Planted tank under natural sunlight? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Planted tank under natural sunlight?

I want to make a planted tank on natural sunlight. My idea is to have a 40 galon glass tank, use a good substrate, use nice and easy foreground plants such as UTRICULARIA GRAMMINIFOLIA, add a simple cascade filter, and 10 neon and DIY CO2.

Leave it in direct sunlight. For water I want to use rainwater, I would let the rain fill it up, etc. and do minimal water changes.

My guess is that natural sunlight would work just fine, I'm just worried about algae, would I have algae problems with natural sunlight?, I know that Utricularia Gramminifolia is quite resistant to algae but not inmune, also would I still have algae growing on the glass?.

Anything can be cleaned of course, but I want minimum maintenance and good equilibrium, since I'm gonna be living a monastic kind of life, and I want this to be as Zen and as Feng Shui as possible, and that means 0 worries and nice asthetics and inspiration.

What are your thoughts on this?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 07:43 PM
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Its possible though I find that indoor window tank never get the true light they need for optimal growth (beauty)

You will still have to do regular weekly water changes. I have many tanks ranging from high and low techs, they all require pruning and regular water changes. You wont be able to avoid these in a "No Tech" tank so Im not sure what you mean by minimum maintenance.

If you are doing a full blown outdoor tank, it will likely get the light it needs, but proper flow and filtration are key here.

This is why I have indoor tanks and outdoor ponds
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 07:59 PM
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Sunlight can be tricky as it is so variable depending on weather conditions and season. It can be done, however, if you've got a good spot. Check out some of Essabee's tank journals- several of his tanks are set up to utilize sunlight.





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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-06-2010, 11:36 PM
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If you use shade cloth, then sunlight is fairly easy to dial down. You can buy 10%, 20% transmission shade cloth and drape this over the tank in the direction of the light.

I use this for outdoor growing vaults at my lab.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 12:25 AM
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Do the shade cloths keep mosquitos out? That's always one of my biggest concerns for an outdoor tank.

For the algae generated by sunlight, would the proper amount of oto's be able to keep the tank clean?


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 03:48 AM
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any fish in the tank will keep it free of mosquito larvae. Floating plants works great at blocking out intense sunlight too.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 04:22 AM Thread Starter
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What about algae?, I heard that tanks under direct sunlight get green water.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avillax View Post
What about algae?, I heard that tanks under direct sunlight get green water.
You might have a bloom, but I had a 55g outdoors for a couple years.. outdoor tanks tend to settle themselves. Plants grow and outcompete the algae and the tank stabilizes. I grew hyacinth which really helped limit the algae as well. As far as water changes go, you can check out Diana Walsted's method. Little or no water changes and let the fish do the work. You won't have explosive growth, but tanks like those tend to be pretty trouble free. Algae may cycle, but that is nature and since you're giving the tank to nature, you can watch the tank go through all of it.

Also, focus on fast growing nutrient sinks for plants. Elodea, Hornwort, Hyacinth, etc and it'll help.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by avillax View Post
What about algae?, I heard that tanks under direct sunlight get green water.
Check out the lakes and ponds that have plenty of plants, those are gin clear.
No plants? Green pea soup.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-07-2010, 03:32 PM
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Also, focus on fast growing nutrient sinks for plants. Elodea, Hornwort, Hyacinth, etc and it'll help.
These plants are much better at light competition and certainly extremely aggressive at CO2, those, rather than anything to do with nutrients... is more the issue. Nothing grows below a mat of 1-3ft thick of hyacinth.

So plants that are aggressive at CO2 and bicarb use, high relative growth rates(weeds), go up to the surface rapidly or are already there etc, these are light and CO2 issues, less to do with nutrients.

Adding more nutrients = more weeds, not algae in these systems as well.
We cannot change light/CO2 much, so nutrient limitation can be done sometimes to control weed growth.

But floating plants are very effective, 30-50% coverage is good for ponds outdoors, then pitch fork the weeds for compost to keep it in this range. Hyacinth can double the biomass every week so it's a weed and needs management let's it takes over and chokes the pond and drops the O2 for the fish. So 30-50% works well for a coverage ratio.

On a large lake or large pond, this can invove a fair amount of work in the warmer months.

Tanks? Not much as long as you keep the % consistent.
Shade cloth does not change nor requires much if any management, but I like floating plants looks better



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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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What if its a 40 gal cube intended to have mostly foreground plants and rainwater?, say also keep 10 neon and DIY co2?.

I really want to keep it algae free.

Can I also get away with not using filters?
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 01:24 AM
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no, you have to use a filter. Your only danger is the heat. A 40G can get really hot but floating plants and filtration might help cool things down a bit. You might want to build insulation on 3 sides of the tank leaving the front panel open for viewing.


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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 07-09-2010, 09:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avillax View Post
My guess is that natural sunlight would work just fine, I'm just worried about algae, would I have algae problems with natural sunlight?
You won't get direct sunlight all day long. You will get some algae. And you might need more CO2 than the DIY can provide.

My tank is in a room that gets hit with direct winter sunlight for about 4 hours a day. The plants immediately start pearling and streaming, even the so-called slow growers like crypts. Surface plants, like duckweed, love it.

There is no light like sunlight.

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