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

Todd Crail (
Mon, 19 Jan 2004 22:10:55 -0500


Thanks for your response. I thought you had poor results with a deep
sandbed, instead of a plenum. I've already stated what I don't like about
plenums and do not find your experience out of sync with my past gathered
experiences with them. I seriously doubt you did anything impromper either,
based on what I've read of your posts. I think it's just an unobtainable
reality, as your experience has probably impressed upon you as well :)

I've read a plenty on the miracle muds and refugia. The mud seems to be
counterintuitive to me, as it can only promote enrichment _if_ the right
amount of "mouths" don't come along with it. This is where I disagree with
Diana Walstad and where she prefers to use leaf litter soil in her
aquariums. I've found that the deep sand and the system mature at the same
time... If you've over done it, it's simple to correct (oh darn, I got some
algae) and the system still matures while you're correcting (basically...
you turn off the lights for a week and then waterchange out the liberated

And I'll get wordy now that my headache is gone and I have my presentation
ready to go. Sajjad... I format fine. I just tend to go on a bit! ;)

In case people are wondering what we're getting at... What I'm talking about
is something like this:

That's a 75 gallon Asiatic system. The bed in this tank is ~3.5" deep with
a 1" layer of Flourite on it. This was the first system I went whole hog
on, and was still attached to the fact that I had to spend a lot of money
for something to work right :) I've since modified the approach... All the
way to not using flourite at all. It doesn't really seem to matter... If
growing crypts and such, I would still use it, and have already procured a
bag for the 30 gallon Amazonian tank I'll be setting up soon. I just mix it
right into the sand and let the roots figure it out.

The stocking in this 75 gallon?
4 G. incisus, 2 M. bosemani, 3 M. herbertaxelrodi, 2 M. lacustris, 2 M.
parkinsoni, 3 M. praecox, 1 M. splendida splendida, 2 M. splendida inornata
(test fish-just removed to make way for 5 Barbus pentazona :), 4 M.
trifasciata, 3 Clown Botia, 2 Botia sp (the "ladder loach"?), 1 Betta, 2
croaking gourami, 1 pearl gourami, 1 dwarf neon gourami, 5 Rasbora
heteromorpha, 5 Rasbora einthovenii, 8 leopard danio, 8 Barbus aurulius, 2
SAE - Room to grow even! ;)

I like my tanks _brite_, diverse, and I like a lot of fish. I feed the snot
out of these fish too, water change, oh, every 4-5 weeks or so. If I keep
up at the 5 week period, I've never had nitrate go above "barely
registering" on a couple different test kits. I only get into trouble if I
let it go for three months or something ridiculous like that (30 ppm when I
did that, and I think the majority of that was from an abundance of mulm in
the canister). Scrub the glass every 3 weeks or so to touch it up.

I think Amano would have had an aneurysm :) And the plants do just dandy.
None of this over enrichment problems you read _you should have_. The
sandbed really reduces the nutrients, the plants turn it into cells. Badda
boom, badda bing.

Oh, and this is a restock from the nuking this summer. The overconsumed DO2
at night was the preliminary problem... (I related this in my post back to
Matt about using the air pump for extra aggitation at night, which has
solved the problem neatly) The bad food I fed sealed the deal. Something
changed between being in the living room and the basement... But I now have
a stocking greater than what I had when I melted down, and none of it had
any effect on the plants of course.

For giggles... Same song and dance in native systems. I have a 30 gallon
long 2" sandbed, light amounts of Flourite with Val, larger rocks for the
surface with :

2 C. anomalum, 1 P. vigilax, 1 C. spiloptera or whipplei (?), 2 N. buccatus,
5 N. umbratilis, 2 N. stramineus, 2 P. erythrogaster, 2 U. limi, 3 E.
blennoides, 6 E. caruleum, 2 E. flabellare, 1 E. nigrum, 6 E. spectabile, 3
E. zonale, 1 P. sciera (no they're all not YOY ;)

I'm thinking I'm forgetting some too. Does that break the inch of fish per
gallon? <scratches_head> ;)

Most species are maintained in breeding condition (ex: darters are a lumen
shy of what they look like in March & April). I've been dumping 5 cubes of
San Fran mysis and a silver dollar chunk of brine into daily without a hitch
for the last 4 months. Older val leaves have some hair algae parasatism,
but as I told Mr. Z at New Years... "Amano would have cut that out 6 months
ago". ;)

I'm looking forward to what transpires now that I have the PE mysis and
don't have to feed so much waste.

So... there's a little bit of quantification. Not sure that I'd done that
so graphically previously. And I hope this doesn't come across like I'm
bragging or saying this is the best way. Just trying to demonstrate the
power of this technique as I've yet to encounter another technique that's
been so forgiving to my endless abuse. It's not my intention to boast or
anything, and probably why I haven't "counted it up" until now. I used to
be a real pr--k and feeding my ego about pushing farther faster harder, and
I'd like to avoid that habit the rest of my life.

So the short is... I'm _really_ enamoured of this approach to husbandry. :)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Stan Perkins" <>
To: <>
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2004 8:36 PM
Subject: Re: NANFA-- anyone ever toyed with this idea? -Gleanings..

> Todd,
> Sand plenum was set-up following the basic outlines of a marine sand
> It was an experimental tank set-up with all parameters monitored. The
> was 1-1/2" thick covered with a fine mesh nylon material to prevent sand
> infiltration. Two inches of 2-3 mm silica sand was added to a depth of 2
> inches and a second layer of nylon was added over the top of that. Larger
> gravel was placed over this (a mixture of a brand name plant gravel mix
> blasting sand) to a depth of 2 inches. (Tank size: tall thirty gallon
> Lighting 5 watts per gallon. pH 7.0, hardness 40 dh. Water was R.O water
> mixed with established aquarium water.Filtration was one large sponge
> filter. Gravel was from an established aquarium. Plants were 20 val's, 6
> water sprite,
> and one driftwood piece with java fern. Fish species were limited to 6
> oto's, 2 pair Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, and 6 Pseudomugil furcatus.
> were added slowly over a period of two weeks.
> This project was monitored for one year. I saw nothing exceptional
> this system that seperated it from the control tank established at the
> time minus the plenum.
> The refugium concept has been discussed in FAMA. It is commercially
> available complete with mud for both fresh and salt water. I have not
> started my test of this concept but have uses other similar filters using
> plants as a means or removing excess waste materials all with some
> These systems would be better suited to greenhouse or outdoor setups as
> oppose to indoor tanks.
> Ask the French about Caulerpa and the Monaco Oceanographic Institute!
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