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Filterless Plant Tanks

> Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 14:26:06 -0500
> From: Jamie Howton <jhowton at fotofab_com>
> I just read the article titled "Plants and the natural aquarium" by
> Doug Valverde in the July 1997 issue of FAMA.  Doug appears to be
> advocating filterless plant tanks on the grounds that since "plants
> prefer ammonia/ammonium and can use nitrates, but not as efficiently",
> there is little need for filters containing nitrifying bacteria in
> planted tanks.  
> I would be interested in hearing any opinions.

I agree that "external" biological filtration is less important in a
well run planted tank. There is plenty of nitrifying bacteria in the
tank itself (walls, gravel, etc) and the plants help out quite a bit
with ammonia and other toxic substances.  

I haven't read the article, but I suspect the fishload is important in
a "natural" aquarium.  If it is too highly stocked with fish, extra
bio-filtering may be needed. 

Good water flow is needed for plants.  The powerheads are a good
sourse of this; external filters are another. 

What about mechanical filtration?  While it's not mandatory, most of
us seem to want "sparkling clear water" and clean tanks.  Something
has to take care of detritus and dead leaves, etc.  

I still advocate trickle filters as a convenient, albeit expensive,
way to provide easy-to-keep-clean mechanical filtering, water
circulation, a sump for reactors and such and a little extra
biological filtering. 

Need info?  http://www.frii.com/~booth/AquaticConcepts.htm