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Re: [APD] Re: ecosystem in aquarium

Search the web a bit and you'll find a number of communities for people with
"balanced tanks," more commonly referred by those communities to as "natural
aquaria." I happen to have one myself.

I have a 35-gallon tank (tall hex no less!) with about 50W of ODNO lights.
There is no filtration at all, no pump for water movement, nothing. There's
just a submersible heater hidden behind a rock at the bottom. (Yes, the tank
develops a thermocline in winter, but it doesn't seem to bother anything.) 

Three sides have cork board covered with varieties of Java Moss. Much of the
substrate (which is sand over topsoil) has plants that reach the surface
such as Vallisneria spiralis and Rotala rotundifolia. There are some smaller
foreground plants such as Echinodorus tenellus and Anubias.

The tank has not just three SAEs, but dozens of swordtails. (I only put in
three swordtails, but with all of the plants there are lots of hiding places
for babies.) It's hardly what I would call lightly stocked.

I do 50% water changes about twice a year. Aside from that I top off. Since
it's a covered tank, and a tall hex, evaporation isn't too bad.

I've found that the key to success (and Diana Walstad talks about the
importance of this too) is having plants reach the surface. Early on I would
do major prunings to allow the plants "room to grow." Problems (algae, fish
deaths, etc.) would inevitably result. Now when I prune I always leave a
fair number of plants reaching all the way to the surface, so they can get
atmospheric CO2.

So a pumpless filterless tank is hardly some theoretical construct. A lot of
people are doing these types of tanks. They just usually don't frequent APD.

- Jim

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