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Understanding Water Quality and Nitrates.....?

Discussion in 'Aquatic Microbiology' started by Naja002, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. Naja002

    Naja002 Prolific Poster

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    Hi,

    This is basically an Academic Question. I have no issues performing Water Changes (WCs). I have 3 setups (soon to be 4) with Semi-Auto WC Systems--so, its not an issue.

    In fish-only tanks, from what I understand, WCs are generally performed to maintain a Reasonable amount of Nitrates.

    In Plant-Only Tanks: Plants consume Nitrates and , in theory, as long as the nitrate level is maintained at a low, reasonable level (+/-20ppm) there would not be any need for WCs.

    This is all Excluding EI, PPC, etc.

    I know that this is very Simple theory, but as long as nitrates remain "low"--what is the purpose of WCs? To remove other TDS?

    I am just trying to understand what constitutes Water "Quality" beyond the general Nitrification Cycle.....

    Again, I wasn't quite sure where to post this, but I thought it might fit in with my other post: "Extending the Nitrification cycle....."

    TIA
     
  2. Professor Myers

    Professor Myers Guru Class Expert

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    Water Changes ?

    Speaking only for myself I can say it's out of Pure Laziness !!! :p I am Waaaaayyy Too Self Absorbed to Test, Monitor, and Maintain the individual components of water chemistry, and Too Guilt Ridden to risk the consquences at the risk of my own wards. Lacking the potential to be an Omnipotent God I am a Diligent Custodian ! ;)

    Aquatic Life lives, and resperates in that water ! Lock yourself in a closet, Shove a towel under the door, Light a Big Fat Cigar and contemplate the WHY of it all ??? :D LOL. Prof M
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Generally Nitrogen waste, but high levels of trace metals, and salt, etc can also cause issues.

    But as long as the plants are removing the N, they also remove the metals, salt etc as well and rather than water changes for export, you now reply on plant pruning/assimilation.

    So plants remove everything, not just N waste.

    There is still export though........

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. Naja002

    Naja002 Prolific Poster

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    Thanx, Tom!

    That's the explanation that I was looking for......

    :D
     
  5. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Bacteria are pretty good really for decomposing, but plants are more general, they take up just about everything, even Gold.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    So, for my next idea, I plan to cultivate a big crop of one of our fast growers in a Sierra Nevada stream, harvest it every week, bake it good, separate out the gold, and.............head for Reno to give it back!!
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    The amount of profit extrracted from Gold trailings is about equal to the cost of processing it.

    This is the same old story for most gold mining operations, they need to be profitable, you can get gold , that's not the issue, getting easily extractable gold is quite another.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  8. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    What about DOCs? Are they also taken up by plants? If not, how are they exported without water changes?
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    DOC's in natural systems do not keeping rising to extreme concentrations, tannins etc are built up to a certain level and tend to be broken down.

    Like NO3, DOC may be decomposed and provide an atmospheric component, CO2 which is assimilated or released the air above, like NO3=> N2 gas.

    This is the entire process which wetland wastewater treat relies.
    PO4/Fe etc does not have such a component, so plant biomass may be used to sequester it or the wetland soils for rotation with crops for cattle fed, rice etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Does this also apply in our tanks (DOCs decompose and aren't an issue)?

    I'm a bit puzzled because I had always thought that, in our closed systems (our tanks), there was always some type of waste/organic byproduct that accumulated and needed to be diluted. Ok, in an unplanted African Cichlid tank that "something" would be mainly NO3 but also other organics (DOCs). As a planted tank will remove the NO3 issue, one is still left with the DOCs accumulating... or that's what I had always assumed.

    And I thought that this was one of the main reasons that in a low light non-CO2 planted tank a key point was to keep a low bioload. This allowed you to do very infrequent water changes as the low bioload meant less organics...

    Or have I got it all wrong? ;)
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Yes and no, we export DOC's with water changes, non CO2 tanks on the other hand w/no water changes do not have that export, so then the bacteria start to break it down into CO2 and energy via respiration which removes??

    O2 to oxidize the DOC(reduced carbon).

    Th low bioloading in non CO2 tanks is mainly to match the low NH4 removal and limited supply of CO2.

    Many folks have more fish and more algae, but it's less to do with the DOC;s, but to some degeree that can reduce the dOC loading by having less fish, but plants are also a large source of DOC themselves, like 10% of their fixed carbon is leached out as DOC's..........

    Regards,
    Tom Barr


     
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