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Do I have BGA?

jaypeecee

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Hi @Ruskie
The Blue Exit has also arrived but after reading the instructions I’m a little concerned.
Instructions state to dose consecutively for 5 days and it should clear by 10 days after the last dose, fair enough.

What has me concerned is that it states not to do a water change for 14 days after the first dose, is this going to be ok?
Bare in mind the tank will only be a month old in a couple of days so I’m still doing frequent changes. Will I not just be promoting other unwanteds?

OK, I hear you. You are right to point this out.

Please remind me what stage you are at with your tank. Specifically, what inhabitants do you have? How are you planning to establish a microbial colony to break down fish waste, etc? Many people on UKAPS allocate this task to the plants. I favour a different approach but I value my life so I'd better keep hush. :lol:

JPC
 

Ruskie

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Right.

So as stated tank will have been running for 4 weeks this coming Thursday.

Filter has standard, as shipped, course and medium sponges but instead of using the ceramic tubes supplied for biofiltration I added Seachem Matrix -Installed from day 1.

Week 1 - 50% water change every day.
Week 2 - 50% every 2 days.
Week 3 - 50% every 2/3 days.
So far this week water change on Saturday and yesterday.
Seachem stability added with EVERY water change.

5x RCS added just last Saturday (all doing well) -no other inhabitants.
 
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jaypeecee

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Hi @Ruskie

Thanks for that.

I have never used Seachem Stability but using this is a similar approach to that which I adopt. I strongly suggest that you read the 'Related Articles' on the Seachem Stability web page:

https://www.seachem.com/stability.php

If you're using tap water, did you 'condition' it with Seachem Prime, for example? And, may I ask why you are doing all the water changes? How are you planning to monitor what's going on in your water? At the very least, I would suggest that you keep an eye on ammonia and nitrite. If you opt for Seachem Prime, it would be advisable to use the Seachem MultiTest Ammonia kit:

https://seachem.com/multitest-ammonia.php

and, dare I add another test kit to the list:

https://seachem.com/multitest-nitrite.php

Before you take any decisions about purchasing the items I have suggested, let's re-visit this tomorrow. Try not to rush things. Patience will pay off umpteen times over in the end.

BTW, I'm not on commission from Seachem! But, in my opinion, they are one of the best aquatics companies around.

Sleep well and try not to dream about fish, shrimps or plants!

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Ruskie

You could, of course, ignore what I've said and leave everything to the plants. Or, a combination of both methods. It's entirely up to you.

JPC
 
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Ruskie

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@jaypeecee

Thanks again.

I feel like we are falling down a rabbit hole here :lol: Let me try and clarify a little.

•Tap water was treated with API stress cost+.
•Big and frequent water changes were done as everything I read and watched stated this was the most efficient way to deal with excess ammonia released from the new substrate so was beneficial to do in a new tank.
•Although, as stated before, I am not scientific at all I do have a basic understanding of the nitrogen cycle and the cycling of a new tank.
•I was under the impression test kits were deemed somewhat unreliable and a better gauge was plant growth/health.

FWIW I do have an old Nurtrifin mini master test kit kicking about somewhere that was given to me some time ago. I presumed these have a shelf life tho so have never dug it out. I guess I could give it a try?

So with regards your last post I guess I have been using a combination of both methods and I should rephrase my question/concern -

‘After 1 month is my tank stable enough to be able to go 2 weeks without a water change?’

Obviously I want to start using the Blue Exit soonish to try and nip the cyano in the bud but I don’t want to rush into it and crash my tank.
 

Nick72

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I’m with JPC on this one.

i would be testing Amonnia, Nitrite and Nitrates every day.

i would only do water change once a week on a cycling tank.

Excess ammonia from substrate is very useful to get the cycle started and only a problem if over 4ppm.

if ammonia is less than 1ppm in the first few weeks I would be supplementing ammonia to feed the cycle.

Once you have seen the Nitrites build up, then disappear, then seen the Nitrates build up while the ammonia vanishes, then the cycle is complete.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I've not linked in any threads, because the scientific background to this is all listed on <"page 4. of @Miss-Pepper "Bedside Aquarium" thread">.
Excess ammonia from substrate is very useful to get the cycle started and only a problem if over 4ppm. if ammonia is less than 1ppm in the first few weeks I would be supplementing ammonia to feed the cycle.
@Nick72 you may not have read all of our cycling posts. I know that you are a <"relatively recent member of the forum">, but this is based on advice that has been totally superseded by relatively recent scientific advances. Read what Dr Tim Hovanec says in <"Bacteria Revealed">.
I feel like we are falling down a rabbit hole here
Every-one will have a different opinion of the best way forward.

I think there are thing we all agree on :
  1. We would like to know what the levels of ammonia (NH3), nitrite (NO2) and nitrate (NO3) are in our tanks. I'm a scientist, I would really like to know.
  2. We want efficient nitrification via biological filtration.
  3. We want stable and resilient systems, which aren't continually plagued by problems.
After that there is going to be a divergence of opinion as to how you achieve this. I've taken an approach of trying to avoid any single points of failure and look at probability and risk management, using visual signs of tank health.

My opinion is:
  1. Make sure your plants are in active growth. Plant/microbe filtration is a lot more efficient than "microbe only" filtration.
  2. Microbial nitrification is, nearly always, limited by oxygen.
  3. Good things come to those who wait.
  4. Definitely don't add any ammonia and keep up the water changes.
  5. Don't make decisions based on test kit results, they aren't reliable enough.
cheers Darrel
 

jaypeecee

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Hi Everyone,
...this is based on advice that has been totally superseded by relatively recent scientific advances. Read what Dr Tim Hovanec says in <"Bacteria Revealed">.

What Dr Tim Hovanec talked about in that article demonstrated that "...Nitrobacter winogradskyi and its close relatives are not the nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in aquariums. Rather, this task falls to the Nitrospira-like bacteria". Nothing more, nothing less. But, nitrification as a process is as real as it ever was, isn't it? Whether it's bacteria or an assemblage of bacteria and Archaea is the finer detail. That's how I see it. Have I got the wrong end of the stick?

JPC
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
But, nitrification as a process is as real as it ever was, isn't it?
Yes, it definitely is, that was the initial reason that I didn't think that the traditional view of nitrification (and "cycling") was correct.

The dichotomy for me was:
  1. Ammonia (and fixed nitrogen in general) is a rare resource and limits productivity in many ecosystems, but
  2. only a few bacteria can convert ammonia to nitrite, and they are restricted to situations with high alkalinity and ammonia loadings.
It just <"doesn't make any evolutionary sense">. There is a more complete discussion in <"Has my tank instantly cycled....">
"...Nitrobacter winogradskyi and its close relatives are not the nitrite-oxidizing bacteria in aquariums. Rather, this task falls to the Nitrospira-like bacteria".
The more recent research suggests that Nitrospira spp. are much more important in aquarium filters than had been realised, this is partially because they've found that they are <"COMAMMOX microorganisms and can directly oxidise ammonia to nitrate">.

For most microbial nitrification, away from initial sewage treatment, it looks like Ammonia Oxidising Archaeae (AOA) are the most important organisms for the conversion of ammonia (NH3/NH4+) to nitrite (NO2-) and that the Nitrospira bacteria utilise both ammonia and nitrite, converting them to nitrate (NO3-).
Whether it's bacteria or an assemblage of bacteria and Archaea is the finer detail. That's how I see it. Have I got the wrong end of the stick?
No, but I think the <"devil is in the detail"> and that high ammonia loadings may delay the formation of a stable microbial assemblage.
There are a number of recent scientific 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">, Bagchi et al (2014) <"Temporal and Spatial Stability of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Bacteria in Aquarium Biofilters">
& <"Kinetic analysis of a complete nitrifier reveals an oligotrophic lifestyle">.

The last study (published in the journal <"Nature">) found that high ammonia levels inhibit the growth of Nitrospira.
I was looking at a paper yesterday on transporting live sea-food to market in Japan, that is quite interesting <"Total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) removal performance of a recirculating down-hanging sponge (DHS) reactor">. There is also a useful review article Stein, L, 2019 <"Insights into the physiology of ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms"> Current Opinion in Chemical Biology" 43 pp 9:15.

I can get the full-text of both if any-one wants a copy?

cheers Darrel
 
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jaypeecee

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I can get the full-text of both if any-one wants a copy?

Hi @dw1305

I have all the papers that are on your list with the exception of the last two. So, yes, I'd like to add them to my Dropbox 'library'.

A couple of years ago, I read pretty much every available paper on the subjects of nitrification and denitrification. I wrote a draft article about setting up a biological filter to handle nitrification only. But, it was slightly different from what I'd read previously in that I geared it towards those people who may be setting up a biological filter using RO water as the starting point. I never published it. And, in the process of writing this document, I consulted none other than Dr Tim Hovanec who kindly replied.

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @dw1305 ,

How are we to reconcile these two:
We would like to know what the levels of ammonia (NH3), nitrite (NO2) and nitrate (NO3) are in our tanks. I'm a scientist, I would really like to know.

Don't make decisions based on test kit results, they aren't reliable enough.

If we don't use test kits, how can we possibly know the levels of NH3/NH4, NO2 and NO3 in our tanks? I don't have a problem using test kits for each of these three parameters. They have proven to be perfectly reliable for tanks that I have cycled. And they are used quite successfully by other fishkeepers on another forum on which I'm a member.

JPC
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
So, yes, I'd like to add them to my Dropbox 'library'.
PM an address and I'll email them.
I consulted none other than Dr Tim Hovanec who kindly replied.
I've got a lot of time for <"Tim Hovanec">.
about setting up a biological filter to handle nitrification only
Good idea, that is definitely what I'm recommending, filters as <"nitrate factories"> and plants, with the aerial advantage, to suck up the nitrates.

There is a bit of research on it in the waste water industry as the <"Extended aeration or complete oxidation"> process. It has some down-sides in waste water situations, because the end product is CO2 which is out-gassed to the atmosphere, but that isn't an issue in aquarium filters.

Both aquaculture and waste water treatment are now mainly looking at systems where there is a <"spatial or temporal separation"> of aerobic nitrification and anaerobic denitrification, this is because it reduces CO2 emission and the amount of expensive aeration, and also because the physical footprint of the water-treatment works/filter can be smaller.

cheers Darrel
 

Ruskie

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So, just to stir up the fun even more ...... :)

I had a rummage last night and dug out the old test kit I had kicking about - which, according to what’s gone on above, may or may not be of any use :lol:

Best before 31/04/2014 hmmmm

I spent 15 mins trying to find it so thought what the hell, might as well try it.

Ammonia - 0 mg/l
Nitrite - 0.1 mg/l
Nitrate - Somewhere between 5 & 10 mg/l

Read into that what you will, it’s an out of date test kit :lol: :thumbup:
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @dw1305

I am acutely aware that we are not helping @Ruskie decide how best to proceed. So, we need to bring this to some satisfactory conclusion very soon. Please bear with us, @Ruskie.
The dichotomy for me was:
  1. Ammonia (and fixed nitrogen in general) is a rare resource and limits productivity in many ecosystems, but
  2. only a few bacteria can convert ammonia to nitrite, and they are restricted to situations with high alkalinity and ammonia loadings.

What happens in natural settings? Are nitrifying bacteria non-existent in streams, rivers and lakes? Is there no ammonia being produced by decaying animal and vegetable matter? Would it be possible for you to start a thread on this very subject? I, for one, would be very interested in benefitting from your specialist knowledge.

JPC
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
If we don't use test kits, how can we possibly know the levels of NH3/NH4, NO2 and NO3 in our tanks?
I just need to ensure that the levels of ammonia and nitrite are always well below their toxicity thresholds. If I have a tank with lots of plants (including some with the <"aerial advantage">), and high levels of dissolved oxygen, scientific research, and my experience, tells me that it is going to fulfill these requirements. All I need to do then is avoid any single points of failure which would compromise either of those factors.

I don't need to know the levels of all the nutrients, I'd really like to, but it isn't essential. Nitrate I'm less worried about, I can use the <"Duckweed Index and a conductivity"> measurement to give me a proxy for nutrient content. If you will the duckweed index (and the behaviour and appearance of its inhabitants) is my biotic index for the tank.

This is actually the approach we take in the field you use <"a biotic index with a bioassay organism">, or assemblage, of <"experimentally defined tolerances">. There are also some <"citizen science projects"> using this approach.

If I sample the invertebrate assemblage in a stream and I find Stonefly (Plecoptera) larvae in that assemblage, I don't need to go any further, I know the water quality is good and that dissolved oxygen levels have been consistently high. If I want to know exactly how clean the water has been I just need to go through that sample and get the ASPT and MNWH (Modified New Walley Hawkes) scores. If I wanted to get empirical proof of the water quality, on the day we sampled, I would need to use the five day BOD test.

Same applies to the vascular plant assemblage. If I go to a pond and find it has <"abundant Charophytes">, I know we are dealing with a low nutrient environment. If I take a water & sediment sample from a stream I could potentially spend a long time in the lab. and get a <"Trophic Diatom Index">.

cheers Darrel
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
What happens in natural settings? Are nitrifying bacteria non-existent in streams, rivers and lakes? Is there no ammonia being produced by decaying animal and vegetable matter?
I think that the answer is that every single natural environment will have nitrifying organisms, they are ubiquitous.

The nature of this microbial assemblage will be controlled by the <"amount, and composition, of the nutrients available">.

Since we had mechanisms to look for the genes that oxidise ammonia in the natural environment they have popped up absolutely everywhere.

If you want another analogy it is not that long ago we were looking at the night sky with a very small optical telescope and counting the stars, now we have the Hubble Space Telescope and we've found a lot more stars. In this case the "small optical telescope" is the bacteria we could culture from sewage in a petri dish and the "Hubble Space Telescope" is the assemblage that we can find using RNA and DNA libraries.

cheers Darrel
 
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jaypeecee

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Hi @dw1305

I'm having problems quoting material from post #52 above. So, I'll try a different approach. I was talking about "setting up a biological filter to handle nitrification only", i.e. NH3>NO2>NO3. But you then say
Good idea, that is definitely what I'm recommending, filters as <"nitrate factories"> and plants, with the aerial advantage, to suck up the nitrates.
But, if plants absorb NH3 or NO2 in preference to NO3, then why bother using biological filtration at all?

JPC
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
But, if plants absorb NH3 or NO2 in preference to NO3, then why bother using biological filtration at all?
<"Belt and braces really"> and for some flow. I just want to keep levels of NH3 and NO2- as low as possible, I really don't care whether they are taken up by plants or enter microbial filtration.

I've often concentrated on nitrate on other forums, because the <"mistaken desire"> to have anaerobic denitrification of nitrate is often the reason why people have problems with their filters and set-ups.

Have a look at @Bart Hazes <"blog posts"> for more discussion.

cheers Darrel
 

jaypeecee

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I just need to ensure that the levels of ammonia and nitrite are always well below their toxicity thresholds.

Exactly. And I, for one, don't have the benefit of your considerable experience. I'll stick with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate test kits. I greatly admire the fact that you are able to do what you do. But, many of us don't have that hands-on knowledge. You have a skill that I, most certainly, don't possess.

JPC :)
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
Exactly. And I, for one, don't have the benefit of your considerable experience.
It was lack of expertise that made me think about <"simple metrics you could use to define successful fish-keeping">.

I initially thought that I would find meters and chemical test kits that would work across the whole range of freshwater water types, but it soon became apparent that there were a <"myriad of difficulties">.

The only two measurement techniques that worked universally across all the fresh-water types, without any need for interpretation, were conductivity and dissolved oxygen. The problem with dissolved oxygen was that the meter was very expensive and it really needed to work, as a data logger, 24/7 365 days of the year.

Which <"just left conductivity">. It was at that point I started thinking about methodologies that weren't reliant on test kit, or meter, results.

A picture is worth a thousand words
Bit of a strange title, but if I'm lost and need directions I want some-one to draw me a map, not to tell me me to "turn left at the 4th junction and right at the next one" etc. or if some-one gives me a data set and I want to look at the interaction between multiple factors , I'm going to start by plotting the data, because a picture is worth a thousand words.

It is the <"same with the tank">, I want a picture.

cheers Darrel
 
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