there with wet/ dry filters with higher than normal oxygen levels
Tom Barr has tested and during the light cycle is getting around 125% saturation with oxygen levels, and his plants grow great, my setup fairly mimics his i nthat im high co2 and light, with a wet/dry so im not far frm that number if not higher, and my plants grow great when im injecting the ever illusive co2 properly.

some have even tested injecting oxygen into planted tanks with pure oxygen to see if it was detrimental to algae.. it was not, but at high enough levels it oxidizes fish flesh and can be very lethal

for our ranges though, it does not affect a plant to have high oxygen levels, bubblers do destroy available co2 levels and THAT will definitely negatively impact plant growth


TO the OP

oxygen is increased by gas exchange at surface water. the more surface area you have for a volume of water, the more oxygen will be bound to water.
this can be done by having a thin sheet of water or by increasing surface agitation whic creates waves and thus mroe surface area. Circulation also plays a huge role here as if the only water that's being moved around is that below the surface then not much gas exchange is occuring. this is wh its important to have good flow throughout the tank to distribute oxygen properly AS well as having good flow at the surface to distribute oxygenated water..

HOB's are pretty good at it actually. just don't let the water fall too much, that doens't circulate well, its stead have the water about the bottom of the return and this will force water around the tank and increase surface movement.

Also oxygen levels are decreased by bacteria that is processing organic material in the tank. remove organics needing to be processed " food, poop, decaying plant matter, etc" and you will increase available oxygen for fish.
best way to do this is good filter maintenance habits, good water changes, and a clean substrate
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
IMHO (in my holy opinion) lol!

I think Airstones add movement and surface agitation more than exchange of air thru their bubbles as people believe.

An airstone is not such a good idea in a tank with co2. It's like shaking ur beer.

Aeration is successfully accomplished by surface agitation (like spray bar ripple) without splashing.
Good to know.
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:01 PM   #11
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Default Oxygen

Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
This is absolutely untrue
co2 is a fish waste product but with good oxygen levels they survive in much higher co2 levels. plants likewise share a symbiosis with bacteria which only benefit frm higher oxygen levels.

a little theory on bacteria is that efficient bacteria can promote nutrient uptake by the plant, but that is theory

there are many of us out there with wet/ dry filters with higher than normal oxygen levels
Tom Barr has tested and during the light cycle is getting around 125% saturation with oxygen levels, and his plants grow great, my setup fairly mimics his i nthat im high co2 and light, with a wet/dry so im not far frm that number if not higher, and my plants grow great when im injecting the ever illusive co2 properly.

some have even tested injecting oxygen into planted tanks with pure oxygen to see if it was detrimental to algae.. it was not, but at high enough levels it oxidizes fish flesh and can be very lethal

for our ranges though, it does not affect a plant to have high oxygen levels, bubblers do destroy available co2 levels and THAT will definitely negatively impact plant growth


TO the OP




oxygen is increased by gas exchange at surface water. the more surface area you have for a volume of water, the more oxygen will be bound to water.
this can be done by having a thin sheet of water or by increasing surface agitation whic creates waves and thus mroe surface area. Circulation also plays a huge role here as if the only water that's being moved around is that below the surface then not much gas exchange is occuring. this is wh its important to have good flow throughout the tank to distribute oxygen properly AS well as having good flow at the surface to distribute oxygenated water..

HOB's are pretty good at it actually. just don't let the water fall too much, that doens't circulate well, its stead have the water about the bottom of the return and this will force water around the tank and increase surface movement.

Also oxygen levels are decreased by bacteria that is processing organic material in the tank. remove organics needing to be processed " food, poop, decaying plant matter, etc" and you will increase available oxygen for fish.
best way to do this is good filter maintenance habits, good water changes, and a clean substrate
Hello HD...

I'll have to disagree on the O2 subject. This is the basic relationship between plants and fish. The plants take in carbon dioxide from surrounding air and the waste produced by the fish waste and produce oxygen for the fish. A good example is the "pearling" effect. When the water in the tank is saturated with O2, the additional oxygen the plants produce is given off in the small bubbles we see on the leaves.

Again, oxygen is a plant's byproduct as a result of photosynthesis. Plants take in CO2 and give back O2.

B
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:24 PM   #12
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So in advanced tanks aeration is accomplished through better filters? Mainly the outlets causing greater surface aggitation and the inlet providing good circulation...
You've got it. Good surface agitation and circulation are all that is needed. It may "waste" a bit of CO2 but that's easily compensated for by adjusting your injection rate. All of the organisms including the plants benefit from good O2 levels. Higher O2 levels allow the fish to comfortably live with higher CO2 levels than they would be able to otherwise.

You can use air stones if you want, but I would hide them behind plants and have them turn on only at lights out. They and the bubbles they make aren't very natural looking which is pretty much not how you want your planted tank to look. The good folks at ADA increase aeration at night by raising their lily pipes at night to increase surface agitation which I tried for a while, but it sounded like we had a river running through the living room. I just keep my filter outlets near the surface now and it makes a really good ripple 24 hours a day with no noise. Wet dry filters are especially good at oxygenating the tank if you want to go that route.
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Old 04-04-2013, 01:55 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by BBradbury View Post
Hello HD...

I'll have to disagree on the O2 subject. This is the basic relationship between plants and fish. The plants take in carbon dioxide from surrounding air and the waste produced by the fish waste and produce oxygen for the fish. A good example is the "pearling" effect. When the water in the tank is saturated with O2, the additional oxygen the plants produce is given off in the small bubbles we see on the leaves.

Again, oxygen is a plant's byproduct as a result of photosynthesis. Plants take in CO2 and give back O2.

B
correct, but u can't have too much o2. i never said otherwise
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:10 PM   #14
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Default Aeration in heavily planted tanks...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HD Blazingwolf View Post
This is absolutely untrue
co2 is a fish waste product but with good oxygen levels they survive in much higher co2 levels. plants likewise share a symbiosis with bacteria which only benefit frm higher oxygen levels.

a little theory on bacteria is that efficient bacteria can promote nutrient uptake by the plant, but that is theory

there are many of us out there with wet/ dry filters with higher than normal oxygen levels
Tom Barr has tested and during the light cycle is getting around 125% saturation with oxygen levels, and his plants grow great, my setup fairly mimics his i nthat im high co2 and light, with a wet/dry so im not far frm that number if not higher, and my plants grow great when im injecting the ever illusive co2 properly.

some have even tested injecting oxygen into planted tanks with pure oxygen to see if it was detrimental to algae.. it was not, but at high enough levels it oxidizes fish flesh and can be very lethal

for our ranges though, it does not affect a plant to have high oxygen levels, bubblers do destroy available co2 levels and THAT will definitely negatively impact plant growth


TO the OP

oxygen is increased by gas exchange at surface water. the more surface area you have for a volume of water, the more oxygen will be bound to water.
this can be done by having a thin sheet of water or by increasing surface agitation whic creates waves and thus mroe surface area. Circulation also plays a huge role here as if the only water that's being moved around is that below the surface then not much gas exchange is occuring. this is wh its important to have good flow throughout the tank to distribute oxygen properly AS well as having good flow at the surface to distribute oxygenated water..

HOB's are pretty good at it actually. just don't let the water fall too much, that doens't circulate well, its stead have the water about the bottom of the return and this will force water around the tank and increase surface movement.

Also oxygen levels are decreased by bacteria that is processing organic material in the tank. remove organics needing to be processed " food, poop, decaying plant matter, etc" and you will increase available oxygen for fish.
best way to do this is good filter maintenance habits, good water changes, and a clean substrate
+1 you can't have too much o2 from the atmosphere. Read about the law of diffusion.

a video of proper surface agitation in a planted tank with co2 and shrimp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1wme...ature=youtu.be

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=183530
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Last edited by pejerrey; 04-04-2013 at 05:37 PM.. Reason: video
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:29 PM   #15
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i have the output my fx5 aimed upwards... not enough to break the surface but enough so that there's a nice strong ripple across the entire surface.

i believe i read that the increased agitation and resulting exchange is not only good for the plants, but even better for the inhabitants... and i haven't seen anything in the few years that i've been set up like this to make me think otherwise.
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