A little story about the nitrogen removing ability of plants - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 03:12 AM Thread Starter
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A little story about the nitrogen removing ability of plants

Two weeks ago I had to go to France for a week and had my brother in law tend my tanks for me. I changed 50% of the water before I left, set up the autodoser and measured out the frozen food into daily portions and left for the week. I never turned the filters back on after changing the water in my 65 gallon.

My absentee keeper somehow didn't notice the filters weren't running, so they stayed off all week. The heater was off also, but my apartment thermostat was set to 74F, so no big deal. The lights came on for 10 hrs/day as they are on a seperate circuit.

When I returned that Friday, there was some GDA on my front glass, which immediately caught my attention as I haven't seen my little green film friend since last fall. I went to inspect the algae, and realized the filters were still off.

I turned the filters on and did a 75% water change after 5 minutes or so. The aerobic bacteria in the filter would have to be completely dead/dormant, and I had to immediately leave for NY state for another week so I did not have time to clean the gunk out of them.

I refilled the autodoser and left. I returned tonight after being away for another 9 days.

Other than the fact that the GDA is still on the glass, the tank is completely normal. Even the GDA is only a light film. There was no water movement, no filtration, no CO2 (luckily no BBA started growing) and continuous nitrogen input from fertilizer and food. There was no real recovery enacted, and no established filter media added to the tank. All there was to aid in water quality control was a dense plant biomass.

The fish and Amanos are all fine, and there doesn't seem to be any ammonia in the tank.

I'm most definitely not advocating running a planted tank without water flow or filtration, but this event seems to reinforce the conventional wisdom that filters in planted tanks perform a mostly mechanical role.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 04:23 AM
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What's your tank size, stock and plants if you don't mind me asking. Just curious. Glad everything was ok.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 04:31 AM Thread Starter
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65 gallon tank. Cryptocoryne parva, Cryptocoryne lutea, Cryptocoryne nurii Echinodorous cordifolious, and DHG that keeps sprouting up months after removal.

The fauna are 4x Amano shrimp, Pristella Maxilarris x11, 4x Ottocinclus affinis, and an ornery Apisotgramma Bluesteel hybrid. Pond snails also, but I don't count them as fauna.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 05:10 AM
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Never thought much about crypts really doing alot for nitrates. I guess not being overstocked helped also.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Crypts put out a lot of new growth once they're big. CO2 supercharges their growth rates also. My Lutea is about the size of a ten gallon tank.

I'm a big fan of not overstocking.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharkfood View Post
Crypts put out a lot of new growth once they're big. CO2 supercharges their growth rates also. My Lutea is about the size of a ten gallon tank.

I'm a big fan of not overstocking.

Wow! That's a big lutea. I try not to overstock, but you know how it is when you walk in the fish store and you see that one fish you just have to get.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-18-2011, 05:59 AM
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And I thought not having any water circulation in a 2.5gal for a few days is bad; I guess it doesn't do much.

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