What fertilizer do fish produce? Just nitrates? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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What fertilizer do fish produce? Just nitrates?

Do fish waste only produce nitrates as " plant food"?


Plant fertalizer usually mostly made from
Nitrogen (N):
Phosphorus (P)
Potassium

plus a bunch of trace elements and metals,etc...


That is why I don't understand how things like this work



If you are only supplying nitrogen(nitrates), how do the plants grow wtihout the phosphorus, potassium, iron and the rest of the trace elements?????

Thanks.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 06:55 PM
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That thing is inherently flawed. Among other things, it can suffocate fish. Bettas need a layer of air to breathe from, they don't do well in a block of water.
Tap water often has trace elements in it. No doubt the plants grow much better with fertilizer, though.


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My current project, a 65 gallon aquarium stocked with vernal pool fauna.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betta132 View Post
That thing is inherently flawed. Among other things, it can suffocate fish. Bettas need a layer of air to breathe from, they don't do well in a block of water.
Tap water often has trace elements in it. No doubt the plants grow much better with fertilizer, though.
Yeah, it has a lot of bad reviews online too.

The owners of the company look like a bunch of jerks too, which is another reason not to buy it.

I had an hydroponics kit once that worked ok but you added tablets with special formulated fertilizer which included trace elements and you had to change the water every 2 weeks I think.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 07:59 PM
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Fish food also has macro nutrients in it which will help. The idea of that tank is a good idea. I have seen several setups that utilize this but they also leave surface area for gas exchange.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 08:09 PM
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Mass transfer principle:
What goes in = What goes out + What accumulates.

For the fishes to produce only NO3 would mean they would have to keep accumulating everything else...

Many of us here grow plants emersed in the form of "riparium" that takes many configuration.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 08:12 PM
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I've never been hands on with one of those but it looks like the filter pushes water back up to the tray where the plants sit. That would provide plenty of gas exchange, would it not?
I would also guess that the variety of plants that would prosper long term might be somewhat limited. Water changes would bring in lots of the smaller things we don't consider too much like Ca and MG plus some of the trace items.
It would not be for me but then there are lots of things out there that I will never consider.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 10:12 PM
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I had one of those things, bigger flaw is no heater for the betta. I'm grateful for it getting me into the hobby, but I threw it out a few months in after my cats ate the plants and the betta died of fin rot. PIA to clean both the fish and plant sections, and the air pump is noisy.

Oh the things I've learned since then...
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 10:20 PM
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Is that the same as the one on kickstarter that already raised over $100K?

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miogpsrocks View Post
Do fish waste only produce nitrates as " plant food"?

Plant fertalizer usually mostly made from
Nitrogen (N):
Phosphorus (P)
Potassium

plus a bunch of trace elements and metals,etc....

I need to explain something here:

First of all, fish do NOT produce nitrates!

Fish eat fish food and,as a result, eliminate "fish poo" which consists mostly of organic material. This "material" is then broken down by BACTERIA in the water into components such as ammonia, phosphate and carbonates. BACTERIA then also oxidize ammonia further into nitrites and then nitrates (!)

If you didn't have your benifical ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in the WATER, all supplied nitrogen would end up as ammonia and kill your fish. To some extent, plants can pick up ammonia directly, but you need a LOT of plants to make sure that the ammonia doesn't accumulate in the water. Fortunately, with ammonia being converted into nitrates, you don't have to worry, nitrates are safe!

Thanks
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-15-2015, 11:29 PM
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Fish food contains a fair amount of:
N, P, most traces.
Fish food is low in:
K, Fe, Ca, Mg.

Fish eat the food. They excrete most of the elements in their waste. They excrete N via the gills, as ammonia.
Bacteria and other microorganisms can also digest fish food. If you had no fish, no shrimp, no snails in the system, just microorganisms you could use fish food as (very expensive) fertilizer, but would need to supplement the things fish food has in short supply.
Water changes with water that has a GH of at least 3 German degrees of hardness will supply the Ca and Mg that fish and plants need. If your tap water is very soft (very low GH) then you can use a GH booster like Seachem Equilibrium to add Ca, Mg, K and a small amount of Fe. I am not sure if it supplies enough K and Fe, unless you add way more than you should- the Ca and Mg would be too high for soft water fish.
You should find sources for K and Fe. One example that is reasonably priced on a small scale is Seachem Flourish Potassium and Seachem Flourish Iron.

Bettas might be one of the Anabantoids that actually need to breath air. They cannot get all the O2 they need via gills. No matter how well aerated the water is by trickling though the gravel bed, they can drown in water that does not have a fresh air pocket for them to breath in.

I would separate the planted sump and the tank so that there is such a space at the top.
I would also add plants, driftwood or something to the tank so the Betta has a place to rest (they often like to lie on the leaves of tall plants) and a place to hide.
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