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[APD] re: water changes

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Sent: 27 March 2005 19:01
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com
Subject: Aquatic-Plants Digest, Vol 19, Issue 55

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Today's Topics:

   1. Re: no discrepancy (SunflwrgrlS at aol_com)
   2. Re: Re: dirt and the No CO2 tank (Derek Parr)
   3. Re: Non CO2 and dosing (Bill D)
   4. Lobelia cardinalis observations (Jerry Smith)
   5. Downoi-Pogostemon helferi-multiple stems available (David Grim)
   6. Water change for planted tank (W C)
   7. Re: dirt and non CO2 (Thomas Barr)
   8. Re: moderate CO2 and moderate light (Thomas Barr)


Message: 1
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 12:18:51 EST
From: SunflwrgrlS at aol_com
Subject: [APD] Re: no discrepancy
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com

Having attended a plant meeting at Ms. Walstad's house, I can attest to no 
discrepancy between her statement that she fertilizes with fish food and
she doesn't add ferts to the water column and yet she 'ferts' the swords.
doesn't add ferts to the water column, what she did start adding was broken
pieces of some kind of root tablet, pushed into the dirt. I didn't bother 
asking her what kind it was.  She doesn't dose the water column, she adds to
substrate which may have been going for a long time (I think I remember her 
saying that one of her tanks is 12 or 15 years old -- can't remember which).

Just my observation for what it's worth.  


Message: 2
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 17:21:30 -0500
From: Derek Parr <derekparr at earthlink_net>
Subject: Re: [APD] Re: dirt and the No CO2 tank
To: aquatic plants digest <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>

I recently listened to her (Walstad) presentation at our last club 
meeting here in Raleigh, NC (she lives locally), and I got the 
impression that her goal for using soil was to make the whole thing more 
simple and more simmilar to the way most people grow house plants.  In 
other words, put them in some dirt, add water and put them in a window.

So, whether they get their nutrients from the water or substrate is 
fairly irrelavent in that perspective.

As for natural, well...  no more natural than a potted plant.  I think 
that word might be a disstraction unless we're talking about biotopes.

As for the ferts thing, I don't know what she's said previously at other 
events but in her presentation and what I remember (disclaimer) reading 
in her book she only spoke of adding large amounts of fish food and 
stating that if some plants didn't make it, then tough, it ain't that 
kind of tank anyway. (my words)   When a couple people did bring up 
those kind of questions at the presentation that was basically her 
response, just more civil.  ;]

So, to summarize: from what I understood, Diana is more interested in 
simplicity and minimal work after the setup, and a little science to see 
if some of her theories make sense.

In contrast, I'd say that Tom Barr is ALOT more interested in the 
science and the proving of theories aspect of the hobby.


> Maybe not so adamant after all. Walstad has also acknowledged on the AB 
> forums that plants can get what they need from the water column. So, um, 
> what would the dirt be doing then?
> SH: "Ms. Kasselmann, who spoke at the NEC convention earlier this month, 
> described a version of "dirt tank" (my term, not hers) using loam. She, 
> too, said that after a period, ferts will need to be added. When and how 
> much depends on the loam and the kinds of plants, of course."
> Of course. :-/
> I think there's something conceptually attractive about the -idea- of 
> the balanced tank and soil substrates that makes them seem more natural. 
> When there's really nothing natural about growing weeds in a glass box 
> at all. The required inputs for success are easily determined so I'll 
> skip the Koolaid and stick with science.
> TW
> PS: Regarding CO2, I like the third way with moderate light and -some- 
> CO2. Slow stable growth and easy to manage, plus the plants filter the 
> nitrates produced by the fish, which is why I got started on this anyway.

PSS: yea..  i like that one too.. Or I will when I get the balance thing 
more balanced.  ;/

-derek (still a plant newb)


Message: 3
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 18:40:17 -0500
From: "Bill D" <billinet at comcast_net>
Subject: [APD] Re: Non CO2 and dosing
To: <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>

Thanks for all of those informative comments!

I am moved to set up a 10 gallon tank with plain 2mm - 3mm gravel as the
substrate.  The starting water will be very soft and acid, collected from
the outflow of a local woodland swamp.

I will dose Seachem Eq at the start to adjust the GH/KH,
then add KNO3 and PO4 to establish appropriate levels of those nutrients,
and then add a little Flourish.  I'll monitor hardness and nutrient levels
and add more as required.

The tank will have 2 wpg.   I'll use rapidly growing (in theory <g>) stem
plants and some rooted crypts and dwarf swords. The tank will be stocked
with 10 to 15 small fish.

And we'll see what happens.



Message: 4
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 19:55:41 -0500
From: "Jerry Smith" <jerrytheplater at hotmail_com>
Subject: [APD] Lobelia cardinalis observations
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com

I went for a hike on New Year's Eve in the Norvin Green State Forest in 
Bloomingdale, NJ and noticed some very healthy Lobelia's in the Post's Brook

where the Hewitt to Butler trail crosses the brook. This made me take a 
mental note to see what they looked like in the Spring. I went today and 
they had a few leaves that were dieing, but otherwise they looked very fresh

and green. They are growing in a protected eddy of a very swiftly flowing 
rocky stream. They are about 6 inches below the waters surface. They will 
not get any direct sun as it is densely wooded at this point. I can see the 
dried flower stalk from last years flowers still present. I guess I am 
surprised that they stayed a fresh looking green all winter. We just had 
about 6 inches of snow on Wednesday and it is still on the ground at the 
higher elevations(1100 feet) in the woods. Today was sunny and in the high 
40's low 50's. The water is very cold. It hurts my fingers to keep them in 
it for more than a few minutes.

Jerry Smith in Bloomingdale, NJ


Message: 5
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 20:51:19 -0500
From: "David Grim" <grim1214 at bellsouth_net>
Subject: [APD] Downoi-Pogostemon helferi-multiple stems available
To: "Aquatic Plants Mailing List" <aquatic-plants at actwin_com>

Hi everyone,
I did a major prune on my trio of 30 gallon Amano style cube tanks. I have
about 25 nice stems of Downoi, Pogostemon  helferi, available for anyone
interested. These are not small. Many are 4 inches or taller, and some have
side shoots.

$10 each and $5 shipping, USPS Priority Mail, United States.  Order 3 stems
or more and pay $8 each. Of course, no additional shipping for more than one
stem. Now is a great time to ship plants, as it is not too hot or cold in
many areas of the country.

I'd like to get as many mailed on Monday for Wednesday/Thursday delivery if
there is interest.

Please pm me at grim1214 at bellsouth_net with any questions, or if you just
want to order one or more my PayPal ID is the same.


Hi WC ,

	Go through recent archived postings. There have been lots of
discussion re water changes and the ecosystem in an aquarium. 



Message: 6
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 18:09:13 -0800 (PST)
From: W C <iceman_78_98 at yahoo_com>
Subject: [APD] Water change for planted tank
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com


I've got kind of a stupid question. I know for sure
that one of the reasons to we do water changes in a
established tank is to reduce the nitrate level in
your tank. But what happens when you put a lot of fast
growing plants in your tank? I would think that these
undemanding plants will use up the excess nitrates.
You can just add more water as it evaporates from the
tank and fertilizer for the plants. Do you still need
to do water changes in this case?


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Message: 7
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 22:33:00 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
From: Thomas  Barr <tcbiii at earthlink_net>
Subject: [APD] Re: dirt and non CO2
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com

>Yes, it did and does have "dirt", lots of it, like my other tanks.  I
>corresponded with Ms. Walstad both on her forum at AB and personally, and
>she was fairly adamant that fish food, even to excess, was better than
>dosing, and she was quite adamant about that.

If you look at fish waste, it's too heavy in N and not enough PO4, while
plants will do okay with PO4 limited stress, adding a tad once a week will
relieve that in a non CO2 tank system. This will allow much improved growth
from all species, not just a few that don't do so well with her approach to
non CO2.

Also, consider the traces, Ca/Mg in fish food and compare them to dry weight
ratios in aquatic plants.
Anyway, you can do a mass balance and compare fish foods to Plant dry weight
They are not the same. I do not know of any fish food that has enough PO4
relative to N.
Some plants will grow, some will do okay and some will do well, many will

If those picky plants do well, then it's very safe to assume.........that
the other easy to grow plants will also do well.

This is a reasonable assumption. 

The focus is always and should always be on the plants and their needs if
you want to have the best health and have the most plant and growing
choices. Fish will do great if you start with a good base, the primary
producers, that's the base of the chain here. Not fish.   

>But anyway, using a test kit on non-CO2 tanks can be helpful on occasion
>when problems develop, which was my point.

I think it gets back to same darn issue with the CO2 enriched tanks, not
I've yet to see anything that would suggest otherwise after testing non CO2
tank's response's and a variety of so called "You cannot grow that plant in
a non CO2 plant tank".

The potential for build up is greater since the uptake is slower(5-10X or so
based on my tanks with no fish loads to either the CO2 or non CO2 tanks-that
removes that assumption).

It's rather easy to add a small amount once a week and see. You can add
KNO3/KH2PO4, traces and Ca/Mg.
Once a week is easy, no water changes, no test, no problem, no dirt. 
You can test if you want to but you still get back to the issues with test

Do those darn things tell you what you need to know and are they accurate?
PO4/NO3 test generally are poor.

Unless you calibrate them and see if they are good, I'd not even bother
using them.
Often they cause more issues and take folks away from the plant's signals.
Some have calibrated their cheaper test kits, I still suggest using the best
ones you can afford.
Excess nutrients are no more a problem in a NON CO2 tank than a CO2 tank.
I've dosed PO4 very high as well as KNO3, traces etc just like a CO2
enriched tank, but at less frequency.
Things grow slower, 5-10x as slow.
I have not found any issues to date with about 15 non CO2 set ups.

So I might add 1/8 teaspoon KNO3 once a week for a 20 gal and smidge of
That's not exactly tough.

You can supply some things with the Fish food, but it's far from a complete
plant fertilizer.
People feed different rates, different fish food brands, different foods,
and other issues that make teasing apart the rates of uptake much more

By removing that and using the inorganic ferts will you be able to tell what
is really occuring and have the ability to to discern what effect and impact
adding K+ or PO4 will have more effectively.

I see folks break out the test kits when they hit trouble.
They generally need to add more in almost 99% of every case.
Adding a balanced amount of KNO3/KH2PO4/Traces/Ca/Mg etc will target all of
Are you going to pay for all these test kits and calibrate them and test all
of these each time?

So add more and see, excess is not going to cause issues until, you get very
high and namely only with NO3 in a non CO2 planted tank. You could just test
for NO3, but if the NO3 is fine and you still have trouble, then what?
More testing.

I really do not think you need a test kit for a non CO2 fully planted tank.
Worried you added too much(fish food or inorganic ferts)? Allow the tank to
take up the nutrients, don't dose for a 2-4 weeks and see. Don't feed much
for a week etc if using solely fish food.
Look at the plants.

You can purge the tank every so often. Since growth rates are slower, this
will not have a dramatic negative effect nearly as fast so you can respond
by adding more once things hit this point. And doing a water change once
every 3-12 months is not bad either for this and a big prune.

While test kits can be used, they also introduce other issues/assumptions.
Folks need to be aware of them and not trust them blindly as many hobbyists
have done for a long time.
Plants/algae never lie, test kits certainly can/do.
So focus on the plants.

Take the time to watch them, they are quite good at telling you what you
need to add.

Tom Barr



Message: 8
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 23:12:28 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
From: Thomas  Barr <tcbiii at earthlink_net>
Subject: [APD] Re: moderate CO2 and moderate light
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com

>I think there's something conceptually attractive about the -idea- of the 
>balanced tank and soil substrates that makes them seem more natural. When 
>there's really nothing natural about growing weeds in a glass box at all. 

I agree.
On some level it makes sense to add what is found(dirt) where it comes from.
So that is something somewhat reasonable as well.
The main attraction: they are cheap.
Cost is king with many.

Which is why I suggest less light rather than less CO2 if you plan on using
the CO2 at all.


>PS: Regarding CO2, I like the third way with moderate light and -some- CO2.

>Slow stable growth and easy to manage, plus the plants filter the nitrates 
>produced by the fish, which is why I got started on this anyway. 

How about low light and high CO2?
That works better IMO having done both.
Light is the main input of energy, not CO2.
While less CO2 can be used, it does not drive the growth slower to the same
extent as light.

Plants have a greater light use efficency when you have ample CO2. High CO2
with low light also gives the lowest chance of algal issues.
So you waste your light with less CO2, and get slower growth.
Or you can add more CO2 and use less light and less chance for algae.
Which is better? Less light will save you more on intial cost, electric
bills, bulb replacements, heat.

See and review all the low CO2 algae related + moderate to high light
problems folks have.....
Show one BBA issue that is not related in some way to CO2.
What is "moderate"? 15ppm? 30ppm? 2w/gal? 1.5 w/gal? 

There are the high CO2 adapted plants or non CO2 enriched adapted plants.
Having something in between is going to be hard to hit, you may have hit the
spot for your tank with your goal, but it'd be better and healthier with
adding more CO2 and less light. That much I can certainly generalize having
done both for a number of years. You'd still get the same growh rate. 
I think if you try this out on folks and try a few more tanks, you'll find
the same thing and pattern.

You can refer to Claus' article on the Tropica site as well for CO2 and low
light. We said the same thing independently a few years ago on the APD.

With less light, you also have less CO2 demand as well............so that
would improve the moderate CO2 dosing as well.....eitherway, less light is
going to improve things (down to a LCP) if less growth and a more robust
flexible dosing routine is desired.

Tom Barr



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