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Old 12-17-2013, 09:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Maryland for now
Posts: 7
Call me Crazy

Hello all,

I am a long time lurker new member. I recently received a very large setup from a friend and after playing around with it for a couple of months and doing some research I am finally getting serious with it. Just a couple of quick points before I lay down the gauntlet. I love planted tanks, turtles, water chemistry, balance, and the concept of self sustaining eco-systems.

Ok call me crazy but I want to put together a system that is a planted tank that I never have to do a water change on by leveraging aquaponics. The goal is to reduce the number of water changes Drastically if not completely, while growing plants above and below the water that can be used to feed the fish and me . Oh and to further complicate things I want to be able to support two turtles. All plant and animal species are TBD. Currently the stock includes 10 Giant Danios, 4 cory cats, and one 13 inch 10 year old pleco.

I understand needs of the fish and plants have to be balanced as best as possible and so species are important but most tropical freshwater fish are quite hearty I am told. The fish while nice to watch are really just there to play their part in the eco-system (poop) and the turtles, if I can find a way to support them, will be the pet stars in my house. Any ideas warnings thoughts are welcome!

Can this be done?
[240 Gallon Acrylic Marine Tank, Two API XP-L's, 4 foot LED day/night light]
1. Drastically reduce water changes or stop all together.
2. Planted eco-system below the water.
3. Aquaponics (small) above the waterline.
4. Run CO2 and UV sterilizers.
5. Anything I am forgetting.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:54 PM   #2
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Water changes are necessary in a freshwater tank for all sorts of reasons. Not just to remove nitrates.

Water changes:

Replace lost trace elements that are absorbed by fish and plants
Replenish KH, which is gradually burned off by the process of nitrification
Remove nitrate

I suppose what you COULD do is plant insanely heavily with all fast growing plants so you never have detectable nitrates, then you'd have to occasionally top up your tank with distilled or R/O water (otherwise your hardness would gradually increase over time to infinity). You'd use bottled trace elements and a kH booster to maintain trace elements and kH.

It's a little crazy but it just sort of kind of maybe is possible.
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
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Location: Maryland for now
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Water Minerals

Quote:
Originally Posted by mistersprinkles View Post
Water changes are necessary in a freshwater tank for all sorts of reasons. Not just to remove nitrates.

Water changes:

Replace lost trace elements that are absorbed by fish and plants
Replenish KH, which is gradually burned off by the process of nitrification
Remove nitrate

I suppose what you COULD do is plant insanely heavily with all fast growing plants so you never have detectable nitrates, then you'd have to occasionally top up your tank with distilled or R/O water (otherwise your hardness would gradually increase over time to infinity). You'd use bottled trace elements and a kH booster to maintain trace elements and kH.

It's a little crazy but it just sort of kind of maybe is possible.
Mr. Sprinkles,

I would love to pick your brain on the subject of water chemistry. First as I understand some heavy metals or at least iron are very beneficial to plants. Most of the planted substrates are there to provide a source of iron for plants since RO removes these impurities.

So I guess I was banking on most tropical fish's ability to adapt to a some what mineral depleted environment. I have no intention of doing this out of cruelty mind you as I am perfectly happy to provide a buffer when I top off my water levels. And most salt buffers offer a number of ways to reintroduce these trace elements, I think. But is not adding tap water more realistic representation of current real world water conditions, minus fluoride of course, where runoff brings in some man made pollutants and rain brings down air bourn particulates? As opposed to RO or distilled water and the like where everything is scrubbed and all of it has to be reintroduced? And from my very limited but growing understanding plant life is very efficient at filtering these pollutants, including acid rain. Anyway just some thoughts.

Current thinking has me using Maryland TAP water, maybe using a Britta like product to filter the water, Then having my canister bio/chemical filtration pick up from there, immediately followed by two UV-C filter/sanitizers on the return flow tubes before reintroducing the water to the tank. And at that point the plants will have a turn.

Anyway I welcome your thoughts.
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