Plant only filtration (why not popular in the hobby???)

duanes

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Isla Taboga Panama via Milwaukee
For the last 4 months, our islands de-sal water plant was down for repair.
We flushed toilets with sea water, carried cleaning and drinking water from a small well down the street, and our bath tub, was the Pacific.
During the last two months, the level of the 180 tank dropped so low, the overflows to the sump was un-useable, so no filtration at all, no water changes, and make up water was only available when it rained.
The only water movement came from a small air pump.
fullsizeoutput_1926.jpeg
No fish were lost (tank contained 12 four to five inch cichlids, 2 similar size tetras, a Pleco, a few shrimp, and a 6-8" Eleotris goby).
I attribute the lack of deaths to heavy planting, and low stocking level, compared to tank size.
I fed very sparsely, maybe once every 3 days, to reduce nutrient load. Lots of leaves fell in the tank, and tannins were high, turning the water tea color brown
The water came back on last week, sump is now working, and I'm back to doing daily small water changes.
fullsizeoutput_195f.jpeg
 
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bobblehead27

Piranha
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Apr 15, 2010
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SE Houston
For the last 4 months, our islands de-sal water plant was down for repair.
We flushed toilets with sea water, carried cleaning and drinking water from a small well down the street, and our bath tub, was the Pacific.
During the last two months, the level of the 180 tank dropped so low, the overflows to the sump was un-useable, so no filtration at all, no water changes, and make up water was only available when it rained.
The only water movement came from a small air pump.
View attachment 1389666
No fish were lost (tank contained 12 four to five inch cichlids, 2 similar size tetras, a Pleco, a few shrimp, and a 6-8" Eleotris goby).
I attribute the lack of deaths to heavy planting, and low stocking level, compared to tank size.
I fed very sparsely, maybe once every 3 days, to reduce nutrient load. Lots of leaves fell in the tank, and tannins were high, turning the water tea color brown
The water came back on last week, sump is now working, and I'm back to doing daily small water changes.
View attachment 1389667
Wow! I'd imagine oxygen depletion, even with so many plants but I guess you said you have a small airpump too, did you happen to get a chance to read your parameters before adding water when it came back on? I'm curious of your parameters were still good or if they were borderline at that point...
 

duanes

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Isla Taboga Panama via Milwaukee
I checked right after the water came on, pH had dropped a little(from 8 down to @ 7.6), but nitrate was still below 5 (I was amazed). The water was quite tannin stained, now with daily water changes its slowly clearing.
And I've added some ocean shells to the sump to bring buffering capacity back up gradually.
fullsizeoutput_1996.jpeg
During the water plant down drought, there was no water movement in the sump, and only 2" of depth, now almost full, the shrimp are again appearing.
The come from pools the dry up seasonally in the hills.
 

amazontank

Peacock Bass
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Nov 14, 2010
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I want to get back to pothos! I had one of my big tanks facing the sun in the morning and had some serious potho root system filling up a 4 foot high tank.
Nitrates were noticeable lower in that tank.
Only plant I was able to keep alive.
I go thru a couple hundred dollars of anubias every years.
Reason I'm here at this thread is I have a dozen giant anubias arriving today but now want to order some pothos!
 
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Johnez

Exodon
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Nov 3, 2020
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Yes, JH, you can use Pothos, but the plant is too viney and the root system doesn't grow thick enough to make a dent in the nitrogen that's produced in a large tank with a large fish load. The boys at NASA haven't used Aglaonema or they'd never go back to Pothos. The "AG" plant thrives in low light and stays on top of the tank. You only need a very small bacteria colony to use the small amount of nitrogen the fish produce at night when the house plants rest. Don't waste time on trial and error. Go to the nearest Lowe's and get a bunch of Chinese evergreen for a few dollars. Rinse off all the potting mixture and immerse the roots in the tank water with the leaves above. The tank water will stay near nitrogen free and you'll never have to do a water change.

TTG
Very interesting. I'd still do water changes, but super low nitrates is nothing to sneeze at. I've got pothos but it's not performing as miraculously as some have made out. Maybe my tank water isn't ideal, I do have high pH and hard water.
 

gulperfan220

Candiru
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Nov 30, 2008
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mancheter, nh
I have couple of Monstera plants in my overhead sump ( about 20 gallon plastic tote)for my 56 gallon column tank with a Loggerhead Musk turtle and a Helmeted Side Neck turtle and pretty heavy feeding of pellets and cut fish with just 5 gallon water change and things are pretty clean in the tank . Turtles are healthy and happy
 
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