No More Filters or Substrate For Me!!! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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No More Filters or Substrate For Me!!!

After years of trying to keep up with the algae, dying fish, nasty substrate, disgusting filters, I'm going rogue! El naturale! The filters just suck up food and such and make a sick tank, the gravel/sand just gets contaminated with gunk, and I can't keep corys happy, and plants get covered in algae, and bacteria just blooms like crazy.......enough! So I read this article:
http://www.selectaquatics.com/articl...r_approach.htm
Now, I have a huge ball of floating lysimachia nummularia (beautiful!), with 12.5 watts per gallon with a 2700K light. (That's right. Ultra high light for this set up). A little bit of sand at the bottom corner for the corys. (About a 1/2cup worth), and no water movement until night, when I turn on three bubblers to get that water movement in high gear after the lights go off. So much easier to clean. No nasty bad water spikes when I have to uproot plants, clean, etc. I just pull out the floating ball of lysimachia/parrot feather, and swirl it around in clean water, and swirl the sand and crap in the bottom of the tank, change the water by about 50%, maybe a bit less, every few days, or when the bottom looks cruddy, and go on about my merry way. These are all 10 gallon tanks. The corys are so happy and swim around like playful puppies. No more gravel/sand yuk! And my tanks are cleaner and fresher than they have ever been. No lie.
I have to agree with the information in the above article. I can finally relax and enjoy active, happy fish darting in and out of the forest of plants floating at the top. The plants keep but so much light from getting to the bottom, where they can go to get away from strong light when they wish. Plus, lots of hidy holes for the crew! Old Tank Syndrome is not worth it any more. I just can't spend hours and hours every week cleaning. This takes about 15 min. per tank. Super happy I am!

http://aquariumexperiments.com/

Last edited by AWolf; 08-16-2015 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Correct PLant Name
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post #2 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:03 PM
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I read the article and it seems to me that he IS using filters.

That said, his simple approach makes some sense and reminds me of the bare bottom approach discus breeders often use. If breeding fish is your primary goal then what the tank looks like is secondary.

My goals for my tanks are different, so my approach is different. If you want calming aquatic gardens of beauty and inspiration then there is little in his approach to note.

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post #3 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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I read the article and it seems to me that he IS using filters.

That said, his simple approach makes some sense and reminds me of the bare bottom approach discus breeders often use. If breeding fish is your primary goal then what the tank looks like is secondary.

My goals for my tanks are different, so my approach is different. If you want calming aquatic gardens of beauty and inspiration then there is little in his approach to note.
Indeed. I am giving up the type of beauty you can only get with hard work. But, this type of beauty is on a different level. Cleaner tanks, happy fish, and I do less work! Yea! He is using a filter, I know, but the plants take over 2/3rd of the tank area, and act as a biological filter in the best way. It is very beautiful to me. Control over every variable is the name of this game. And I like the results and lack of work. The plants and fish are more beautiful to me when they aren't so much trouble and expense!
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post #4 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:17 PM
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12.5W of light in a 10 gallon tank is not ultra high light in any setup, especially with all the floaters in this one.


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post #5 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
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12.5W of light in a 10 gallon tank is not ultra high light in any setup, especially with all the floaters in this one.
That is watts per gallon. So, 125 watts hanging over a 10 gallon tank. I apologize if I said that incorrectly. I believe that is ultra high at that wattage.
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post #6 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:33 PM
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That is a lot of light. How far above the tank and, why so much? Also, how long have you had this set up?

Bump: I'm interested in what you are doing here - so, perhaps some photos and more info?

Stock lightly and carry a big filter. - I don't have aquariums. I have ecosystems in a glass box. - Hygrophilaholic and hoarder of Anubias.
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post #7 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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That is watts per gallon. So, 125 watts hanging over a 10 gallon tank. I apologize if I said that incorrectly. I believe that is ultra high at that wattage.
I just edited to correct. 125 watts over a 10 gallon tank. My apologies.
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post #8 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:38 PM
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I hope it works out for you. Lots of people go outside the box to get what they want.

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post #9 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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That is a lot of light. How far above the tank and, why so much? Also, how long have you had this set up?

Bump: I'm interested in what you are doing here - so, perhaps some photos and more info?
Just two weeks now. So, ...we shall see if I remain so pleased in the coming weeks. But the changes in my fishes behaviors and lack of algae has impressed me. They are so active and bright. I have a Feliz 125 2700K about four to six inches above the tank. The floating plants are so thick, that I thought I'd need to really douse them with radiation! So far, so good. I will take some pics tomorrow and attach to my profile gallery. My daughter borrowed my camera for the fireworks tonight. Happy Independence day everyone!

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I hope it works out for you. Lots of people go outside the box to get what they want.
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post #10 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 10:52 PM
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If it makes you happy then go for it. I personally don't see how 125 watts on a 10 gallon tank would not be an algae factory especially being a part of the spectrum that plants do not use as much.

I usually spend less than 30 minutes a week to perform maintenance chores on my tanks and it is mostly fun and relaxing but that is why there are so many types of aquarium setups. Whatever makes you happy is all that matters.
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post #11 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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I hope it works out for you. Lots of people go outside the box to get what they want.
Me too. So far, so good. But I think it is the lack of hiding for nasties and the 50% water changes that does the trick so far.

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If it makes you happy then go for it. I personally don't see how 125 watts on a 10 gallon tank would not be an algae factory especially being a part of the spectrum that plants do not use as much.

I usually spend less than 30 minutes a week to perform maintenance chores on my tanks and it is mostly fun and relaxing but that is why there are so many types of aquarium setups. Whatever makes you happy is all that matters.
I know! I think the huge amount of plant material is sucking up every bit of the algae growth. I see some algae on a rock that I use to hold down the air hose, but I just pull it out and clean when I change water. It's all new to me. But so far, so good. The article explained a similar scenario.
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post #12 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 11:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HDBenson View Post
That is a lot of light. How far above the tank and, why so much? Also, how long have you had this set up?

Bump: I'm interested in what you are doing here - so, perhaps some photos and more info?
UPDATE: I have since stopped using any air in these tanks.

Regarding the air pump: I have three lines. One that is held down at the bottom with a rock, (no air stone, just straight up air hose}, the other two are just 'stuck' into the mass of plants near the top at opposite ends of the tank for major surface agitation at night. They are about 2 inches from the surface, and are just straight air hose. No air stone attached in this setup at all. I like listening to the bubbles at night. For a bonus, the sound is white noise, and the world sounds as if I am under water while I sleep. Lovely. blub blub blub...

Last edited by AWolf; 08-16-2015 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Update
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post #13 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-04-2015, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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That is a lot of light. How far above the tank and, why so much? Also, how long have you had this set up?

Bump: I'm interested in what you are doing here - so, perhaps some photos and more info?
Regarding the lighting:

I originally had LED's on my tanks equalling approx. 1.5 watts/gal. My crypts, anubia, and dwarf lillies and onions did just fine, but I had so much work against algae and the white bacterial outbreaks. I had moderate to heavily planted tanks on all 4 of my ten gallon tanks. I had gravel on 3 and sand on 1 tank. I used hob's rated for 20-30 gallon tanks. No Co2. Regular ferts. Most fish and plants did fine, but lost cory's constantly. Cleaned filters and substrates on reasonable time tables. Algae was mostly on my plants. I think lack of light? Plants grew fine. Still have same fish after three years in some tanks. But work to clean filters, glass, gravel, plants, grew tiresome. I didn't fail on any tank, and never had a 'kill' scenario. But I did have to work hard to keep things clean. So that is why I am trying something new. Since I went out and bought the lysimachia nummularia at the garden center, and it had been in regular sun all day, I had no issue with starting a new tank with such high watts. All of my original plants were taken outside to a quarantine tank so I could try this new system. I put the lysimachia nummularia into my old tanks for about three weeks, and then I started a clean tank. The plants now had bacteria from the old tanks, and I threw in the ball of plants, and added my fish from my other tanks. Big difference in their behavior! Much more active. I am really hoping this works long term.

Last edited by AWolf; 07-19-2015 at 08:48 PM. Reason: Incorrect Plant Name
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post #14 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-05-2015, 12:04 AM
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2700k is not high.. K ranges from less than 2700k to upwards of 10,000k. A lot of us running between 5000 and 6500k as mentioned these ranges are in the usable spectrum for plants. Maybe find the same light in this temp range and that algae might disappear. Also, for aesthetic purposes and for the cories sake add enough sand to completely cover the bottom with about 1/4" or less - just a suggestion..

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post #15 of 90 (permalink) Old 07-05-2015, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HDBenson View Post
2700k is not high.. K ranges from less than 2700k to upwards of 10,000k. A lot of us running between 5000 and 6500k as mentioned these ranges are in the usable spectrum for plants. Maybe find the same light in this temp range and that algae might disappear. Also, for aesthetic purposes and for the cories sake add enough sand to completely cover the bottom with about 1/4" or less - just a suggestion..
I'm not getting annoying algae with 2700 125w lights so far. But let's see how they do. There is so much misinformation out there, and the red to white spectrum is under great scrutiny by the experts. It seems in many experiments, that the 2700 to 6000K works fine in most instances. It's like wattage. Experts are still disagreeing with what is appropriate for each instance. So, it's up to us to experiment, and report back.

Last edited by AWolf; 07-05-2015 at 12:16 AM. Reason: Clarification
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