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Advice please 🙂

mario

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Joined
12 May 2012
Messages
57
Location
Kendal, Cumbria
Hello everyone, I am planning my return to the hobby after a long break. I want to start from where I left, that is with a low(ish) tech tank (no CO2 injection)
As a substrate I was thinking garden centre topsoil capped with play sand. Being the sand very fine can it be an obstacle to the roots? Also does the topsoil have enough organic matter (compared to compost) to produce CO2 once decomposition is established?
I am thinking DSM to establish the roots of some carpeting plants (mini haigrass, helantium green, marsilea hirsuta), then flood, plant some stems, and use liquid carbon to help the transition to the submerged low CO2 environment. Is it worth trying or is bound to failure?
Third and last question: if we believe that exchanges between water and the atmosphere are beneficial not only for oxygenation but also to keep CO2 levels stable, would a powerhead with Venturi be useful? I will be already using a hang on back filter.
Thank you!

Mario
 

ScareCrow

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28 Jan 2019
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375
Location
South west
Hi Mario, you can use topsoil topped with play sand. The sand won't cause problems for the roots. Have a look at the soil substrate thread, it should have the answers you want.
As for the Venturi question, the size of the bubbles created by the Venturi will be too big for any significant CO²/O² exchange. Decent surface agitation should be sufficient. Venturis tend to be noisy but if you like the look, go for it.
 

dw1305

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UKAPS Team
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7 Apr 2008
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13,106
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nr Bath
Hi all,
Also does the topsoil have enough organic matter (compared to compost) to produce CO2 once decomposition is established?
I'm a great <"Diana Walstad fan">, but I'd rather rely on water turn-over for gas exchange (<"both CO2 and oxygen">), rather than <"not having any water circulation"> and having dissolved CO2 from decomposition build up.
Third and last question: if we believe that exchanges between water and the atmosphere are beneficial not only for oxygenation but also to keep CO2 levels stable, would a powerhead with Venturi be useful?
I'm a <"venturi fan">, in fact I'm <"an oxygen fan"> generally. Picture from <"The dissolved gas bubble.......">.

venturi2_zpsdxwhr1q8-jpg-jpg.jpg

As for the Venturi question, the size of the bubbles created by the Venturi will be too big for any significant CO²/O² exchange. Decent surface agitation should be sufficient.
You can "cheat" by aiming the venturi at a sponge, the waffled surface sponges and PPI10 or PPI20 sponges are <"particularly good for retaining bubbles">.

-php-attachmentid-15562-stc-1-d-1254795378-jpg-jpg.jpg


cheers Darrel
 
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Stan510

Member
Joined
20 Oct 2021
Messages
354
Location
Hayward ca
I've found a venturi to IMPROVE plant growth in low tech. The more the better. Mind you I have a strong pump and it really helped to add the venturi. Only- noisy. BUT!..If you buy a quiet air pump like Tetra or whoever,then run the outtake to the venturi you get a big increase in foam and much quieter. Just make sure that if you turn power off...that the hose doesn't back up when the pump is restarted. Raising the pump well above the tank is a good option.;)
Interesting to see this topic because I last year mentioned it on another board and it sort of died as a topic. But,I DO believe that Co2 in the air is in those fine air bubbles that you will see sticking to plants like its a Co2 tank.
There is one vid in German where he's doing that in his tank and plants look fine. Lots of light and water movement.
 

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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Minnesota, USA
I've found a venturi to IMPROVE plant growth in low tech.
Very interesting @Stan510 ... If that really raises available CO2, even marginally, it would be worth investigating for sure for us Low-techies - I've been pursuing ways to increase CO2 in my low tech tanks, but not much more than additional surface agitation and lower temperature came up. I would love to hear the CO2 experts take on this one... Clive / @ceg4048 what's your take on this idea?

Cheers,
Michael
 
Last edited:

erwin123

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4 Mar 2021
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572
Location
Singapore
Third and last question: if we believe that exchanges between water and the atmosphere are beneficial not only for oxygenation but also to keep CO2 levels stable, would a powerhead with Venturi be useful? I will be already using a hang on back filter.
Thank you!

Mario

normally we try to adjust the hang on back filter outflow to be almost flush with the water level to minimise 'splashing' as the water cascades out of the HOB . If you allow the water to 'fall' a little distance back into the tank, the 'splashing will introduce air bubbles into the tank., as long as you don't mind the splashing noise.
 

Stan510

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20 Oct 2021
Messages
354
Location
Hayward ca
An option might be a super fine airstone powered by a good sized air pump and just run it under the HOB outflow. I like the venturi myself..but for small nano plant,no Co2 tanks a fine bubble making airstone or those wooden ones ( they still sell those?) from years ago might work.
 

mario

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Thread starter
Joined
12 May 2012
Messages
57
Location
Kendal, Cumbria
Thanks everyone for the contributions! I am definitely going to run a 'splashy' filter and a venturi when I'll finally get to set up my aquarium. I am tempted to try a little experiment to measure CO2 with and without water agitation. I have soft water so even a small change in CO2 should be detectable with the change in pH
 

Stan510

Member
Joined
20 Oct 2021
Messages
354
Location
Hayward ca
Yup. The more aeration the better plants do in lo tech. Flow is good also. Also- too frequent water changes work against you. I'm going for three weeks no water change and everything is better than ever. Plants growing,algae not.
Maybe the fact that in ultra pure streams there isnt a spot of aquatic plants or algae and they dont start to show until the water slows and the sun and runoff from fields creates aquatic plant thickets.
Now hi tech have constant dosing. Maybe for the rest of us..just don't make big water changes.
 

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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Minnesota, USA
I'm going for three weeks no water change and everything is better than ever.
Hi @Stan510 I would definitely go 3 or more weeks without a WC if I knew it would benefit my low-tech tanks.... It just won't, as I've experienced in the past. Weekly 40% WC's combined with comprehensive dosing of fertilizer has proven to be the ticket for me - in large part based on the advice given to me on this forum. Result: Zero algae to speak of, excellent plant health with steady growth and very clean tanks to boot. I don't sweat it if I occasionally skip a WC, but I try to be fairly consistent. It works. Now, whether you actually strictly need to do WCs every week or more or what specific percentage you change etc. likely depends on stocking level, plant mass, growth rate, biological filtration, the overall "metabolism" and ultimately waste buildup in the tank. There are just too many obscure factors in play to consider... Same goes for fertilizer... You just dose more than enough of everything in terms of NPK and traces and you don't ever have to worry about your plants being short of anything you dose. It doesn't really matter if your low- or high tech, except with high-tech you probably have to be more disciplined with the WCs and dosing given the much higher metabolic rate in those tanks.

Cheers,
Michael
 
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Stan510

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20 Oct 2021
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354
Location
Hayward ca
I know Michael- if it wasn't me I would say that guy doesnt know what he's talking about! I've gone the first three years with weekly water changes. I stopped when I noticed that things didn't seem to get best color until the 5th day or later after a change. So,I tried going longer..things did better but the filter was looking like filth. Since I would only clean that when changing the water. This time..it's cleaned anyways. So far no real tint..no yellow or tan ( the window behind it shows that especially with the white sheer curtains.) to the water so far. Far from the Goldfish tank at a Dentist's office or Asian food eatery.
 

MichaelJ

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9 Feb 2021
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Location
Minnesota, USA
I know Michael- if it wasn't me I would say that guy doesnt know what he's talking about! I've gone the first three years with weekly water changes. I stopped when I noticed that things didn't seem to get best color until the 5th day or later after a change. So,I tried going longer..things did better but the filter was looking like filth. Since I would only clean that when changing the water. This time..it's cleaned anyways. So far no real tint..no yellow or tan ( the window behind it shows that especially with the white sheer curtains.) to the water so far. Far from the Goldfish tank at a Dentist's office or Asian food eatery.
Hi @Stan510 I'm curious what you are dosing in terms of fertilizer?
 
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