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Substrate heating

Discussion in 'Sediment / Substrate' started by JATIN, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. JATIN

    JATIN Junior Poster

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    Hello All,

    I read that in order to encourage oxygen/air circulation through the planted aquarium substrate (mostly top-soil), substrate heating is recommended, by means of heating coils.
    Since, substrate heating coils can be expensive and not even available where I live, I am looking for alternatives.

    Are there any ideas for heating the substrate using regular fish-tank heaters?

    Thanks,
    Jatin
     
  2. Florin Ilia

    Florin Ilia Lifetime Charter Member
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  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    They have long fallen out of favor for the claims and for the the lack of evidence that they do anything for a nicer planted tank.
    I'm one of the people that suggested some test aquarist could do to prove this to themselves about 12 years or so.

    Few use them today.

    I suppose they can be used to heat the tank some........but they do not help the tank's plants/roots.
     
  4. horst

    horst Junior Poster

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    Hello Jatin
    The subject of heating cables is very much debatable like politics. My personal opinion after having used them for the past 7 years, it is for tank environment stability. Never had to tear down the tank or do drastic replanting /recharging of substrate. Too many folks use heating cables incorrectly. To use it correctly, the cables must be of correct sizing, watts per gallon, heating duration and cable separation distance. It is also important that the substrate is fine gravel/sand to promote convection current. If you use ADA soil and other "manufactured sand" like materials, it won't work.

    It does pull oxygen rich water into the soil. How do I know that? Whenever I pull a plant out after 7 years, I do not encounter black decay in the soil or smelly rotten egg gas bubbles owing to anaerobic bacteria activity decomposing decaying materials. From my observation about folks who do not use cable heating is:
    1. Had never used them but relay their experience based on hear say
    2. Had to tear down the tank after 2 years due to hardening and reduced growth owing to dead spots

    Cable heating is not magic bullet for plant growth. It is ONLY for plant environment stability.
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The marketing scams used to support their use is questionable, very much so and there has never been a single study showing support for their use.
    I've asked and looked for some 20 years.

    Not one single piece of support to date, does not mean it's not possible, but no one has ever found anything that was not mere speculation.
    This is not a question of politics, it's a question of making a conclusion not based on any facts. Adding to that, they proponents have also never offered up any support methods to illustrate their claims.
    How would you set up a test to show they work or not?

    If you cannot even do that.........well......

    I've offered several methods.

    This is same old tired claim from Dupla some 20+ years ago, and it's frankly 100% false. I have a 180 Gal tank that's 7 years old also, no cables, never any need to tear it down or redo sediment.
    I've never had a tank in the last 35 years that needed torn down because of the sediment.

    I've used Sandpoint, Dupla and also made my own cables from DIY parts based on Dupla and Sandpoint models.I used these on 10 aquariums over about 10 year's time before selling them off.
    A simple method is where folks live in warm summer climates: they turn the cables off for 4-5 months of the year, and they notice no difference. they leave them off during the winter, same thing, no difference.
    With a simple method such as turning them on/off over 2-6 month periods for assessment, no one has found any difference, this was done by about dozen aquarist back in the 1990's in our group on the APD.

    I have 10 different aquariums to draw on, if you only have a replication of 1 and only Dupla marketing claims for support, and have not tried to see if they work by testing them somehow, there is little you can say.
    Even the claims for their use are weak: "provides long tern stability" What does that really mean? Something subtle and non significant. Means you have spend a lot of $ on their product for little if any gain and .....it'll take years for you to even see the effects but since it's subtle..............you may not even see it.

    So why bother? You cannot have it both ways with this argument, you get something that is significant and you can see and measure, or you do not.

    This was Dupla's argument as well. I used plain sand and used several brands of cables to create the fire place grate effect, sand was 2-3 mm standard stuff. George Booth debated with me about all this 15 years ago. At the end, we both agreed that it was not a significant effect.
    This is an Engineer's approach to Biology, it is mechanistic. It leaves out some glaringly obvious attributes that all aquatic rooted plants have: they pump O2 into the sediments. Aquatic plants actively control redox in sediments. Heat cables just create more flow and this flow is too high for plants to fully maximize growth according to Tropica: Claus, Troels, Ole etc.

    Why not? I mean if it's all about these minor details.........and it really provides stability, how would you measure this stability?
    Based on that logic, we should toss out the cables and all go with ADA aqua soil since I also have a tank that's 7 years old and has been extremely stable and productive.

    But why talk when I can show?

    [​IMG]

    I do not have any issue selling 150-300$ a month of plants out of this tank, or removing 50 CRS even week either, fish breed in this tank regularly.

    Here's 11 days worth of growth recovery:
    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After:
    [​IMG]

    7 days
    [​IMG]

    11 days later:
    [​IMG]

    14 days:
    180Rside322.jpg

    So how do you defend the fact that plants roots may have been growing well WITHOUT cables in this same set up? You have no control, no manipulation of the system to test your claim. It's like saying "I drink lot of water in the morning, that's why I can out run other people in a race."

    Same logic.

    Are you suggesting I lack experience after a decade of usage on 10 different tanks , methods and manipulations, measuring redox in the sediments in and around the rhizosphere?
    What is the basis for using heating cables OTHER than hearsay?

    Is there any measurable support of any sort for heating cable use?

    This is not a factual statement/easily falsified as well as having many other factors unrelated to the sediment/the cable usage.
    Eg, poor CO2 will lead to algae and plant issues unlike any other.........

    So I should see an increase in stability with their use then, but I, nor did anyone else that cycled them on/off.
    ADA power sand advocates this same argument curiously and also uses the same poor logic for support.
    But at least there's no plugs and wasted electric energy, and it is simpler.

    Some of my tanks from 1990's:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There is SFBAAPS which formed in 1996 and I think I was the only person still using cables.
    They had/have many examples of nice planted tanks without cables.
     
  6. horst

    horst Junior Poster

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    Wow! What a lengthy passionate write-up!. George was spot on about you Tom!. So Jatin if you are reading, this is what I meant when I said "it is debatable like politics". I only said cables were only good for tank stability. Stable tank is conducive for promoting plant growth. Good plant growth keeps algae in check. Here is my 7 year old tank pic just got pruned a few days ago to make way for some new plants.
    [attachment=1034:name]
    At the end of the day it is "one man's meat is another man's poison"

    2005Hst.jpg
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have several nice tanks with long term stability and they lack cables.
    Many people have nice long term stable tanks without cables..........
    Maybe it has nothing to do with the cables..........????

    Another tank I've been running a long term journal on........ lacking any cables:
    [​IMG]

    ADA's entire history lacks cables............If you are suggesting we wait 7 years to see some subtle stability, heck.............many things can go wrong/right over 7 years and not have a hill of beans to due with cables.

    This is common sense.

    You make mention it adds to the long stability of the tank, perhaps it's just acting like a filter and simply adding a larger filter would have the same effect?
    There are many possible reasons for long term stability, even the personality of the hobbyists, some neglect tanks, other practice serious care and craftsmanship.
    These have nothing to do with cables but make a world of difference.

    I made a Reverse flow UG filter from PCV to test the filter idea and higher flow rates, this produced similar results as cables/no flow.

    The nutrient rich sediments seem to offer better growth and results for many, you might consider trying those and see what you think afterward.
    Try a small test aquarium out and see.
     
  8. JATIN

    JATIN Junior Poster

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    WOW!! I will surely read this when I am done with ADMIRING the BEAUTIFUL tank pictures that have been put by Tom & horst!
    Thanks guys!!
     
  9. pejerrey

    pejerrey Prolific Poster

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    I'm just getting a glimpse that I have been missing the whole cable thing all this time. Well... I also had a tank without them with the same substrate for 8yrs. I had a lot of PO4 readings tho... I wonder.

    However, is this like the water bottles people place with their tomato plants to keep them warm at night?

    Forgive me, I'm joking!
    :)
     
  10. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Responses vary but.... few cable proponents even bother with a logical debate about it.
    They never answer most of the question's poses and ignore them.

    Science does not ignore them, it tries to set up a test to see if there is any way to falsify or tentatively accept until another test can falsify.
    When proponents do NOT test or have not shown good methods, this should be viewed with extreme skepticism(because they are asking you to believe them, not to test or address the issues raised, please ignore the facts).
    I might seem harsh towards people over the web, however, when people ignore the questions and make no attempt to address them, and.......another person has.........this pretty much ends any real debate.

    Basically screw you, "I believe in Santa Claus". Even if there are no facts to support.......and also there are not facts to disprove the man In the Red suit exist or not. He might.
     
  11. pejerrey

    pejerrey Prolific Poster

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    Oh, Tom... Do you know "qualia soup"?

    If not I'm happy to present it to you:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-h9XntsSEro&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Edit: I posted the wrong link earlier, this is the correct video I wanted to show you
     
    #11 pejerrey, Jul 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2012
  12. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    For What It Is Worth

    Hi,

    This is the link
    pejerrey is trying for, worth the time I think.:gw

    [h=1]Skewed views of science :calm:[/h]
    Biollante
     
  13. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    These are the same arguments I've heard over and over from the Heater Cable crowd.
    No methods, to objective unbias test, no attempts of falsification, nothing. Belief and preemptive rejection of any facts that question their beliefs and bias.
    Then they poo poo me with social control by calling me rude(false claim of personal attacks), blinding them with information(do not care enough to do the homework), bullying them(because they lack the ability/effort required to defend themselves in a debate), posting too much for them to respond too(Lazy) and arrogant(reverse snobbery).

    Well, let's fast forward 10 years later: ADA fan boys........ADA powersand, Penac, Toumaline etc.......same exact stuff.

    Now Dupla and ADA do have some good products and certainly have done many good things for the hobby while enriching the companies. There is support for nice lighting, filtration, high quality tanks, filters, CO2 equipment etc.
    There is good support for ADA aqua soil. But not the other things I have questioned. Because I am not particularly nice and spend a significant amount of time trying walk around some people's touchy feelings on these subjects, I have had plenty of run ins and with other web forum's and their site owners, and I've been banned or threatened by those moderators/owners. Will I change and make peace with these forms of social control?

    Never.
     
  14. pejerrey

    pejerrey Prolific Poster

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    Thank you, yes that is what I wanted to share. Cool video huh?

    I totally understand, I think the most difficult part in a discussion where the topic itself is a lil silly, is to not make the other person feel a bit silly when they realize they actually are been a bit silly. When people get defensive, its impossible to really continue in a productive conversation. Most people have been trained by society to think a certain way (an easier way IMO) its just a few that are more skeptical and try to understand why the established knowledge is accepted (more work to think right?).

    When I accept a truth, has to make sense to me. I have no first hand experience with it, then I use the words "I believe" and as for the factual knowledge I use "I know". Then I research and try to wrap my head around it.

    Coming back about the previous comment I made about the water bottles around the tomatoes... I had a roommate that wanted to do that, it looked awful. So we argued a bit about it with no results... and I went and I bough a digital thermometer with memory (comes handy dandy with aquariums too) that saves the highest and coldest temp in two different places and the time that happened. Guess what, no difference between using the ugly water bottles or not. Then he was upset, it was like been attached to his idea was more important than moving on and finding a better solution if there was one.

    I learned to see this same behavior in other people and other situations. Seems like a very common human thing, therefore I most work with it in the most productive way to get the best results, I guess. Maybe if I present the information in an attractive manner that has some gain for the recipient and also doesn't make them feel intellectually inferior (more work I know). Is hard to let go of beliefs when you haven't realized is a good thing to do so.

    Some people, just cant be told what is going on and that they are wrong straight on their face, they need a lil fairy tale first.

    :)
     
  15. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I've long held folks to test themselves, then they will know, say like with PO4: "add 2ppm and see if you get an algae bloom like these folks claim, if not, then what does that tell you?"

    Then it's no longer belief.

    Also, when you see a nice tank with 2-5ppm of PO4........or lacking heat cables...........that also is a fact and falsifies the claim also.
    It's like the guy who claim's he does not eat manure, then we post the youtube of him eating a big old pie.
     
  16. pejerrey

    pejerrey Prolific Poster

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    Lol! Long time ago when I was measuring like 4-5ppm of PO4 and I didn't have much algae, I was very confused by what people told me, one other reason why I tossed that test kit. Lol!
    At the end, if I had algae problems ever, it was lack of co2 by the means of lack of water movement or distribution whatever you wanna call it. A powerhead did the trick at the time.
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    CO2, water flow, filtration, light PAR values...these are the main drivers and we see this in Tropica's Article on CO2 and light independent of nutrients.
    EI just provides a starting point where ferts are independent. If you use sediments, then rooted plants also have little issue growing non limited as well, at least till the sediment supply of N mostly......is exhausted.

    Many folks had similar experiences with PO4 and NO3, having gone very high...for months and realized it only much later.
    Some have tried very hard to keep them low as possible with a much higher failure rate.
    Still, a few had high NO3/PO4 and algae, so they will blame the ferts, NEVER the light or CO2.

    This is backwards.
     
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