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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a few aquaponics tanks about 8 years ago. Aquaponics is a balances system of fish and plants. The fish make waste and the plants consume it. I have been experimentiing with this for my aquariums. I took a common house ivy and suspended the roots into my 20g tank, I protected the roots with fine mesh netting. I did not do a water change for a year. The plants pulled out the nitrates. Eventually I removed the plants and had to start water changes again.
It was just a test.
I will continue to fine tune this concept, because one day (after I build the wife a house) I will set up an 8' tank. Fish will be in the tank with low light tropical plant growing all along the top, fed by the fish waste.
I was thinking about having the plants growing in a 4" black PVC pipe that is 90% submerged along the back with a pump circulating the tank's water through the pipe.
Eventually, the pipe will be full of plant root.
I think it will look nice if done right.
Tropical fish below and tropical garden above.
Anybody doing anything like this.
Plant Nitrate Removal.jpg
 

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I read about pothos plants helping with nitrates once established on another forum. I put them in on each end of a 125 three or 4 months ago and now they are growing like weeds. It has helped keep my nitrates down by 20ppm over a weeks time for the past 3 weeks. It didn't do anything for the first couple months that I noticed, took a while to establish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pothos? I didn't know what they were called. I looked it up, that is the plant I put in mine also. Bought it from Home Depot.
 

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Kipnlilo said:
I read about pothos plants helping with nitrates once established on another forum. I put them in on each end of a 125 three or 4 months ago and now they are growing like weeds. It has helped keep my nitrates down by 20ppm over a weeks time for the past 3 weeks. It didn't do anything for the first couple months that I noticed, took a while to establish.
What fish do yo have in there? I put plants in with my mbuna and they tore them apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ironspider said:
What fish do yo have in there? I put plants in with my mbuna and they tore them apart.
Mine were two oscars, angels and a placo.
I had the roots inside of very fine netting so they could not get to them unless the roots grew through the netting.
 

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johnnymax said:
ironspider said:
What fish do yo have in there? I put plants in with my mbuna and they tore them apart.
Mine were two oscars, angels and a placo.
I had the roots inside of very fine netting so they could not get to them unless the roots grew through the netting.
I plan to do this. I realize you wrapped the roots in fine mesh, but were the Oscars tempted to try to get to the roots at all? I have 2 Oscars.

Anybody know if the Pothos roots will harm Oscars?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bobsled said:
johnnymax said:
ironspider said:
What fish do yo have in there? I put plants in with my mbuna and they tore them apart.
clip ... I plan to do this. I realize you wrapped the roots in fine mesh, but were the Oscars tempted to try to get to the roots at all? I have 2 Oscars.
Anybody know if the Pothos roots will harm Oscars?
I did not notice then trying to get them, but if roots got outside the fine hairs were cleaned off,
 

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Bobsled said:
johnnymax said:
ironspider said:
What fish do yo have in there? I put plants in with my mbuna and they tore them apart.
Mine were two oscars, angels and a placo.
I had the roots inside of very fine netting so they could not get to them unless the roots grew through the netting.
I plan to do this. I realize you wrapped the roots in fine mesh, but were the Oscars tempted to try to get to the roots at all? I have 2 Oscars.

Anybody know if the Pothos roots will harm Oscars?
Mine hang free in the tank with haps, peacocks and mbuna. They don't mess with them. They do like hanging out in them though. I haven't had an Oscar since the 80's, but there are plenty of fish keepers that have these in their Oscar tanks from what I've read. Here's a pic of a Dragon Blood peeking through mine. Not the best pic, but you can definitely see them. Like i said earlier, I have them at both ends of the tank (125g) under my canopy. They are almost to the top of my canopy now and two strands are around 3 foot long and growing out the back and past the top. The roots are probably close to 10 inches long in the tank. I've attached another crappy pic from my iPad showing them on one end. These started out as a 4 inch around plant from Walmart. Maybe 6 inches long. They grow fast, look nice and help with nitrates. If you search around, you will see many ways fish keepers set them up.

6735E710-916A-4BF1-97CB-B312AEBF0531.jpeg

9481D882-D296-415B-AFF4-083491992BBC.jpeg
 

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Forum;

My 55G is closely associated with my family room houseplant area...as in right next to, and visually a (wet) continuation of the plant window...and the houseplants also get watered (almost exclusively) with tank water, and thrive from it, this is also part of the continuous water change and replenishment cycle of the tank...I'm sure they wouldn't mind a constant access to the nitrate-laden tank water...plant cuttings (including pothos) are rooted in this water also, and they do just fine in it...

I have been aware of the pothos roots nitrate filtering idea for tanks a a long time (there's also some YT vids on this), and even tried it for a while (in an old Whisper II HoB filter, instead of the filter pack...this would circulate the water onto the roots, and also keeps them absolutely out of the tank inhabitant's reach...I too was concerned with possible poisoning)...I guess I didn't give it enough time, or a chance to really show it's effectiveness, and I went back to the normal filter configuration...I should try this again...when I do, I'll report on results...

Cheers
 

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So I know this post is a couple months old, just hoping someone might chime in rather than starting a new thread.

I too have been looking at growing some Pothos from my tank(standard 75gal stocked with Mbuna and S.Lucipinnus). I like the idea and look of the aquaponics, and I have watched as many relevant YT videos on the subject as I can find. I really don't like the thought of running a planter box or some other container above my tank, even a great design seems like a disaster waiting to happen; however, using a planter inside of the tank really appeals to me. I have been thinking of constructing a shallow tray made from acrylic, but I am not sure how much water flow I need to run over the root systems. I have thought about using a surface skimmer outflow to "push" tank water, but I am not sure if the flow rate is enough. The idea of using some black PVC piping seems like an interesting alternative to making an acrylic box, but I think I would rather be able to see what's going on inside the "planter".

Any thoughts on water flow rate would be greatly appreciated. Any thoughts on why you should NOT place the root tray directly in the tank water would potentially save the lives of all my "wet pets".

Thanks in advance for any replies!
 

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The problem I have with this system is my cichlids love eating the roots! So even pothos dies unless I protect the roots. I put some pothos in a breeder box that hangs on the side of the tank, It's been growing nicely. Putting it into a HOB filter would work too. I'm open to some ideas. Pothos is really easy to grow and loves nitrate.
 

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Water changes should still be done because nitrite is just one indicator of the level of toxins. Plants can get you to zero nitrates and probably phosphates as well, but won't remove every harmful contaminant.
 
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