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Necessary filtration turnover?

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by ShadowMac, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    I have heard many things regarding the amount of turnover for a filtration system one needs in a planted tank, anywhere from 3x to 15x or more. I have heard the more filtration the better and I have heard by overdoing it you can prevent your biological filtration from doing its job and lose a lot of CO2. I was in this "confusion" area with lighting not too long ago. I suppose this is more of the "conflicting information" to which Tom Barr was referring in one of his posts.

    What is best or more accurately, because each tank and planting system is different, what should I be shooting for? are there guidelines to help me make an informed decision?

    Tank specs:
    37 gal.
    30" sundial with 4x24 W T5HO and powerbrite LED
    pressurized CO2 with external reactor (similar to the one Tom Barr posted for a submersible reactor with its own pump)
    Eheim Classic 2215 canister filter (164 gph)
    ADA step system fertilizer as well as substrate fertilizer (I know everyone will tell me its a waste of $, but I'm new and am going to begin with an easy to understand system before I learn to mix my own)

    I will also be using an immersed start with HC, microswords, and anubias sp. Later I'm going to add various stem plants and of course water.

    Thank you for your advice!:D
     
  2. justin.sterling.scott

    justin.sterling.scott Prolific Poster

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  3. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    In my opinion, "enough" filtration is a matter of CO2 distribution. If you have more light, you'll need either higher or better planned flow to deliver more CO2 to the hard to distribute areas. Higher light also means plants grow and die faster; you'll need more flow backed by filter media. If you have dense stands of plants you'll also need higher flow to get CO2 into those areas. Often smarter flow is better than more; things like wave timers and SCWDS make for less current, but also far more efficient current.

    I know it seems easier to just buy the bottle, but DIY ferts don't have to be complex. Follow the dosing in this article and you'll be off to a good start: http://www.barrreport.com/showthread.php/2819-EI-light-for-those-less-techy-folks

    While blasting light now is just fine, you may want to go down to 2x24w when you fill. 4x24w will leave you trimming all day and chasing algae.
     
  4. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    I think two different aspects are mixed up here: filtration and flow. With flow we try to distribute CO2 and get good O2, while filtration just has to keep the water clean. I'm using 5 times the number of tank gallons in filtration, but another 7 times in flow.

    In the past I've been using just 3 times the number of tank gallons in filtration, and still have healthy and clean water. In that time I was also using another 7 times in flow for CO2/O2 distribution.

    Although I seems natural and logic to me to use flow as a medium to keep the tank healthy, I saw something else that makes me raise some questions. Last week I visited the Dutch national champion of 2009. Of course he has a typical dutch style dense planted tank. Only one filter was used and the outflow was directed straight in some surface moss. The water surface was like a mirror. Not even a single plantleaf was moving. No algae whatsoever and very healthy plants. The lights? 320 Watts on 160 gallon.

    This tank should have algae, bad growing plants and gasping fish. But it doesn't. Why?

    regards,
    dutchy
     
  5. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    3-5 is a typical amount I hear for biofiltration. If you want mechanical filtration then you need to kick up the bits in the tank and move the water around a bit more. Typically in the planted tanks we're more concerned with making sure the nutrients get where they're going. That takes a bit of flow as well, but like the marine guys we don't need to use the "expensive" flow from a filter and can use a cheap powerhead or prop pump to get the flow rates up. This is where that 15-20+ recommendation comes in.

    As for the dutch champion I couldn't guess unless maybe it's a pretty simple open scape allowing easy access to nutrients. Alternately he may be doing more work behind the scenes than you know or he pulls out any extra powerheads and such when guests come over. No different than cleaning the living room before you have guests really. Like many champion scapers, maybe he's doing short term scapes and just tears them down when things start to go south. No idea, just speculation and no aspersions should be inferred from any of those statements.

    -
    S
     
  6. Gerryd

    Gerryd Plant Guru Team
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    Hi,

    Don't forget that for the 'show' or pictures many things may be tossed aside such as flow, lights, pipes, etc.

    Just because it looks that way at show does not mean it is done that way 24/7.

    Remember that the tank for a show may not be at home, so something will get left out that cannot be easily moved.

    Just my thoughts........
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Would it be a bad idea to add something like a wave maker to move water more effectively without having to increase my filter size or flow. I'm sure this would aid in transporting CO2 and nutrients to hard to reach places. I'm planning on keeping killies, which prefer less current. Any suggestions for placement on in/out flow pipes and anything else that may be used to increase water movement if its necessary?
     
  8. Philosophos

    Philosophos Lifetime Charter Member
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    I agree with what Gerry says re: show tanks. I've seen AFA's tanks not in show shape; beautiful layouts, healthy growth, but more algae than any of us would probably tolerate. Also, bottom drilled + loc line can hide all sorts of things if you didn't get a look under the tank.

    ShadowMac, Wave timers hook up to anything that plugs into the wall. You can do pretty well with an ocean pulse wave timer and a couple of koralias and/or needle wheel modded powerheads. It's not perfection, but it's your cheapest option at around $50-80. Keep in mind that you can hook these things up to power bars just fine, which allows for a lot more creativity in decently sized tanks without having to pay for more wave timers. Wave timers and such are not a must, but they sure make life easier.
     
  9. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    Making life easier...thats what I'm all about! I will look into getting something like you suggested. Anything to improve my chances of success.
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    But is the tank always like this or has the tank bloomed in nicely at that point in time?
    Also , how much fish where present?

    Filters, flow, this is much more for fish.
    It helps the plants etc also, but with some easy to care for fish, you can really get away with a lot more here.

    Folks have a ot more play and ability to keep more fish and less gas potential with CO2 and fish.
    Does not imply it cannot be done, it can. Question is, should it be done as a method and suggested to the general population, not folks like myself or someone who's pretty good at watching their plants.

    ADA does this also, but.........not much fish and light is still lower than you think.

    I'd bet that lighting is less than mine also in micromols along the bottom.

    So less light= less cO2 demand.

    I really do not see any conflict there.

    For fish, I prefer good current, not a lazy mirror no flow, or minimal flow.
    Aquarist who keep only fish know this is a bad idea.

    This is no different with fish and plants, if not more so, lots of plants reduce the flow and reduce the O2 when they are not growing in the day.
    A small fish population that's tough can easily handle this if it's a sparse light load.

    I have 5X the fish loads of similar tanks and more sensitive species.

    So I have more buffer room, better breeding, better fish health and less stress than many folks.
    This same philosophy can be used for the general aquatic plant hobbyists to provide more wiggle room.

    I bet this person could also get even better results by adding more flow and have more wiggle room.




    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  11. dutchy

    dutchy Plant Guru Team
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    It looks like you made a good point here. I saw just something like 30 fish, none bigger than 1,5 inch. That's not much for 160 gallons. I remembered this because he told me that for him it's about plants, not fish.

    So we (as being the general population) ;) are overdoing things a bit just to be on the safe side and have more buffer before anything goes wrong. I think that's good. Always walking a thin line is not a way to keep an aquarium. it will just give stress and worries (and it still does sometimes) ;)

    Until now i thought that it was the only way to do it right, but it really depends on how much we are able to see and respond on what happens in the tank at any time. personally I like the buffer to be as big as possible. More forgiving and less chance of failure.

    Regards,
    dutchy
     
  12. Kamlesh Barot

    Kamlesh Barot Junior Poster

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    For how many hours should I keep my flow pump on?
     
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