Re: Need for filtration in planted tanks

From: "Jan Fidrmuc" <J.Fidrmuc at kub_nl>
> Date: Thu, 13 Feb 1997 16:24:17 MET
> Subject: Need for filtration in planted tanks
> While reading Steve's instructions on growing Ellodea, I had a few 
> thoughts about need for filtration in heavily planted tanks. In 
> particular, it seems to me that filtration may not always be such a 
> good  thing after all. According to my understanding of the N-cycle, 
> fish produce predominantly ammonia --- which is also what the plants 
> prefer. A biological filter then  forces the bacteria to compete for 
> ammonia with the plants, which is not a good thing. So it seems to me 
> that it is better to leave it up to the plants to remove the ammonia and 
> only remove the nitrates with water changes. 

I accidently overheated my power filter (Aquaclear 300 set on low) 
during a water change and had no filtration for a couple of days until
I got it working again.  I don't think my plants looked happier.  Even
though I was keeping surface agitation to a minimum, I was losing way
more CO2 than I realized.  During those days, my ammonia was zero in
spite of a medium to heavy load of fish (heavily planted).  I think the
one thing I suffered from was poor circulation.  My danios looked bored
and I think my corner plants weren't doing as well as my center plants,
which might have just been me worrying over them.  

I've decided to get rid of my power filter and get a powerhead with a 
sponge attachment to circulate the water without disturbing the surface
and let the plants take on the ammonia.  There are nitrating bacteria 
all over the gravel and plants anyways, no need to force-breed more in 
an external filter if I'm not trying to keep more fish than my plants 
can handle.  The sponge will grow bacteria if it needs to, as well. I
don't know if I can get around it without risking my small fish.

Carlos E. Munoz		      cmunoz at crystal_cirrus.com