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Plenums and filtration

Scott asked:

"On filtration:    Has anyone thought on the feasibility of a jaubert type
natural nitrate reduction for the planted aquarium?"

I have a 60 gallon with a Jaubert style plenum in the bottom of the tank.  I
put it there to take the place of the undergravel heaters, the idea being
that I would get a higher rate of water flow through the substrate.  I'm in
Texas where it's hot so that any heating devices are rarely on.  The plenum
works only too well at nitrate reduction, I have to add relatively large
doses of KNO3 to maintain nitrate in the 5-10 ppm range.  Whether it helps
substrate circulation (or even if THAT is a good thing) is still debatable.
The substrate is 4" of 2-3 mm silica gravel supplemented with topsoil high
in clay content over a 1" plenum.  I use PMDD and Jobe's sticks under the
heavy root feeders.  In retrospect, I wish I'd put some laterite or
vermiculite in the plenum itself so that any roots that make it into that
zone could take advantage of the CEC sites in an anaerobic environment.

Tom Wood