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  1. #1

    Join Date
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    Default Do microbes hold the key to a perfectly balanced aquarium?


    0 Not allowed!
    In this new thread, I would like to engage members of this forum to consider the role of beneficial bacteria in establishing and maintaining a healthy and thriving aquarium ecosystem that could:
    • Considerably reduce the incidence of stress and diseases in fish and inverts.
    • Mitigate the negative impact of moderately overstocked aquariums (20 to 30%).
    • Decrease filter change frequency by a factor of 1 to 3; that is if you change filer every month, you could potentially change it every 3 months.
    • Reduce water change volume and frequency by a factor of 1:5 and maybe more, that is, if you change 25% of the water every other week, a 10% water change every month will have the same effect.
    • Accelerate the time between aquarium set-up and fish introduction down to 72 hours, that is to say an aquarium is considered to effectively and safely processing organic matter (what we – aquarists – called cycling).
    • Considerably reduce or eliminate the need for supplements and additives.
    • Replenish minerals and nutrients in the aquarium by way of biological mineralization and metabolization and oxidization.



    I acknowledge that microbiology is not everyone’s forte, and I will make my upmost possible to be as inclusive as possible. However, it is not possible to understand the contribution of bacteria and fungi without some common knowledge. So if there is a term or a sentence that does not make any sense, please ask. I do value everyone’s contribution to this thread and respect everyone’s opinion and experience. I hope to learn something from you and hope you’ll learn something from me in a spirit of reciprocity.

    For the longest time microbes have only been studied for their negative impact on human and animal health. Studying and researching the mutualistic relationships between microbes and their host as well as their environment is a relatively new field. The US government funded in 2008 the Human Microbiome Project with the goal of identifying and characterizing the microorganisms, which are found in association with both healthy and diseased humans. It is at the same time that I became involved with a company project to use microbes for their cleansing ability to mitigate pollution events in soil and water. We later included plant diseases hence we understood that plants are more susceptible in a biologically poor or unbalanced environment. In the last two years I started using aquariums – the closest replica of nature in a box, mainly saltwater ones although I also used freshwater ones to confirm what had been observed in SW’s. All experiments were safe and controlled. We also experimented in freshwater fish and shrimp farms. I was not an aquarist, and my knowledge of fish keeping is limited to these two years (long enough to develop a real liking for what I now consider to be my little friends). However, the results we obtained have motivated me to open a dialogue with the aquarist community, first with maintenance professionals and breeders, and now with you. The use of aquariums has been very valuable in understanding cycling (not just nitrogen) events and we hope to be able to use this understanding to restore lakes, rivers, estuaries and coastal water ecosystems affected by pollution events. I might not use the right aquarist terminology, so I hope you’ll be forgiving and patient with me. I will not be able to expend on my professional activities for obvious reasons. The only thing I can say is that we are interested only in mitigation, preservation and restoration of natural ecosystems.

    Now, on with the real stuff.

    Bacteria are present everywhere in your aquarium, from filters and substrates and rocks, to plants and of course fish and inverts as well as in water. Their functions may vary but they all “feed” on something and during this process release or convert that something into something else. Amongst the pollutants we, as aquarists are the most concerned with: ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and phosphates. Bacteria have the ability to recycle all these compounds, mostly through oxidation. Another ability of bacteria is to produce nutrients, minerals and enzymes. Enzymes can also be produced by plants and animals. They break down large complex compounds into smaller ones that bacteria can utilize. They are also catalysts that accelerate the rate of chemical reaction. Enzymes without bacteria have limited value.

    Science shows that microbes, mainly bacteria and fungi are prime contributors to establishing and maintaining healthy ecosystems; that is an environment composed of different species (biological community) capable of interacting with and sustaining one another. That includes animals, plants, fungi, protista, archaea and bacteria. What is less understood is the mutualistic relationship microbes need to build functional colonies and contribute to a healthy ecosystem. This phenomenon will allow them to control each other’s population. That is why you may have e-coli in your digestive track but its growth is suppressed by the presence of other bacteria limiting the space and food e-coli would need to make you sick. Virulent strains of pathogenic bacteria will have a better chance to harm its host if the host is stressed or weak.

    Bacteria are extremely resilient and adaptable to conditions. This being said, it can take them a week to a month to adapt to your aquarium. So here again, patience is a virtue. However they are also susceptible to change. Two examples:
    1. We consider a tank cycled when Ammonia and Nitrites are at 0ppm and Nitrates is present. Then some aquariums will experience a reappearance of Ammonia. The spike in ammonia may have to do with a slow ammonification process, low levels of enzymes, a new food source or (an hypothesis) a form of ammonia that is bound to a synthetic molecule, making it more difficult to oxidize. Most of the time, nitrifying bacteria will adapt (multiply) to face this new food source and bring back ammonia level to where it should be within a week.
    2. Bacteria are essential in processing and releasing nutrients. Healthy colonies can prevent algae from reproducing too quickly. However, a little change – or just nature’s clock - can trigger an algae bloom (not bacterial) and unbalanced these colonies. Algae spores are present in our aquariums at all time. They can stay unnoticed for years until they bloom. The bloom is usually so sudden that bacteria (especially anaerobic) have little time to adapt. Bacterial population might decrease before they multiply again and naturally mitigate algae growth.



    There are a few factors that make bacterial populations functional:
    1. An area to colonize. In fact it is more than one: different strains will colonize your filters and substrates, of course fish and inverts will also host populations. Let’s not forget that water holds 1 million bacterial cells per milliliter of fresh water.
    2. Diversity. In nature, the challenges we face as aquarists is balanced by the presence of enzymes, bacteria and fungi that are not naturally present in an aquarium. It is the combination of hundreds perhaps thousands of species that make nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria so efficient. In restoration projects, we achieve this by adding bacterial and enzyme supplements or as we call it restoring the ecosystem’s bioactivity and fertility.
    3. Food source. Leftover food, fish waste, minerals, plant decay are of course necessary to sustain healthy colonies.
    4. Disruptors. The more we add synthetic chemicals, from antibiotics to water additives, the greater the chance we are unbalancing our aquarium ecosystems. If bacteria can be used to remediate toxic spill off, it still takes them months to years to cleanse them.



    Food for thoughts:
    • The Human Microbiome Project has found that for one human cell, there are 10 bacterial cells. It estimates that a healthy individual can host 10,000 different microbial species. It is accepted that they do contribute to our genetic evolution.
    • In nature, water is not “changed”, it is recycled. That is, plants, gravel, sand, dirt, microbes and inverts are mostly responsible for filtering and keeping contaminants at low levels.
    • It is possible to keep an aquarium ecosystem healthy and thriving without changing water for months (we’ve done it for 7 months).
    • Plastic does not biodegrade, it photodegrades - and I mean any plastic - thus releasing its content into the aquarium. Natural bacteria can accelerate its decomposition but never break it down completely.
    • Biological mineralization is the most common form of deposition and weathering of minerals on earth. Anaerobic bacteria and facultative bacteria contribute significantly to this phenomenon.



    There are a number of bacterial supplements available today: Tetra SafeStart, Seachem Stability, API QuickStart, Dr. Tim's One and Only, AquaBella Bio-Enzyme (…).
    If you have experienced these supplements whether in a new or existing tank, please, share your successes and challenges.

    Thank you for reading.

  2. #2

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    It is at the same time that I became involved with a company project to use microbes for their cleansing ability to mitigate pollution events in soil and water. We later included plant diseases hence we understood that plants are more susceptible in a biologically poor or unbalanced environment. In the last two years I started using aquariums – the closest replica of nature in a box, mainly saltwater ones although I also used freshwater ones to confirm what had been observed in SW’s. All experiments were safe and controlled. We also experimented in freshwater fish and shrimp farms. I was not an aquarist, and my knowledge of fish keeping is limited to these two years (long enough to develop a real liking for what I now consider to be my little friends). However, the results we obtained have motivated me to open a dialogue..
    The Two main points that really stand out from that OP to me are as follows:

    [Despite the questions posed] A. You have a company affiliation. & B. You have a product with results...

    I would direct you to the forum rules:

    * AC is not to be used to promote your business ventures.
    * Do not spam! All promotions from new members are considered spam.

    From: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=20511

    Gas mileage isn't everything OIIIIIIIO
    Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.
    Why pretend there are no stupid questions? Actually, There are many stupid questions: "Should I drink this bleach?" Is just one example.
    Having said that, Just because it's a stupid question doesn't mean that it shouldn't be asked. It's better to know.

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  3. #3

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Goes to 11! View Post
    A. You have a company affiliation. & B. You have a product with results...
    The Aquabella company, right Marc? http://aquabella4aquariums.com/blog/...la-bio-enzyme/
    When I go fishing I just throw sharp rocks in the water and wait for the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes that reason is you are stupid and make bad decisions.

    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
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  4. #4

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Could you please post your references for this information ?

    Also, when you use the term "we", to whom are you referring ?
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the gift! I bow to your experience so i wanted to be sure that i did not give the OP wrong info. - Silbar   Tx for all the help for me and everyone else! - angelcraze2   Rocksor knows cichlids! - Brhino   Can''t give rep points, but great job on the diagnosis/treatment - Boundava   Sending you a geophagus to  tank you for your analytical powers! - discusluv   

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Big Blue View Post
    There are a number of bacterial supplements available today: Tetra SafeStart, Seachem Stability, API QuickStart, Dr. Tim's One and Only, AquaBella Bio-Enzyme (…).
    If you have experienced these supplements whether in a new or existing tank, please, share your successes and challenges.
    You left out powder form of Rid-X or Earthworm Septic in your list of bacterial supplements.

  6. #6

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    Default


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    Hikari is also into bacteria, at least for their koi line. http://www.hikari.info/koi/k_10det01.html and that's so succesful that pretty much every prize winning koi in Japan since 2006 was raised on that stuff.

    So, there's something to the whole bacteria idea I think

  7. #7

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    0 Not allowed!
    If we just address this at face value and delve into this as a conversation it could actually be quite interesting. We can keep this from being a promotion for products and services if we do wish. I myself having a lot of experience with central systems and fish raiseout would like to engage in this as a conversation. I feel that there are several issues not properly addressed in the theory of this.

  8. #8

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    There is no such thing as biological equilibrium. Only in the absence of biology is there a balance. Biology flourishes in imbalance. An aquarium that has crashed is actually flourishing biologically, it is just not full filling our intentions. No bottle of additive will solve your problem. No magic device do your daily chores. No magical bacterium cleanse the planet of the sins of economics. Want a clean river, don't wreck it. Want a clean ocean, stop pushing stuff off the barges. Want clean drinking water stop using it as a solvent for toxic items. Want clean air stop burning stuff that makes it so dirty. It is really very simple.

  9. #9

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    Thanks for the gift! I bow to your experience so i wanted to be sure that i did not give the OP wrong info. - Silbar   Tx for all the help for me and everyone else! - angelcraze2   Rocksor knows cichlids! - Brhino   Can''t give rep points, but great job on the diagnosis/treatment - Boundava   Sending you a geophagus to  tank you for your analytical powers! - discusluv   

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    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by talldutchie View Post
    Hikari is also into bacteria, at least for their koi line. http://www.hikari.info/koi/k_10det01.html and that's so succesful that pretty much every prize winning koi in Japan since 2006 was raised on that stuff.

    So, there's something to the whole bacteria idea I think
    That bacteria (Bacillus bacteria) is also found in Rid-X. Here's a discussion on using powder form of septic waste system products in the aquarium:

    http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/fo...in-Aquaculture

  10. #10

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    0 Not allowed!
    To the OP:

    The questions I asked were to assess if forum rules have been broken or not. You have logged on and read this thread since I have posted my question but you have yet to provide a answer.

    This thread will be closed until you PM me the answer
    If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
    "Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
    Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info [URL="http://saltwater.aquaticcommunity.com/"]

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