Tom Barr have answered our questions!

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Tom Barr have answered our questions!

Inlägg av Raven » 09 apr 2010, 22:50

Questions in normal text, answers in bold.

1. Cladophora is a problem for many aquarist and can be difficult to remove from the aquarium, have you had any problems with cladophora and if so, what have you tried to get rid of it?
I think I’ve most algae for longer time frames than most hobbyists. My interest is more about understanding the alga than merely getting rid of it as fast as possible. I like to observe it. Mostly I only got it if a few things where met, but this does not imply these induce it. I have not had issues with it enough to say nor conclude, just few problems. I actually like this higher alga. I actively grow it in a non CO2 aquarium on my wood where it behaves and is not a “weed”. This includes higher light, some fertilization no CO2. In CO2 enriched aquariums, it was only where there was an issue with the CO2, clogged diffusers etc. Once that was fixed, it’s never been a problem. I think once established, Caldophora tends to had for many to get rid, but if the aquarist removes all the moss, fine needle plants that this alga attached and entangles in, then you should be able to remove it easily over time with some persistence. It’s more like a plant and needs to removed, much like duckweed and Bladdewort. It has several asexual spore cycles, so chemicals and other means are not easy to address. I think good conditions for plants, lower light, good non limiting CO2/nutrients is the best defense: prevention. If you see it, remove it , do not wait till there’s a large problem.
You may add the moss or other plants back after you have removed it.


2. Do you recommend EI for an aquarium with no added co2?
No. No one method will, ever be all things to everyone’s goal. I have specific water column dosing method that’s popular for non CO2 methods, it’s different but I think Diana Walstad’s approach is also very easy, and blend of both enriched sediments + water column dosing makes any method, whether you use CO2 or not……..that much easier, this one included. Unfortnuately, many simply do not realize how nice non CO2 aquariums really are that they can be aquascaped well and provide the lowest maintenance once set up over long time frames of any aquarium method. Again, low light+ low CO2+ rich nutrients= slow growth and no water changes and no testing of the water. Growth is also slow, competition between plant species for CO2 is strong however.

2. High levels of Po4 is believed to increase algae growth, have you ever had an aquarium running without adding any Po4 and if so, what was the result of it?
Belief nor correlation does not imply cause. If you have fish and plants, you have added PO4 in one form or another. I’ve run lean PO4 tanks, many have and local aquarist have for years in SF and on the old Aqua tic plants digest. My plants always looked much better. I was one of the few that did not bother. Then again, Liebig’s law of the Minimum was introduced to me long ago by Steve Dixon. I also have fewer algae issues than anyone, particularly green spot algae. I add 5ppm of PO4 three times a week to all my aquariums and I also have high levels in the ADA aqua soil sediments, likely a decade’s worth. When I did not add PO4 as KH2PO4 or as a sediment, plants greatly declined in their rates of growth and O2 production. This depends strongly on the intensity of the limitation. A moderate limitation= small reduction in growth. A strong limitation = a large reduction in growth. Since light influences CO2 demand, and PO4 is limiting, the effect causes the CO2 to go down. This is Liebig’s law of the Minimum using CO2 as a nutrient also. In terrestrial systems, CO2 is not limiting, but this is not the case with aquatic submersed plants, so it should be included in the model. If we test the hypothesis excess(??) PO4 = algae, then we should make sure that CO2 is non limiting. Most that believe PO4 = algae, have this issue. Perhaps other issue, who knows? However, when I do an aquarium and have excellent algae free results for years and on multiple aquariums, as thousand’s of other people adding KH2PO$, this hypothesis cannot be true. Such a test does not say what causes algae, it only with a high degree of likelihood, says what does NOT cause algae. There must be some other reason for algae than PO4, not PO4 in and of itself, nor does it “encourage” algae blooms either. High light also could be viewed this same manner. Does high light cause algae? Does it encourage algae? There are obviously high light examples where that is not the case, so no, same here with PO4, or Fe or NO3 and so on. All the factors need to be independent and you can test the dependent variable, otherwise you will get a false conclusion and many hobbyist over the decades have fallen into this trap.

3. Circulation is neccessary to spread co2 evenly in an aquarium, when using external filtration, do you prefer to have the wateroutlet near the surface or near the bottom of the aquarium?

I’ve used both and on most aquariums, I have flow coming it at the top and bottom. Smaller tanks I might have just one at the top but it points down and has the CO2 going into the plants. I like a good circular pattern typically and elimination of any dead flow spots. Also helps fish and they eat better as a result of more exercise.

4. Several members of Plantswap forum have noticed an increase plantgrowth when the filter is clogged and watercirculation is next to nothing, do you have any idea to why plantgrowth increases when filtration decreases?
You see pearling more since it’s not blown off by the current. These same people also have few fish no? My primary concern is for the fish and then to the plants. Clogged filters and seeing what we think is increased growth needs some form of quantification. This is best measured using an O2 meter. Few hobbyists have these, but those that do can tell that with reduced flow during the light cycle, the O2 will be much higher than if you have say 5-10X more flow. This results in more pearling. If you shut off the flow suddenly, and then wait and watch, you should see this same effect. Often/most times, the CO2 also will go up if you reduce the flow and a clogged filter is a source of more CO2. It depends on the system in question. If the CO2 dosing is not connected to the filters or is able to keep up with the reduced flow, then the CO2 is no longer degassed as much, resulting in both higher O2(more pearling) and higher CO2, which as we know, increases growth. Again, it really depends on other factors not mentioned in this question about the aquariums suggested, but this is one hypothesis that comes to mind. You can test it also by shutting off flow for awhile and seeing. I think most is the issue of CO2(degassing too much?) and also O2(allowing the plants to pearl more) degassing. You can go too far there and not compensate, but the clogged filter might do that for you.

5. Several members of PlantSwap have noticed when they get very clear water. No one seem to have a answer of what is making the clear water. The very clear water have only lasted for a limited time in our tanks and I would be interested to know how you do to get very clear water. My goal would be to have this extremly clear water all the time. Do you know when this phenomenon occurs, in some special conditions?
Well it’s very strongly linked to health plant growth. Why? What does strong plant growth provide to the sediments? The filtration? Bacteria mostly. They have so called exoploymer matrix, a sticky slime that catches organic material floating around. They produce it and grow actively when the O2 is good and high. Plants also give off sugars and other food sources for bacteria when the plants grow well. We also have less leaf lost and less breakdown of different materials when the plants grow well and no longer are dropping leaves. Do a large Water change(50-80%) say 1 hour after the aquarium lighting comes on. Dose and then note the clarity and plant growth at the end of the day. A dirty mature filter (this goes back to the last question somewhat) is loaded with bacteria and this acts as filtration media as well, particularly for ultra fine particles. Since there’s a lot of bacteria on plant roots and in the sediments, as well as the filters………this plays a role likely.


6. Are there any inhabitants of a planted aquarium you find almost a necessity? Type of algae eaters, snails etc?
No. They are helpful but not required. But……..better them than us, no? I think shrimp are effective for keeping moss and finer leaved plants clean. Otto cats a good for glass algae, some smaller plecos etc (Gold nuggets and Rubber lip plecos particularly) SAE’s for BBA. Still, the root issue for algae should be addressed, algae eaters are more like a back up to beat the algae down, lower light is the best defense if you had to pick any one thing.

8. Have you noticed any advantaged with using mist instead of disolving co2 in the water and which method to you prefer to use?
Mist has consistently yielded 20-40% more O2 production in plants for the same ppm measured CO2. Since we measure plant production by O2 yeild….this implies that the plants are growing better. Is it due to the gas form of CO2 or is it due to the boundary layer being broken up by all the bubbles? I’m not sure, but Nitrogen gas can be added and the CO2 can be left entirely dissolved to see and test this. There’s no way to measure what phase (aqueous or gas) the CO2 is being delivered to the plant internally. We can alter the boundary layers with other gases however.

9. When filling the tank after a dry start do you find it necessary to add larger quantities of CO2 to compensate for the lower concentrations of C02 in water than air?
No, the plant’s leaves have more “cutin” wax when grown in air than water. This takes time for the plants to develop new leaves that are adapted to submersed conditions. Roots should be fine and established. So there’s less stress. Whether or not the aquarium is set up dry or not, the leaves have the same issues since most plants come to aquarists grown emergently anyway. You can add more CO2, but I do not find I need to add “more”. However, I also do not add more light than is needed either. I think we cannot discuss CO2 or nutrients alone, we must look at the big picture and consider all three things at the same time in relation to one another: light then CO2 then nutrients, then location of the nutrients (sediment and water column). Otherwise, hobbyist focus on one “silver bullet” that is the cure for all their problem, that is rarely the case.

10. What are your thoughts about adding C02 to a dry start setup (before filling it up with water)? Have you considered it?
No need. That’s the point. The plants are not limited, you can do it, but I do not think it helps that much if any. Just wait 2-3 more days

11. I believe most aquarist consider themselves to be enviromentally freindly. Yet their hobby consume a great deal of electricity, potentially threaten endangered species, risk introducing invasive species (both fauna and flora), and EI consume a fair deal of water. There are low-maintance and low-tech setups, but I've never heard of a eco-setup? Is this an issue that is being neglected by todays aquarists?
Very much so. There’s what I call High light disease(HLD), this is a management issues for hobbyists that makes the hobby much more difficult, adding to this issue old myths, old advice and many differences between set ups and bulb types compound this problem further. Less is better, since it includes less labor, less CO2/nutrient demand and much less electrical cost. Water is much cheaper than electrical energy. Water change also be reused for irrigating landscaping and house plants. It’s still reused at the wastewater treatment plants as well. Electric energy? No, it’s not reused and is 100-1000X more costly. EI only consumes as much water as any aquarium might, with skill, this can be reduced greatly by slowly reducing the dosing. However, all reduction of rates and inputs and water change starts with reducing the light intensity/duration. So if you assume less is better, it should START with reducing the lighting. Next might be using sediment fertilizers soils etc, ADA aqua soil etc, then dose learn to the water column, say ½ EI, using say 1.3-1.5W/gal on T5 lighting. Then the aquarist should be able to go 2-4 weeks without a water change. Maybe longer if they watch their plants well. I’ve done this. I’ve seen others do it. EI is not written in stone, so such criticisms often are the hobbyists imprisoning themselves and assuming it’s such a rigid method. It’s not nor was ever intended to be as such. I also used non CO2 methods, this means no testing(also a toxic waste product and expensive addition), sediment based ferts(adds a back up, making dosing the water column easier for anyone), light water column dosing 2-4x a month, amd no water changes for years. If a sustainable approach is desired as goal, then this is a better method than a high light CO2 enriched EI dosed tank. Everyone has different goals, so the methods should reflect this. Having a high light CO2 enriched tank that’s lean is not wise, you waste light. You do not get that back, water? You can, so it’s a much more sustainable method than say leaner CO2 enriched dosing is.
Tropica argues for high “light use efficiency” as well in their articles. So low light is a starting point no matter what. Adding CO2 is easier and then you can grow any species easily and at a slower easier to managed rate, and you get a very high light use efficiency adding CO2, this is because the resources all go to gathering lower light instead of trying to sequester the low CO2.


12. What is the most recent important knowledge/insight that you have aquired in the last year?
I suppose arguing for low light more aggressively. Makes all management issues easier, “cures” algae, reduces cost, energy consumption, reduced “weedy” growth in many hard to keep species, making them easier to keep. I am not sure it’s really insight, rather than a renewed focus.

13. What is the main key to success with plants in planted high-tech aquarium?
Use less light particularly if you use T5/PC/MH type lighting. Focus strongly on CO2 management.

14. From where do you get your inspiration when scaping a tank?
Natural systems.

15. How would you set up a aquarium with lowest possible amount of time in care, is not too expensive and which also is easy for a beginner to handle?
I’d chose easy to care for plant species, low light, good filter, good CO2(DIY gas tank and reg, valves etc), maybe a 20 gallon aquarium, ADA AS, light dosing 2-3x a week, routine water changes and good stocking load. Depends on the person’s goals though. They might be more suited to a non CO2 planted tank.

16. Do you have any tips of how to get intensive red coloured plants (e.g. Rotala wallichii) and at the same time avoid cyano and algeas? Is it a possible equation?
I have them and no issues with algae. I think many assume you need high light to have these plants, but I have them and have no tank over 2w/gal. My CO2 and nutrients are non limiting however. BGA is often associated with clogged filters and also by too low NO3. If these two issues are corrected, then these are rarely an issue. Good GH and lower KH also seems to help the red plants. I have as red plants as any I’ve ever seen using 1.8W/gal in a 65 cm deep tank and the lights are 20cm above the tank surface, but my plants have high light use efficiency.

17. Do you always have consistent luck with your tanks or do you get any setbacks from time to time? If so, what kind of setbacks?
I’m pretty consistent. I have issues but I know why I got them. Sometimes I am slow to getting to them and lack the motivation to correct them. Most aquarist have this motivational problem at some point, I am human, but I do not blame the nutrients, or anything, I blame myself. Many aquarist look to subscribe blame to something other than themselves, this is a bit dishonest and not facing up to our own neglect. If I stay on top of things, everything runs really good.

16. What kind of aquarium lightning do you prefer, and why? MH / T5 / LED / Other ???
MH’s have a nice shimmer, but are way too high intensity for good spread and height above the tank. I no longer ever use them. T5’s are the nicest lights these days, but LED’s will make some gains in the next 5 years or so. We will end up cutting the energy down about 1/3, so what was once 4w/gal with T12 lights should be nearly 1 watt/gal using LED’s. Still T5 colors are much nicer and better right now. I also like I can adjust the no# of bulbs with T5 lighting easily. We cannot really do that easily with MH’s, so I cannot adjust it to suit a desired growth rate or to reduce light if there’s an algae issue or slow things down if I leave for vacation for 2 weeks. If you have an open top tank, then you can raise or lower the light up or down to suit.
Plasma light might come onto the scene in another 5-10 years also. Not sure though.


19. Are there any specific plants you have a hard time growing, and if so, do you have any special tricks to get demanding plants to thrive?
No. Most are the same if good conditions are provided. I just focus on general good growth parameters: lower light, around 40-50 micromols PAR at the surface of the gravel is good for any species, then rich sediments, I typically use 100% ADA AS since it’s all one type of material, not layers etc which mix and look tacky, then water changes and dosing non limiting ppm’s. Good general aquarium care, filter cleaning, etc. From there, it’s all CO2 management, which is not too hard since I use lower light. ADA’s aquariums are all lower light if you measure them with a PAR meter as well, so it provides more “wiggle” room with management of the aquarium. If you suspect CO2 limitation, you can also simply use a CO2 mist and a small powerhead and direct the CO2 mist directly into the plant group. Nutrients are easy to rule out, add plenty, do water changes, have sediment rich nutrients as well, and light once measured, it stable and easy. That leaves basic care and CO2.

20. Do you try to improve your methodologies, if so in which way?
Always…. I tinker with things, sometimes too much. So by making mistakes, I learn a lot. Then I compare and contrast the different methods and alterations I’ve done. You cannot discuss something you have not done or tried it? I also try and look up other evidence and research that might suggest another way or issue. Then compare, ask if other hobbyists see a similar thing. I also have several tanks and use the methods on several at a time, this way, I improve my statistics and have less issues with chance. I’m pretty good with light right now, CO2 is an on going issue for many at higher lighting, but I wanted to explore how all species do with lower light and I can say that CO2 management is much easier. I still have nice red plants and relatively good growth, but not weedy growth. I explore perhaps solely water column dosing, and plain sand, then enriched sediments and clean water column, then both situations. Many are too scared to test things since they are afraid it will ruin their aquarium. I understand this. I do not have that fear and know I can correct any issue.
This gives me a much greater advantage in seeking, testing and finding answers. I still am very aware this is a human hobby and we have our own sets of goals and management we desired, the types of goals are diverse, so the methods and management to address these goals needs to be wide and focused. No one method or issue will be able to meet all these goals. I think we can meet these goals much more effectively by looking at the overall holistic approach to growth of aquatic plants in context of the livestock. So light drives CO2 demand which drives nutrient demand. No matter what the goal, we can provide a good easy management scheme using this relationship.
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Inlägg av Anette J.T » 09 apr 2010, 23:03

Toppen! Och vad "Mäster Barr" lagt ner tid på långa bra svar med. :)
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Inlägg av PatrikMalmo » 10 apr 2010, 03:07

Mm, det var trivsamt. Dessutom en riktigt bra sammanfattning i de två sista meningarna.

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Inlägg av defdac » 10 apr 2010, 13:25

Jag blir alltid förbluffad över när jag läser saker som Tom Barr tagit sig lite längre tid att skriva. Det är alltid minst en sak jag aldrig någonsin hört om förut. I det här fallet "exopolymer matrix" och diskussionen runt bakterier. Fantastiskt!
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Inlägg av Sigge » 10 apr 2010, 14:17

Va bra han skrivit om allt, skall lusläsa allt när tid finnes.
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Inlägg av hawkse » 10 apr 2010, 15:37

Fantastiskt bra jobbat av såväl Tom Barr som Raven. Tack!

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Inlägg av PatrikMalmo » 10 apr 2010, 23:07

defdac skrev:Jag blir alltid förbluffad över när jag läser saker som Tom Barr tagit sig lite längre tid att skriva. Det är alltid minst en sak jag aldrig någonsin hört om förut. I det här fallet "exopolymer matrix" och diskussionen runt bakterier. Fantastiskt!
Det är helt klart något väl värt att fundera vidare på, men jag köper det inte rakt av. Det finns klart vatten även i andra burkar än växtkar, men om förklaringen verkligen ska kokas ned till bra syrehalter vet jag inte. Jag har inte heller förutsättningarna att testa, så då kanske jag ska vara tyst... *klurar*

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Inlägg av ragge. » 11 apr 2010, 00:28

Mkt intressant! Man lär sig alltid något nytt av Barr :) Bra att se att man inte är helt ute och cyklar med lite ljus ;-)

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Inlägg av PatrikMalmo » 11 apr 2010, 23:51

High light disease (HLD), skriver jag under på... *s*
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Inlägg av Clas » 12 apr 2010, 07:05

Den har jag!

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Inlägg av PatrikMalmo » 12 apr 2010, 09:42

Finns numera även inlagt i förkortningstråden...

Gillar skarpt fokus på att det inte behöver vara särdeles krångligt, det är där jag har lirat nästan hela tiden. Även trivsamt med att faktiskt observera algerna. Blir en del i somliga av mina burkar, men jag gillar det faktiskt. Använder det mesta av det som foder.

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Inlägg av Lingonfil » 12 apr 2010, 23:23

Intressanta svar! Hans kunskap om växtakvarium är enastående. Nu är det fan dags att skaffa konto på The Barr Report.
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Inlägg av ixxe » 24 feb 2011, 20:57

"I add 5ppm of PO4 three times a week to all my aquariums and I also have high levels in the ADA aqua soil sediments, likely a decade’s worth. "

jisses?

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Inlägg av defdac » 24 feb 2011, 21:04

Mm.. Frågade i någon tråd på internet om det stämde och inte var ett decimalfel men tror inte jag fick svar.
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Inlägg av ixxe » 24 feb 2011, 21:16

MM iofs tryckte jag i 4 ppm när mitt kar gick som bäst men inte 3 ggr i veckan

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Inlägg av ixxe » 24 feb 2011, 21:22

Googlade lite barr svarar på ett inlägg:

"Where did this ratio come from and why is it even remotely an issue?

I dose 5ppm PO4 and 15 ppm NO3 3x a week to this tank:"

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ferti ... -10-a.html

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Inlägg av defdac » 24 feb 2011, 21:25

Grym tråd. Mer citat:

"Some PO4 limited adapted macrophytes are able to handle about 50ppb, but not much lower. So regardless of the ratios, adding more or less does not matter over an extremely wide broad range.

Would not matter if the NO3 was 5 ppm and the PO4 was 20 ppm.
You are still not limiting PO4. If you add 20ppm of NO3 or 200 ppm NO3, you still are not limiting NO3.

Excess? Adding more is not going to do anything to improve the rates of growth for algae.

This is the crux of the issue that many aquarist have trouble with.

It sounds nice, but it is false. Adding excess is never going to lead to more growth of algae."
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Inlägg av defdac » 24 feb 2011, 21:43

Det här var ju också intressant att han testat: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ferti ... ost1142571

Rickard Berg på hjortgatanszoo.se hade en bra artikelserie om kemin i akvariet där han visade hur torvfiltrerat vatten helt sätter CO2-tabellen ur spel för att man får helt andra buffertar istället för KH:t.

Är det så att Tom här visar ett test där man kan bevisa för sig själv att detta till viss del även händer i vanliga växtakvarier utan torv? Borde finnas en del roliga organiska syror även i vanliga växtakvarier pga ruttnande gamla växtdelar osv..
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Inlägg av storkas » 24 feb 2011, 22:30

Riktigt bra läsning!

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Inlägg av Lingonfil » 24 feb 2011, 23:10

Håller med.
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