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Old 01-24-2016, 03:16 PM   #1
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Low light fast growing plants able to self sustain tank?

I have a my 20 gallon thats been struggling to keep any nitrates from the plants i have in there. It makes me curious if that could be a reliable system if set up to prolong maintenance since there wouldnt be any waste accumulated? I only have low to medium light with java fern, a few anubias, and a bunch of hornwort (grows insanely so this would be the nitrate sponge), no co2, and dosing with leafzone and flourish.

I am wondering partly out of curiosity, and also because my girlfriend has a tank here as well but she isnt always on top of weekly water changes without me bugging her lol. So if i could add a bunch of my hornwort trimmings to her 29g and just start dosing her tank with the ferts as well weekly when i do my water changes, perhaps i could reach a level where it keeps waste down to virtually nothing? The tank isnt stocked much at the moment, so we can keep it lower stocked. Is there something im missing that would build up and become toxic to the fish? Id have to top up with water from evaporation, so would the disolved solids build up to bad levels like this? Ive heard of people with planted tanks that go as long as a year of more without a water change, but i wasnt sure if that was a high light tank or otherwise more than our basic inert substrate and stock t8 lighting. Not looking for going years between changes, but even a few weeks or months would be nice and im sure the fish would like the waste staying so low. She'd still have to rinse the filter occasionally anyways, of course
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Old 01-24-2016, 05:46 PM   #2
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Something like ecocomplete would probably help any root feeders, my nitrate reduction method is lots of java moss lol. I only had a few strands of hornwort but it all died. Would love to try it again personally.

if you did a med light LED with ferts and something like ecocomplete heavily planted it could likely be done. Im no expert but i plan on trying this in the future with my 30 long when i get some more cash.
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Old 01-24-2016, 05:59 PM   #3
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Hornwort gets its nutrients from the water column so I think I wouldn't need Eco complete. She has less light than my other tank and more water to penetrate, so I'm not sure if she's get as much growth. Maybe if there was more of it spread out throughout the tank (so it's not blocking lower plants) they would add up to about the same growth and nutrients used total. Unless that's not how it works lol


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Old 01-24-2016, 06:40 PM   #4
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The problem is that without water changes, eventually certain things needed by plants and the beneficial bacteria will be used up. Mainly calcium carbonate- when that's all used up your pH will crash and your bacteria will die and likely so will your fish.
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Old 01-24-2016, 06:45 PM   #5
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Low light fast growing plants able to self sustain tank?

Can you explain again what you mean by the first sentence in post 1. It didn't quite make sense.

And are you referring to nitrates when you say 'waste'?


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Old 01-24-2016, 06:53 PM   #6
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Ok. And these substances aren't added by the fertilizers? I had thought those were pretty much covering most of what the plants needed in that sense.

And in that sentence I was referring to my 20 gallon long tank that I've been running for a while now. I had stayed below 5ppm nitrates always with my weekly water changes, and at times dropping to 0ppm depending on stock. I had removed some fish recently to quarantine and since then have sat at 0ppm and seen my hornwort start to windle down from it. That's why I was thinking maybe setting my girlfriends tank up so the hornwort is able to keep nitrates down could allow it to be a little more self sustained in terms of water change schedule. And I was referring to the nitrogen byproducts like nitrates as waste.


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