Would you want to live with a wood burning stove? - Equipment - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 11-14-2008, 06:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Would you want to live with a wood burning stove?

I’ve probably beaten this subject to death but somehow people keep replying to my posts. So let’s bring it up to the top and start again fresh without all the deeply nested posts.

Here is the story, some people (ie Tom Barr) think that CO2 controllers are useless and some people (ie. Ray-the-pilot) think they are great.

Now here is the story from RTP.

When you control the CO2 in your tank with only a bubble counter, this is the same thing as heating your house with a wood burning stove.

While it is true that people have been heating their homes with wood burning stoves for centuries, there are some problems with wood burning stoves. For one thing it is hard to control the overall temperature of your home. You have to tweek the stove on hot and cold days. Another problem is that there are hot spots and cold spots in your home. This is a result of the nature of this type of system. When you rely on a heat in = heat out method of control you have to expect some places will be hot and some will be cold and you have to expect that on hot days, your house will be too hot and on cold days, your house will be too cold.

So how do people cope with these problems? Well they add a “Temperature Controller” (ie a thermostat) to their heating system. The thermostat goes on when the temperature is too low and goes off when the temperature is too hot. The result is that the temperature changes that occur in your house due to swings in outside temperature are almost non existent and the temperature differences in your home are dramatically reduced.

Now I realize that a wood burning stove is romantic and yes your pipes will not freeze if you heat your home with a wood burning stove but really do you want to heat your home with one?

Well a bubble counter is exactly the same thing. All it does is add CO2 to your tank. Like the wood burning stove all you can do is increase or decrease the CO2. There are hot spots and cold spots and the CO2 level changes with the activity of the plants and fish. The bubble counter relys on the same primitive technology CO2 in = CO2 out. So how do people cope with this problem?

Now I’d like to think that they would add a CO2 controller to their system but strange as it may seem they say:

1. Tom Barr doesn’t do that.
2. Fish can take it.
3. I don’t have one and everything is fine.
4. You (i.e. RTP) are an idiot

If anyone, including and especially Tom Barr, can say anything different from the above I’d like to hear from them.

One other important point: I‘ve said this before, Tom Barr is a talented and artistic aquarium keeper. I do not mean to imply that he cannot grow plants well. He is a pioneer. What I am saying is that there is a technology available that can revolutionize the aquatic plant growing hobby that needs to be developed.

Last edited by ray-the-pilot; 11-14-2008 at 09:51 AM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 07:32 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

I think it's possible to over analyze things. Now I am not a CO2 injection type myself. Although I lean more towards the Walstad natural planted aquarium philosophy than the high tech CO2 injection/nutrient micromanagement style, as I understand it, many people use a simple CO2 bubble count method merely because it works well for them, and they see no need to overcomplicate an already (to my mind) overly complicated system.

I don't think the wood stove analogy fits. With any kind of water circulation system, dispersion of CO2 in a planted tank will be reasonably uniform. If it is not, you'd have far greater problems with respect to uneven heating than you would with uneven CO2 dispersion.

I imagine there is a fairly wide acceptable range for CO2 concentration, so I am not sure that rigid control is even necessary. As long as the concentration is not too high, causing distress to the fish, and not to low, resulting is reduced plant vigor, I think most hobbyists are willing to call that good.

It is possible to regulate CO2 injection with precision, just like it is also possible to do carpentry by measuring with a micrometer and then cutting with a chain saw. The measurement may be precise, but is any real benefit being realized in either instance?
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

Actually, there is much more of a difference in CO2 concentration than you would believe. I can quote Tom Barr on that point:

http://www.barrreport.com/co2-aquati...-readings.html

The reason you don’t see much of a difference in aquarium temperature is my point. Your aquarium temperature is controlled by a temperature regulator. Your CO2 is controlled by a wood burning stove.
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

*I posted this on the other thread, but I figured I'd REpost it here*


The funny thing about this thread is that everyone has agreed with everyone else on the most basic of principals... plants and fish need to be healthy, and each of us has found a way to make that happen. I digress, Ray has actually tried to tell people that their fish aren't healthy when he's never seen them. I guess that'd be the caveat to that. At any rate, aquariums are not nature, they are emulators. Ph does NOT remain constant in nature, save VERY large bodies of water, and we're not dealing with saltwater here, and by and large, not dealing with the African rift lakes either where Ph is pretty darned constant throughout.

If your fish are healthier than Tom Barr's fish, great! If your plants grow a miniscule amount faster than Tom Barr's tanks fantastic! (although I'd really have to see a side-by-side on this one. no, it wouldn't be "scientific" but doubting the harsh reality of what a side-by-side comparison of methods would do is simply admitting defeat.) From everything I've read (I'm a big forum stalker lol) Barr relies the MOST heavily on observation of plant and fish health/growth to find his sweet spot for Co2. This ability comes from all of his experience and scientific testing, so he's used everything from drop checkers to controllers, gas testing devices, and whatever's in between all this to do REAL scientific testing, with a certified "control." Unfortunately, most of us don't have these years of dedicated testing under our belts to go on, so we must rely on some device other than our eyes to KNOW what's going on in the tank. Most people use the drop checker because it's cheaper. Most SMART people use the drop checker as a START and go from there, and end up with a lush (hopefully algaefree) aquarium with happy, breeding, eating, partying-when-you-turn-the-lights-off fish.

I'm not by any means saying Barr's a "god." There's only one of those, but Barr has certainly put in his time where planted tanks are concerned and had MASSIVE success with them on all levels. I can't remember the last time I heard of Ray-the-pilot's Estimative Index fertilizing methods. I've heard of Barr's though. In fact, I use it with great results, as well as some of his advices on Co2 levels from thebarrreport.com forums. Heck, that would be a great place for you to copy and paste this thread. I'd be interested to see both points of view come together. (from a scientific standpoint, not a drama one)

my $0.02

P.S. Tom Barr never touted the use of a controller any more than he touted the use of the drop checkers. His gripe was with reliance on unreliable (or potentially unreliable) equipment rather than actual scientific evidence. You can't claim to have a "control" when calibrating your tests, of you don't have a second aquarium run by the other method sitting directly beside. That said, nothing will ever be completely scientific in an aquarium since we can't tell the fishies to sit still while we test our flow rate

*Edit* My grandmother used a woodburning stove to great effect when heating her house. I wouldn't be able to because I'm not used to it, but on a cold winter night, she knew exactly how much wood to toss in there to keep her space nice and toasty. Adding a "thermostat" wouldn't do too much for the hot/cold spots in your house, unless you added one for each room. (each different flow area in our aquariums) so your controller needs several probes per aquarium to accurately deal with this issue if you really think you have to have it THAT regulated to make fish and plants happy. Obvisouly, (or at least hopefully) you weren't attempting to make a direct correlation between the two, but the analogy remains the same. Some people have enough experience with their drop checkers to use them as a very reliable starting point, and some people like their controllers. On the last three tanks I set up, (and grew out very nice plants, as well as breeding fish and invertibrates) I didn't use a controller OR a drop checker, so I'm not rooting for either method. I agree that if the controller COULD test the perfect average of the Co2 level in the tank(not just the Ph swings), and adjust flow accordingly, it would be the best tool we had in our arsenal, and in fact might still be the best tool regardless of that small flaw, but (while we're going for inane references that don't really correlate) you're telling people who are perfectly happy with their VCR's that they NEED to switch to a DVD player to make their guests happy. They'll end up with the same movie in the end, and the popcorn will taste just as good.

Last edited by jargonchipmunk; 11-14-2008 at 09:31 AM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 09:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

May I say that your post falls into all four of the categories previously denoted;

1. Tom Barr doesn’t do that.
2. Fish can take it.
3. I don’t have one and everything is fine.
4. You (i.e. RTP) are an idiot

Let me ask a simple question. Suppose we set up two houses side by side. In one we have a wood burning stove and in the other we have a modern temperature regulated heating system. As a test we say “Do the pipes freeze in winter.” It is obvious that the regulated system is no better than the unregulated system. But despite this rather ridiculous evidence, I wouldn’t switch my heating system to a wood burning stove.

Here is the problem with your experiment. Your premise is not falsifyable. What that means is this: yes, plants and fish can grow without a controller so it is impossible to show that something is wrong with an experiment that uses as a test “can plants and fish grow without a controller.”

Now here is the test that I have done.
Start by reducing the CO2 in your tank to 0 by running your tank through 2 photo cycles. Then gradually increase your CO2 by 3-5 ppm per week keeping your tank CO2 uniform. When your fish show a change in behavior that is the maximum level of CO2 for your tank.

Using that test your method fails miserably because you cannot even say what the CO2 is in your tank because it is all over the place even from one spot in your tank to another. This in science is called an “out of control” experiment.

I’m sorry, if you want to do scientifically accurate experiments, you need to have control over the variables. That includes CO2.

BTW while pH in nature can vary quite a lot, CO2 in nature is consistently below 1 ppm. The level of CO2 in most planted tanks is at least 30x normal and some people claim that their CO2 varied by more than 10x per day. That is not very good for fish even if they do live.

Last edited by ray-the-pilot; 11-14-2008 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 11:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

who on earth said anything about controllers being bad? I don't do things because Tom Barr or anyone else doesn't do them. I do them because they WORK.

no one is asking you to switch to a drop checker. Not one person has suggested that. However, you're attempting (failing) to discredit everyone who has come before you who proved time and again that methods aside from yours work just as well.

I have nonplanted tanks with some of the same fish in my planted tanks, and guess what.... they are behaviorally identical (aside from the fact that most of these species seem MORE comfortable in my planted tanks, as they have more cover and generally cleaner water, but that's besides the point)

Testing the behavioral changes in a fish that's used to one thing and switching to another thing is rediculous. We're not dealing with statics here. The fish I keep were for the most part bred locally, so have never in their lives seen a river.

Put two tanks side by side and keep the same species of fish in both and denote their behavior. THEN you'll have some sort of scientific experiment. You claim no one else but you has any scientific "control" to their experimentation, but you seem to be the only one who has none yourself. Your findings are based on one tank undergoing changes, instead of two tanks (should actually be three, one having no Co2 addition at all) side by side. Learn scientific theory and practice before attempting to debunk years of other people's work. While we're still using random analogies in an attempt to prove "scientific" studies... Your particular method is saying take an eskimo and move him to texas for the summer and watch how he's uncomfortable, where as you should be watching the eskimo and find yourself a Texan to watch during the summer and see if the eskimo fairs any better during HIS summer than the Texan does during his. We're dealing with live beings here, not lab equipment, and yes they DO get used to the environment they've always lived in (even if it's a Ph swinging planted tank they've been breeding in for three years) It's called adaptation.

P.S. in case you missed it when several people said it before.... most everyone is in agreeance with you. Co2 controllers are nice. They revolve around the same science we're all trying to use in our tanks, and take it a step further to adjust without us being there. I'm one of those people who can't afford one (and after all the tanks I've run, wouldn't want one honestly, because I know how to do it now)

"BTW while pH in nature can vary quite a lot, CO2 in nature is consistently below 1 ppm. The level of CO2 in most planted tanks is at least 30x normal and some people claim that their CO2 varied by more than 10x per day. That is not very good for fish even if they do live."

This claim is based on the fact that Co2 is causing a change in the Ph of the water, so your statement contradicts itself. In nature, the Ph swings due to other factors that aren't in our aquariums (biological breakdown, soil gas release, flooding, etc etc.) whereas in our tanks we have only two Ph fluxtuations which are regulated and timed. Which do you think might be easier for the animals to expect, adapt to, and be comfortable in?

By the way, I am not in the field of thought that 40ppm is "good" for fish. I know this is uncomfortable and fish come first for me. My tanks NEVER get that high. I am also not into growing out a tank in a day, so my light is not at 5wpg either, so I'mnot even in that camp. I sit somewhere in the 3 - 3.5wpg 25ppm camp and if I could teach my fish to talk I'd have them post here instead because I'm thoroughly convinced they're pleased as pie to be living where they are.


*the one thing I believe could be added (maybe it has I don't know if I read every post on the other thread) to your theorum is that if Co2 controllers (I.E. Ph range detecting Solenoids) each came with 4 or 5 probes and did calculations based on all of the spots in the tank then the "thermostat" idea would be plausible. The problem is, it's up to use to attempt to ascertain where the best spot in our aquarium is to guage. Without perfect flow (empty aquarium) we cannot see all of the crevices that get more or less gas and hence, the controller only really helps MOST of the aquarium. not ALL of it, so even your fish have pockets of uncomfortable water in their tanks. Do you notice behavioral changes in your fish based on those flow pockets? (I'm asking seriously, not being smart) As in is there a spot in the tank they always shy away from regardless of its seeming safety?

Last edited by jargonchipmunk; 11-14-2008 at 11:59 AM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

"Good grief!"
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Old 11-14-2008, 12:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ray-the-pilot View Post
Now I’d like to think that they would add a CO2 controller to their system but strange as it may seem they say:

1. Tom Barr doesn’t do that.
2. Fish can take it.
3. I don’t have one and everything is fine.
4. You (i.e. RTP) are an idiot

If anyone, including and especially Tom Barr, can say anything different from the above I’d like to hear from them.
5. I like my wood stove, because it uses a renewable resource.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

seems like you don't get any satisfaction with your other 2 treads you started on the same subject so you just start a new one? hhmmm...i hope you get the crowd you've been searching for on this thread.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why live with a wood burning stove?

i just want to clarify a few things from this post so that others who happen upon it don't become confused with some of ray's comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ray-the-pilot View Post
I’ve probably beaten this subject to death
All that's left are hooves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ray-the-pilot View Post
When you control the CO2 in your tank with only a bubble counter
Completely wrong... you control the CO2 in your tank with your regulator and needle valve. The bubble counter does just that, lets you count the bubbles of CO2 being injected into your tank. You actually don't need a bubble counter, it's just a very good visual aid showing how much CO2 is going into your tank at a specific rate.

clear as mud folks? cool. please resume the horse beatings.
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