Seachem Test kits/ plenum

From: STDIXON <stdixon at bechtel_com>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 1997 08:20:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: SeaChem Test Kits

Olga in Vancouver wrote:

>Hi, can someone give me a quick answer on whether or not the Seachem Test
>Kits are reliable for freshwater? I need a phosphate test kit and the
>Seachem is quite a bit cheaper than the LaMotte. I can order one from my
>local store if I put in a request by tomorrow but I'd rather spring for
>the LaMotte than get a test kit that isn't accuarate. How about the iron
>test kit?

I have been pleased with SeaChem's test kits, and particularly so with the
phosphate kit.  I like the reference test solutions and though they are
very modest little setups, the white dishes provide a good background for
matching the colors.  I have RO/DI water which I use to see the exact color
for zero phosphates.  I now have a good feel for "trace" levels of
phosphates which helps me tweak nutrient dosing.

At least a couple folks on the APD have complained about QC problems with
SeaChem kits.  I think it was yellowed reagent in the Fe kit.  SeaChem will
apparently replace "defective" kits.  Through mail order, the kits are
about $15 if memory serves.

Steve Dixon

From: RTalukdar at mail_utexas.edu (Roni Talukdar)
Date: Sat, 15 Feb 1997 00:25:11 -0600 (CST)
Subject: filterless plant tank.


  I just set up my freshwater tank again after a long hiatus and am trying
out the filterless approach.  I toyed with the idea for a few months before
and even ran my 100 on no filter for about 1 1/2 months.  However, the fish
load was extremely low and the time of the setup wasn't long enough to
really get any real data.  I don't feel the plenum is essential or even
beneficial; most reefkeepers have moved away from the idea of a plenum but
are instead using live sand.  In freshwater tanks, an analogous situation
occurs with the Malaysian trumpet snails and fine grained Texblast gravel.
Anyway, with a sufficiently deep sand layer and enough sandstirrers, the
anoxic regions necessary for dentrification should occur.  To help avoid
anaerobic conditions, however, it's a good idea to have good water motion
the surface of the sand bed (via a small powerhead).  Anyway, in about 6
months I'll tell you how it turns out...