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Re: ivy and plant filters.

> It's my understanding that terrestrial plants are better at removing
> phosphates than aquatic plants (which are better at removing nitrates). I
> have a setup where it would be easy to dangle the roots of a terrestrial
> plant in the sump of a planted tank. I've heard that pothos ivy can be
> poisonous to people, so I was wondering if it would be a good candidate as a
> phosphate absorbing plant for a tank with fish.  If not, what other plants
> might be good?
> Tom
> Austin, Texas

Try a search for plant filters. You can use a peace lily(Brazilian sword
Spathphyillum sp.) -you know- the house plant, sold for 98cent in a 4 inch
pots? Trickle some tank water over the roots etc or place in a sump or
hanging in or out of the tank. As long as the plant is above water and the
roots are in. This plant needs very little light but does fine if it has a
fair amount too. Easy cheap fast growing and adaptable to different lighting
set ups. If you can read a book comfortably it'll live with that much light
generally. Ivy didn't do as well as many might think. Some species did okay
but none where truly hardy. Pennywort is very good. I still use that. It
likes more light. For a sump the peace lily is hard to beat. I simply added
several PVC tubes filled with hydroponics media and a plant in each. Water
passed through these instead of a wet/dry box so I got plant nutrient
removal plus wet/dry filtration. A 15 watt light underneath your sump is all
you would need for this plant. I did this about 14-15 years ago. The tank
was non planted but a heavy fish load. I was playing with FW algae scrubbers
at the time and found out the plant kicked the algae's butt in removal and
with far less lighting. I tested for NO3's and to see if they were lowered
which they were but using a Tetra kit back then was not to most useful
accurate thing but it worked to some degree. I got no reading with the plant
filters but got some NO3's with the algae scrubber with the high fish load.
Not the most certain approach but enough to get a general idea the way
things were going(It works or it doesn't). I had a separate pump and
cyclic(every 15 minutes) spray on both the algae and the plant set up. I had
2 x 20 watts(plus reflector) of light at 3 inch height on the algae(and a
clear acrylic box etc) and had some 15 watts(no reflector) and 12 inches of
height on the plant set up.
Tom Barr