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I just don't understand how in nature, plant thrive in condition where there's very low nitrate such as .1ppm and under very high light intensity. If we do this to our tank, we would have an algae farm. Someone explained to me that the reason is that as soon as plant take up the nutrients, it is immediately replenished because the body of water is infiniately bigger than our tank. This creates a very stable enviroment which plant likes.


Okay, so why doesn't it work for us? I've tried this with my 100 gallon tank by planting very very light. This in essence creates stablity because nutrient level will remain very constant. As you know, instead of lush growth I get the opposite. I don't get it, this is so confusing - somebody please enlighten me.

Another thing I don't get is why do we need to maintain such high nutrient level when plants in nature do fine with only .1ppm.
 

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Children Boogie
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plants get covered by algae in nature too. Only where the conditions are stable and perfect for plants where they thrive without algae.

But the main factor I think is light. We have our lights on regularly and our water is shallow & crystal clear meaning that light gets down to the plants & algae a lot more than in nature.


oh, and we can copy nature's parameters in a low - tech environment.
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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I think another advantage nature has is soil/sediment. In nature, this is a nearly endless supply of nutrients.
 

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Having seen nature from above and below the water, and where some of our plants come from, I would say it's nothing pretty enough to make me want to reproduce it.

The plants are often killing one another, there's complete die-offs in the summer where algae dominates, animals eat the plants, and they're often infested with all kinds of interesting bugs. I've never seen more leeches in my life than my last fore plant hunting; most of them decided to announce themselves after having brought the plants home while I was cleaning them up.

Low tech tanks don't copy nature; there's far more at work in natural sediment than there is in some potting soil or MS. If most of us saw the sort of bubbles that come up when sulfate reduction happens, we'd probably overhaul the tank.

-Philosophos
 

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the two ponds on my street during the summer months become so infested with algea you can't see the water peoples litter from cars sits right on top i've seen glass bottles and all sorts of heavy objects even a big wheel sitting on TOP of the algea if that was in my tank i don't think people would go "ohh thats pretty" lol
 

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Aquatic plants in their natural environments do also get algae on them. Here are a few pics from underwater in the Ichetucknee river:






But the cool thing is, because of that, you can easily see the newer growth as you swim along, because it's all bright green in the midst of diatom-covered older growth:






And this is just a cool pic from that same trip, showing a natural "hardscape":

 

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The water doesn't always stay stable at 0.1 ppm NO3. When it rains or floods, the level of NO3 (and other nutrients) can vary greatly ( ± ).
 

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Stunning, Orlando. You're one lucky SOB getting to have that in your back yard.

Still, we both know what that beautiful stand of plants looks like from up close and below :proud:

-Philosophos
 

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The plants are often killing one another, there's complete die-offs in the summer where algae dominates, animals eat the plants, and they're often infested with all kinds of interesting bugs.
Wait, I thought we were talking about nature... did you sneak a look at my tank instead? :biggrin:
 

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Wait, I thought we were talking about nature... did you sneak a look at my tank instead? :biggrin:
I think all of us have/had that tank. Right now for me it's a low tech 10gal; killed the hydras, snails replaced it, ABN won't spawn but they sure like the taste of the plants now and then. I'm sure I'll get around to evacuating the tank and dosing with potassium permanganate, but I've got other tanks needing more assistance.

Every 7th day of the week should be national aquarium maintenance day. Not like we've got anything better to do.

-Philosophos
 

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Plants also adapt to various parameters in natural systems, they have to or they die off.

This does not imply what is found in natural systems is best for aquariums.
I have no dang idea why so many seem to think and imply that natural systems are best and what will grow plants the best.

We do not grow a simple crop that way, or landscape with plants this way in our yard, urban settings etc.

Where we find 0.1ppm of N-NO3/NH4, actually .44ppm of NO3/NH4, these tend to be lotic systems, creeks/rivers that are stable flows. Florida's springs often have very high CO2 as well.

Still, from a huge 50 square mile underground ground water shed, there's a lot of water there and it's constantly being fed at a known stable rate. the rate is key, even with 8 miles of river, and numerous springs popping up all along the rivers there, the plants have a lot more water than they can take from than anyone's tiny tank.

I suppose if you did EI, 8x a days, you could do it.
A Little impractical though.
And plants do better(higher rates of growth) with a higher residual.
There's no good reason to make the N that low to begin with for us.

If you had a huge reservoir, and a tiny planted tank, and dripped the water in/through continuously, you could do this.

Montery Bay Aquarium does this using ocean water for their systems.

But not practical for us, nor will it offer any good practical management/horticulture.

So why bother?

I never understood why folks get interested in seeing and listening about natural systems parameters and then assume that they are best suited to aquarium goals.

They are not.

Worse yet, many only look at the water column, few ever discuss the ppm's of nutrients in the sediments at these locations. Kasslemann went on and on at the AGA meeting a few years back about sword plants and water column nutrients in their natural habitats and not once mentioned sediment ppm's, not once.

I asked her after the talk if she or anyone took pore water samples of the sediments, "No".:thumbsdow

If you over look such obvious issues, it takes away from all the work you did and hopefully the same mistake will not be made 2x. Still, even there, it does not imply that is what is best horticulturally, which is not the same as "nature".

We do not grow herb gardens, organic gardens based upon where those plants are found in nature, rather, what grows them best horticulturally/argiculturally.


Regards,
Tom Barr
 

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Aquatic plants in their natural environments do also get algae on them. Here are a few pics from underwater in the Ichetucknee river:


[/IMG]

Yea, there's also 2000 tubers and kids floating down this river daily stirring up the sediments, 50 square miles of cattle ranching, cutting down the forest, draining of the swamps, septic leaching(this has been researched and shown to be true in most all of the springs) etc that is leading to algae and degradation.

It's less natural than you might think!!!

Humans and their impact are causing these issues to the natural systems.

The Santa Fe river is loaded with Lyngbya, a really nasty BGA that's macroscopic tangle weed, due to human impacts. You can see it all over the rocks etc. Horrid stuff.

These are not natural pristine reference examples!!!

Pupu springs in NZ is pretty good, Bonita, in MG, Brasil is still okay.

There are others, but they too will degrade if their drainage and water sheds are not manged and protected wisely.

Regards,
Tom Barr
 
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