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Old 08-16-2010, 07:03 PM   #1 
Lion Mom
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Plants - how many????

I read with interest all for chapters that another poster was kind enough to provide links to about low tech planted aquariums - THANK YOU!!!!

I have a question, though, that I did not see addressed in any of the chapters. How many plants does a tank need in order to replace mechanical filtration? Let's say a 10 gal. with just one betta.

Any ideas?
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:05 PM   #2 
artist4life
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im not sure but i would love to know also
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Old 08-16-2010, 07:38 PM   #3 
PeiMai
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I believe its about 80% of the bottom and 10& of the top should have some type of plant. I've been working on this myself however I'm also running a filter as well just for extra measure...Trying to let the water settle did a water change already today and it looks a hundred times better...Just wish i could figure out what is wrong with my guy first...Thinking about moving him but not until he is ok. either that or possibly getting another betta for the planted one but again not until I figure out what is wrong with the first one.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:51 PM   #4 
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I didn't know plants could actually replace your mechanical filter. Makes me want more plants. :D
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Old 08-17-2010, 10:38 AM   #5 
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Originally Posted by Phoxly View Post
I didn't know plants could actually replace your mechanical filter. Makes me want more plants. :D
According to the articles I read they can, BUT you still have to do your water changes!!!
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:00 AM   #6 
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Yeah I love my water changes, it gives me a reason to reorganize the tank, trim stuff, and add new things to the tank, but unfortunately I am pretty much at my max for plants til they start to grow. (getting a co2 system tonight!)
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:45 PM   #7 
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I can only speak for the natural planted tanks with soil substrate as far as plants working as filtration and limited water changes.

You need at least 80-90%% of the tank floor to be planted in fast growing stem plants and 10-15% floating plants to work as the filtration

I still use some filters on some of my tanks but for water movement more than filtration

I make 1-2 water changes a year on most of them-a couple get 3-4/year-I top off the tanks weekly with fresh water from 1-5g a week due to being all open tops
Once the tank has settled and this can take 2-3 months of daily, weekly, monthly water changes all depending on the rate the soil starts its submersed life and active growing rate of the plants

When I set one up I add the fish the same day, monitor the water and make needed water changes.

I also use other livestock in the tank-trumpet snail being important to help pull oxygen into the soil to prevent anaerobic spots and shrimp to help shred dead plant matter to speed their break down

*note: on my NPT fry tanks I still do frequent water changes due more to stunting hormone-I did an experiment without water changes and growth and development was compromised.

I don't use any ferts or CO2-if you add ferts you may still need to make water changes

The active plant growth uses the ammonia produced by the fish and decay as food, on most of my tank I don't even have nitrate readings due to this


Bioload is low-these are planted tanks more than aquariums with plants

Number and type of plants are important for this to work
Stem plants are fast growing plants and very important in this type of system, same with floating type plants like water lettuce-their hanging roots take up lots of nutrients to help keep algae controlled as well

These are low tech, low light, low cost systems
Plants work as filtration-fish as the ferts

These are not set-ups for everyone and as close to a complete ecosystem you can get in a closed system......they do still need a little help from us......
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Old 08-17-2010, 01:52 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
You need at least 80-90%% of the tank floor to be planted in fast growing stem plants and 10-15% floating plants to work as the filtration

Number and type of plants are important for this to work
Stem plants are fast growing plants and very important in this type of system, same with floating type plants like water lettuce-their hanging roots take up lots of nutrients to help keep algae controlled as well
Thanks for this helpful info! Can you give this newbie some examples of easy stem plants and easy floating plants.

Would stem plants include anubias & hornwort, java fern?

I think I currently have Christmas moss. Would that count as floating type plant?
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:12 PM   #9 
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As always, OFL, GREAT information - thank you for sharing it!!!

Personally, I don't see myself doing a tank with soil in it in the near future, but ya never know!!! :)

Again, thanks so much for the info!!
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Old 08-17-2010, 02:13 PM   #10 
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Floating plants-hornworth, and my favorite water lettuce and duck weed

Stem plants-are usually sold as bunching plants, like hygrophila, Bacopa, Ludwigia, Rotala, mexican oak leaf, water wisteria, cabomba, anacharis, myriophyllum are what I use.

I do use moss and ferns tied to driftwood
Anubias is not a stem plant either

I also use rosette type like swords, vals, sags
And bulbs-apons and lily
In the 10-20% area
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