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Re: Water Conditioners and Their Effect on Heavily Planted Tanks

On Wed, 29 Nov 2000, Leroy wrote:

> But if plants are the only type of media that you recommend to use as
> chemical filtration in a planted tank, then how are you supposed to
> remove some of the other toxic chemicals besides heavy metals that
> sometimes come in with tap water? (I am assuming that plants do not
> remove any other materials from tap water besides heavy matals)

Why assume your tap water contains "toxic chemicals"?  Water supplies in
pretty much all developed countries are regulated by law to contain levels
of most potentially toxic chemicals that are far too low to be a problem
to freshwater plants and animals (same is not necessarily true for marine

The exception to this are the disinfectants (chlorine or chloramine).
What you do about those things depends on which your water system uses.
Handling chlorine is easy.  Chloramine is more difficult but there have
been extensive recent discussion on list about how to do it.

As to what plants will remove...  A lot of the chemicals in water supplies
are essential to plant growth, so given the right circumstances plants
will remove a lot of things from the water.  You can usually arrange
conditions so that the major nutrients are kept at low concentrations.
You probably won't provide enough light or the right combination of plants
to remove bicarbonate and plants will use only a very small amount of the
chlorine and sulfate present and probably none of the sodium.

We usually worry more about having enough heavy metals and other nutrients
than we do about having too many.

Roger Miller