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Thread: Plant (Vegetable) Filters

  1. #31
    Oyagoi bekko's Avatar
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    So why are they turning yellow in your pond water?
    There can be a lot of curious interactions. Too much nutrient can burn the plants. Ponds are notoriously rich in nitrogen and phosphate, but there is almost no potassium (the 'K' in N-P-K). When growing plants bare-root the roots can develop a coating of algae which steals all the nutrient before the vascular plant can get it.

    Because you cannot measure ammonia or nitrate with a test kit does not mean that it is not being produced. It means it is being utilized as fast as it is being produced.

    The important thing to remember is that plants do not "remove" nutrients from the system. They only tie up nutrients for a while and when a leaf dies all its captured nutrient is released back into the water. Nutrients are not actually removed from the system until the plants are thinned out and put on the compost heap. Do the math..... Compare the nitrogen content of wet-weight plant biomass which you remove from the bog to the nitrogen input via fish feed. You will find that a bog is a lot of work for not much benefit in terms of genuine nitrogen removal.

    This is not to say that a bog filter isn't fun and (hopefully) beautiful. Also, there are likely benefits which we are overlooking. The uptake of excess trace minerals and heavy metals which enter the pond via feed could be one of them. Providing a buffer to stabilize the concentration of dissolved nutrients when the feed input is inconsistent could be another.

    -s tevehopk

  2. #32
    Sansai
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    You are correct in the interactions. And too many time ponders only focus on the three negatives that we dont want, instead of also focusing on what we need, chemistry values which are either low or missing completely.

    When you start talking trace minerals, there are many that are needed for proper metabolism by the fish, and also by the plants. Over time, these are depleted and need to be restored. That is great if your source water does the replentishment, or if you even change enough to matter.

    And with water differences from one place to the next, it is difficult to recomend water changes for some people.

    I can do and have done a flow through system. So if the plants have to have the ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate in measured amounts, why do they grow so well in a flow through system with no detectable amounts?

    So for a person to mislead others into believing that their pond water is healthy because there are no traces of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates, and as a consiquence the plants are turning yellow, is only looking at the pond as a single dinamic, not as a complete system.

    d

  3. #33
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    dOHd: I think you have me confused with someone else's post? I do not have plants in the pond. None to yellow. (I do have a separate waterlily pond where fertilizer can be used when desired.) I did make the point early in this thread that a truly effective plant filter would not be growing beautiful plants. This is because the mass of plants would be sufficient to exceed nitrogen production of the fish pond. Only plants with low nitrogen needs would be able to take the competition, and these would not reach their potential. Taro is a plant adapted to nutrient deficient soils. Very efficient at capturing nitrogen where other plants struggle. But, as big as Taro can grow, it has extremely high water ratio. There is not much there compared to the volume you perceive. When dried, a 7' Taro's weight is a matter of ounces. So, a lot of mass created by the water-retentive cell structure on very little nutrient. I think your large weekly water changes are the key to your water quality... and I applaud you for doing them. A koikeeper with good source water has a wonderful resource and should take advantage of it.

  4. #34
    Sansai
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    Mike

    Sorry for the confusion. But the question still remains for those that use that indicator as the basis for their assumptions.

    The leaves on the trees are also full of water. But dried, they also weigh nothing. And I have other plants as well as the taro that also do well.

    Actually, I have a shop where I sell plants. One of the things I have noticed is that even with no fish in the display tank, and no fert. tabs, they do just nicely with regular water changes to the tanks.

    My point was this. Water gets used up. Fish, bacteria, other life forms all use up micro nutrients in the water that are necesary for life. Unless that water is refreshed, those nutrients stay missing. Plants are just the first to visually display your problem. Plants turning yellow is not an indication that you have a healthy pond.

    People that push plant filters as the solution are just like the pond builders that tell you that you need 20 tons of gravel in your pond for the pondís health. Plants can be a part of the solution, but they can not be the total solution.

    I donít rely on veggie filters. But I do have plants in the ponds, even the pond with the big girls. And every one of them grows well. Not because I need them, but because they add a dimension to the pond I enjoy. And none of the plants are potted, but instead bare root. That way there are no dead spots, no addition to the bioload etc. I can not keep lilies in the pond with the big girls, as they would destroy them in under an hour.

    The most serious issue I see is when the power goes off, and the fish are deprived of the O2 in the water. There are times plants make this situation worse, taking the hour or so you could have to respond to a power failure, and making it only minutes before fish deaths start.

    Then there is the subject of pH swings, but that is another subject as well.

    d

  5. #35
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    I was reading on another board where there is a discussion about using water hyacinths to clean up a greenwater situation and thought I'd bump up this old thread.

    I do not have anything to add to what was said above in this thread. I do find it a bit depressing that there are so many folks who think adding some water hyacinths to their pond (or to a filter chamber) will solve the consequences of inadequate filtration, infrequent water changes and cleaning filters only when they become overloaded. With so much information available on proper pondkeeping, it seems the notion that a few dozen water hyacinth are a magic bullet would die out. But, it does not.

  6. #36
    Sansai
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    Plant filters

    There are pros and cons,

    but my partner wants a water garden so we will have one, hardy lilies, iris and some bog plants, on its own system with a waterfall, I have some ideas and we will build on them.

    Water hyacinths as many know are used by many municipalities in their water treatment plants with great sucess.

    We will have an aquaponics unit in a hoop house, probably separate from most all the koi, but still toying with an idea for a couple of 600 gal plankton pools for hatchouts and fry. Got to work on this some more but I can see some water hyacinth in them. These will be short term pools, after the fry move on they will be used for other things.

    My koi will have diy bakki's. Later maybe commercial ones just to control more parameters.

    So, there are lots of pros and cons on this, and different places on the spectrum. Myself I think the wisest path is to emulate the Japanese breeders, I still have yet to visit the American breeders, will be correcting that this fall.

    Jake

    Oswego, NY
    We are all in this together.
    Last edited by Jake Levi; 08-15-2010 at 08:12 AM. Reason: spelling
    Jake Levi
    Oswego, NY

    We are all in this together

  7. #37
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    An oldie that keeps making the rounds...

    Plenty of good info here and I think the success and failure of these veggie attempts is what most people misunderstand. In the example Daniel used of the bare root vegetable and ornamental grow out system you see a pretty traditional "aquaponics" approach that eschews mulm catching substrates entirely and harvests the plant life continually. Two important things are going on there that make it work in that setting. The nutrients are being "harvested" from the water permanently each time a tomato or cucumber is picked, a flowering plant is removed and sold, etc... At the same time, all of these plants are removing water from the system via direct transport/assimilation into the cells being harvested. That requires a lot of water changes, only in that scenario the water is being removed by vegetable matter rather than by dumping. A far cry from "topping up" a pond for evaporation replacement which leaves the nutrients in the pond in ever higher concentrations. These plants are likewise being regularly pruned of any dying vegetable matter before the nutrients can be returned to the water.

    Daniel also mentions his own pond where Tarrow grow well (as one would expect) and his water quality is very good. A few Tarrow or other plants are not capable of that kind of "filtration" performance, but his self professed 80%-100% weekly water changes... It pays to keep your eye on the ball if you want to hit a home run

    He considered the death of the water hyacinth and other plants to be a clear indication of other water quality issues as most plants grown anywhere in the world do so in nutrient poor water. True, up to a point. Most plants are grown using water that is nutrient poor and of potable water quality. That is because the water is only acting as a solvent/carrier for the nutrients contained within the soil substrate. In the case of plants failing in the last chamber of a filter box...starvation of essential nutrients combined with another oft overlooked key element in a pond. Those pesky microtoxins algaes release into the water to ensure dominance via "competitive exclusion". We readily accept that algaes keep each other in check in this manner, but ignore the possibility that they may also weaken other plants in the same manner.

    The solid points made by Steve (I miss our ol' buddy Bekko often) are inescapable truths. You don't wait for veggie filter "contributors" to die off before removing them. You harvest them while they are thriving and multiplying. That removes the nutrients, water content, etc... before any of it can be returned to the water column and plant matter begin to decay.

    I mentioned this in another thread somewhere, but I was chatting with one of the guys on the Malaysian Forum a few years back about Water Hyacinth being used to clean up the Mei Kong River. The Vietnamese were having a serious "Blue Green Algae" bloom that was killing off their fishing in the river and it was being fed by fertilizer runoff. They set up large net enclosures along the river with Hyacinth inside to grab as much nutrient as they could. The growth was phenomenal (as expected) and the plants were continually harvested and composted as a "green manure" crop to be used in agriculture.

    Pretty savvy setup if you ask me.
    Not what we typically see done by "would be" veggie filter enthusiasts...
    Larry Iles
    Oklahoma

  8. #38
    Daihonmei PapaBear's Avatar
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    ...dump...Server acting weird...
    Last edited by PapaBear; 08-14-2010 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Double Posted

  9. #39
    Jumbo bighatbulls's Avatar
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    Ok here is my take on it. You put a plant in the water with the koi it is only there for th koi's enjoyment, not yours.

    Recently I heard of a club member who lost all his fish due to ick. Ick is probbably spelled ich however ich is also the German word for "I", so forgive me for my spelling ICH, ICK. This ponder has a total vegetable filter.

    My thinking tends to stray toward that vegetable filter. I think it caused his water quality to be poor, thus stressing the fish, thus allowing the ick to get in there and party. I like to think that he didn't notice the ick infestation until the fish started to go belly up in the pond. However if he did treat his pond yet didn't do anything else to improve the water quality then it was like he threw a bucket of water at a raging forrest fire.

    We don't use hyacinths out here for filtration, we use it as breeding media.

    Anyway that's my 2 cents about veggie filters.
    Amanda Bulls-Stephens
    Creator of "The Tail End"
    Central California Koi Society

  10. #40
    Tategoi Peppy's Avatar
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    I don't know about you all but out here in AS country I weary of people asking me if I'm going to put plants in my pond or saying, no plants?

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