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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-28-2005, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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Lots of questions for validity;all answers appreciated

I read this very simplistic plant book, Aquarium Plants from Aquamster. I of course don't believe everything I read until I have proof that it's true. Some of it went against what I previously thought, and others I just wanted to make sure were true. So I pose the following questions for anyone that can answer and back up their answer (please be as fully detailed as you can):

1. Which is the main source for plants to take in nutrients; leaves, or roots? Do bigger leafed plants take nutrients mainly from the water and vice versa for the thin leaved plants like hairgrass? How much does it matter to supply roots with fertilization if fish naturally provide some?

2. Do plants produce more oxygen than they do C02 in a 24hr. period?

3. Is the intensity of light slowed to a noticable degree from the top, to the substrate if there are no plants blocking light for others and you're speaking in terms of more common tank sizes like 10g - 55g's? Does it affect slow growing plants?

4. Are bacteria the biggest culprit when you're talking about which element in your tank consumes the most oxygen? This includes fish and plants.

5. Do plants do better in soft water or hard water? Could plants be acclimated to hard water and survive just as well as they would in soft? What are the benefits of each?

6. Is anaerobic bacteria present in the tank in high amounts if only the top of gravel is vacuumed? Does this have an adverse affect on plants if they are present in "normal" amounts (ie. how much a standardly taken care of tank would have)?

7. Is ammonia/nitrites good or bad for plants? Why, or why not?

8. Do reflectors really make a big difference in how much light gets to your plants?

9. Does a technique called "Siesta" really slow algae growth? If it does, does it have adverse affects on fish or plants?

10. Are fertilizer tabs necessary for plants if there is only fish to supply nutrients to the substate, and not substate's that have ferts already in them? Does it matter whether it is a big leafed plant or small leafed plant?

11. Does activated carbon remove helpful nutrients from the water?

12. Will overdosing one nutrient, create a defficiency in another?


This is all so far. I know I missed a few that I can't remember. I'll add them as soon as they come to me. If you can answer any of them with a detailed explination, I'd appreciate it very much.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-28-2005, 01:59 AM
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I don't know where to start answering this. Maybe you are stressing too much about some points like hard or soft water- My thought grow plants that like the water you have.
Answer to #1 is Both. However I can't grow nice plants without roots so I say that is most important. Others will disagree with me. What works for me may not work for some. What works for some may not work for me.
#2 is yes
#3 I have to say to a small degree yes
#4 It depends on the set-up
#5 I use spring water only so I am not sure-another will post more on this point I am sure.
#6 Not all set-ups will have high amounts. Ever even without vacuming. It all depends how much crap is in the system. And how the tank was set-up in the first place. Also relivent is water current,and substrate,how much food is added to the system,water changes,and light
#7 both good and bad
#8 not really IME
#9 ??????? you got me
#10 get some real ferts in soluable form
#11 YES IT DOES pull it. I only use it when water smells or gets cloudy. I have not used carbon in 2 years at all. Just floss pads to get particles. Remember you are doing water changes to keep levels from getting toxic. All carbon does is hold all the toxins it can then it let's them go. The result is a nasty tank smell and tons of algae.
Water changes=prevention,trace reset
carbon=garbage dump
#12 it very well can
Go thru the threads you will find more answers there
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-28-2005, 02:18 AM
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1. It depends on the plant. Amazon swords - broadleafed and all, will take nutrients mainly from roots, that's why they're called "heavy root feeders" Then narrow leafed plants like watersprite or even hornwort take nutrients mainly from the water, which is why they make such good tank busters.

5. Again, depends on the plant. Some do muuuch better in softer water. Some, like limnophilla aromatica, do better in hard water. Most plants can go both ways up to their own level of tolerance. The benefit is that one can find a plant to suit almost any setup (ie. brackish, cichlid, south american, etc)

8. yes, IMO. An expensive lighting system with bad reflectors is not worth the money. This is why there are companies that specialize in making super reflectors.

10. fertilizer tabs definately help if you have a sterile substrate. Once the tank has been running for a while, though, with lots of mulm, it shouldn't be a problem unless you're trying to grow a monster plant.

12. Seek balance. An unbalanced system, ie too many of one nutrient and not enough of another, can lead to algae blooms, fish mortality, distorted leaf growth. Also, keep in mind that some nutrients are absolutle necessary in the right ratio in order for the plant to uptake and use other nutrients as well.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-28-2005, 02:32 AM
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To echo a bit what fishmaster also did, I think many of the answers will vary based on the type of set up you have. If you are going with a high tech, heavily fertilized, fast growing, nutrient burning tank, you'll get one set of answers. If you are going with a soil-based, El Natural, fish poop for ferts, lower light setup, you'll get something else.

#1. Most of the plants I have tried seem to grow quite well for me, and I've only used substrate ferts very infrequently (typically for targeted plants like crypts and swords). Many on these boards use no substrate ferts. So, as many of us are on the higher tech end of things, in a high-tech setup, the root uptake of nutrients is less important.

#3. I'm sure there is some very small loss, but I would not call it a 'noticeable degree'. As to 'does it affect slow glowing plants', what is the 'it' referring to?

#5. From all I've read, aside from a few plants when will only tolerate either soft or hard water, most plants (and fish!) are incredibly adaptable. As to benefits, let's see. What plants/fish want most is stability. Thus, if you can use your local tap water without modification (and the local tap water doesn't fluctuate too much!), then its use should provide the most stability during water changes. So, unless you have specific reasons not to (e.g. kh<3), then go with your tap water.

#6. Until quite recently, I couldn't see more than 10% of my substrate. So, I never touched it during a water change. I do have quite a collection of MTS, so I'm hoping they help keep the substrate stirred up somewhat to prevent anaerobic conditions. This is one 'lesson' I haven't had to wrestle with yet.

#7. I believe that plants can more easily process the 'N' in ammonia and nitrite more easily than they can the N from nitrate. So, I would say they are good for the plants. Now in excess, the fish may disagree!

#8. There are lots of posting on the boards that talk about the reflectivity of different materials (e.g. white versus black paint). I seem to recall that white paint had a rating in the 70+% range, while the fancier reflectors (e.g. the AHS variety) were in the 90+ range (and I could be off on these numbers). Based on enough folks commenting about how much brighter their tanks appears (though, this is the visible spectrum, which the plants don't really care about) after going to AHS reflectors, I would think there is a noticable difference. Now, not knowing for sure how you quantify 'big', I can't address that part.

#9. From my limited readings on the siesta, I don't believe most on these boards seem to feel it is really of any benefit.

#11. I answered this question similar to how fishmaster did above on another board recently. Then I asked Roger Miller to provide his comments. His response what that though activated carbon (AC) will initially take out useful nutrients, AC tends to clog very quickly. Once it does, it can actually become a useful media for growing bacteria useful to the tank. I know of a few highly respected aquascapers who actually pore a box of activated carbon into their substrates for that very reason. Initially it can help soak up excess ammonia and the like, but after that, it becomes beneficial. So, I guess I'd now say that as long as you don't replace it too frequently, it shouldn't be a problem. Then again, if you're putting it in the filter path, you are likely doing it to suck up stuff, so why leave it there for too long? Personally, I don't use it in my plant filled tanks.

#12. I can't give you specifics, but (once again, data from Roger Miller) when certain nutrients get to very high levels it can block the uptake of other nutrients and thus become detrimental.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:50 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot for your answers you guys! I appreciate it very much, and I know my plants will appreciate it too.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 04:36 AM
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From what i have heard there is a rapid loss of light intensity as depth increases.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmydrsv
From what i have heard there is a rapid loss of light intensity as depth increases.
And that is why quality of reflectors are important when considering lighting.

Re-boot!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmydrsv
From what i have heard there is a rapid loss of light intensity as depth increases.

Care to back this up?

I know it's common knowledge that by the time you reach 12-15 FEET of depth that there is a large decrease in light intensity.

But in a 20" deep aquarium? This is one of those "myths" I wish someone would either verify or bust.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 12:43 PM
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My understanding of light. While I guess fairly little light is "lost" through absorption of the water column, the simple math of the matter is that a greater surface area is being lit (area of the base of a cone or the base of a prism (depending on your light source - point source or tube). If the same amount of light is spread over a greater area, intensity will diminish.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgc
My understanding of light. While I guess fairly little light is "lost" through absorption of the water column, the simple math of the matter is that a greater surface area is being lit (area of the base of a cone or the base of a prism (depending on your light source - point source or tube). If the same amount of light is spread over a greater area, intensity will diminish.

That's an easy one to understand. That's why the AH Supply reflectors do such a great job. They punch most of the light straight down into the water column.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
This is one of those "myths" I wish someone would either verify or bust.
Can someone verify what I have heard... that very few (or none) freshwater aquatic plants exist below 36" of water? Rather than looking to measurable decreases in light, we can just look to nature to answer this one for us.

If someone can confirm that 36" limit, I think we would have grounds for some meaningful conclusions.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Grigg
I know it's common knowledge that by the time you reach 12-15 FEET of depth that there is a large decrease in light intensity.
But in a 20" deep aquarium? This is one of those "myths" I wish someone would either verify or bust.
Mythbusters - hmmm, somewhat interesting show...but since they probably won't cover this...

For pratical purposes, I have a 15g and a 37g (among some others) but the depth of the 37g vs the depth of the 15g doesn't seem to affect low lying plant growth, because in the 37 I have grown dwarf hairgrass, glosso and microswords, all plants that I have heard require decent light to grow properly.
I have 130w over the 37g. I haven't had anything that can't really grow in there.
I have 65w over the 15g and can grow most anything.
The 37g is 22" deep, the 15g is 12".

Sure, it isn't scientific, but as you mentioned, the 12-30" depths we commonly have with massive lights over them just doesn't seem to matter.


And maybe a browse though here:
http://waterontheweb.org/under/lakee.../04_light.html
http://www.hydroflex.com/site/helphints/water.html
http://ciceet.unh.edu/progressreport...ring/newell_2/
http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/botan...1-2-0009-5.pdf

Apparently, many people are busy trying to bust this myth, which for me, seems busted.


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scolley
If someone can confirm that 36" limit, I think we would have grounds for some meaningful conclusions.
I'm not buying it...
Water depth restricts emerged vegetation to a maximum depth of about 4 feet.
So lillies and other reed type vegetation propbably won't have more than that submerged.
But submerged plants...I know plants can grow in more that 6 feet, when the water starts to go over my head at a nearby lake.


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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jhoetzl
But submerged plants...I know plants can grow in more that 6 feet, when the water starts to go over my head at a nearby lake.
I certainly believe you. And that pretty much kills my earlier line of inquiry IMO. But that three foot limit came from T. Amano. He seems like an unlikely person to make a statement so wildly off base, unless of course, I am misquoting him.

He listed it as a reason why his huge home tank was so challenging - because he would be growing plants in a greater water depth than occurred in nature - thus creating light penetration/intensity problems.

Steve - 33g reef and a 180g planted in need of a re-scape.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-30-2005, 04:54 PM
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Ah, but what kind of plants is he trying to keep at those depths!?

I don't know what kind of plants are under the lake at 6ft, but something is down there...

hmmm, need to get a new mask and get a better look at it, but something is down there...


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