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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Newbie there, first posting ... so a big Howdy to all the folks on this forum.

This is the article that I am referring to:
http://www.sfbaaps.com/articles/barr_03.html

The objectives are (1) to lower nitrate in a fish only tank. (2) to have a more balanced tank. (3) to reduce water changes.

Question:

1. Since the plants are not submerged and not in the tank, can I still use profile as growth media? I think Profile are used as substrate by some folks.
2. Can I use plants tabs to fertilize the house plants that are now being grow hydroponically? or aquaponically.
3. How many plants would it take to handle a 180g tank with pretty heavy fish load?
4. Do I need other macro micro fert for these house plants?

I can't get my nitrate to go below 40ppm because the tap has pretty high nitrate in the 10-20ppm range, so that is my baseline.

Thanks for helping.
 

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1) I think Profile should be fine since it's pretty much inert and retains a lot of moisture.

2) I don't think you would add any terrestrial ferts to the houseplants if only because you want them to be extracing macro-nutrients from the aquarium water. Also, any ferts that you add to the planting material will leach out and end up in the tank water.

3) Hard to say. Start off with six or eight 4" potted plants and see how it goes. Maybe some ivy or other vine-types that are easy to prune back as they grow. Or just pick houseplants that you think look nice. :)

4) You may need to add some potassium (K2SO4, potassium sulphate) to the tank since there won't be a lot of it being released by fish food/waste.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys for your advise.

I am thinking of following Barr's article and use peace lilies for it's ability to grow under low light condition. I think I will start with may be 3 of those and add a few pothos.

K2SO4 is a good idea, how much should I add to start with?

Would it be a logical assumption that once the plants and media are established, the growing media, in this case Profile, would also be acting as biological filter? So in theory I may be able to run just a mechanical filter?
 

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You can try 1 T of K2SO4 a week.

Wouldn't the plant's roots be the providing the bulk of the biological fitration? In any event, yes. Once the plants are established and growing all you'd really need is mechanical filtration to remove particulates from the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Bill, gonna shop for K2SO4.

For the plants to grow and eventually act as biological filter, what kind of water movement would be preferred? I would think that for the plants to grow, they prefer a slow water movement? I am thinking of using a landscape low pressure drip manifold and have it fed by a powerhead. I think each of those outlet can throw like 30gph, and i think if I use 2 lines per plant, that is 60gph per plant or a total of 240gph per manifold.
 

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I've seen setup where the plants are situated above a tank on a shelf with their roots dangling into the water. If you keep the Profile constantly damp, and have the return water mechanically filtered before returning to the tank, you should be fine.

How are you planning on setting up the planters?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I am thinking of planting them in pots and place them on top of the cabinet, which is a good 18 inches from the top of the tank. So the pump/powerhead would have to suffer an 18" head and roots would be restricted inside the pots.

Currently I have a sump which I nick named the Nitrate machine :icon_smil
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Naja, I was thinking of running an plant filter out of the sump, but I believe not enough space to house enough plants to make it work. The tank is 180g and the sump's 20g ...

My "initial" stage of emersed plant filter (EPF) is up and running, it consist of 3 peace lilies and 2 pothos, all in pots and placed on top of the cabinet. Water's pump from tank to pots by a powerhead that is rated at 500g. I also connected an UV sterlizer alone the way.

EPF = Powerhead -> UV -> manifold -> pots -> tank

Interesting, some sort of cycling should be going on in the pots full of profile. I am wondering how long it will take the Nitrifying Bacteria to get established there? Can the nitrifying bacteria in the pots give the nitrifying bacteria in the sump a run for their NH3?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm not quite sure what this look like, any pics?
I suck at taking pics, but here you go:

The plants on top of the cabinet are the emerged plant filter (epf)

The plants of epf, currently 3 peace lilies and 2 pothos. I need to get more plants and wait for them to grow and mature.


Tank water is pump by a maxijet500 to this UV sterilizer:

and distributed by this maniford:

Then drip at 28gph per line at the plants.

I have 2 lines for each peace lilies and 1 line for each potho. Total 8 lines at 224 gph or there about.
 

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Interesting idea with the drip irrigation manifold, I never really thought about that one. I spend about two hours a week at Lowe's wandering thinking about ideas for my tanks and I always end up at the irrigation area, i'll have to spend some time tinkering there this weekend.

I have been thinking about this for my 100 gallon tank, on a self behind it, i was thinking bare roots but the profile might do the trick. I've been having horribly nitrates in that tank. If it works i have two more tanks i could give it a shot on :).

I had some peace lillies in my vivarium that grew so well i had to split them twice and they were just planted in gravel to act as a filter for some newts and a frog. In time I could see yours needing some splitting as well :)

jason
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi Blackthumbwoes, the only down side of using irrigation stuff is the they leaks. The manifold leaks a drop or so every few hours, it would be ok for irrigation but we don't want wet cabinets so I put it in the box with potho. Please do not use emitters as they may clog at some point, especially with hard water.

I put a bulkhead in each of the pots, the green one shown on the pic:

you can buy them at any hydroponic stores. A 1/2" tubing connects the pot to the tank. With this, you can put the pot anywhere close to the tank, so long that it is above the water level.

Hope this helps.
 
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