Greggz 120G Rainbow Fish Tank (Update 5-11-2019) - Page 111 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1651 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Fantastic update Greg, I love your colorful tank!
Appreciate the kind words Fab!

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You are right about the flow, and if I recall correctly, Tom also said that it is more important the “mass” of the flow than its power. And I have proven the same in my tank as well.

There is another aspect about the correlation of strong/powerful flow and BBA: sediments. The more powerful/strong/concentrated flow you have, the more easily dust, grit and dirty stuff is moved from the substrate into the column, and that could cause BBA. I have experienced that as well.

About your Boron testing, I am very interested in that. Do you happen to know what’s your level of Boron from your tap? I’d like to compare your values to mine.

Thanks!
Another interesting comment about flow. And sediments might have something to do with it. For me, it loves to pop up right where the flow is the highest. I noticed that as I began removing power heads.

Now as to Boron, I am using RO water. Like we've been discussing, it seems to be the most volatile of the elements in our mix. I noticed solid improvements when increasing it......to a point.

So I'd say if you were to mess around with Boron, do it slowly and watch closely. I haven't seen any other micro have as much effect, both good and bad.
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post #1652 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 12:45 AM
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Hey Greg, whenever you have extra Super Red Mini to give away, please, let me know!
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post #1653 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 04:36 PM
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I must be one of the lucky ones. I doubled my flow and saw no signs of any increased algae growth. I've only ever had BBA in 1 of my tanks, and flow was very week in comparison to now.

65 gallon at the time, running Rena XP-3 - BBA (completely manageable but it was there)
30 gallon, exact same filter - No sign of BBA at any time in it's history (i just jinxed myself)

Goes to show - yet another reason "each and every tank is different"
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post #1654 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Greg, whenever you have extra Super Red Mini to give away, please, let me know!
Fab will be a little while, but will do. Right now seeing what happens when I just let it go.

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I must be one of the lucky ones. I doubled my flow and saw no signs of any increased algae growth. I've only ever had BBA in 1 of my tanks, and flow was very week in comparison to now.

65 gallon at the time, running Rena XP-3 - BBA (completely manageable but it was there)
30 gallon, exact same filter - No sign of BBA at any time in it's history (i just jinxed myself)

Goes to show - yet another reason "each and every tank is different"
Good for you and I'm glad to hear it.

Now I wasn't suggesting that high flow itself causes BBA or other algae. To me the underlying conditions are usually too much light, not enough CO2, too many organics, or unhappy starving plants. If you got all those right (which it looks like you do), then you have a lot more leeway with everything else.

And let's face it, my tank is always on the edge. High light/high tech and heavily stocked with fish is probably not the best/easiest combination. I'm sure my planted tank life would be much easier without the Phish.

So I am always on guard for any little advantage. And for me, getting the flow right makes a big difference. In my tank, if that dang algae/bba is going to turn up, it's most likely directly in the path of the strongest flow.
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Last edited by Darkblade48; 10-17-2018 at 11:55 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #1655 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 05:27 PM
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Yeay, finally a discussion I can add something to! Speaking of flow, we're revisiting an old, old, topic. Head over to APC and search for it and you'll see. Color me lazy too. I don't want to go through explaining hydrodynamics in detail again.

Here's a quick and dirty of flow/current/hydrodynamics using the simple formula for discharge; Q=v/a (Discharge = Velocity divided by Area):

1. High flow doesn't necessarily mean high velocity. This, and #2 are what Barr was talking about when he mentioned "mass flow". Depending on how you work the hardware, you can have good "mass flow", aka laminar flow. This is what Lily Pipes were designed to do. They spread out the area of the point of discharge to reduce velocity enough to achieve laminar flow.

2. What is laminar flow? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laminar_flow

3. Why is it important/useful in an aquarium? Your plants will tend to be bent over in a current less and therefore look nicer. Fish tend to find it easier to move around in as they typically don't have to correct for turbulence/eddies. It tends to distribute water more evenly and can create inertial patterns that help transport entrained solids into a filter intake or allow them to settle out of the water column, depending on placement (again, look at ADA's filter in/out design and typical placement).

5. Is laminar flow achievable in an aquarium? Yes, and no. If your point of discharge is wide enough then it's possible to get laminar flow in the water column until it hits a barrier like hardscape and plants, or some shearing force/friction in the water column. At that point you start creating eddies, however small, that cause turbulence. On to turbulent flow!

What is turbulent flow? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbulence Scroll down to the section "Onset of Turbulence" for a great image and relatively simple description.

1. Does turbulent flow mean high velocity? Not necessarily, but high velocity in an enclosed system, a point of discharge that's got a small area, flow makers that create cross-currents, and aquariums with a lot of stuff in the water column tend to create turbulent flow.

2. Is turbulence bad? No, but it does tend to create micro-zones of lower relative flow where solids settle. This is why debris tends to congregate around the base of hardscape and plants.

3. Eddies also tend to create zones of circulation that feed themselves. Think of a powerhead creating a flow loop where the water being moved circulates back to the powerhead rather than being distributed throughout the tank, therefore circulating nutrients more evenly to the plants.

4. Depending on the point of discharge, turbulent flow can also entrain settled solids back into the water column, but not necessarily transporting them to a filter intake. This can cause the solids (not sediment; sediment is solids that have settled out of the water column. Likewise, aquarium substrate, even soil-based stuff like Aquasoil isn't sediment, it's substrate. Sorry, pet peeve.) to settle onto plant leaves, thereby releasing their nutrients into the water column. DOC, anyone?


TL;DR- Laminar flow is desirable, but rarely achieved throughout an entire aquarium. Turbulent flow is most common, but isn't necessarily a bad thing. Filter outlets with wide points of discharge (Lily Pipes and the like or propeller pumps like Hydor Corallias or Eco-Tech Vortechs) help achieve laminar flow by reducing the velocity at the point of discharge even though total discharge isn't reduced. Filter outlets or powerheads with low-area/small points of discharge tend to create turbulent flow and potentially reducing overall water mixing to achieve even nutrient distribution. However, as long as this is accounted for, it's not always a bad thing.

Clear as mud?
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I've never regretted over engineering a system, but often regretted under engineering one.
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post #1656 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 06:21 PM
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@Phil Edwards, I am going to need to read, re-read, and read this over again! Really good information, including the links. As I am setting up two a two canister system on my 55 gallon, this is top of mind for me. There is the spray bar option, open outlet, lily pipe (does anyone know of plastic versions?), etc.

Thank you for sharing this, I'll work to put it to the best use I can.



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post #1657 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 09:10 PM
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Grobbins,

I would recommend using the spraybars along the back top of the tank along with the intakes on the back. 55s have wonky dimensions so trying to achieve am across the top, down the glass, across the substrate toward the back circulation pattern would be best. It'll also hide a lot of the plumbing.

If wikipedia's not enough for you, I've got a couple fluid dynamics texts you can read.
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post #1658 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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TL;DR- Laminar flow is desirable, but rarely achieved throughout an entire aquarium. Turbulent flow is most common, but isn't necessarily a bad thing. Filter outlets with wide points of discharge (Lily Pipes and the like or propeller pumps like Hydor Corallias or Eco-Tech Vortechs) help achieve laminar flow by reducing the velocity at the point of discharge even though total discharge isn't reduced.
Well first of all, what a pleasure to hear from you Phil.

And much like a Burr post from yesterday, I got a little dizzy and lightheaded digesting all that!

It sounds like what I am trying to do is exactly what you are describing. I have three filters, two with spray bars. My thought was drilling out the spray bars holes would not reduce the flow, but would reduce the velocity. I also split the flow on the other filter, again reducing velocity. Or as you described increase the laminar flow. Barr calls it more mass flow, and I have referred to it as a wider more gentle flow.

Anyway, appreciate the input, and nice post. And there a LOT more topics where your experience would be welcome.

And more importantly, it's about time for an update on your tank. EDIT....just saw your post!

Bump:
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I would recommend using the spraybars along the back top of the tank along with the intakes on the back. 55s have wonky dimensions so trying to achieve am across the top, down the glass, across the substrate toward the back circulation pattern would be best. It'll also hide a lot of the plumbing.
Yeah right or wrong that is exactly what I do.

Flows goes across the surface (oxygen), down the front glass, across the substrate to the back. Filter intakes are deep near the substrate, and most debris either gets picked up or stays back there, where it gets vacuumed up.
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Last edited by Greggz; 10-18-2018 at 09:58 PM. Reason: Edit
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post #1659 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 09:44 PM
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Grobbins,

I would recommend using the spraybars along the back top of the tank along with the intakes on the back. 55s have wonky dimensions so trying to achieve am across the top, down the glass, across the substrate toward the back circulation pattern would be best. It'll also hide a lot of the plumbing.

If wikipedia's not enough for you, I've got a couple fluid dynamics texts you can read.
I DIY'd a spray bar a while back (documented here). It's across the top back and I've been happy with it. It replaced a single elbow pointed at the left wall, so it was a huge difference in diffusing flow.

Phil, good to see you back, hope you heal up soon.
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post #1660 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 04:20 AM
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Great post Phil, thank you for the resources and thoughts!

Greg, I guess you missed my question: do you happen to know your levels of B in your tap?

Thanks guys, awesome stuff
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post #1661 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 11:12 AM
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Grobbins,

I would recommend using the spraybars along the back top of the tank along with the intakes on the back. 55s have wonky dimensions so trying to achieve am across the top, down the glass, across the substrate toward the back circulation pattern would be best. It'll also hide a lot of the plumbing.

If wikipedia's not enough for you, I've got a couple fluid dynamics texts you can read.
Oh fluid dynamics. Not the course that pushed me out of engineering, but was not my favorite either! I'll have to give the back to front spray bar a try when the second filter comes in. I'll likely extend the spray bars to full length (~12 inches each spray bar).

It looks like the filter will not arrive today, so likely it will be another week before I'll have this up and running. Thanks again for the feedback, really curious to see how this works!
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post #1662 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
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Greg, I guess you missed my question: do you happen to know your levels of B in your tap?
Fab my source water is from a well, then run through a RO system. So I have no water report, and don't know of a test kit?

From what I have read, the RO system will remove a large percentage, but not all the B. So my guess is that it is very, very low.....but honestly that's just a guess.

But either way, adjusting B means keeping a close eye on the plants. I am going to drop my B from .055 to .045 shortly to see what happens. But keep in mind I am dosing micros 7 days a week.
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post #1663 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 05:42 AM
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Thanks Greg for the info.

From what I read around, it looks like RO systems are almost completely unable to remove B (please, correct me if I am wrong)... so my guess is that your concentration of B is pretty much what you get from your well, which could be higher than you think. Hence such a sensitivity to it.

I have a very similar situation: High B from tap (at 0.15 ppm from my water report), and daily dosing. I have completely removed B from my mix, and havenít seen it needed for the past 8 months.

But i could always try to tackle it again if needed...
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post #1664 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Greg for the info.

From what I read around, it looks like RO systems are almost completely unable to remove B (please, correct me if I am wrong)... so my guess is that your concentration of B is pretty much what you get from your well, which could be higher than you think. Hence such a sensitivity to it.

I have a very similar situation: High B from tap (at 0.15 ppm from my water report), and daily dosing. I have completely removed B from my mix, and havenít seen it needed for the past 8 months.

But i could always try to tackle it again if needed...
Fab here's the thing. If I knew my Boron level, it wouldn't make a difference to my dosing.

I'm setting my levels based on what I see. When I started bumping up B, I saw a positive response from many plants. Helferi started growing at twice the pace. So did L. Sp. Red mini, and it's leaves got larger. L. Cuba tops got even bigger, etc.

But you bring up a general thought I have been having.

I think many base their dosing on a preconceived notion of what they think it should be. They read that NO3 shouldn't be over 20 ppm. Or that PO4 causes algae. Or any number of other things. So they base their dosing on that, instead of listening to their plants and trusting their eyes.

For instance, when I started out, I was convinced that with my heavy fish load I should need to dose very little or no NO3 or PO4. The tank would generate all I would need. I expected it to be true. I wanted it to be true. I was convinced it was true.

Funny thing is every time I raised my dosing, plants did better. Every time I lowered it, plants did worse. I went through this cycle many times.

Now I dose MORE than EI into a heavily stocked tank. I never, ever thought that would be a possibility. But that's where it's taken me.

So at least for me, knowing what levels I have in source water is a good thing in general, but it shouldn't limit what you are willing to try. Burr adding Cu in the micro thread is a great example of that.
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post #1665 of 2460 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 02:04 PM
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Great recent posts in your thread Gregg. Who knew us fish tank guys would have a discussion on hydrodynamics :-) Looks like I will have a bit more reading to do today...

I also have to admit at one point believing 100% that all my fish would supply more than enough N and P for the plants. And I learned quickly they did not like it when I turned down their supply of food.
At the moment, I am probably around EI level for N and maybe a little higher for P. The B issue is interesting - I am currently dosing 0.05ppm 5 times per week. I tried looking at my water report but they did not test (or atleast did not report) for Boron.
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