Pothos filter build - UPDATE Feb 16

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UNC-CH created the topic: Pothos filter build - UPDATE Feb 16

I've had some pothos and a couple other plants suspended in a ten gallon tank with a goldfish for about two weeks now. I've had others planted in the hob filter for a week or two longer. It hasn't been long since the plants started growing underwater roots, but it's been long enough for me to see the results for myself. Nitrate levels are simply not getting beyond the orange on the color chart. And before I added the plants, nitrates in this tank rose at about the same rate as my oscar 75 gallon. That is, I needed to do a 75% change once a week at least. But with no water changes in 3 weeks, nitrate is around 20-30ppm instead of 160ppm as I'd expect were there no plants absorbing the nitrate.

I built the lid for the 10 gallon tank from 1/4" plexiglass and drilled 1 1/4" holes in it for the plants to fit through. However, I had a problem with some plants slipping through the holes and into the tank.




So I built a structure out of plexiglass strips. I attached the structure to the tank and secured the strips of plexiglass together with double-sided tape. This gave me a something above the tank to tie the plants onto and will allow them to grow up to 12" at which time I hope to cut and propagate more.





I built a stand that will support a 5 gallon pothos filter (for now made with a 15" x 11" 10" rubbermaid contaner) which will sit beside my 75 gallon oscar tank like an hob filter, have it's own powerhead pump for intake, and two 1" outputs for the water to drain back into the tank.

The stand is made from 1/2" steel rods 4 ft. long cut from two 10 ft. rods which were around $11 each. (It will be cut a few inches shorter so the rods don't stick up from the top nuts.) The wood is 1" thick cut from a display cabinet I purchased for $18. The dimensions of the shelves ars 21" x 11".




Next steps are to finish the stand, build the pothos filter and get everything into place. I'll post an update when it's completed.
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Cobweb-Forests replied the topic: Re:Pothos filter build

Oh I am excited to see the final product! I don't know much about the pothos plant however, I am interested now! (Like I need another project XD) think I should invest in one? Does it remove a lot of nitrate from the water?
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Poseidon2.0 replied the topic: Re:Pothos filter build

Great looking contraption UNC-CH. I am having trouble conceiving of the final result of your wooden plant shelf in relation to an aquarium, but look forward to the results. Giving me some ideas for the back of my 75.
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Pothos filter build

This is the first time I've ever used plants to remove nitrate from an aquarium. But all the research I've done points to pothos (aka devils ivy) as the most efficient plant for the removal of nitrate. There are several long threads with people's discussions of their success using pothos ... if used only in the back of their hob filter, which is probably the most common, effective approach. Other plants that have been suggested are Water Lilly and Arrowhead plant, among others. But pothos seems to outperform others in that it grows quickly and easily, does not need grow lights (ambient light will work), and grows well in water. Check out the video. There's also a very long thread from a few years ago.

www.oscarfishlover.com/forum/49--diy/114914-diy-nitrate-filter-solved?limitstart=0

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Bri B replied the topic: Re:Pothos filter build

Very impressive work also extremely easy on the eyes. I hope it works out for you. Keep us posted.
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Poseidon2.0 replied the topic: Pothos filter build

I am experimenting with Arrowhead right now. The new water roots are growing out very quickly. The jury is still out on how effective they will be on the nitrates. So far so good, but they have only been in for a little over a week, so I expect some improvements.

ETA: I should add that by "very quickly" I mean that the one plant I have in open water has shot out several new five to six inch roots inside of a week and the new leaf growth is also phenomenal. Darth Vader produces some excellent plant fertilizer. :lol:
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Pothos filter build

I remember reading that it takes a few weeks before the plants really begin to take off. That sounds about right because the plants in the filter that have been there nearly a month have a different look and color than the others planted more recently. BTW - the moonshine snake tongue is growing water roots like crazy compared to the others. I've noticed that the plants I've taken from clippings are all growing underwater roots, but the plants that I uprooted, placing the old root system in the water are not. I'm not sure if that's because they don't need to grow new roots or what.

Moonshine Snake Tongue is outpacing the other plants in underwater root growth.


... and leaf growth
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noodle replied the topic: Pothos filter build

UNC-CH that looks amazing! Even if it didn't do much to improve the water it would be worth it as it adds a lot to the overall look. The fact that it does help with water quality is a bonus. 20-30 instead of 160 is a massive drop in nitrates. I think that is truly amazing.

I want to ask something a little off topic here, I have read a lot about goldfish being as dirty as oscars but everything has been anecdotal. As someone who tests the water regularly, how do you think they compare?
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Pothos filter build

Based on what I've seen from before the pothos roots were put in the water, goldfish seem to produce about as much waste as an oscar of comparable size, possibly more. This goldfish, or comet, is about 3" not including the 1 1/4" tail in a 10 gallon tank and produces roughly the same amount of nitrate as my 9+" oscar in a 75 gallon. I used to change the water in both tanks at the same time, and each time I checked, nitrate was the same color in the test tube for both tanks. So this tank makes a very good test for how effective pothos can be in my 75 gallon oscar tank. Of course, if I moved these plants to my 75 gallon, I'd expect to get approximately 12% of the benefit. I'd have to have 7 1/2 times as many plants to have the same effect as in the 10 gallon.

I wish I had setup another 10 gallon without pothos with a similarly sized goldfish or comet for the sake of comparison. Because the results are quite remarkable, I wish I knew what the nitrate would be for sure instead of having to make an estimate.

BTW - I should not have said that nitrate would have been 160ppm by now. A better estimate would be 120ppm.
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UNC-CH replied the topic: Pothos filter build

Poseidon2.0 wrote: I am experimenting with Arrowhead right now. The new water roots are growing out very quickly. The jury is still out on how effective they will be on the nitrates. So far so good, but they have only been in for a little over a week, so I expect some improvements.

ETA: I should add that by "very quickly" I mean that the one plant I have in open water has shot out several new five to six inch roots inside of a week and the new leaf growth is also phenomenal. Darth Vader produces some excellent plant fertilizer. :lol:


5 - 6 " inside of a week? Wow! Keep me posted on how that develops. I might add in some arrowhead ... sounds very promising.
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