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Plant tank with wet-dry filter - help

Discussion in 'The Aqua Lounge' started by Jim, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    I have a 55 gallon tall tank with a wet-dry filter and sump. About 3 watts per gallon of light. Lots of plants and moderately stocked. Some plants doing well, some just getting by and some declining. I have been using Flourish and Excel but think I need CO2 so am planning to purchase a system (probably from Greenleaf). I could use some advise from others using a similar system, which appears uncommon. Tank set up for about 6 weeks. Water is good. I want plants happy but don't want extreme water changing and every day ferts.
    Comments appreciated. This is my first post.
    Jim
     
  2. Jurijs mit JS

    Jurijs mit JS Admin Staff Member

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    hi and welcome to asw :hi:

    I´m sure Orlando will help you with the Co2, otherwise the you setup is uncommon so kind of difficult to give advice.
     
  3. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Thanks
     
  4. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello, and welcome to ASW.

    If your goal is to limit maintenance ie fertilizing and water changes then you should look into non-CO2 methods and low light. Sorry to burst your CO2 bubble, but adding CO2 and running 3 WPG (what type of light T5's, T8's?) means more maintenance, a regular fertilizing schedule, and more frequent water changes.

    Look into the Walstad method, El natural, and other non CO2 low light methods.

    This does limit the types of plants you can grow, but the tank can look very nice nonetheless.
     
  5. plantbrain

    plantbrain Aspiring Aquascaper

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    In addition to what has been said, if you go the non CO2 route, Wet/dry filters are quite good.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    My lights are two 39 watt 6500K and two 39 watt 10000K T5's. I am willing to add ferts daily if necessary and I do a weekly water changes which I could increase from my usual 25%. It just seems like there must be middle road moderate growth method like ferts less often, water changes of less than 50%, and a lower level of CO2 saturation which would still be an increase from not having CO2. I already have good lights and my aquarium in in a place where it gets quite a bit of natural light in the am. I had always wanted a wet dry system but now that I have it I find that it probably isn't optimal for what I am doing; however I am not ready to give it up and think I want to try CO2. Am I being foolish? I appreciate the input. Thanks
     
  7. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Moderator Staff Member

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    Wet/dry filters are very good filters, I wouldn't drop it. It may need some modifications with CO2 injection. Plantbrain aka Tom Barr uses them extensively and the man can grow plants.

    I believe, but am not sure so double check this, that the area of the filter where the water trickels through and has a lot of agitation should be sealed with duct tape in order to not let the gas escape and be redissolved into solution. the other portion does not need to be sealed as there is little surface agitation within that portion of the sump.

    Low maintenance, less ferts and less Co2 demand are going to depend upon lighting. That is the throttle and determines how fast things go. Adding Co2 allows plants to better utilize light and other resources for growth. I would decrease the lighting significantly if you want to get a lower maintenance stable level of growth. I would cut it in half and see how things do.

    I would also suggest avoiding too much ambient sunlight. It is stronger than you think and could result in algae growth on the glass.

    To give you an idea, my 37 gallon tall has 2x24 w T5's and some older current USA powerbrite LED's. I am having no troubles growing plants under that light. My pogostemon stellatus has nice color too. This would be considered very low light in the WPG rule, but it isnt because it is T5 light and LED light. I dose EI 3-4x a week and change 40-50% of the water once a week. I trim my faster growing stems every 3 weeks or so. Other things less often. Not a lot of maintenance really. I use a hose (a design I took from plantbrain) to drain down a floor drain or the flowerbed and then connects to the shower head to refill. I clean the glass while it drains and dose dechorlinator and GH booster as it fills then I'm done. A water change takes 20 minutes from start to completion.

    Low maintenance and lower light means you should be looking into plants that do well in those conditions ie. java ferns, bolbitus, cryptocoryne sp., anubias sp., and many mosses. Combine that with good flow and you can have great tank. I like a pump to aid flow. You can add CO2 to this if you choose, it just means that you will need more ferts and things will grow faster. It will also extend the varieties of plants you can grow, this translates to more maintenance.

    Those are my thoughts. Just remember you cannot have it all. There are trade offs.
     
  8. ghostsword

    ghostsword Aspiring Aquascaper Staff Member

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    The throttle is the light, as ShadowMac said. Keep the light low, a good choice of plants, and you can have an amazing tank. Anubias, crypts, most ferns and moss are all great plants to have on a low fert tank. :)

    Crypts get a large portion of their nutrients from the substrate, so get a good enough substrate and you are half way there. Moss and ferns will grow slowly on low light, but with CO2 and weekly ferts you are on the good path.

    I would drop some of that lighting to half, and keep it only for 2 to 3 hours, especially as you said that it get's natural light.
     

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