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Old 08-01-2012, 01:47 AM   #1
MrAlmostWrong
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No WCs and avoiding biofilm


Hey Everyone,

First let me say that two months ago I couldn't tell you the difference between a sword and sunflower, but thanks to all of the great information posted here I feel I am on my way to making some wonderful tanks.

What I have is a question to an issue that has alluded me. I see a lot of low tech tanks using no water disturbance, filtration, or water changes, and seem to avoid the dreaded biofilm on the surface of the water. I have a number of tanks and as an example I can't keep biofilm off of the 10g with a single betta and nerite snail without creating some movement on the water's surface. So I guess my question is how do people get by with these low tech tanks and avoid water changes or filtration?
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:11 AM   #2
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My snails and fish seem to eat the biofilm. Small pond snails, malaysian trumpets, ramshorn can float near the water surface.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:16 AM   #3
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Tom Barr started this thread specifically talking about this topic:
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=10282

Take a look.

Surface scum, IMO is not a good idea to let be unaddressed. compare pictures of the tanks that have that problem and the ones that don't.

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Old 08-01-2012, 02:41 AM   #4
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I've never been able to get rid of surface scum without a strong spraybar. All my tanks have it. I figured it was unavoidable and harmless? I try to scoop it out during water changes.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pejerrey View Post
Tom Barr started this thread specifically talking about this topic:
http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php?t=10282

Take a look.

Surface scum, IMO is not a good idea to let be unaddressed. compare pictures of the tanks that have that problem and the ones that don't.

This was...a surprisingly good read. Looks like my tanks are going to get the paper towel surfaces cleaning treatment now. Tom never fails to solve problems of the world with scientific reasoning and a bit of common sense.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAlmostWrong View Post
So I guess my question is how do people get by with these low tech tanks and avoid water changes or filtration?
I don't think low tech means no filtration necessarily. I have low tech tanks and they all have decent water flow, usually a spray bar near the surface to disturb the surface and avoid biofilm. Filters with bio-wheels are a good idea because you get that CO2/O2 exchange needed. The no water change thing really depends on your fish load in my opinion. My 2 cents.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
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Low tech can mean a lot of things and in this case I'm saying they have low tech tanks with zero filtration and I'm wondering if it just comes down to rare feedings and a ton of plants.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:45 PM   #8
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Use a powerhead of some sort to move the water. I have nice movement in all of my tanks and no film. Just need a slight ripple across the top.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrAlmostWrong View Post
Low tech can mean a lot of things and in this case I'm saying they have low tech tanks with zero filtration and I'm wondering if it just comes down to rare feedings and a ton of plants.
I would live to see an example of that, I've never come across to such tank.
I wonder how it smells. (joke)

This is a thread about definition of low tech and high tech:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?p=1958272#post1958272

Just want to point out, low tech doesnt necessarily mean low budget or ugly.

That said her it is my tank with no need for WC, see what it takes me to get to do that:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=183530

I find very difficult to wrap my head around a tank without water changes and without filtration with any lifestock that has to breath under water, that is why I said that I would love to see an example. We never stop learning new things I guess.

Maybe a betta tank?

Last edited by pejerrey; 08-01-2012 at 03:03 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:45 PM   #10
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Eh, check my balcony planter, no w/c, no filtration, not even a light.. nothing but dirt and plants and platies + cull shrimp and snails. Clear water, ph7 / 0 0 0. 500 tds though (I think from aquarium salt I added months ago, no point really), but fauna are still thriving, even in 90-100F weather.







I usually don't feed since there's bugs and scuds, when I remember I throw in a ton of flakes, no water condition changes. Mangrove roots uptake ammonia like no one's business, dead fishes don't even have a chance to convert down to nitrates, though I haven't see any deaths since the first week of setup, just multiplication.

That said, flow is GOOD, it helps to evenly distribute the dissolved particles (nutrients) for the plants to uptake, and dead matter to break down more quickly. Light is also good, but only if you have sufficient plants and CO2 (injection or fauna) to support the level of light to outcompete algae.

Last edited by xenxes; 08-01-2012 at 03:58 PM.. Reason: imgs
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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I'd say water movement is key if you decide to make your plants the filter. I would also suggest fast growing stem plants in this case. Even Walstad recommends the use of filters in low tech setups now. It may be a totally different story if you have a tiny fish load, like one or two fish in a large volume of water.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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I have about 30+ in the ~25 gallon bucket, hard to get pics with all the weed :/



And I get some water movement, at least surface movement with wind.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenxes View Post
Eh, check my balcony planter, no w/c, no filtration, not even a light.. nothing but dirt and plants and platies + cull shrimp and snails. Clear water, ph7 / 0 0 0. 500 tds though (I think from aquarium salt I added months ago, no point really), but fauna are still thriving, even in 90-100F weather.







I usually don't feed since there's bugs and scuds, when I remember I throw in a ton of flakes, no water condition changes. Mangrove roots uptake ammonia like no one's business, dead fishes don't even have a chance to convert down to nitrates, though I haven't see any deaths since the first week of setup, just multiplication.

That said, flow is GOOD, it helps to evenly distribute the dissolved particles (nutrients) for the plants to uptake, and dead matter to break down more quickly. Light is also good, but only if you have sufficient plants and CO2 (injection or fauna) to support the level of light to outcompete algae.
Wow! That is so beautiful! You see, I just needs to ask!

What if this was indeed a glass tank where the point is to see thru the glass the submersed plants. Like an aquarium instead of a pond. Because i thougth we were talking about planted tank "like a glass box" see thru aquarium.. Do you think it would look good under the floating/emersed plants?

I must copy this container xenxes! Do you have a journal?
It's truly awesome! What is the container made out of?
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #14
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Planter is in signature.



Left bowl is pretty much unfiltered, has a tiny Hagen elite that doesn't run most of the time.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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oh, I had to come to my laptop to check out the journal. I'll subscribe!

how often do you change water in the bowl?
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