NANFA-- Re: nanfa V1 #741

Dick Manley (
Fri, 8 Dec 2000 10:02:37 -0500

From: (nanfa)
Subject: nanfa V1 #741
Send reply to:
Date sent: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 11:47:02 -0500 (EST)

> I would like to create a multi-faceted exhibit for inside our interpretive
> center that seeks to achieve two primary objectives:
> 1. Exhibits a number of native fish and other aquatic species in one or
> more community tank system(s), and 2. Is an example of the ability of a
> wetland system to cleanse water.
> In my mental image, I see one or more tanks housing an appropriate number
> of individuals and species of fish native to this region. Aquascaping
> would of course be as natural as possible. This tank or series of tanks
> would be fairly typical of any attempt to exhibit native fish species and
> would achieve objective #1, above.
> The tough part, and the part that I really am seeking advice on, is
> achieving objective #2. In my vision, I see the tanks not having any
> regular filtration. Water is drawn from the tanks and directed to a
> created wetland system which could be located indoors or out (I can run
> water through an existing hole in an exterior wall if necessary). The
> wetlands would be stocked with appropriate native plants, invertebrates
> and other critters. Water would then be drawn from the wetland and pumped
> back into the tank(s). I realize that this has some inherent potential
> problems, i.e. shared water chemistry and the like, but I think that our
> visitors would be intrigued by learning that the wetlands were the only
> filter used.
> In my ultimate, and admittedly unrealistic, vision, there would even be a
> tank in which contaminants could be added to simulate an accidental spill
> or even continuous non-point pollution. Water would be cleansed by the
> wetland and pumped back into the tanks. (Just dreaming but you have to
> admit that such an exhibit would be excellent for showing the value of
> wetlands)
> Sorry for the inadequate description but it's just an idea right now.
> Anyway, feel free to provide advice and encouragement or to blast the
> entire concept.
> Thanks,
> Rob Denkhaus
> Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge


I work with the Beczak Environmental Education Center in
Yonkers, NY which has a beach on the Hudson River. I am
interested is doing the same wetlands only filter except with
brackish water. We have a tidal tank where the surface of the tank
rises and falls with the tides. There is a small marshland portion
which simulates a salt water marsh. It doesn't really work and the
tank relies on a algae scrubber which removes the fish byproducts.
This whole process is described in a excellent book "Dynamic
Aquaria: Building Living Ecosystems" by Adey and Loveland. They
rely on algae scrubbers which is not what you want but the book
will give you a better understanding of the process.

There is a new filter system out from EcoSystem Aquarium
( which illustrates the process that
you want to achieve. The salt water people are not too receptive to
his ideas but they seem to work even though the theory is new.

Please report on your progress.

Dick Manley

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