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>Hate to burst your bubble, but this isn't a new idea. Check the archives.
>I'ts been done several times. We haven't heard of any dramatic failures
>with this method, (though we rarely _do_ hear about those ;-) But we
>haven't heard enough positive feedback (past the first couple of month's of
>the experimenter's enthusiam) to convince me (or most other people) that
>there is enough benefit to be worth the effort involved.
PVC pipes used as a grid system without the plate is a better idea. It
allows better depth for the roots to grow and roots don't tangle these or
plug them. It can be changed over to a RFUG if your not happy with slow
dosing without much hassle. RFUG's using PVC or CPVC in this manner ***DO***
work and I got proof<g> but your notion of slow fertilizing in the substrate
won't apply then. Nutrients come mainly from water column and bacteria in
RFUG's grow roots and plants as well as anything I've ever seen and in many
cases even better.
I have 11 years using them and more species of plants than I care to name
that all do great with RFUG's. I tried the slow dose method a few times but
I didn't see much benefit. I found the bacterial actions of the RFUG to be
the likely cause of such good plant growth in the substrate.
Roots do like aerobic conditions.....this I know and they do very well in
such environments. Also, the tank can handle more bio-load with them and
they able to react to changes in the tank loading faster.
All that bacteria and roots down there make quite a bio machine.
The faster flow rates used allow more bacteria(perhaps some fungus also
maybe some tiny critters too) to colonize the roots and each grain of sand.
Roots don't have to deal with the anaerobic conditions(some don't like it,
such as Anubias) and there's no chance of H2S or dead zones. There are areas
of oxidation and reduction (ok just a little amount outside of the flow
zones) from this RFUG also within the substrate.
I've used laterite in the past on these tanks with little "blow out" but I
didn't use dupla's "dust" either. The tanks settled out after about two or
so hours. Dan Q's Kitty litter worked great also. I've set up a dozen or so
tanks and never had a problem yet..........after 11 years<g>.
Basically, I guarantee they work if you set them up like I do. You can try
the dosing method too but you'll be happy with this.
How I set them up:
I like CPVC because it's smaller than 1/2" PVC but either can be used. I buy
several "T"'s,"L"'s and some regular pipe and make a grid to fit the bottom
of the tank. I drill holes about 2-3 inches apart with shorter distances the
farther away I get from were the water comes in to make the flows as even as
possible. I use 1/8" or smaller to 1/16th". I pump water into these at flow
rates about 75/gal/sq/ft. So a 150 gallon/hr powerhead will be good for a
standard 20 gallon tank with a 12x24 bottom. You can use less also. Use
prefiltered water say from a sponge or a canister. I drill a burp hole at
the top were the water comes in to let out any bubbles that might
accummulate in there. Next I'd add some laterite or old mulm or both maybe
some peat on the very bottom. On top of this I'd add the grid then about 4
inches of 2-3mm sand.
I have a site were you could see a jpeg of it. This is courtesy of Cliff's
camera and expertise.
It is on NO#78 if your interested in doing such a system. All the tank
photo's in this are RFUG's except for the photos were I'm in there.
This should give an idea of what the thing looks like. I add a 150gallon/hr
pump to this(for a 20 gallon) at the top tube rising from the grid. there's
a small burp hole drilled at the top elbow for air bleed off and water flow
in the tank. No other filter or pump is needed for a 20 gallon that's
moderately stocked. RFUG's grow the thickest hairgrass you'll ever see.
Tom Barr Still enthusiastic about RFUG's.