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Re: Heating Coils revisited

Erdoz1 <erdoz1 at wt_net> wrote:

> Could a modified under gravel filtration plates serve the same function
> as the under gravel heating coil systems?
> Take an UGF plate with a slightly longer than normal return tube that
> rises about 1 cm above the normal level.  Supply water into the return
> tube (from the filter outlow) so its serves as a constant overflow weir
> to impose a very slight static head.  This would result in a very small
> reverse flow through the substrate, duplicating (what I understand to be
> ) the  primary benefit of heating coils - providing enrichment to the
> root system and avoiding totally anaerobic conditions by creating a very
> small small circulation pattern from the water column through the root
> system.
> Best Regard
> Erdoz

Folowwing the recent discussion, here is some more *anecdotal* evidence...

I have EXACTLY this same setup in my aquarium, running for about 1.5 years
now. The only extra is that I put a 1/4" layer of foam over the plate to
prevent laterite to seep thru the plate holes. I add the PMDD daily dose into 
the riser tube; the idea is to force the fertilizer seep thru the substrate 
before it reaches the water column. The flow rate is very low, of the order
of a few 10s of gallons / day. Cannot tell anything about its effectiveness 
or lack thereof, since I have nothing to compare with. FWIW, the aquarium has 
been stable and almost algae-free for the past year or so, with a very high 
fish load. 

I put the system together because I had the UGF plate sitting around and I
thougth the idea makes sense. If I had to start a tank anew I don't know if
I would go to the store and buy a UGF just to use it in that way though. I
would probably use perforated PVC tubes instead of a plate. I recall reading
someone comment (Steve Pushak ?) about the plate providing a large space 
under the substrate where the fertilizer (chelates) could break down and 
become unavailable before plant roots have a chance to grab ahold of them. 
A pipe grid provides a minimum-volume system, and so the water that enters
the riser pipe comes in contact with plant roots sooner. It also leaves more 
room for the substrate medium itself. 

Anyway, IMHO, if you have the plate, use it. If you don't, don't bother
with the idea unless you love to fiddle with gadgets, tools and experiments.

- Ivo Busko
  Baltimore, MD