Barr non CO2 method questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Barr non CO2 method questions

So, I've been out of the planted tank world for a while but got drawn back in recently. Things have changed quite a bit. I was hoping I could get some advice on my proposed setup.

tank: 48 x 24 x 18"T

lights: tek 4 x 54 setup (actually a 4 x 8 with 1 ballast broken, only center 4 bulbs work). Plan is to have 2 daylight bulbs and 1 actinic or 3 daylight and 1 actinic...actinic just for bringing out blues and reds on the fish.

proclear wet dry (I know some don't like them but it's free to hard to argue).
small return (thinking 250-300 gph) with a tunze 6045 in tank (about 1000 gph of wide flow under the surface enough to not cause much surface agitation.

Substrate: 4 9L bags of the ADA aquasoil. Thinking of using some coarse gravel in lieu of the power sand and to help build up a mound in the middle.

Any thoughts so far?

I'm planning on doing a dry start for the foreground carpet and doing an Iwagumi layout.

The plan was to do the DSM, let everything grow in, then fill tank and plant some stem plants to fill the rest of the tank. Start the filter with some seeded bioballs from another tank.

Do a large water change initially to get the ammonia down (I've heard this is a problem with the ADA aquasoil).

Once I finish cycling, I'll eventually populate with about

50-60 cardinals
a colony of rcs
ottos
amano shrimp

eventually if the shrimp population is doing well would like to add some blue rams or dicrossus cichlids.

from what i understand of the barr non co2 method, you plant heavily initially and slowly build up the fish population. then dose macro nutrients as needed and avoid water changes other then every 3-4 months. I do have co2 available but given that the tank is in the formal living and far away from an easy access sink (and my ro/di), i'd like to avoid doing something like the e.i. method (plus I don't necessarily want to try a variety of species). I'd really like this to be a fairly low maintenance, peaceful tank.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 07:12 PM
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I think you have some conflicting theories here, or at least some that don't mesh well in practice.....

Non-CO2 tanks are typically low light setups as well. With that tek-light you are going to have to suspend it a good bit to keep from developing algae issues. However, there is a thread in the lighting forum that can help you determine the distance you need:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/li...t5-t12-pc.html

Also, at least to my understanding, CO2 is highly recommended (if not necessary) for the DSM. Reason being - you have to acclimate the plants from a C02 rich start where they were exposed to the atmosphere. Most ppl turn up their pressurized input greatly when fully submerging their tanks to keep the plants from 'melting' for just this reason.

However, I think you can resolve all these issues with the addition of pressurized CO2 to your system, If you wanna go that route.

Everything else sounds good to me. Good luck!
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 07:28 PM
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The problem is that CO2 just makes it easier to keep a tank. Make your only limitation light and I think the others are easier to control.

Water changes are a lot more peaceful to deal with than algae issues.
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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 07:37 PM
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Welcome to the forum!

Check out our articles on planted tanks
https://www.plantedtank.net/articles.php?d
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/PlantedTankGuide.html

First, get rid of the labels like Barr, or Walstad. Plant's need Carbon, nutrients, and light to grow. The more light you have, the more plants grow and will uptake carbon, and nutrients. If you don't have the available carbon or nutrients, they die. It's an oversimplification but it works


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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 09:12 PM
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Carpets in deep low-tech tanks usually don't work well. If you have your heart set on a carpet, go with Java Moss attached to flat stones. Since you're planning on having shrimp, they'll help keep it clean.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 10:38 PM
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DMS works quite well for non CO2 tanks and start ups. Diana tried this method and really liked it. So whether you use sediment rich ferts or water column, or better yet, both.........I think you will be fine.

The real question is the goal here, is the non CO2 approach the best management for your goal?

It might be, or it might not be.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-11-2011, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuni View Post
Carpets in deep low-tech tanks usually don't work well. If you have your heart set on a carpet, go with Java Moss attached to flat stones. Since you're planning on having shrimp, they'll help keep it clean.
Both Diana and myself have done them.
Shrimp hate CO2 and breed better without CO2/Excel.




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 12:36 AM
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I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's a lot harder to grow most carpet plants in a low-tech deep tank. Why make things difficult from the start?
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuni View Post
I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's a lot harder to grow most carpet plants in a low-tech deep tank. Why make things difficult from the start?
Because that's how we all start.


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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuni View Post
I'm not saying it can't be done, just that it's a lot harder to grow most carpet plants in a low-tech deep tank. Why make things difficult from the start?
Cause DMS makes it easy?

Grows fast and cycles the soil, then you fill and have slow growth.

How is this difficult? Seems pretty simple and common sense to me, maybe I'm just ignorant and am missing some point?

I've done it, so has Diana who admittedly is not going to put a lot of hard work into it once it's going. Neither am I, but can if it is needed, but that is the point of the non CO2 method, less work/input, slower growth etc.

Plants compete extremely intensely, but a single species can do quite well all on its own.

Many foreground plants are poor competitors, so by themselves, they do quite well, Diana did a nice HC lawn BTW............




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Tom Barr
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:22 AM
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how does one keep the plants from melting after submersion?


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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
DMS works quite well for non CO2 tanks and start ups. Diana tried this method and really liked it. So whether you use sediment rich ferts or water column, or better yet, both.........I think you will be fine.

The real question is the goal here, is the non CO2 approach the best management for your goal?

It might be, or it might not be.
thanks everyone for your feedback. Great to see such an active group of people

I definitely may be mixing approaches. It's been a while since I was conversant on the aquatic plant literature.

@Mistergreen While I agree labels aren't always accurate, I feel credit should do to those that formulate an idea/process. I'm sure Mr. Barr will agree that many of his thoughts are an amalgam of information from prior aquarists as well as his own observations but I feel that by using that label, I hopefully get across my concept of what I want to do

My understanding of the Barr CO2 method was:



plant heavily
1/2" peat and mulm with Flourite
light 1-2 w/
dosing small amounts of GH/KNO3, PO4 and trace elements 1-2 times/wk
using the fish as the source of macronutrients.
A heavy pruning every 3-4 months, at which time a modest water change is done.

My light (3-4 54 W t5s) would amount to 1.5-2 w/gal with the actinic bulb really not providing much usable spectra for aquatics plants (more for the fish)

I was hoping to substitute the Aquasoil for the suggested substrate in the original experiments since most people like it's long term ability to feed plants via the substrate.

My goals:

A nice aquascape for a large school of cardinals and a group of some other type of cichlid as well as a good environment for the shrimp

2-3 plant species predominantly. I don't necessarily want to have the toughest to keep plants or the rarest plants

ease of maintenance. I travel extensively, have a toddler, and a job that takes up 70-80 hours. I don't mind spending a little money to do something well but I can't afford to spend a great deal of time maintaining a tank. I also would rather spend the 20-30 minutes I get watching my reef and watching the new planted tank as I feel my tanks do better when I observe them carefully. The tank isn't in a location with easy access to my RO/DI and I don't have the ability to put a auto water change setup on this tank (as on my reef).

I don't have a problem with using CO2 but I don't necessarily want to be in the tank pruning constantly. I'm fine with being patient and letting things grow in. I've got a co2 tank, regulator and controller sitting in my garage so if that's going to be congruent with my goals, I'm fine throwing it on the tank.

So, with those goals in mind, what do you guys think?
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 01:59 AM
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Easy setup.
Have 2x54W bulbs a foot to 2 foot above the tank. You want low/medium light intensity. This will demand less of the system and therefore easy to manage and still grow plants. You'd want a rich/soil type substrate that will provide good amount of nutrients and provide a habitat of bacteria that will produce enough CO2 for you.

I would suggest not loading your tank with a large amount of fish which theoretically will provide nutrients and CO2 for the system. This approach however is problematic in inducing health issues among the fauna, think a classroom of 1st graders.


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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 03:58 AM
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The ADA Aquasoil shouldn't release much, if any ammonia, after a dry start has been completed. It will have been mineralized before you add the water.

I agree that you will have far too much light unless you hang the light more than a foot above the top of the tank, or run just 2 bulbs. With just 2 bulbs you might get by with the light a foot above the tank.

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 05-12-2011, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
DMS works quite well for non CO2 tanks and start ups. Diana tried this method and really liked it. So whether you use sediment rich ferts or water column, or better yet, both.........I think you will be fine.
What about when the tank is initially filled? I have read (an experienced to a lesser degree) that melting can occur at this time without the implementation of CO2. What can be done to avoid this?
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