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  • #16
    Re: Non CO2 methods

    Originally posted by Tom Barr
    This will allow you to uproot plants and move them without a mess as well as re slope any terracing and prevent "flat tank syndrome".

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
    JadeButterfly,
    Sand will work, but you're not going to get any of the nutrients you would get from onyx, etc. Play sand is basically inert and will show things like flourite or eco-complete or anything else when it gets mixed up.

    --Mike
    --Mike

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Non CO2 methods

      Originally posted by Dolfan
      Tom, I am wanting to order fertilizer from the PMDD store. Can you give me a general idea of what quantity and type to order for a six month supply. I have a 75 gallon tank. This way when you give the paramaters for dosing non co2 tanks I am ready.

      thanks, Walt
      With fish, you will add about 1/4 teaspoon of KNO3 once a week
      Add mainly algae eaters for the first month or two(longer is better).
      This will add about 3ppm per week.

      A max light/CO2 tank will use at most 20-30ppm per week.
      So you will see that the dosing frequency and the amount has been reduced.

      Adding more will do no harm, but the issue becomes one of build up.
      Unlike a CO2 higher light method, there are no water changes here.
      That is the balance you are dealing with.

      So you can add and estimate the uptake and error slightly on the lower side.
      If you do this in a high light tank, you have the potential to make more mistakes.

      Less light/no CO2 means much slower growth rate, so there is less NO2, PO3, Trace element demand from the plant and they do not shut down and stunt quickly.

      So weekly dosing works fine, adding just enough works fairly well.
      Recall DW suggest fish waste alone is enough for the plants.

      While true with hardier species of plants, many cannot be grown well doing this. Well, if you add SEaChem EQ and KNO3/KH2PO4 this is simply no longer true.

      The plants grow 5-10x slower, but they do grow.
      Now you can test the NO4/PO4 for signs of build up if you calibrate the test kits and they appear to be accurate and dose based on uptake, but since the growth uis slow, generally the plants themselves tell you when you need to dose or how much/add more etc.

      Most of you already know what NO3 deficent plants look like or K+, traces etc, so you'll see the same types of things with non CO2, just slower.

      So, add 1/4 of the KNO3, 1/8 of the KH2PO4, SeaChem EQ -1/4-1/2 teaspoon each week and if you forget one week, that's likely okay too.
      Note plant health as your test guide.

      I prefer the SeaChem EQ and the macro's alone, I use onyx sand with leonardite+ mulm.

      Do water changes only if you uproot and replant and need to really clean.
      Use a brine net to remove leaves, mulm etc and swipe the net through the tank once a week to keep it looking clean.

      You can scale things down for a smaller tank.
      Sinmp,y divide the teaspoon measurements into 1/4 units for the 20 gal and recall these amounts, if you are off a little, that's fine.

      If you want to use smaller units and be more accurate, make solutions and dilute the macro's in there. If you prefer testing once every 1 to 3-4 weeks, that's fine also, that's not much testing really and it serves a purpose should something seem odd, otherwise not testing generally gets you far.

      Just use the 10:1 or 7:1 dosing ratio for CO2 : non CO2 tanks.
      CO2 : Excel dosing 3:1 and with low light 1.5:1.

      These are rough estimates, so some tweaking can be done, they are general guidelines to get folks hitting their target ranges without causing the plants to become severely stunted and in most cases these ranges will provide excellent growth, certainly much better than mere fish food alone will provide.

      What are excesses? I'm not sure. Same for the CO2 tanks except with respect to NO3 perhaps and CO2, but we don't add CO2........so...no need to fret over that one.

      But you can pruge the tank's NO3 by not dosing for a week or two, you do not need to do the water change to lower things. Just let things go for awhile and see.

      As always, pack the tank from day one, add mulm and a good substrate(this will pay for itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

      Adding a porous substrate like Floruite or Onyx sand will increase the waste cycling breakdown rates allowing better growth and less algae, since the main waste products are NO3/NH4, keeping NH4 down is well worth it and more bacteria are present on porous substrates.

      So they will help add traces and help the cycling over the life of the tank, adding soil only last 6-12 months tops.

      We can dose the KNO3/PO4/K+/GH and add fish food to supply what the soil will and dosing weekly is not tough.


      Regards,
      Tom Barr
      www.BarrReport.com

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Non CO2 methods

        I am currently setting up a 55 gal. tank. It has 130 watt pc coralife fixture, onyx sand substrate (with either peat or leonardite added, I haven't decided which yet). After filling it the other night to test the home made stand and have a leak check, I realized how much work 50% water changes are going to be, even with a python! Right now I have a 20 gal with DIY CO2 and about 2 w/gal and 50% water changes are no big deal.

        Originally I had been planning on investing in a pressurized CO2 system for the new tank, but I now have a baby on the way and it might be tough to talk the wife into letting me blow a couple hundred more on the tank. So then Tom writes this great article on non-CO2 methods! It definitely sounds appealing, but I have a few concerns:

        1. Do I have too much light for a non-CO2 tank?

        2. Is a non-co2 tank hard to keep algae out of compared to a co2 enriched tank (for the average Joe, not Tom Barr…I'm beginning to think Tom could grow plants in battery acid!)

        3. If I do need to have CO2 enrichment, will DIY suffice for a while?


        Thanks for all your help!

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Non CO2 methods

          DIY is possible, you have too much light though, a shop light with a good reflector will do nicely.

          Overall, non CO is easier once set up and if you can keep your hands out of the tank and start the tank off right(eg do not take short cuts on the set up).

          I use a larger hose that drains the water right outside in about 2 minutes for large 50-150 gal tanks. I fill using a garden hose adapted to the bath/shower faucet. Refill takes about 4-5 minutes for a 55 gal tank. Draining takes about 5-6 minutes. 70% takes about 1-2 minutes longer.

          Regards,
          Tom Barr
          www.BarrReport.com

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Non CO2 methods

            Yeah, I figured I probably had too much light. I may try the non-co2 method on a different tank. I can bite the bullet and buy a co2 set up i guess. Or sell the existing light (which I bought right before your article on light) and do a non-co2 setup. I guess i've got some thinking to do.

            Thanks for the reply.

            Derek

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Non CO2 methods

              Set up a "odds and ends" 20 long. Got peat and mulm in the bottom. Topped with 3" profile, onyx and flourite (onyx from another tank and flourite from a tear down) Had a single 24" tube VHO set up with an aquasun bulb from the tear down as well. Retro fit it into the full hood and there ya go! This is gonna be fun! I am gonna use just a power head to move the water and havent decided on a heater or not. I figure the "75 watt" VHO wont be too much since it is a) in a full hood and b) not using a decent reflector at all. A lot of wasted light but its what was on hand + I really like the color of the aquasun bulbs. Makes the fish and plants look great

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Non CO2 methods

                75w on a 20g is 3.75wpg. Even without a good reflector isn't this way too much for a non-CO2 tank?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Non CO2 methods

                  I currently have 2 20 gallon tanks set up with 125 Watts of light on each.

                  I put the same types of plants in each.

                  One tank is CO2 dosed in large quantities.
                  Also dosed are Seachem Flourish
                  Potassium Sulphate once a week with water change
                  KN03 and KH2PO4 every second day
                  Seachem Flourish every second day.


                  One tank is a "Diana Walstad" tank.
                  About once a week I dose the same things I'm dosing in the CO2 tank.

                  After 3 months of observaions I have noticed:
                  Water in the CO2 tank is crystal clear, while the "Diana" tank is slightly darker.
                  After a few days water was green in the Diana tank, but cleared up after a coule days. This didn't happen in the CO2 tank.

                  Plant growth has been close to progressing at the same speed.
                  Algae growth in both tanks has been minimal, but there is a development of a type of branchy algae growing on the slower growing plants in the Diana tank.

                  From experience, I know that the "Diana" tank will not hold in for the long term. I expect it to start slowing down in the next 3 months.


                  Cost of the Dianna Walstead tank. $125.00 including the lighting.
                  Cost of the CO2 tank (complete with pH controller) $1200.00.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Non CO2 methods

                    They(non CO2) start well out of the gate, you can add nutrients to keep them going though, start dosing SeaChem Eq, KNO3, KH2PO4 etc.

                    It's amazing they do grow as fast as they do when you add the right nutrients once they begin to hit the lull.

                    The same thing use to ocurr with CO2 methods till folks started adding PO4...

                    Regards,
                    Tom Barr
                    www.BarrReport.com

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Non CO2 methods

                      In the Walstad approach, the eventual depletion of the soil nutrients is offset by the fertilizer that well-fed fish produce.

                      I have one soil-based tank that has been set up for eight months and needs no dosing, and another 10 month old tank that has required dosing from the third month, although the amount needed is decreasing as the fish population grows and the plant growth slows down.

                      All natural aquarium environments are different and perhaps more interesting than those with more controlled environments. Or perhaps not, depending on one's objectives.

                      Bill

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Non CO2 methods

                        The fish waste alone is not a balanced source of plant nutrients.
                        Some plants will grow, but many will not.
                        The question I asked some years ago was why.

                        The plants will do better if you add just a small amount once a week(this is not outting you or anyone out too much?) of SeaChem Eq and KNO3/KH2PO4.

                        Nothing complex, nothing high tech, add 3 things once a week.
                        This allows you to grow most any plant.

                        It also removes the need and mess for soil should you go that route.

                        Regards,
                        Tom Barr
                        www.BarrReport.com

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Re: Non CO2 methods

                          Originally posted by Tom Barr
                          The fish waste alone is not a balanced source of plant nutrients. Some plants will grow, but many will not. The question I asked some years ago was why.
                          Ms. Walstad and her followers claim that they grow aquatic gardens in soil tanks with only fish food for nutrients. As I said, I have one tank that has worked well for 8 months without dosing, and another that needs dosing. In the former, NO3 and PO4 levels have been constant for about 5 months. I think that might have more to do with the high fish population than with the soil in the substrate.

                          I have another tank that was set up as a fry tank, with an inert gravel substrate and a few plants. It had bad BGA and other algae problems, I'm sure because of poor nutrient levels. After a few months I got sick of looking at it as it was. I treated the algae problems and dosed it to bring the NO3 and PO4 levels up to a reasonable level. Since then the 30 well-fed, adult guppies in that 10 gallon tank (I know, too many) seem to be producing what the plants need, because they are growing well without any additional dosing, and there is no algae problem.

                          I intend to set up a tank using the method that Tom outlined, as soon as I can find a local source that sells Equilibrium in less than 5 year quantities.
                          In fact, maybe two tanks: one with fish and one without.

                          All natural tanks are different.

                          Bill

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Re: Non CO2 methods

                            Originally posted by aquabillpers
                            Ms. Walstad and her followers claim that they grow aquatic gardens in soil tanks with only fish food for nutrients. As I said, I have one tank that has worked well for 8 months without dosing, and another that needs dosing. In the former, NO3 and PO4 levels have been constant for about 5 months. I think that might have more to do with the high fish population than with the soil in the substrate.
                            So you can have Gloss, A reineckii or hairgrass growing in there?
                            \Lwet me see a nice field of that, then we can talk which method is able to supply the nutrients for all, not just some plants.

                            I agree fish waste alone can supply some plants well.
                            She and others concede that some plants wane for unknown reasons, I know the reasons..............
                            She speculates, incorrectly, that allelopathy is a possible cause for this.
                            If allelopathy is the cause, why don't I have trouble?

                            Like PO4 excess = algae, if I aded PO4 I should see algae, but I don't.
                            If I try and grow these same plants that do poorly in non CO2 tanks, why am I not having trouble?

                            Thus it cannot be allelopathy if that is what is preventing the plant from growing in my tanks...

                            I have another tank that was set up as a fry tank, with an inert gravel substrate and a few plants. It had bad BGA and other algae problems, I'm sure because of poor nutrient levels. After a few months I got sick of looking at it as it was. I treated the algae problems and dosed it to bring the NO3 and PO4 levels up to a reasonable level. Since then the 30 well-fed, adult guppies in that 10 gallon tank (I know, too many) seem to be producing what the plants need, because they are growing well without any additional dosing, and there is no algae problem.
                            Yep, I'd expect this.

                            I intend to set up a tank using the method that Tom outlined, as soon as I can find a local source that sells Equilibrium in less than 5 year quantities.
                            In fact, maybe two tanks: one with fish and one without.
                            Ahhh, now you are thinking!
                            This will greatly help you see the difference between what the fish loading will add vs the inorganic nutrients.

                            I have done this for a few years now.
                            That's how come I know what needs to be added.

                            You can order EQ from most mail order places, 500grams runs 5-8$.

                            All natural tanks are different.

                            Bill
                            Yes, so removing the main input variable, the fish load/food/waste, takes care of that.

                            This gives you more control of the inuts and outputs.
                            The water chanegs are still not done, weekly dosing is adequate also(not too hard of a routine!)

                            Diana has done a fair amount of work and research, but without testing a control with out the fish etc, knowing what plants need at higher CO2/light values, you really are guessing.

                            That's fine when the growth rate is slowed down, but the main factor in the success is the lack of water changes.

                            That slows down the uptake rates so that if something does not make it, it will take a long time, liklewise any nutrient deficency takes a long time to appear and it can be remedied by adding more fish/fish food etc in general, or you can add SeaChem EQ and a little KNO3/trace/KH2PO4 etc as well.

                            Fish food alone is very easy and what many seem to desire to achieve the balance, but a better balance can be achieved without that fish centric attitude and philosophy.

                            Balance the needs of the plants first(plantcentric thinking), then feed the fish whatever.

                            The fish waste is secondary, icing on the cake and when you dose once a week at small amounts of inorganic ferts, this uoptake of fishj waste is further maximized and the tank does better and grows better.

                            This allows you to keep a non CO2 planted tank with more plant species in better health, higher growth rates(but not insanely fast!), better aquascaping designs and layouts, with only a small dosing weekly routine and less variation in the soil type since I suggest using Onyx sand/leonardite/mulm/peat.

                            Less mess, easier to move plants around, more plant species etc, these are not small gains...............

                            That's worth a lot for only a few simple modifications.

                            Similarly, I did the same thing to Paul and Kevin's PMDD's theory.Overall, the idea was great, just needed a few small changes and some clarity abiout why things were occuring.

                            Both the PMDD and the Non CO2 method's reason's as to why algae grow and what plants need etc are incorrect.

                            The same will occur with non CO2 methods as it did in CO2 enriched systems and is happening in Marine planted tanks also.

                            Which is cool, since now we can grow at many different rates, have far more control over what we can keep, different routines to suit lazy and more amibitious folks.

                            Ultimately this means more success with planted tanks.
                            I will say Paul and Diana did extremely well, I'm just tweaking things to make them consistent and stable and going back and testing the notions as to why.

                            From that, I know what are the main players in the system/method and then know how to go about tweaking it.

                            Regards,
                            Tom Barr
                            www.BarrReport.com

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: Non CO2 methods

                              Originally posted by Tom Barr
                              Doing water changes adds CO2 back to a CO2 limited tank.
                              Plants and algae both can and do adapt to low CO2 environments and induce genes to make enzymes that concentrate CO2 around Rubisco, the CO2 fixing enzyme. When we add the CO2 at higher levels back, this causes the plants and algae to destroy the low CO2 enzymes and start growing without of them since they no longer need them to fix CO2 form the KH ( the -HCO3).
                              Why keep all this machinery around if you no longer need it? Doing weekly water changes "fools" the plants and helps encourage algae more. Algae are faster to respond to low CO2 than plants.
                              Once the plants do adapt, they can do well.
                              What about nightly buildup of CO2? In the morning the CO2-level could potentially be substantial with very low surface agitation, and if that is so it would be good with above normal circulation-levels in low-techs?

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Non CO2 methods

                                Originally posted by defdac
                                What about nightly buildup of CO2? In the morning the CO2-level could potentially be substantial with very low surface agitation, and if that is so it would be good with above normal circulation-levels in low-techs?
                                But low tech = no CO2...................so it shouldn't be an issue surely.

                                Ian
                                Thread and now (ex)ALGAE Killer

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