Update/Myth? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Update/Myth?

Hi all, I haven't been on in a while, due to finals and stuff, however something interesting happened and I thought it was important to mention it. So as I mentioned before I have been extremely busy of late, which led to the neglect of my aquarium (about 1-2 months). This means my aquarium was without ferts, co2, and water changes for what most "experts" would consider way to long. All I did was flip the lights on and top off. Now to my point I have never had my aquarium flourish the way it did, so not only did I not lose any fish, but also my plant grew really well. So all this to say are fertilizers, CO2, and water changes really worth it. Of course I'm not talking about when you have diseases or dirty water. All I had is algae, which we all know is a natural response to imbalances in the water columns. So I'll let you look at the photos and then decide what you think?

________________
Sorry about my crappy photo skills I took them while cleaning out my tank.
Also the one where I'm holding a plant, the plant is a cabomba, the reason I included it is that ive always had trouble growing them.
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Last edited by Discusfan99; 05-29-2017 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Forgot photos
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 09:12 PM
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... So all this to say are fertilizers, CO2, and water changes really worth it.[?] ...
It depends upon the tank and what your trying to do. Certainly plenty of people have kept planted tanks with out using ferts or CO2. However, this may limit the selection of plants that will thrive. Some plants almost need ferts and CO2 to grow well in tanks. If you do use ferts and CO2 you will almost always get a lot more growth and often a lot less algae problems.

For years I didn't use ferts of CO2 in my planted tank, and to the untrained eye, ie non planted tank person, it looked great. To myself it was OK, but not really good. Then after switching to to using both my tank looked a lot better and I got lots better growth. The experience made a believer out of me.

I would say it's all worth it. Others might disagree and I wouldn't call them wrong.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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... So all this to say are fertilizers, CO2, and water changes really worth it.[?] ...
It depends upon the tank and what your trying to do. Certainly plenty of people have kept planted tanks with out using ferts or CO2. However, this may limit the selection of plants that will thrive. Some plants almost need ferts and CO2 to grow well in tanks. If you do use ferts and CO2 you will almost always get a lot more growth and often a lot less algae problems.

For years I didn't use ferts of CO2 in my planted tank, and to the untrained eye, ie non planted tank person, it looked great. To myself it was OK, but not really good. Then after switching to to using both my tank looked a lot better and I got lots better growth. The experience made a believer out of me.

I would say it's all worth it. Others might disagree and I wouldn't call them wrong.
Great point.
The main reason I posted was to point out how my plants did better without than with. And what can be drawn from this, given that ferts and co2 can cost upwards of $300 per year. Also the fact their aren't people dumping fertilizers into rivers and stuff, yet they grow fine (yeah I know rivers are much bigger than my aquarium lol). So is leaving your tank be, creating a natural system (with the algae and stuff)

I am actually adding co2 back today just to see.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 10:43 PM
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I absolutely do not like the comparison of our tanks to any natural system like rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. Our tanks are nothing like a natural system, so attempting to manage them like one is setting yourself up for disaster. They are actually generally quite unnatural.

Sorry that's just a slight aside. Carry on.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-29-2017, 10:53 PM
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Great point.
The main reason I posted was to point out how my plants did better without than with. And what can be drawn from this, given that ferts and co2 can cost upwards of $300 per year. Also the fact their aren't people dumping fertilizers into rivers and stuff, yet they grow fine (yeah I know rivers are much bigger than my aquarium lol). So is leaving your tank be, creating a natural system (with the algae and stuff)

I am actually adding co2 back today just to see.
Plant requirements will have a huge part in this. But this makes sense in the fact you only need ferts if you have a fert deficiency. You only need Co2 if you have a deficiency. So I would say you didn't end up with a deficiency and that all here. It does not suggest that these thing are not needed but rather not needed for you particular setup. Slower steady growth can be healthy which requires less nutrients and Co2... Low tech tanks are a perfect example. You add more light and plants with a higher demand without upping Co2 or ferts and you will more than likely have a deficiency. Each aquarium is different and that's why taking the time to dial in ferts, Co2, light etc. can go a long way to reducing the amount of maintenance you have to do.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Discusfan99 View Post
Hi all, I haven't been on in a while, due to finals and stuff, however something interesting happened and I thought it was important to mention it. So as I mentioned before I have been extremely busy of late, which led to the neglect of my aquarium (about 1-2 months). This means my aquarium was without ferts, co2, and water changes for what most "experts" would consider way to long. All I did was flip the lights on and top off. Now to my point I have never had my aquarium flourish the way it did, so not only did I not lose any fish, but also my plant grew really well. So all this to say are fertilizers, CO2, and water changes really worth it. Of course I'm not talking about when you have diseases or dirty water. All I had is algae, which we all know is a natural response to imbalances in the water columns. So I'll let you look at the photos and then decide what you think?
Sorry about my crappy photo skills I took them while cleaning out my tank.
Also the one where I'm holding a plant, the plant is a cabomba, the reason I included it is that ive always had trouble growing them.
Low tech plants, low style maintenance, this is how low tech was done back in the day
Now we have a whole bunch of gadgets
Your water top offs are providing all you need
This is nothing special here...
check out aqua moss, just top offs...
The whole idea is getting light right, looks like you still have algae, which you could lower period or intensity
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 03:25 PM
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I dunno....in your photos, I see very cloudy water and the plants don't really appear to be flourishing. I have taken the path in the middle of the road. I'll call it 'medium tech'. Medium light and modest fertilizer and I do 15g weekly water changes on my 60g tank.

I think you can have a Walstad like setup, even without 1" of soil down under, but it requires a rather large plant mass to a relatively small bio-load. In this environment, partial water changes are still important, but can be less frequent and/or lower volume. This works because the level of pollution is less and the plant mass is large, using those 'pollutants' as nutrients.
However, many if not most hobbyists would have a much different plant mass to bio-load ratio such that neglecting partial water changes and tank/filter maintenance could lead to old tank syndrome. In this the pH slowly drops and the water slowly fouls. It can be hard to see as the change is gradual enough so that to a point, fish adapt to the poor water chemistry. It can be noticed when newly added fish typically have a low survival rate.

Experts tend to agree that the best approach is routine partial water changes and good tank/filter maintenance to maintain a healthy environment for plants and fish....after all, you didn't start out with smelly swamp water! As for fertilizers....only that which is absolutely necessary to keep plants healthy relative to the balance factor (with balance being that of light, ferts, and CO2).

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 06:09 PM
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Sometimes you need to understand a little more, not only about the hobby in general, but about the types of setups people run. What you seem to have is a tank with a few plants. Its the kind of setup that probably doesnt need added ferts or co2. But that being said, certain fertilizers do nothing more than add in some nitrate. So when you're doing lots of water changes it might be necessary to dose that extra nitrogen whereas when you skip the water changes the nitrate naturally builds up in the tank and feeds the plants. So in a weird way, less frequent water changes might require less fertilizer.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2017, 08:05 PM
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I don't mean to sound intriguing but your plant selection isn't worth co2 or fertilization. That's why nothing was noticeably visible. Your plant mass is also very thin.



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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TheUnssenHand View Post
I absolutely do not like the comparison of our tanks to any natural system like rivers, lakes, oceans, etc. Our tanks are nothing like a natural system, so attempting to manage them like one is setting yourself up for disaster. They are actually generally quite unnatural.

Sorry that's just a slight aside. Carry on.
Oh, yeah I definitely was not trying to compare the two, only that their maybe/should be someway to create a completely natural setup (other than a filter). But as far as ferts and Co2 go I do believe if you want a "perfect" aquarium those will be required.

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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
I dunno....in your photos, I see very cloudy water and the plants don't really appear to be flourishing. I have taken the path in the middle of the road. I'll call it 'medium tech'. Medium light and modest fertilizer and I do 15g weekly water changes on my 60g tank.

I think you can have a Walstad like setup, even without 1" of soil down under, but it requires a rather large plant mass to a relatively small bio-load. In this environment, partial water changes are still important, but can be less frequent and/or lower volume. This works because the level of pollution is less and the plant mass is large, using those 'pollutants' as nutrients.
However, many if not most hobbyists would have a much different plant mass to bio-load ratio such that neglecting partial water changes and tank/filter maintenance could lead to old tank syndrome. In this the pH slowly drops and the water slowly fouls. It can be hard to see as the change is gradual enough so that to a point, fish adapt to the poor water chemistry. It can be noticed when newly added fish typically have a low survival rate.

Experts tend to agree that the best approach is routine partial water changes and good tank/filter maintenance to maintain a healthy environment for plants and fish....after all, you didn't start out with smelly swamp water! As for fertilizers....only that which is absolutely necessary to keep plants healthy relative to the balance factor (with balance being that of light, ferts, and CO2).
I definitely agree with you on water changes and how strong of a role they do play, however the main point of this thread was to point out how my plants seemed to do better without ferts, water changes, and Co2. As for the murky water I was in the middle of a water change so I had stirred up a bit of gunk off the bottom. Also my plant growth was, like you said not great, however my point was that it had been doing much better (it's hard to see from photos). Finally, as for poor water chemistry I definitely do not believe that mine was, as I keep discus and they seemed to be doing very well, I had also added a discus around that time and he too did great. I also had my angelfish lay a couple times.
Furthermore I would like to point out that I do have two filters on my aquarium for a combined flow 600 gph, so I do not believe I was lacking there.

Thanks for all the Ideas, guys.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 04:34 PM
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I have a 5 gallon that uses no Co2 except for a dose of Excel once a week, no special substrate or large water changes. Every plant I've thrown in there has flourished so far. I believe most of my growth comes from my Daylight bulb; I use a dome light fixture with a cheap ~$5 5000k bulb from Lowes. Not expensive by any means, but for my small tank it does wonders. I do use twice the recommended dose of Flourish once a week though, and I do a small water change just to vacuum up any gunk/waste out of the tank that's built up over the week.

I notice the dirtier/older the tank becomes, the better the plants grow. I'm sure it's in part due to fish waste/dead plant matter building up and releasing nutrients to the plants as well. That's probably why your plants did a bit better with the tank neglect. Though for your fish, it's probably better to keep up on the water changes
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-31-2017, 08:37 PM
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You have mostly low light, non-demanding plants in the tank, and not many of them.

A decent fish load should more than suffice here, which you certainly have that. The only nutrients you *might* need is Fe and K.

The Cabomba is not happy, as evidenced by the abnormally long internodes. Cant tell in the pic but I'd also bet it's not as green as it should be. This suggests a deficiency in something, either light, co2, or nutrient(s). The Blyxa doesnt look pleased either.

Personally I think you could benefit from a little additional Fe. This is pure speculation of course.


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