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Re: Tanks Surviving in Arizona

Thank you all for your responses.

Roger S. Miller wrote:
> Are you thinking of their potential role in controlling nitrogen
> buildup?  Nitrate generally doesn't build up in healthy planted tanks --
> at least those with added CO2 --  because the plants plus
> denitrification in the substate and/or filter material use the nitrate

My concerns (and hence interest in plenums/Jaubert/livesand) are that

1. incomplete denitrification (due to lack of sufficiently anoxic areas in
the substrate (perhaps caused by increased water movement through the
substrate from substrate heating/higher temps in general??)) will generate
nitrate levels that can only be removed by water changes, i.e., "the
solution is dilution" I keep seeing. From my reading, it seems not
everyone(myself included) is able to get complete denitrification. I know
some of the things I've done wrong in my current set up that contribute to
this, but I want to make sure it(high nitrates requiring dilution) doesn't
happen again in AZ.
2. gradual increases in hardness due to evaporation/"topping off" will
lead to non-optimal conditions/metal toxicity. Again, from my reading,
these two points (nitrates/hardness) are the reasons some advocate weekly
water changes (something I would like to avoid or at least delay). My
understanding (limited as it is) of plenums/Jau... is that the anoxic
areas created will slow/prevent/reverse? some of the oxidation of metals
that make them unavailable to plants.

> Umm... Methods for what?  If you mean general plant tank methods there
Sorry, I was unclear. I was specifically referring to methods that require
infrequent water changes/dilution. I'm already planning on the "obvious?":
dense plantings, very light fish load, CO_2 injection, but want to "stack
the deck"(so to speak) in my favor to avoid 1 and 2 above (and have nice
plants!). At the moment, my 3 tanks (75,46,20g) produce more waste water
than my terrestrial plants can consume (I even save some in buckets for
watering in between water changes). Again, I've made several mistakes in
my current setups, I'm just trying not to repeat them/forestall future
problems in AZ. Perhaps I'm obsessing on details while ignoring the
larger picture.

> home aquariums.  Rhonda Wilson is a natural aquarium proponent who lives
> in the Phoenix area (Mesa, I think) and her website
> (http://www.naturalaquariums.com) contains a lot of interesting
I had not seen this one, thanks for pointing it out. I'll be sure to
visit. I think this is sort of along the lines of what I'm looking for.

Thanks for the encouraging words regarding temps as this is probably my
biggest fear. I've read several accounts on the web of plant meltdown in
Discus tanks attributed to higher temps, though George and Carla Booth do
not seem to suffer these effects. From your comments, and their success, I
seem to be over-reacting here as well (though they change water frequently
due to the fish load if I remember correctly (I appologize in advance if
As to the water use (which is really the point to all of this I guess), I
feel guilty in PA dumping the extra 10 or so gallons, though as you say,
in the grand scheme of water use its not that much. I would just like to
minimize whatever waste I can.

Thank you all again for your comments,
p.s. sorry for all the parentheses, I've been trying to learn LISP.

Jason F. Smith
Center for Cognitive Neuroscience
Department of Neurology
Temple University School of Medicine
3322 N. Broad St, Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19140