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niko 12-16-2004 08:46 PM

Update on Luis' tank
In September 2004 as a special presentation for our club Luis Navarro came to Dallas and set up a tank demonstrating the use of layered substrate, wood, and plant placement.

Most of us have seen this link to the workshop. Today, Dec 16 I took new pictures of the tank - 1, 2.

I asked Luis to suggest whatever improvements he finds appropriate before uploading pictures of his tank to his web site so expect another update soon.

Some history of the tank development - after the meeting I was pretty good in maintaining the tank, but on the second month I stopped the water changes and let the water evaporate to about 1/2 the tank volume. Staghorn algae as well as bba developed quickly and took about 1/3 of the water volume. In that state the tank existed for almost 2 months.

The tank quickly changed to its current clean but somewhat wild state after I:
- manually cleaned the algae
- added a powerful canister filter
- added about 30 cherry red shrimp (now about 100 -150 since these shrimp multiply quickly)
- fertilized daily using Edward's mix of fertilizers
- did regular weekly water changes.

I find it quite amazing to have 4.4 wpg of light over that tank and to not have the anubias covered with spot algae. The distance between the light bulbs and the anubias leaves is about 3 inches.

Hope you enjoyed the workshop and the update on the tank!


pineapple 12-17-2004 08:16 AM

Niko, Thanks for this 'valuable' post and the link to the set up sequence. I saw the photos of this event on the DFWAPC web site but they didn't seem so extensive. The information on the substrate construction is very helpful. I am determined to get away from those two bags of Flourite that are sitting beside my office desk glaring at me and have been reading up on substrates, Art's articles and others on APC. Your post is timely.

Question: What is the dry bacteria additive used in the substrate? Does it have a brand name or source?

You've used a number of substrates, from Flourite to garnet sand (and more?). Do you notice anything special about this set up in terms of plant growth? or?....

Andrew Cribb

Ricky Cain 12-17-2004 10:51 AM

The dry bacteria is Duplabaccies.

pineapple 12-17-2004 11:31 AM

Ricky, Thanks for the information. Luis must have sources outside the USA...

Andrew Cribb

niko 12-17-2004 03:10 PM


I have not used too many substrates actually. The EcoComplete that Luis put in that tank was very much agains my will because I don't like the pH buffering and the KH/GH (exclusively Ca and no Mg) increase that that substrate adds.

But honestly what I see with EcoComplete are some very deep glosso roots. That can't be bad :-)

Anything special with this setup.. The glosso grows very dense and very low, but I have 4.4 wpg over that tank. Also the substrate may be responsible for a lot of nutrients because the plants bubble extremely heavy even if I don't fertilize for days.


Ricky Cain 12-17-2004 03:26 PM

I'm pretty sure Luis gets the Dupla stuff there in Houston. Maybe he'll pop up here and confirm that.

Laith 12-18-2004 01:35 AM

Interesting, I just read up on Duplabaccies (

I had assumed that this stuff was the usual nitrosommonas/nitrobacter bacteria used (though this is disuputed now) in the Nitrogen cycle.

But this stuff is "bacteria necessary for the breakdown of protein compounds and cellulose", including organics...

First I've heard of adding this to an aquarium. Anyone seen any studies/articles showing that this 1) exists naturally in aquariums and 2) really has any beneficial effect?

pineapple 12-18-2004 06:12 AM

I'd like to get my hands on some. I will be setting up a couple of aquariums in the New Year and it might be useful - certainly to try it out.

Niko, thanks for the insight. I'm a bit leery of using Eco-Complete for the same reasons. But it does seem like a convenient sort of method.

Andrew Cribb

Navarro 12-19-2004 11:24 AM

I may be a little late! But any way the Baccies can be purchased at Hawaiian marine imports they are made by Dupla and it seems that they are back in business.
The idea of using this product came from Mr. Amano. He advises to inoculate the substrate to accelerate the bacteria colonization with both aerobic and anaerobic strains for a healthy and stable environment. it work for me every time and that's the reason why I chose to use it.
The bacter 100 is what ADA manufactures and you can buy it now in America.

pineapple 12-19-2004 12:21 PM

Luis, In time. Thanks. I will check both sources out.

I suppose some people - myself included in the past - used mulm from an active aquarium to 'innoculate' the substrate of a new set up. I imagine at least one advantage of using either Dupla or ADA products is that neither is contaminated with other things you might not want in a new substrate. Presumably, mulm might carry algae spores or what not...

Andrew Cribb

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