Wet-dry filter and aquaponics? Filtration for a 60gal

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Wet-dry filter and aquaponics? Filtration for a 60gal

Post by fain » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:15 pm

I'm almost ready to set up my 60gal and am considering the options I have for the filtration.

The tank is a drilled glass 60 gallon tank. (gift from the LFS and has a footprint of a 75gal) It will be housing my four Histrionica and either a group of Striata, or Kubotai (Yasuhikotakia Sidthimunki was an option, but my LFS if out for the first time this year. :? )

Since it is already drilled, I decided to hook it up to an external filter. I am tossing around the idea of using a wet-dry setup, but I read that can dangerously increase the nitrates in a tank. I'm only going to have slow-growing plants (anubias & java fern) because my histrionica take great delight in destroying everything else, so there won't be much in the tank to eat up all of the nitrates.

That led me to consider adding a small aquaponics system. :D

I was very inspired by Vancmann's thread on his tank and wanted to give something like that a whirl (on a smaller scale). That way, I could have my plants, and not have the loaches eat them!

The question then is, should I go with a generic sump filter? Or try out the wet-dry set up? Which would be better with the terrestrial plants and why?

Also, I keep worrying about the plants releasing some toxin into the water. Am I being paranoid, or this a real possibility? What plants would be recommended for this kind of set up?

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Re: Wet-dry filter and aquaponics? Filtration for a 60gal

Post by djoneser » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:16 pm

How complex or simple your tank filtration system and accessory systems are is really up to you. I have not really heard of many trying to combine hydroponics (on any larger scale) with aquarium filtration. You might want to consider a refugium instead of actual hydroponics. I would have to ask what your hydroponic goals are if you want to combine this type of system, because in most cases you would be better off with 2 separate systems IMHO. If you just want a few green leaves attached to your tank, many have had success with ivy shoots.

So far as filtration for the 60g tank, you say it is plumbed, and the way you say it makes it appear that you did not plumb it yourself (if you did, what filter/filter type was in use with the plumbing?).

I am not sure where you got information that a wet/dry system will increase nitrates, I am not aware of that. Do you have a source for that information?

Not sure how much help I have been, but I hope you get things setup to your satisfaction :)

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Re: Wet-dry filter and aquaponics? Filtration for a 60gal

Post by glenna » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:06 am

I have a combination of filtration strategies on my 125 g which I think works pretty well.

First it is a drilled tank and I have a wet-dry filter (proclear 200 -wet-dry with prefilter box). I have never had a problem with nitrates going too high, and do not think that it would be because of the wet-dry, regardless.
I also have a canister on this tank:Rena-filstar XP4. Lastly, I have golden pothos growing in the water of the tank to help with hydroponic filtration. I made underwater "pots" out of plastic craft mesh and used some extra suction cups to secure them to each side of the tank. I have eight clown loaches in this tank along with three angelicus, rainbow fish and Buenos Aires tetras, SAEs and no one really bothers my pothos " pots" too much.

I think there are MANY ways to combine filtration systems, or to use a single system, with good results. Each system has its own advantages, and don't disregard the use of undergravel either (see Red Shark's posts on this). You will find a lot of experienced folks here who use all manner of filtration techniques. OF course water changes are HUGELY important at reducing those nitrates, regardless of which system you choose. I like a little redundancy in the system, so I have more than one filter on each tank.
Setting up a tank is so much fun!
good luck!

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Re: Wet-dry filter and aquaponics? Filtration for a 60gal

Post by UVvis » Thu Nov 17, 2011 2:38 pm

Most of the concern with wet/dry filters and high nitrates are in terms of saltwater aquariua and invert systems.

For those systems, a normal biological aerobic filtration system is a concern. The use of live rock, deep sand beds, and mechanically removing waste through filter socks and protein skimmers will help do the trick. That is why they refer to wet/dry fitlers as nitrate bombs, nitrate factories, or whatever. Water changes on salt water systems are usually much more expensive, so anything an aquarist can do to keep the waste build up minimized is awesome.

For a feshwater system, wet dry systems are excellent at both nitrogen fixing and helping maintain constant dissolved oxygen values.

Before getting to the other questions, is the whole plant issue to deal with the nitrates?

I like those shorter profile tanks...

Plant toxins are not going to be a concern if you use the usual plants. You can also look into rooted plants growing up and out of your tank. There are several emergent species that will do well for that type of roll. Bamboo, some mangroves, and maybe some other plants. Then you get the advantage of being able to ignore CO2 dosing.

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Re: Wet-dry filter and aquaponics? Filtration for a 60gal

Post by fain » Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:18 pm

I like the shorter profile tanks too. :lol: The idea of growing bamboo sounds very interesting. So long as the leaves are out of the water, they are good, right? I may go for that...and yeah, they were intended to keep the nitrates down. I'll be keeping up my 2 weekly water changes, but I like having everything in place in case something happens and I can't do my water change on time. This happened last week when I was in a small car accident and couldn't bend over, much less carry the buckets.

Redundancy is good with me. If it will help in any way, I'd be glad to set up a UG filter. The substrate will be sand (well rinsed playsand) and the main decorations will be large rocks & java fern. I worry that the rocks will damage the filter plates. :?

It makes sense that the problems would be dominant in saltwater setups, but I rarely found any information regarding specialty freshwater filtration systems so I wasn't sure.

On a fun note, my LFS picked up a rather large group of Dario. I read up on them and they seem to be a good match, so I may pick up a group of them to add to the tank. Still reading up, but at $4/loach...I may not have much time to consider. They are very eye-catching after all. :wink:

My fiance doesn't seem to like the intense yellow on the Darios, says he likes the Striata more. He puts up with my MTS, so if he says he likes something that I'm already considering, then I'm getting it. :lol: So it looks like I'm getting a batch of them instead. To go with my four Histrionica in a 60 gal....I'm thinking eight. :)

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