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An Aquarium for those with an Illness

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by Infulgeo, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    Hi guys my names nick and for the past four years I've suffered from a neurological disorder known as P.O.T.S that has completely incapacitated me. While luckily its something treatable and capable of diminishing by one's mid twenties i find myself at the present time forced to relinquish my attendance in school and social situations. I am in need of some stimulation mentally and visually, but not physically as that is what exacerbates my symptoms. I am quite the novice when it comes to the Barr/Walstad method and will of course buy His news letter/her book simply because i feel i should support those from whom i derive such methods. My reason for even mentioning my illness is to give you an idea of why i am posting this, i wish to have a planted aquarium i however fear the maintenance and will of course refrain from getting one should it prove too difficult as i am against having the fish suffer simply for my personal enjoyment. I have done considerable research and will continue to do so until i have a near expert level understanding of the methods involved (With all of your help of course ;) )
    I am wondering if in prescribing to the Barr/Walstad method will i truly have low maintenance and could i make some minor changes and still keep it as a natural aquarium?
    These changes well maybe not being minor still make me curious if i could add them:
    -2 wpg Ho lights(if better lighting is required i would like to know)
    -an eheim 2028 canister filter or fluval fx5 depending on the budget
    -Air stone on a reverse daylight cycle to prevent suffocation (Oxygen depletion during the time when plants need oxygen)
    -Dosing once a week
    1/4 Teaspoon(1 teaspoon for a 92 gallon) of Seachem Equilibrium (for traces and Calcium + Magnesium). (1.42 ppm Ca, 0.42 ppm Mg, 3.43 ppm K and 0.02 ppm Fe)

    1/8 Teaspoon of KNO3 (1/4 teaspoon for a 92 gallon) (Potassium Nitrate) (5.27 ppm NO3 and 3.32 ppm K)

    1/32 Teaspoon (1/8 teaspoon for a 92 gallon) of KH2PO4 (Potassium Mono Phosphate) (1.61 ppm PO4 and 0.66 ppm K)

    Could these plants exist in a low tech non co2 tank and what sort of stocking would be required in a 92 gallon corner and would bi weekly or monthly trimming greatly effect the tank i may be able to accomplish at least monthly but since all the plants maximum height is still shorter than a 92 gallon corner i hope to be able to get away with this lol
    Low to Moderate Lighting;
    Foreground:
    -Dwarf Hairgrass
    Mid-Ground:
    -Temple, Narrow leaf
    -Dwarf Sagittaria
    -Cryptocoryne
    -Java Fern
    -Java Moss
    Backround:
    -Anacharis
    -Hornwort
    -Wisteria

    As far as stocking so far i have this in mind:
    Fish Species:
    Tetra:
    -6-18 True Rummynose Tetra [$1.99] (2")
    AND
    -1-5(6) Thick Lipped Gourami {Colisa Labiosa} {Trichogaster labiosus}(4")
    OR
    -1-5Madagascan Rainbow (Bedotia gaeyi) (6") [$11.99]
    Invertebrates:
    -1-8 Japonica Amano Shrimp [$2.49] (2")

    Possible Additions: (When i am well and capable of doing more than monthly water changes lol unless in this sort of setup the bio load can be pushed farther than half the tanks bioload capacity which would be nice but i am willing to sacrifice the number of fish and diversity of species if it will allow me to maintain an aquarium with minimal maintenance outside of regular fish feedings and water testings)
    -2-6 Gold Neon Tetra [$2.99] (1 1/2")
    -2-5 Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami [$9.99] (2")
    -6-15 Cardinal Tetra [$2.29] (2")
    -2-8 Glowlight tetra [$1.49] (2")


    I'm really i guess afraid that something like this sounds too good to be true and while i do believe Mr. Barr and Miss Walstad are intelligent and talented aquarists i once again fear my fish suffering from my desire for low maintenance or lack of understanding...If all of you far more experienced aquarists could share your insights i would most deeply appreciated it.
    Sorry for such a long thread lol
    -Nick

    Post Scriptum:
    [All prices were taken from liveaquaria.com and have no specific relevance they were in my file that i am comprising for this possible hobby and i didn't wish to remove all of them individually :p
     
  2. pepetj

    pepetj Lifetime Members
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    Hi Nick! Welcome to the Barr Report site.

    A low maintenance, low tech tank can be a beautiful one. I have one tank with that approach and I love it. It's a Perfecto 30gal Breeder tank (30"L x 18"W x 13'W). I use a two F31T5HO but I know I could have set it up with just one lamp.

    The maintenance routine I use is weekly (sometimes every other week) top-off (adding water to refill the evaporated one). I dose that tank weekly but on the lower side. I use the fish food as my source of N and P and only add Iron and other trace elements weekly. No CO2 injection. 6 paired off Rams and 30+ Cardinal Tetras.

    Filtration went from "a lot" during the first year (HOB 350GPH+ internal filter + sponge filter) to "a lot less" once mature (internal filter only). I rinse the filter media every two to three months. Feed on the lower side. I use RO processed drinking water reconstituted with Seachem's Equilibrium (and "a pinch" of sodium bicarbonate when necessary, once a month at most). pH is 5.5 with no CO2. Substrate is a mixture of natural river sand (Jimenoa River, Jarabacoa, Dominican Rep) and Eco-Complete (approximately at 30:70 ratio). I keep a bunch of Anubias barteri, Vallisnera gigantea (as display plants) and Lemna sp (to dim the light going in the tank as well as help in nitrate control -I think these plant are useful for that).

    Hopefully the experts and gurus (I'm not one) can help you with your plant wish list. I would rule out those prone to frequent trimming.

    Take care of yourself and you should be OK in a few years!

    Pepetj
    Santo Domingo
     
  3. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    Welcome Nick,

    Your setup sounds ok, but since light drives plant growth keep in mind that low maintainance is achieved by using low light. 2 WPG is kind of high for a non-CO2 tank, I'd go no further than 1 to 1,5 WPG with optional reflectors. This amount of light will support all plants on your list.

    An airstone is not really needed at night if you provide enough continious surface movement.

    A non CO2 tank doesn't really need much waterchanges, so adding according to your suggested dosing regime might still be too much. I'd suggest you read this article http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2817-Non-CO2-methods if you haven't done this yet.

    Good luck with your project and keep us posted.

    regards,
    HJ.
     
  4. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    Thank you both very much for your replies,
    1) so would i be better with 1-1.5 wpg of just one or two t-5 ho bulbs? and could dosing be a once monthly thing after the tank cycles in order to ensure health or will this up the nitrates and other toxic elements causing me to do more frequent water changes.
    2) I'm also concerned about how much fish to stock in terms of providing plants with more nutrients, at the present stocking excluding future possible additions i've stocked it close to half the tanks full capacity give or take a few fish and gallons(which can always change to fit my needs) and i wonder if the biological media to one of the canister filters listed above should be removed or can it remain to ensure further tank health?
    3) I was also concerned that maybe i should consider the new ehiem wet dry filtration system that doesn't require any plumbing would this ensure aeration or deplete c02.
    I'm hoping to ask as many questions as i can in order to fully understand this and i am a forum newbie so i couldn't even find that link which i had seen mentioned on other threads lol
    Thanks again for both of your timely responses,
    -Nick
    Post-Scriptum:
    4) What is the most effective substrate for this method in a 92 gallon corner, is it actually top soil or is there another more effect mix or brand of subtrate like flourite or eco complete aqua soil etc. i had read on one website that i should use Leonardite (Diamond Black) as a base put the subtrate on top of this and then some gravel will this not cause toxicity pockets?
     
    #4 Infulgeo, Dec 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2010
  5. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    1. Yes, 2 T5's would work just fine, although a triangular bowfront might need 4 tubes to ensure a good spread. It's hard to give you a fixed dosing amount because this is dependent on multiple variables. You could buy a few test kits so you're sure nutrients never bottom out. Some non CO2 tanks don't have the water changed in a year, NH4 etc will be consumed by plants before it can do any harm.
    2. If you dose nutrients, don't be concerned about fish providing nutrients to plants, the effect is rather small. Biological filter media should not be removed, you need the bacteria to ensure water health and clarity.
    3. Recent measurements has shown wet/dry's to be very good at ensuring high O2 levels, so that seems a good way to go. Buy a filter with high pump capacity to ensure enough flow in your tank.

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  6. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    So with four bulbs would i split the wattage between the four or give them each 1.5 wpg? Will the wet dry hurt the co2 levels tho, ehiem obviously give their marketable numbers of reducing nitrates and ammonia in their new wet dry system significantly however true that is i can't be sure but their flow rate is rather poor 145 gph, but as you said the nutrients would be small so dosing would still be a good option how regularly? I also wonder if dosing right away would be a bad idea because ik even soil that has cycled sometimes theres a brief time of increased nutrient correct? (Or is this cycling) Sorry if i'm asking a 1000 questions but i wish to pick everyone's brain and learn as much as possible.
    thanks very much,
    -Nick
     
    #6 Infulgeo, Dec 2, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2010
  7. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    Anyone else have added insights or inputs, (including those who have already posted) possibly having answers to my other questions or more information on my initial ones?
    thanks for all your time,
    -Nick
     
  8. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    You may wish to consider some of the fish choices. While the different tetras are nice, as a whole, they tend not to school so well unless there are 9+. You may find that a larger school of one species looks better to you, and schools better, than the 2-3 different species you have listed in smaller groups and may look more natural as a result.

    -
    S

     
  9. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    I agree, those were mostly possible additions anyways my actual stocking list i think will be revised to as follows:
    -15 True Rummynose Tetra(2")
    -15 Lambchop(glowlight) Rasbora Trigonostigma hengeli (1.2")
    -10 Amano Shrimp
    -1 Pearl gourami (4")

    Not counting the shrimp i'm only slightly over half the tanks total capacity, i figure ten amano shrimp shouldn't even effect the bioload greatly enough to be counted (correct me if i'm wrong) and Shoggoth have you any experience with these types of low tech/maintenance tanks? care to share your experiences..
    thanks for the speedy reply,
    -Nick
     
  10. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    I'm also still a bit confused on the subject of substrates and lighting anyone have some suggestions as to proper wattage for my size and setup for my 92 gallon corner, also as far as substrate goes i don't want to use soil so i was thinking of using a combination of leonardite, organic worm castings, and Ada aquasoil would this work in a low tech npt style tank??
    thanks for all considerations,
    -Nick
     
  11. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi Nick,

    Here are my suggestions. I had a 40gal breeder this way and it worked great.

    Lights:

    1). I would personally use T8 or T12 in a low light non-c02 setup. T5s will provide more light period. Add in reflectors and is easy to have too much.
    2). Regardless of fixtures, bulbs, etc try and mount it so that it can be lowered or raised as needed.
    3). Please try and get away from a wpg value. It is MEANINGLESS in determining how much light you have. Only a PAR meter can tell you this with any certainty.

    Filter.

    1). I would get a nice wet/dry and sump with perhaps one of the better overflow boxes instead of the u shaped siphon tube type. They are great filters for your purposes. Get a nice quiet pump to run it and you will be fine for years.
    2). If you have the room, opt for a larger bio area. It will not hurt in anyway. Plus the extra volume is better IMO in general.

    Substrate.

    1). ADA would work well here, or perhaps flourite or other inert material with DIY worm castings or similar? The combo you suggest sounds fine...

    Plants.

    1). Almost any crypt. Wendti, lutea, etc will all do well.
    2). Almost any anubias
    3). Bolbitus will do well here. Place it in some current.
    4). All java fern.
    5). Most stems except those that require additional c02.

    They will just grow a bit slower/smaller is all.

    Plain gravel will also grow plants, don't forget and actually better than you would think...

    Get the tank up and running with just a few fish at first so you can guage how much YOU can support with your health issues. Many of us have health issues that hinder our hobby so you are not alone here...

    Add a few at a time as that will provide time for the bio bed to catch up with the new load..

    You will need to experiment a bit personally, as advice will only get you so far.. Way too many variables to factor in as well as budget and personal preferences.

    BTW, I know you are anxious to receive responses, but please try and be a bit more patient :) You will need to develop some anyway with a planted tank :)

    Best of luck and come back with any questions.

    Hope this helps a bit.
     
    #11 Gerryd, Dec 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2010
  12. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    Hi Gerry and thanks for the reply,
    Yes i would certainly agree that the advice i have gotten so far has been subperb(sorry if i appear impatient :)), i'm just as they say "trying to dot my I's and cross my T's" and get in all the questions i possibly have... i feel as though from your post combined with most of the others here i may be almost ready to decide as to whether i can handle this or not. I want to be as sure as i possibly can lol and with christmas coming i can get almost all the possible equipment plus as a budget is no object i can just save until i have enough to make the purchases since i won't want to start an aquarium like this just to start one, thing of it is tho i'm horrible with sumps and the like so if thats the best way to go maybe i'll have to consider it but if i can use a canister wet dry(eheim 2229) and still be ok then i might also do that lol Ur answer pretty much solved my substrate problem except for one little caveat :p, does Ada need to be topped with anything or could it be the final topping portion of the mixture?
    Thanks again for all the answers i've attained thus far
     
  13. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Nick,

    You are crazy if you think you won't have questions in the future :)

    ADA can be used by itself if you want.

    A sump is only an issue really if it loses it's siphon. With the better overflows and a small pump like Tom uses, I don't think it happens much. Use a check valve in case so the water won't flood back into the sump and flood the room.

    However, a basic canister is also quiet and efficient and does not need much maintenance. I have no experience with the wet/dry that are HOB oriented.

    Again, you can help control this. Plants that lose leaves will provide more debris to foul things. Same with fish. The more fish the more waste products.

    So, moderation in all things, but always better to overfilter...and underlight :)
     
  14. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Nick,

    Please don't hurry on my account.

    Planning is job #1. You will have more success and less issue with good planning.
     
  15. Infulgeo

    Infulgeo Prolific Poster

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    Haha not to worry i'm still in the planning stages and its not even a definite i want to get as much information from the users here as possible before making any sort of a decision but your post did clear up a few misunderstood facets in my thought process...I'm still a bit wary of how much lighting since wpg rule is obsolete but i may use it as a ball park measurment all the same :)
     
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