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>...(which comes to about 73" inches of fish)
>For filtration I have a Whisper "2" power filter (listed for 10-20 gal.) w/
>only floss  (this filter is used for purely mechanical filtration) and a
>Marineland Biowheel 30 powered by a powerhead with a sponge prefilter.
>The tank has not shown any measurable levels of NH4 in months.  I have been
>told that plants prefer ammonia over nitrate.  If this is the case then
>would it be better for me to not use the biowheel (since it converts all the
>ammonia to nitrate) and just rely on the plants to take care of the ammonia?
>I was just wondering... What are peoples thoughts on this?

Your tank is so overstocked that you probably need all the bacterial
filtration you can get.  I'll bet you have high nitrate levels in this
tank?  If so, it's because the plants can't handle all the waste produced
by the over population of animals.  Not all the water goes through the
filter at every pass.  The plants get a shot at the ammonium too.  When
they run out of ammonium, they _will_ use nitrate.  If you ahve more then
very small (10 ppm or less) amounts of nitrate, you _need_ that bacterial

Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association