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[APD] RE: LFS display

>  Yes, both the simple Nutrafin yeast reactors as well
> as the pressurized systems...we will also carry the
> full line of the Seachem plant products including
> Excel.

Well then you folks may want to consider a nice model system of each set up.
This will help you and the customer learn more about each system.
Do the pressurized system, Petco, Petsmart and other large chains don't
sell the tech equipment.
> >SeaChem Excel will not off gas.
>  I realize this...however since this system will
> include retail space for fish I MUST out gas the CO2
> before the water is returned through the
> sump...otherwise I would have issues w/ fish gasping
> at the surface potentially.

The _point_ of the Excel is that is cannot offgas. It's not CO2, it is
however, it is a source of Carbon for fixation.
There is no atmospheric component.

I also don't think you see the issue with CO2, unlike a fish only system,
CO2, NO3 etc are problems and considered waste.
CO2 is not really a problem, it's low O2 that is the problem when fish are
gasping at the surface.

Please give this some real thought.
I do environmental monitoring with the State of CA when we kill weeds. We
don't ever measure CO2 content to ensure fish health.

We do measure dissolved O2 levels.

So what happens when we have high CO2 and plants? We also have high O2
levels, more than all the aeration you could possibly add or as many
wet/dry filters that you could fit on this system. 

The only way to add more O2 is to add pure O2 gas...............which is
what the plants do.
All those pearling tanks are bubbles of the pure O2 gas.
A simple biological concept=> start with the base of any ecosystem, the
plants(or algae/bacteria).
So if you want happy fish, then provide conditions for happy plants.

Happy plants= happy fish.

Take a look at planted tank fish, I've never had a disease in like 15 years?
Starting at the foundation of the ecosystem you are trying to create and
addressing those needs is truly the best approach.

Fishcentric notions/ideas/habits, of which most of us came from into the
plant hobby, really has no base other than filters and bacteria.

Plants, unlike bacteria, remove CO2, NH4 directly(thus not consuming nor
draining O2 levels in the tank), NO3(only a slightly anaerobic bacteria
will do this and plants are much better at removal of NO3), PO4, no
bacteria will remove this in significant amounts.

And of course the by product of plant growth= > pure O2 gas.  

 The whole point of this
> system is to use the plants as a means of improving
> the water for the fish and vice versa...

Well then do that, you are telling me two different conflicting goals. 
You want to provide good conditions for both and in order to do that, you
need to address the plant needs.
Otherwise poorly growing plants that slowly die or sit there, are actually
a drain on the system, not a positive gain.

That's why when we kill weeds with fish in lakes/ponds, we measure the O2
level, because of all the dying plants produce organic materials which
bacteria chew up. These bacteria use large amounts of O2 and the low O2
levels, rather than the CO2 is what will kill the fish.

With healthy plants and good O2 levels, often 120-150% of abiment air
saturation, CO2 levels can be quite high.
You are welcomed to come down to Florida and see fish and plants at high
CO2 levels. These are natural systems with spring fed rivers that are rich
in CO2 and thus lush plant growth.

my main
> concerns regarding my request for advice were
> regarding keeping the chemistry stable in a system
> that will constantly be in a state of flux regarding
> bio-load of both plants and fish.

Maintain some stability in at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the system and you should
be fine.
Anytimne you see a buiold up of waste, do a water change and prune the
You will need to work the display at least 1-2 hours a week. 

 I am aware that I
> will need to dose, but will the new plants (figuring
> at least half will be fresh cut stem plants) require
> as much as an established and biologically stable
> plant tank? Will they need more? 

They will need a bit less. But given all the flux, large water changes will
be the simplest method for you for dealing with the system.

Would a Ph controller
> be enough to ofset the night time Ph  drop or should I
> develop some kind of overnight drip solution to buffer
> the system at night? 

Naw, you can if you want, make sure stray current(lights typically do this)
does not depress the pH controller's measurement.
I don't like pH controllers.
I use a pH monitor and then add what I need manually with a needle valve.
This works better and is safer. 

How much CO2 should I initially
> use if my goal is fresh growth w/ out having to do
> major pruning more than once a week? Retail fish
> systems tend to run between 20 to 60ppm of
> nitrate...how should I best use the plant system to
> better water quality for the fish while allowing some
> nitrates to remain for the plants? 

Well, with large water changes weekly, I think you will have less than this.
Still, I'd suggest no KNO3 dosing.
Use K2SO4 instead at 1/4 teaspoon per 20 gal of tank volume 1-2x a week.

Since the bio load
> will have peaks and plataus I am planning on dosing
> the system w/seahem nitrogen as needed and will dose
> traces every other day or so, always adding a bit less
> than what I figure is the max I can safely add at a
> time while checking my numbers w/ Salifert tests and
> performing a 25% water change on the system 2X a
> week...does anyone have a different suggestion that
> might work better, or am I on the right track?
> Thanks for your imput:)
> Sandi

I'd pass on the SeaChem Nitrogen, the Potassium, Flourish and PO4 is what
you need to add.
Perhaps SeaChem Equilibrium if the GH is low.
You can use their products, they already have instructions for dosing on
this will cause less customer confusion and be simpler from a business
perspective than using K2SO4, KH2PO4(but you may want to use this for the
LFS tank itself).

SeaChem will also promote the sale of Flourite or Onyx sand etc and offer
some for the display tank also.Call and talk to them. They have the best
service around. These are excellent products for the customers also.
Display what you sell.

Excel can be used on a small JBJ Nano Cube etc also so you can show that
off also.
Amano shrimp, otto cats and SAE's should be stocked at the store also.
Lighting, use the T-5's at 2w/gal.

With reflectors and their efficiency, this is about 3w/gal of normal output
FL's lights.

Tell me your tap water's KH and GH.
I can tell you simply how to add the CO2 in the correct amount.

Tom Barr  

3rd annual Plant Fest July 8-14th 2005!
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