Bacteria/biological starters

Bolota

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Hi,

What is your opinion on Bacteria starters (like green Bacter and others)? For my new setup I'm using new Tropica soil, new filter and only TC plants. Should I worry about the micro-flora and give it an additional push?
Is that just fish related issue?
Thanks
 

ian_m

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One of the most brilliant ways of getting money from your wallet into the fish shop. Only beaten by test kits.
 

ceg4048

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I agree with Ian. You can get billions of bacteria for free by simply digging up the largest weeds you find in your garden and scraping the soil from the roots. Mix it into the substrate as well as mixing it into the filter media. Job done.

Cheers,
 

kadoxu

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Patience will do you wonders in this hobby... and saving you loads of money is also one of the nice things it does for you (I've learned this the hard expensive way)! :lol:
 

Nigel95

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I didn't believe in bacteria bottles but someone gave me a tip to try bactostart from aquarium munster. Costs €7 and you dose it all at once. Works like a charm for me if you want cycle in a few days. And I used ada aqua soil which releases pretty much ammonia. The ammonia and nitrite peak did go really fast. But I also used a cycled filter... this may help as well. But I rescaped before with a cycled filter and the cycle of ammonia and nitrite did last much longer....

I am ok with 7 euro for a faster cycle... The green bacter is expensive IMO
 

zozo

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I didn't believe in bacteria bottles but someone gave me a tip to try bactostart from aquarium munster. Costs €7 and you dose it all at once. Works like a charm for me if you want cycle in a few days. And I used ada aqua soil which releases pretty much ammonia. The ammonia and nitrite peak did go really fast. But I also used a cycled filter... this may help as well. But I rescaped before with a cycled filter and the cycle of ammonia and nitrite did last much longer....

I am ok with 7 euro for a faster cycle... The green bacter is expensive IMO
Aren't you mixing things up? Bactostart is from Colombo.. :) And Münster has Aquavital Bactosprint. :) I believe in neither of them or more to say non at all. And lab studies revealed that the survival rate of freeze dried bacteria products are rather very low when stored. Even the liquified ones didn't reveale any significant difference. There was no way to proof that the results were because of the extra added products. Well, never the less, even if few survive and wake up. <.It doesn't change the fact that you introduce sufficient life bacteria with the plants..> In some plants spp. these nitrifying bacteria are called <Rhizobiums>, these plants spp. develop special nodules at their roots bursting with these bacteria populations. Even in such high numbers these plants can grow on nitrogen poor soils and still survive on the nitrogen produced by the Rhizobiums. So if you want an absolute rocketing bactosprint burst, than make sure you have some <Fabales> in your garden, dig a few up and do what @ceg4048 says.

But these strains of bacteria actualy live in symbiosis with all plants, they are soil bacteria also found living in water.

Thus putting enough plants in a starting tank makes an extra additional boost not realy that more beneficial. Than you can safe the cash and buy yourself a nice diner for it.. :)
 

Majsa

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I read here at the forum that a starter bottle should contain Nitrospira species, such as Tetra Safe start...Although I am about to start a new tank with my "holiday method" the second year in a row, without bottled bacteria: 1) set up a tank in the spring / early summer 2) change water and mess with CO2 3) let it run and go on a summer holiday 4) add fish. Can't leave new fish unattended so the holiday gives me a nice "buffer" (last year 2 months exactly from start to fish).
 

Angus

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I've never used them, i've seen anecdotal evidence on other forums that products such as Hagen's "cycle" make no difference in the time it takes to cycle a tank, best bet for speeding up a cycle is to try and find someone who can sort you out some filter mulm in my opinion.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If you ignore whether these products contain active microbes or not, the main issue for me would actually be the method of production. They are produced commercially in environments with high ammonia loadings, meaning that even if they contain nitrifying bacteria they are likely not to be the ones that will survive in your tank.

If you look at Tim Hovanec's comments, towards the end of <"Bacteria revealed">, he says:
......Finally, the results of the many tests I report in this paper demonstrate that Nitrobacter winogradskyi and its close relatives are not the nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in aquariums. Rather, this task falls to the Nitrospira-like bacteria.....
He doesn't talk about are Archaea, but there is a lot of modern research suggesting that they are the organisms you need.
.... there are a number of papers specifically on the nitrifying organisms in aquarium filters which suggest that their assemblage shows a fluid response to varying ammonia loadings, with a stable core of archaea and an ever changing cast of nitrifying bacteria. This is described in <"Freshwater Recirculating Aquaculture System Operations Drive Biofilter Bacterial Community Shifts around a Stable Nitrifying Consortium of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Comammox Nitrospira">.
cheers Darrel
 

zozo

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@dw1305 - Darrel do you know the numbers on this statement? Just curious what the values are.. :)
Though water that is too rich in ammonia or has a pH that is too low will inhibit Nitrospira's nitrifying activity
 

Tim Harrison

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Bacterial communities cover every surface of the planet, often in biofilms. These communities are dynamic and change constantly according to available nutrition etc - for example, Darrel's fluid response to various ammonia loadings.

This response is very rapid - bacteria reproduce by binary fission. Most bacteria have generation times of one to three hours. Some species can double every 20 minutes, given optimal conditions. If that growth rate were sustained, a single cell would give rise to a colony weighing a million kilograms in just 24 hours. However, growth is checked by nutrient availability or accumulation of metabolic wastes etc.

Given those growth rates, even if the supplements contained the right bacteria, they wouldn't really be needed. I've never used them and my tank usually cycles in about a week.
 

zozo

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Bacterial communities cover every surface of the planet, often in biofilms. These communities are dynamic and change constantly according to available nutrition etc - for example, Darrel's fluid response to various ammonia loadings.

This response is very rapid - bacteria reproduce by binary fission. Most bacteria have generation times of one to three hours. Some species can double every 20 minutes, given optimal conditions. If that growth rate were sustained, a single cell would give rise to a colony weighing a million kilograms in just 24 hours. However, growth is checked by nutrient availability or accumulation of metabolic wastes etc.

Given those growth rates, even if the supplements contained the right bacteria, they wouldn't really be needed. I've never used them and my tank usually cycles in about a week.
Best example. :) As many people experience(d) the all of a sudden cloudy and milky water appearing in minutes often after a drastic change in water parameters or soil disturbance and than doing a water a change but minutes later it's milkey again.. The famous bacterial explosion, in such vast numbers it clouds the water.
 

Aqua360

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As I understand them, and my description here will be very rudimentary, aren't they supposed to bind ammonia to ammonium, or keep it at 1ppm to allow for the filter to "catch up", without killing the fish, instead only acting as a stressor?

In any case, using established media is 10x better, which shouldn't be too hard to procure if you know anyone or shops locally that can provide.
 

Aqua360

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I agree with Ian. You can get billions of bacteria for free by simply digging up the largest weeds you find in your garden and scraping the soil from the roots. Mix it into the substrate as well as mixing it into the filter media. Job done.

Cheers,
I've never heard of this, but sounds intriguing!
 

zozo

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They are soil bacteria and also live in wet conditions.. The name only implies where the are found in greatest numbers, but they are everywhere all around us, not only in the soil, just everywhere where they can nitrificate something or doramntly wait for something to nitrificate so to speak. Could very well be you have a few 1000 of them under your fingernails at the moment.

Even if you do absolutely nothing special for it, they will come on their own and find your tank. But they are actualy already in your tap water. In those days iron pipes were still used even more, because they seem to love to live in iron pipes. :)
 

ceg4048

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I've never heard of this, but sounds intriguing!
Yes, as zozo mentions, the microorganisms that perform the nitrification live on land as well as in wetlands. They are the same and they function in exactly the same way. There is also a symbiotic relationship between plants and bacteria.

Plants produce Oxygen via photosynthesis in the leaves and they transfer this gas to the roots.
Root cells also need to breathe. The remaining Oxygen sent to the roots which is not consumed then escape out of the roots and out into the substrate.

The area within the vicinity of the roots is called the rhizosphere.
In Aquatic sediments however, there is usually a very poor Oxygen level and this would typically foster the development of anerobic microorganisms.

By sending Oxygen down to the roots the plant oxygenates the rhizosphere and so fosters the development of aerobic microorganisms. Terrestrial plants also transfer CO2 down to the roots.

This community becomes diverse and many of the microorganisms we depend on to detoxify the tank grow in abundance within the rhizosphere.
The roots feed the microorganisms with gasses and carbohydrates and the microorganism return the favor by fixing Nitrogen, Iron and other nutrients which the plant then uptakes.
The closer the soil is to the roots, the higher the Oxygen content tends to be and the richer the population of aerobic and beneficial microorganisms.

So if you pull up any weed, for example , and scrape off the sediment from the roots, you will actually have a rich source of microorganism community with which to seed your substrate and your filter media. These are live and healthy population. The bigger and more robust the weed or grass, the better.

This is a much better source than the flimsy, freeze dried zombie bacteria that vendors pawn off on unsuspecting hobbyists, and it's free.
The same is true of your house plants. Grab some soil from those roots.

People are always fretting over"what kind of substrate do I need?", "How many layers of this product or that product?"

If you stop and think about it, you'll realize that plants grow in every type of sediment. They grow in the concrete of your driveway, or in rocks on a cliff. They grow in dirt. That part is simple, but amazing and complex things happen in the dirt. Plants change the dirt into things that they need and that we need.
roots.png


A nice little article in plain English: https://www.pacifichorticulture.org/articles/plants-are-in-control/

Cheers,
 

ceg4048

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As I understand them, and my description here will be very rudimentary, aren't they supposed to bind ammonia to ammonium, or keep it at 1ppm to allow for the filter to "catch up", without killing the fish, instead only acting as a stressor?
Ammonia (NH3), which is highly toxic, and Ammonium (NH4) which is much less toxic are two Nitrogen species which coexist in equilibrium.
The do not bind in any way, but instead one can morph into the other if there is a change pH of the water.
At pH below 7 any NH3 released in the water will chemically change mostly into NH4. At pH above 7 the equilibrium shifts towards NH3.
No bottled zombie bacteria can suppress the pH of the water.

In any case, using established media is 10x better, which shouldn't be too hard to procure if you know anyone or shops locally that can provide.
Yep, I agree.

Cheers,
 

Bolota

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Hi,
Thank you all for the comments. However, in the context of the planted tank, and assuming that the time scale for the development of the microfauna is so short, why do we usually assume the tank is cycled not before a month or so? Also, in this respect, what is the definition of matured tank, and why do we usually expect that to happen only a few months after start?
Because we (newbies and non-specialist) associate the concept "cycled" to the Nitrogen - cycle and this to bacteria communities... And what is "Matured" tank in this context? Why does it take so long?
 
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