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Re: biomedia in planted tanks

> Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 14:49:46 -0700
> From: Joe Reiter <jreiter at bigfoot_com>
> Subject: Re: biomedia in planted tanks 
> Okay, with all this talk lately about biomedia in a planted tank, I'm 
> beginning to wonder if my nifty setup is perhaps not so nifty.  <snipped>

Ya, Dave, geez, thanks for the bombshell!  ;) 

I have to confess that this had never really occurred to me, either.  I knew 
that plants prefer to take up ammonia rather than nitrates, but I guess it 
hadn't really clicked. 

Now check me on this: removing the biomedia from your filter does not 
necessarily equate to removing all of the beneficial bacteria, correct?  
Sure, the bacteria will colonize biomedia more effectively than they 
colonize every other surface in your tank.  But they're still out there, 

After all, we would not want to remove ALL the beneficial bacteria.  A 
relatively small population (when compared to the bacterial load found in 
specially designed biomedia) would serve as a buffer against plant failure.  
They would also - and I'm going out on a speculative limb, here - uptake 
ammonia and nitrite at night, when the plants are "asleep." 

This assumption - if correct - should provide some reassurance for people 
who want to remove their biomedia.  As long as there is good water movement, 
the bacteria will be doing their part - just not as aggressively as if you 
were pumping the water through biomedia. 

Of course, the financial aspect is what's really disturbing.  If a planted 
tank truly only requires mechanical filtration, this is a glum conclusion 
for those who have paid a small fortune for imported German canister 

 - Erika