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From:	MX%"Aquatic-Plants at ActWin_com"@MRGATE@WOODS
Subject: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #88
Precedence: 1

Aquatic Plants Digest       Wednesday, 22 May 1996       Volume 02 : Number 088

In this issue:

	About filtration
	Desired levels of various elements
	Admin re: Free Catalogs
	DIY CO2/sugar quantity
	Big Brother & Hydroponics Customers
	Re: DIY C02 recipie doesn't last
	Re: Surface Film
	Ammonium and nitrifying bacteria, CO2 diffusion
	Re: Ammonium
	Specific algae eaters for Diatom algae?
	Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #86

See the end of the digest for information on subscribing to the
Aquatic Plants mailing list and on how to retrieve back issues.


From: olga at arts_ubc.ca
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 13:30:34 -0700
Subject: About filtration

The topic of removing a filter is very interesting. The removing of
floating detrius and water circulation is what is meant by mecanical
filtration, no? But isn't it true that the nitrifying bacteria live in the
filter and on the sides of the tank and in the gravel -- actually on all
the surfaces? In other words, biological filtration takes place to some
degree no matter what.

I'm interested in the idea of minimal filtration. What kind of filter
system would be recommended by those who propose minimal filtration? On my
20 gallon tank at work I have an Aquaclear 150 filter. The sponge in it
catches dirt in the water but also acts as a biological filter by giving a
home to the bacteria. What could one replace it with?

in Vancouver which is very un-May-like right now.


From: duncand at sprynet_com
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 16:52:46 -0700
Subject: Desired levels of various elements

I'm having a problem with high levels of phosphates in all my tanks, and my 
50gal chiclid tank which has no plants, also has elevated levels of nitrates. 
Phosphates combined with nitrates...guess what. Yep I've got an algae bloom. 
It's diatoms specifically. brownish red dusting all over the glass, heater, 
gravel, etc.. Low lighting may also be playing a part in it, but the phosphate 
is in excess of 10ppm and the nitrate is around 35ppm. Prior to this outbreak, I 
recently did a delicate all day shifting of the entire contents of a 20gal with 
fish, gravel, etc., to a new 50gal tank and hood. I'm thinking that because I 
had to add a lot more fresh water than I would have during a regular water 
change, plus adding more new gravel to the old, perhaps the bacteria colonies 
were more severely smitten than I figured they'd be, and now I'm getting some 
spikes on these elements a little like cycling all over again.

Here's the question that qualifies this message in the plants mail list. What 
exactly are the optimum levels desired in planted tanks for phosphate, nitrates, 
and iron? Recall that I'm having phosphate levels in my 75g and 50g planted 
tanks as well. The books I have and the test kit instructions don't come out and 
say for example, phosphate level should be 0ppm or 5ppm. Same thing with the 
iron. I'm pretty sure nitrates should be kept as close to 0 as possible.

I don't think you want 0 phosphates as plants need a small amount to aid in 
photosynthesis don't they? If they get too much then they become damaged and 
algae grows better right? I have a lot of algae right now, and I didn't know I 
had phosphates til I got the test kit today.

Thanks for any advise.

Douglas Duncan
email: duncand at sprynet_com
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From: Cynthia Powers <cyn at metronet_com>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 18:19:45 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Admin re: Free Catalogs

Synchronicity is an amazing thing;  I went hunting last night and found 
Dr. Hillebrand's mis-information as well.  

I have asked Dr. Hillebrand to remove this entry from his Web page 
immediately.  If he's unresponsive, perhaps y'all would be so kind as to 
make the same request - thillebr at moscow_com

Thanks to everyone who joined in this treasure hunt - especially David 
Webb, Anne and Shaji.




From: Mike Variano <mvariano at vnet_ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 17:40:04 -0400
Subject: DIY CO2/sugar quantity

I have done several experiments with the types of yeast and
the amount of sugar needed for 2 liters of CO2 production.
By testing the specific gravity of the brew before and after
it is used. I have found that with 3 cups of sugar almost
1/2 was left in the end. The alcohol level sends the yeast
into a dormant stage. About 1 1/2 to 2 cups appears to be
the most efficient. ie: very little sugar left in solution.
The time remained about the same. I have also tried several
types of yeast, with almost no difference. I use bread yeast
and just under 2 cups of sugar. I might try liquid ale yeast
It will eat more sugar, but it may do it in the same time
frame..  It works great when making stout!!!    Mike


From: Stephen.Pushak at saudan_HAC.COM
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 14:40:39 PDT
Subject: Big Brother & Hydroponics Customers

Charlie wrote:
> > >     Some of the U.S. hydroponics shops are, like, really laid back, dude!
> > >     (I think I know who their regular customers are!) ;-)
> > 
> > Yes, my FedEX driver told me about a kid from his hometown who got popped
> > by the DEA.
> Ditto, I had a co-worker who associates with a rather "colorful" crowd.
> One thing led to another, we talked about lighting, and I mentioned I was
> going to go visit a couple hydroponics shops.  He then rattled off a half-
> dozen second-hand stories about how hydroponics shops and the DEA go hand
> in hand.  He listed activities as well as sentences.  ;-)

Well, I used my Visa and left a prominent trail for them to follow
which will lead them right to my aquariums! :-) I guess just to make
sure they notice, I should make a few calls to Canadian Customs about
importing GBA. What's the scoop on GBA in Canada? It would appear to be
available in the US. I figured it might be useful for recalcitrant
Aponogeton tubers.     Honestly! ;-)

Although it sounds like a joke, there is a local story about a chap
who got hit over the head during an RCMP drug squad raid when they
had the wrong address. They also shot his dog. It's not nice to play
jokes on your "friendly" DEA agent. No sense of humor.


From: duncand at sprynet_com
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 15:29:08 -0700
Subject: Re: DIY C02 recipie doesn't last

Thank you everyone for such a great response on my problem with short lived 
yeast recipies in my DIY c02 reactors. I am going to try most of your 
suggestions. Especially the addition of baking soda to buffer the sugar water, 
and using much less yeast. Also keeping the bottle from getting too warm during 
the summer months.

This mail list is great and so are the people on it!

Douglas Duncan
email: duncand at sprynet_com
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From: Stephen.Pushak at saudan_HAC.COM
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 14:15:30 PDT
Subject: Re: Surface Film

> From: svr at eecs_umich.edu (Steve Robertson)
> First, to Mark McClean:
> >     I am new to planted tanks and am having a problem with my 125 gallon
> >setup.  We are using vermiculite and soil under a gravel substrate.  The
> >tank has been planted for two weeks now.  We are growing plants that do well
> >in low light,  We have 160 watts on 11 hours a day.  Everything is growing
> >fine but every day a slick clear film forms all over the surface of the
> >tank.  The pH is 6.8 and the water is soft.  I have been skimming it off,
> >but every day it returns.  Is this related to having plants ?  I have never
> >had this problem in any other tank and at a loss as to what to do.  I would
> >appreciate any help.
> >
> >Mark
> I noticed the same thing in my 29 gallon tank.  A few days ago I added two
> black Mollies and the film dissappeared.  I also added a solution of K2SO4
> and water (a supplement to my Flourish nutrient mix based on the PMDD
> recipe).  I suspect the Mollies are responsible for clearing the surface,
> since I see them "skimming" the surface as if they are eating something.  I
> don't think they are gasping for air, because they aren't breathing hard -
> they really appear to be grazing at the surface.

I have similar surface film which seems to be strongly related to the
amount and type of food I'm feeding. (I'm feeding some Bettas for breeding
and they get lots of fresh or frozen brine shrimp). I don't think it's
related to vermiculite because it happens on my gravel only tank too.
Others have commented on this to the effect that its a bacteria which
is feeding on surplus nutrients (phosphates?). I think its worse if you
have little or no filtration or surface disruption but it's not really
harmful. It's also an indication that you should probably increase the
volume and frequency of water changes esp. if you're feeding lotsa fish
or carniverous fish. Don't panic; its not fatal. Ok panic a little bit
if algaes are taking over your tank and threatening to spill out into
the room and engulf the TV and the chesterfield which might interfere
with you're getting up to get a fresh beer between football/hockey/
basketball/baseball quarters/periods/innings. BTW, my tank with Platys
has less but I attributed that to feeding. Interesting thought.

Steve  Vancouver BC  (if it's not raining, it would like to rain)


From: krandall at world_std.com (Karen A Randall)
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 18:46:15 -0400
Subject: Ammonium and nitrifying bacteria, CO2 diffusion

Subject: Ammonium and nitrifying bacteria
Someone wrote:

> > A related question: when one has a biofilter in a heavily plan
> > would the bacteria and the plants be in competition?

Then AMC wrote:
>Yes, that's right.
> > If so, who gets what first?
>They both get some. But, the total amount available to the plants
> is reduced because of the competition with the bacteria in the f
> > the water through while the plants stand around waiting. Thus,
> > are more likely to get only nitrates--which we now know they h
> > time making use of.
> Your picture of what is going on is a little off. Think of it l
> this - You are in a closed room with a burning candle. The candl
> using up O2 and therefore you are competing with the candle for 
> Because of the candle, at any point in time, the amount of oxyge
> had available to you was less that there would have been if the 
> not been there, right? 

> Also, the concentration of NH3 or NH4 in your tank is
> theoretically _never_ zero. When we say that the test kit reads 
> really mean that the concentration is *undetectable*. 

True, but that's not exactly the same situation as we have in an 
aquarium.  We definitely have a finite amount of nitrogen 
available. (in whatever form)  It is _absolutely_ possible to have 
a situation where there is little enough nitrogen (in whatever 
form) available that the plants are nitrogen limited.  

IMO, that's why it may make sense to use excess biological 
filtration in a heavily stocked tank, but not in one that is 
heavily planted and lightly stocked.  In this case, commensurately 
large water changes will have to be done frequently to limit the 
build up of nitrate.

  If you _never_ see any measureable nitrate in your tank, odds 
are that the tank is at least slightly nitrogen limited.  OTOH, if 
you see nitrate levels rising, it's a sign that you are letting 
the bacteria do too much of the work, and not the plants.  In this 
case, look for the factor that is limiting plant growth.  Remedy 
that, and unless the tank is over stocked with fish, the plants 
should take care of ammonia(um) as it is produced and nitrates 
will decline.

As an aside, there should _never_ be any measurable ammonia and/or 
nitrite in a properly cycled tank with or without plants.  These 
two forms of nitrogen should be processed out by plants and/or 
bacteria before they reach measureable levels.


Subject: CO2 diffusion

Francis Ngoh wrote:
> Another twist is to pipe the CO2 under a floating glass jar:
> Borrowing Duncan's picture:
>   ____________r-------n_
>  |_====_________________|
>  |~|o~|~~~~~~~~~~~~||~~~|
>  | | o|  .  <>-<   ||   |
>  | |o |   .          .  |
>  | | o| ><>  \       .  |
>  |   O        |/  >-<>  |
>  |************|*********|
>  |______________________|
>  where o
>       o   are the CO2 bubbles coming from an airstone 
> I inverted a glass jar and let it float under a glass pane that 
> placed across the aquarium.  The CO2 bubbles are placed under th
> After a few hours, when it's filled up, I moved the bubbles else
> and replace them back under the glass jar again when the CO2 in 
> jar is almost fully dissolved.
> A further refinement would be to build a narrow, inverted glass 
> the back of the aquarium to collect the CO2 the same way.  Has a
> tried this before?

While pssive diffusion is better than just letting the CO2 bubble 
out of the aquarium, a reaction chamber, where CO2 is actively 
mixed with the water is much more efficient.  This can be done by 
bubbling the water directly into a power or canister filter, but 
that method makes some noise, and it's hard to count bubbles to 
regulate your CO2 flow.  

I use a reaction chamber made of either the fat end of a gravel 
vac, or a small pop bottle with the bottom cut off.  This is 
attached to the outflow of a canister filter.

____________ | Outflow from filter
___       / || \
   \     /  ||  \
    \    |  ||  |
     \   |      | Gravel vac
      |  |  o   | (or bottle with the bottom cut off)
      |  | o   o|
      |  |   o  |
      |  |  o   |
      |  |__|___|
      |     |
      |_____| CO2 line

There is virtually no CO2 lost with this method.  It is all 
completely dissolved as it tumbles around within the chamber.

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Assoc.
Boston, MA


From: franc at golden_golden.net
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 22:00:30 +0000
Subject: Re: Ammonium

> Help. Where does ammonium come from? I thought ammonia was what the fish
> secrete. If so, something must first turn ammonia into ammonium ... Where
> does that something come from? TIA.
The ammonium ion NH4+ is relatively harmless nitrogen compound. However,
depending on the pH value , a part of it changes into ammonia NH3. Ammonia is a 
toxic gas, which can penetrate  the cell walls in the same way as oxigen or 
carbon dioxide. The proportion of ammonia in the water increases in line with 
the pH value. If the pH value decreases, the ammonia changes back into harmless 
ammonium. This process takes place spontaneously without any involvement of 
bacteria, and can be repeated at will over and over again. If the pH value is 
less than 7 the amount of toxic ammonia is so negligible that it can never 
become a problem. By the way the temperature also plays an important part in 
this changing  
> A related question: when one has a biofilter in a heavily planted tank,
> would the bacteria and the plants be in competition?

Very good point. That is in fact the case.

> If so, who gets what
> first? My guess is the filter gets the ammonia first because it's puming
> the water through while the plants stand around waiting. Thus, the plants
> are more likely to get only nitrates--which we now know they have a harder
> time making use of.
Most of the filters on the market work only oxidatively (mechanically = aerobic 
nitrification). The only filter available (that I am aware of )  on the market 
that works reductively (bacteriologically = anaerobic denitrification) is made 
by Dennerle. Unfortunately it is available only in Europe. Come to think of it 
I have come accross the one made in North America ? but I don't know the name 


Franc Gorenc           franc at golden_net
Kitchener, Ontario     http://www.golden.net/~franc


From: Douglas Duncan <duncand at sprynet_com>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 22:48:46 -0700
Subject: Specific algae eaters for Diatom algae?

Does anyone know if there is a specific algae eater that is noted for 
actively preferring diatom algae as part of it's staple diet? I'm 
correcting some water imbalances in one of my tanks that have kept me 
plagued with diatom algae for a long time, but I was thinking of adding 
an algae eater to this tank anyway, so I figure I might as well seek out 
one that will find the smaller remainig amounts of this stuff appetizing.
- -- 
Douglas Duncan
email: duncand at sprynet_com
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From: jphealy at SYSCONN_COM
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 23:36:30 -0500 
Subject: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #86

I've been lurking for two months now and have really learned a lot from
all of you. thanks! I am about to help a friend of mine set up a 125
gal. tank as a plant tank. We were wondering if we could use a section
of a cypress stump that had been soaked for a week in a ten-percent
solution of bleached and then thoroughly dechlorinated? Any opinions?
Justin Healy in Sunny, Hot, Summery Savannah, GA.


End of Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #88

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Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 03:39:04 -0400
From: Aquatic-Plants-Owner at ActWin_com
To: Aquatic-Plants at ActWin_com
Subject: Aquatic Plants Digest V2 #88
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