Re: NANFA-- anyone ever toyed with this idea? -Gleanings..

Todd Crail (
Mon, 19 Jan 2004 19:29:28 -0500

Okay.. I have to be succinct tonight. Got a native fish presentation
tomorrow and a splitting headache ;)

- The Plenum. Why waste all that good anaerobic sand surface area? You're
loosing the advantage of sand by using water to fill the space (the surface
area that sand provides). Besides... If you set it up wrong, or have a
breech of plate, you'll never know it, and you'll just be left wondering why
the tank ain't workin right, cause there's really no way to prove it one way
or the other.

- The Plenum part II. If this were a tropical tank... That water will just
get cold and limit the area for the plants to put their "feet". A nice
advantage of the sand is... By insulating the bottom of the tank with styro
etc, the sand creates an additional barrier to air temp changes... That
whole "warm feet" rationalization for spending $300 on a cable heater... I
don't buy the convection thing either :) This isn't a big deal with native
tanks with colder water plants (val, hornwort, elodea)... But I think it's
really a big deal with crypts and apongeton etc and wouldn't set up a "hot"
tank any other way.

In short, I'm not a big fan of the plenum. It was a novel idea and got
people thinking differently... But a large amount of reefkeepers have proven
you can't really screw up a deep sandbed, while many have also proven it's
pretty easy to screw up a plenum ;) That's what led me to try it out in fw
(diverseless, unmoving, definate anaerobic pile of sand).

- Josh... Oh no. Marine systems have macroalgaes which are WAY faster at
utilizing nutrients than vascular plants. Think the hyacinths are bad in
Florida? Meet Mr. Caulerpa taxifolia :) That crap is going to crawl out
of the ocean one of these days, I'm convinced.

- CO2. I've come to find that the sandbed "breathes" enough that
supplemental CO2 isn't necessary. In fact it was "breathing" too well, so
that at night, my DO2 would crash. I put a pump on full time... The plants
started to loose to algaes (their alleopathic algal inhibitors were, um,
inhibited) so I was blowing off too much of the CO2 created in respiration.
This was without any kind of difference in the amount or growth of algae on
the glass btw. I think my other "mouths" picked up where the plants were
falling off. But now that I've put the pump on a timer counter to the
photoperiod... Everything is just dandy again. They're even sloughing off
the algae that grew during the full airpump time. I need to get a CO2
tester so I can prove my observations, but I'm 95% sure this is what is

- Fertilizer ** I wouldn't short on the other fertilizers tho** Poor Man's
Dosing Drops are one option... I'm lazy so I just buy the Sera stuff.

- Critters... They're optional. You don't have to stir the sand. I've
found no evidence that it's necessary. I'm getting the same results I had
hoped to get without. I am playing with them in the next few systems tho,
and added a considerable amount to the 150 I set up at the school... Because
they're _cool_. Not because I think they're necessary.

- The merlin would be a redundant piece of technology. You already _have_
a sand filter ;) You'd be better off getting something that's going to
smash and rot whole pieces of plants and poop. Like a....

- Canister. For $50 you can put together a canister with 2" pvc and drive
it with a powerhead in-tank (like a Maxijet 1200) which will circulate the
tank anyway. If you want to spend extra, buy all the ehiem substrates, but
smashed up lava rock would work just fine. I haven't done it yet, but have
all the pieces parts to do it on a new system (maybe a this weekend
project). I have no reason to doubt this working. Obviously not the most
pretty thing, but maybe you can figure out how to hide it with some
plexiglass or something, because I haven't figured that out yet ;)

- I'm also interested in hearing what/how Stan did his sandbed, and why it
didn't work out (or more so, what happened that made it not perform to spec
and how long the attempt was made). Additionally, I'd like to know more
about the mud system... Got any pics?

HTH... Maybe I'll think of other stuff later. But I think this is the basic
package of my thoughts on what has been said :)

I know Sajjad is going "That was succinct?" :)

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,