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Old 08-08-2004, 10:27 PM   #1
mitchell2345
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Poop on substrate soil/rock/sand


Hello,

I have had my planted tank up for about a month and a half now. I did kind of an experiment with my substrate and I think its working quite well, except for one thing. First of all Ill describe my substrate.

This tank was one I converted to a planted tank. Being that its a redo I already had aqaurium rock in the bottom (about 1 1/2 inchs). I went and bought some potting soil from a hardware store then put it all in a big tub and dumped water in it. Let it sit for a day. Then took a fish net and skimed for any floating debrie. Stired mud and did process again. I did this for 4 days. After that I took a small amount of the mud (about 10 plastic cups full, 55 gal) and mixed it in with the aquarium rock. After that was done I took a product called Black Blast (used for sand blasting, shers of Iron slag from what i understand) and covered the mud/rocks with the black blast with about 1 1/2 - 2 inchs. This worked really well for planting, nice and fine! And the roots seem to be getting to the soil now for nutrients. Plants are thriving!

Now to the problem. I have been inspecting the substrate and it seems that poop is building up on the top. I can siphon this off but its very difficult. From what ive read leaving it there is fine. BUT they say if it builds up that bad! So whats considered build up? here and there? turd every centimeter? solid poop? The poop is only where its open bottom the heavily planted spots are getting rid of it.

Heres the fish I have
6 mollies
4 neon tetra's
1 peguin fish
1 glass fish
1 oto (1 just died )
2 guppies
2 other small fish forgot names)

I dont think this is too heavily stocked in my opinion. What do you guys think? Opinions, comments, or questions welcome on anything.

Thanks
Mitchell
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Old 08-08-2004, 10:35 PM   #2
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I say get some type of foreground "Lawn" plant to use up the crap
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Old 08-08-2004, 10:48 PM   #3
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Thast what im trying to do in that area. But in the mean time.. Is this dangerous for my fish and plants? A amonia test would tell me if its dangerous right?
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Old 08-08-2004, 11:00 PM   #4
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yea, keep ammonia and nitrite at zero, if you do that your good, besides keeping nitrate in a fair range, less then 20ppms
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Old 08-09-2004, 12:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitchell2345
I can siphon this off but its very difficult.
What's difficult about siphoning it off? Get yourself a gravel vac and a few feet of plastic hose and a bucket and there you go... 10 min and it looks clean again.
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Old 08-09-2004, 03:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wasserpest
What's difficult about siphoning it off? Get yourself a gravel vac and a few feet of plastic hose and a bucket and there you go... 10 min and it looks clean again.
It difficult because the black blast if very light and its very tedious to get only poo and not sand.
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Old 08-09-2004, 03:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pufferfreak
yea, keep ammonia and nitrite at zero, if you do that your good, besides keeping nitrate in a fair range, less then 20ppms
Im new to testing the water with all these parameters...

Just so i know i am getting this right. Ammonia (deadly at high amounts)turnes into ammonium (harmless) via the bacteria. And nitrate turns into nitrite. Nitrate is food for plants and bacteria but deadly in high amounts.

I just ordered all my test kits today from big al's I ordered PH, KH, GH, Nitrate & phosphate. From what pufferfreak was saying if the nitrate is less the 20ppm they the nitrite is ok? Or am im mixing something up? Please correct me.
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Old 08-09-2004, 04:28 AM   #8
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Ammonia turns to nitrite then to nitrate due to bacterial action. If I remember correctly pH determines if you have ammonium or ammonia.

The only time you would see nitrite in a planted tank is if something is horribly wrong. I have yet to detect nitrite in even a newly setup planted tank.
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Old 08-09-2004, 03:12 PM   #9
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The cycle is:

Ammonia/ammonium (NH3/4) ---> Nitrite (NO2) ---> Nitrate (NO3)

Going from left to right you're going from most toxic to least toxic though it is good to keep NO3 below 20-30.

Ammonia exists in pH levels below 7 and is less toxic than ammonium which exists in pH levels above 7.

Good water conditions should show NH3/4 of 0, NO2 of 0 and NO3 below 20-30.

The best filter for NO3 is plants! In my heavily planted tank (with CO2) I have 0 NO3 and have to add it...

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-10-2004, 01:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Ammonia exists in pH levels below 7 and is less toxic than ammonium which exists in pH levels above 7.
It is the other way. Ammonium, less toxic, is present at pH of 7.2 or less, increasing as the pH becomes lower. Ammonia gets more toxic as the pH gets higher.

Growng plants make use of ammonium directly, thus short circuiting the so-called nitrogen cycle.

Bill
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