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Nitrate in a Walstad aquaria

Discussion in 'Non-CO2 Methods' started by affinis, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. affinis

    affinis Junior Poster

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    Hi everyone, this is my first post on here, although I have been lurking in the background for some time.

    I've been keeping Walstad style aquaria for many years, and have always been amazed by how successful and easy they can be. I have about a dozen tanks set up this way, from the most basic non-filtered or circulated, to ones with modest filtration and flow (maybe 3 x) These are all long term aquariums, being set up for between 4-15 years. Water changes are rare to none, with one 7 seven year old experimental aquarium only ever being topped up.

    Over the years I have noticed that as you might expect, the aquariums with no filtration never seem to built any significant nitrate level. This goes for both circulated and uncirculated aquariums. However those with biological filters do tend to run relatively high (50ppm). At the same time the KH and pH drop slightly.

    As the current thinking seems to be to increase the circulation and therefore biological filtration I'm looking to do some experiments.

    My question is if I was to increase my biological filtration and turnover to maybe 6-8 x, would I also expect to get a further rise in nitrate and drop in pH and KH? or would the greater biological activity break down more organic matter creating more Co2 etc for the plants. Therefore giving increased plant growth and nitrate uptake, effectively canceling out?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  2. fablau

    fablau rotalabutterfly.com
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    Nitrate in a Walstad aquaria

    I don't think that would change much, maybe a little but more, but what builds nitrates are fish and decomposing waste, and unless you let your filters rot for a long time, I doubt would make any difference.

    Any chance to see some pictures of your tanks? I am curious to see how they look.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've never had NO3 build up.
    Here's why: plants.

    Whether you have a filter or not, you should NOT have any NO3 or N.

    Same with ADa AS over time, it depletes in N.
    All aquatic sediments do.

    Now if you have less plants, more fish in such a tank, then yes, NO3 can increase, but this has nothing to do with the filter.
    KH is typically nil for most of the tanks I've done.

    Feeding, fish loads and plant loads need to be factored in.
    If not, you cannot make much concluding remarks.

    1. Most unfiltered and non circulated tanks lack larger fish loads.
    2. Most tanks with more fish are filtered and often end up having less plant biomass
    3. More fish= more loading of nutrients.
     
  4. user name

    user name Junior Poster

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    You can raise co2 by raising your filter spraybar above the water level, and creating some aeration. The co2 will help in plant growth and nitrate uptake. Co2 increase is minimal, but 1-2ppm makes a big difference in overall plant health.
     
  5. jrill

    jrill Junior Poster

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    I would think that would remove co2, not help add it.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes and no,

    Yes if you look at the pre dawn ppm's, but it does stabilize the CO2/O2 content through the entire 24 hour cycle.
    So it's roughly 1-2 ppm over the cycle.

    If you have fairly still surfaces, then you might hit 5-8 ppm even pre dawn, the plants remove this after 1-2 hours and it's now down to 0 ppm roughly for the next few hours till the lights go off.
    O2 varies more also.

    More surface turnover, turbulence: (more) fish loading is not an issue.
    Less: smaller fish loads are better.

    Stability seems to work well, but so does the other method. The trade off is you cannot keep or load as many fish to such tanks, or use only hardy species etc.
     
  7. affinis

    affinis Junior Poster

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    Ok thanks, I've always been a bit unsure about changing things on tanks which are already stable and algae free.

    There is no doubt that my tanks that run the lowest nitrate levels have the most and best plant growth. (lots of export) So I guess the fact that they have little or no filtration isn't quite what it seemed.

    View attachment 5047

    This pic was taken a few years ago. No Co2, just a little liquid feeding, virtually no water changes.
    I still have this tank running nine years later, except I no longer feed the plants. It's just a little more wild these days, but the Crinum still flowers every February.

    View attachment 5047

    Most of my other tanks are used to house my Crypt collection, so are more functional than anything.
     

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