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>Okay, I can follow this.  My last RFUG was built on a flourescent eggcrate 
>grid.  I've seen tube style UGFs commercially produced back in the 70's, but 
>not lately.  The tube style would allow for a better root zone.
>My questions are about the specifics.  What size PVC are you using?  How far 
>apart are the tubes?  Would smaller holes near the downtube and larger ones 
>further away level off the outflow?  And why are you recharging the system 
>with fresh laterite?  Do you have any evidence that the clay is depleting its 
>available....whatever (I don't know what you think you're getting from it)?  
>I mean, the clay provides for better root-hair development, and also leeches 
>a minute amount of iron, which most of us supply through our liquid 
>fertilizer stuff.
>Bob Dixon

You too saw those old tube style UG's ? At least I don't feel like some old
codger now<g>.
Liking cichilds in the past(still do), I made these because of their habits
of digging and did the RFUG to keep my vacumming to a minium. They were also
cheaper and I could make any size I wished and also use finer sands. The use
for plants was quite an accident.....................................
Plain luck........especially on the size of the gravel and keeping lots of
depth so those cichilds wouldn't get to the bottom without lots of work!

As far as my notion of adding laterite or a slurry of to re-inject my
I had *no* indications that any thing was really in short supply.........I
was just trying everything
and anything that I could to solve my algae problems at the time. It didn't
work(it was a CO2
problem then) but kept me wondering. I have no evidence that it (Fe)was
being used up. I was trying to keep everything out of the water column and
in the soil. My hope was that the plants with roots could get the nutrients
and the algae could not. I had heard that substrates get worn out after a
few years and need replacing. I figured that this might be why(no laterite
left). I don't believe today that it was that at
all....................after a year or more, plant tanks don't "need" fresh
laterite or whatever(jobes etc) added. It helps in the start, but so does
some nice old mulm from a established tank. I think that adding a fertilizer
stick after the tank is established is fine too but not nessesary also.  

Much of what Dupla was saying at the time *needed* to be done to have a good
plant tank I was finding out to be wrong or at least misleading to support
their own self interest(heating cables, high water flows, laterite from Sri
Lanka, daily drops for 30$ for a little bottle etc) in order to grow plants.
But at the time there was no other suppliers.........................The
DIYer in me ran a muck.**** Perhaps this is the American style<g>?********

I like CPVC the best. It's most like the old tube UG's that were for sale in
the 1970's.
1/2" PVC works well too, but is larger and bulkier. CPVC is nice because it
matches up nicely with tubing(it's 1/2" I.D. and 5/8" OD). I get the tubes
as close as I can together and drill small 
1/16"or so holes on the bottom. I add more holes further away from were the
pump inflow is to help distribute the water more evenly(I can put the holes
anywhere when I get the tubes as close as possible). Perhaps 3 inches apart
near the inflow and 2 to 1 1/2" inches at the end. There are many variables
such as flow rates, sand sizes and depth to consider but I never had much
problems with 50gallons/hr/sqft with 4-5inches of 2-3mm sand.
I added Kitty litter with good results about 2-3 years ago using this

 I know you like cichlids too and are a DIYer so this might be fun for you.
Beginners have had good results with this method too. I like simple though.
I've done all the techy stuff and all already. RFUG's have their uses too.
Tom Barr