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I was wondering if there are any Ideas how to balance my system without any expensive tests. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to afford a test kit. Maybe it's not possible but I thought maybe someone has had success with something that I could glean from. I started my system with goldfish as I have always had success with them living long in just a bowl that we keep clean. Well why would they all die when the plants are helping me? Too many? - I've never had so many (15 or less) but I've also not had a 55 gallon aquarium either. I've had little one to two gallon bowls before. All of my fish died.

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these are all good Ideas (except maybe the straw one  :-)
This is exactly what I'm looking for!- ideas and more ideas!
TCLynx said:

Yea, in larger outdoor systems there are more options for alternative energy.  For the small aquarium system, well it might be possible but I'm not sure how particle it would be.

There are not electrically powered ways to add air, however they usually require some form of mechanical work to happen. 

The very simplest way would be sit there with a straw and blow air into the tank, I think that would get old after a few minutes and make you dizzy.

If you are good at clock work and wind up things you could probably create something that you would wind up a few times a day and it would do the work through the day.  Sorry I don't know of any designs appropriate to sitting nest to the aquarium.

You might be able to manage something with a small solar panel and a little DC air pump but that would only work when the sun was shining on the panel and you really need air 24/7.

I've heard of people using compressed air from a tank to slowly bleed into an air stone in the tank but you want to be sure the compressor that filled the tank couldn't have sprayed oil into it.  But this would involve getting the air tanks re-filled regularly.

yeah - I wonder how I could know these bars weren't harmful and I could just see if they worked

Green Acre Organics said:

We use sequestar 13% chelated iron. I've heard of others tossing in iron too but like TC I would caution against anything that may have any other alloys etc. I also don't know how usable a form of iron that would produce either.
yes and believe it or not I have plans to get my dog on an exercise wheel. but 24/7? maybe a whole pack of dogs taking shifts!

Chi Ma said:
You can use a wind/water/electricity powered paddle wheel to increase surface agitation if you feel like experimenting.

Adam Shivers said:

OK - so are there any other tricks to getting air in the system? ( i mean with all the auto siphons and everything I just think that way. To be quite honest I am trying to get away from electricity as another goal. I understand and accept the fact that it is available and will make my learning transition more bearable. I just don't want to overlook any non electric options that are simple on the way. I may post this in the off grid group as well to get their responses as well. This site is brilliant, Sylvia!
Sylvia Bernstein said:
Adam, to accurately test for oxygen you need a mete which is a few hundred dollars.  It's hard to over-oygenate a fish tank so if you can get a small aerator with some airstones in there your fish will be all the more happy.  Plus it becomes a backup in case your pump goes down your fish are still getting air.

know any metallurgists?

Here is a thread (kinda long one) but it explains about possible ways to deal de-nitrificaiton as well as some talk about perhaps chelating iron natrually within a system.  Kinda deep stuff some of it but perhaps worth a read to you.

RSG thread

Adam - I think on a smaller home aquarium set-up, you may well be able to get away from needing aerators (powered).  Nothing I have, from home aquarium to the big 2500 liter research greenhouse tank has any electrical aeration.  My stocking densities are moderate, but more importantly, I believe in surface aggitation more than pumping bubbles around.  Your loop siphon will be dumping water back into your system from time to time - is its outlet raised to be above your fish tank water level?  That amount of surface disturbance will go a long way in terms of oxygen addition.  By the way, if you work with normal air and normal pressure, all the pumps are doing really is to disturb the surface layer of water where the water / air interface occurs.  oxygen naturally disssolves into the water, but at a low rate.  If you disturb the water surface, you move the "saturated" water out of the interface and get more surface absorbtion going.  Raising your siphon inflow or diverting some of your pump's capacity to make a spray bar / single cascade to drop water into your system may well be all you need.  It is all I use for home system stocking densities.

Wow, no electric aeration at all?  Nice!  Do you have a strong flow & lots of splashing in your FT?

 

I would love to do this too but am under the impression that I can't avoid adding additional O2 to the FT.  What type of fish are you raising Kobus, and what is your stocking density?  Have you gone through hot summer days without any extra air?

 

I plan to raise catfish and have read that they require high levels of DO.  So I don't know if I could get away with that.  I would LOVE to though.  I'll have ~30 fish in a 300 gal stock tank, 25" deep.

 

I think Kobus turns over the water volume of his fish tanks more than just once or twice an hour.  Is that right?

Kobus is correct, as long as your stocking density is within reasonable limits... and his explaination of oxygen exchange right on the money...

 

Many AP systems feed by siphon acheive acceptable DO  levels just by passive gravity assisted oxygenation....

 

But a small two outlet, battery backup air pump is still a good idea... and caters for any sirtuations where pumping may stop/fail...

I'm going to avoid siphons, so I'll still probably need extra air in my DWC tanks (fed from the output of gravel GBs), at least to get better/quicker growth, but I wonder if I should start without any additional air going to my FT.  I will have a lot of splashing going on in there already.  Rupert, do you think this is reasonable, even for catfish?

 

While I'm at it, maybe I should just start without extra air in my DWC tanks too.. the rafts will be suspended over the water, so there will be air touching the rootballs at all time..

 

It would be GREAT to save $500 on the air pumps plus ~100 continuous watts..

I think your raft plants would definitely benefit from some additional aeration... as would the fish tank...

 

If you're avoiding siphons... how is the output from the gravel grow beds returning to the DWC tanks???

I do not want to make a hasty comment on what you plan, as I am not familiar with catfish.  What I did want to do was exactly your scenario - air pumps are always running and I had the notion that I could do away with them.  I have tried some hybrid scenarios and it worked.  That said, I support Rupert's notion of battery / solar powered air pump back-ups too.  I'm piecing together a blog inspired by a number of discussions around DO to clarify my stance - should be finished in a few hours.  There, I will explain my systems in detail and then clarify my position on DO and air pumps.



Greener said:

I'm going to avoid siphons, so I'll still probably need extra air in my DWC tanks (fed from the output of gravel GBs), at least to get better/quicker growth, but I wonder if I should start without any additional air going to my FT.  I will have a lot of splashing going on in there already.  Rupert, do you think this is reasonable, even for catfish?

 

While I'm at it, maybe I should just start without extra air in my DWC tanks too.. the rafts will be suspended over the water, so there will be air touching the rootballs at all time..

 

It would be GREAT to save $500 on the air pumps plus ~100 continuous watts..

Thank you very much Rupert and Kobus.

 

Kobus, please let us know where to find that blog when you post it.  I am very interested in reading what you have to say.

 

Rupert, I will have my DWC tanks at a level below my gravel GBs, so they can drain into the DWC tanks.. I will be using timed flood and drain, with a slow hole-drain in the GB standpipes.  Do you see a problem with this?  The sump will be one level below the DWC tanks.

 

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