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Dr Timothy Hovanec's comments about Bacterial supplements

dw1305

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Hi all,
They are the better option but I am thinking of future tanks.
I'm not going to advise anyone to have a tank without plants, and I'm not sure how you would actually test* for fish safeness without endangering some livestock, but I am interested in the results using one of Dr Hovanec's products (ex or current) to cycle a tank.

I still not keen on the ammonia addition, but I'm never going to keep tanks with a large fish stock and no plants, so it isn't really relevant to the type of fish keeping I do.

* <"Ion Selective Electrode"> (ISE) would be an option, but even that has some issues and you would need probes for ammonium (NH4+), nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-). You could just measure nitrate, and estimate the extent of cycling based on the initial ammonia addition, but I would be reluctant to do that.

cheers Darrel
 

Driftless

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Hi all, I'm not going to advise anyone to have a tank without plants, and I'm not sure how you would actually test* for fish safeness without endangering some livestock, but I am interested in the results using one of Dr Hovanec's products (ex or current) to cycle a tank.

I still not keen on the ammonia addition, but I'm never going to keep tanks with a large fish stock and no plants, so it isn't really relevant to the type of fish keeping I do.

* <"Ion Selective Electrode"> (ISE) would be an option, but even that has some issues and you would need probes for ammonium (NH4+), nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-). You could just measure nitrate, and estimate the extent of cycling based on the initial ammonia addition, but I would be reluctant to do that.

cheers Darrel

Good Advice.

I have been adding ADA Bacter 100 to my start-up tanks in addition to cycled materials from other tanks and filters, any tank will be heavily planted with the plants growing before I would any fish.
 

Mr Patient

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I’m two weeks into a fishless plant less cycle. Ammonia dosed every day, zero the next. Nitrites falling, nitrates high. As soon as it’s cycled I will not do a water change like most sources recommend, I will plant the tank. Why waste those nitrates, plants should love them. No fish till plants are well established. Is this mad?
 

lilirose

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I’m two weeks into a fishless plant less cycle. Ammonia dosed every day, zero the next. Nitrites falling, nitrates high. As soon as it’s cycled I will not do a water change like most sources recommend, I will plant the tank. Why waste those nitrates, plants should love them. No fish till plants are well established. Is this mad?

I personally would not do this. Doing a water change at the end of the cycle is not only to remove nitrates. In my experience, you will likely also have a low pH at that point. There are likely other metabolites in the water that aren't quantified on a normal test kit- I saw someone somewhere phrase it as "I don't know exactly what's in it, I just know it needs to come out."
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Welcome,
No fish till plants are well established. Is this mad?
No, I think it should be all right, we are pretty sure that "plants are well established" is the bit that matters.

I'd probably follow @lilirose 's suggestions of some water changes, they never do any harm. You might also be interested in the <"Duckweed Index">, it is a simple technique where you use <"the growth"> and <"leaf colour of a floating plant"> to assess nutrient status.

cheers Darrel
 

Kelvin12

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Since joining this forum my home maintenance and other home duties have fallen by the wayside but my tanks have undergone several re-buildings along with numerous experiments and my budget has suffered enormously buying up plants. The bride isn't happy but that the norm. I love this form and the discussions. Its a case of you never stop learning....
 

Kelvin12

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I do have one question mainly for Lilirose if possible. You mention adding household ammonia in your bucket cycling but at what concentration would you suggest.
Dirk
 

kayjo

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In the same way, it is easy to demonstrate that bottled bacteria isn't snake oil. Take a tank of water and add some* ammonium chloride. Now, add some bacteria. Measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrate every 24 hours and the evidence is there for all to see.
I did this and the evidence was that nothing happened for 2 weeks. No decrease in ammonia, no nitrites or nitrates appeared. I used Dr. Tim's per the instructions.

On another forum, we were discussing this issue and people couldn't understand why everybody doesn't use bacteria in a bottle because it works every time, flawlessly and quicker than any other method. I believe that that is their experience, but not the whole truth.

I'm not saying that Dr. Tim's can't work, just that it doesn't always work. It seems that the promise of these products is that they will work in any and all conditions. If not, they would mention it on the bottle, correct?

Dr. Tim said, "my bacteria products are like any other living organism - they have preferences and just tossing them into some water does not guarantee success. The user has some responsibility to provide a decent environment." So it sounds like there is more to it than just following the directions. I wish he would have expanded on what the "decent environment" is. Maybe it's printed on his bottles now. It wasn't when I used it.

Of course on a forum like this we are going to hear mostly from people for whom these products haven't work, as most people come here to have problems solved. I wonder if the vast majority of bottled BB users are experiencing success with these products so that it is not worth it for the maunfacurers to figue out why they don't work for some (a few?) people.



I contacted Dr. Tim when I was using his product. His response was prompt, considerate, scientific and professional. I have no issue with him.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
This thread came out of an earlier discussion we had about <"Bacteria in a bottle">.
Dr. Tim said, "my bacteria products are like any other living organism - they have preferences and just tossing them into some water does not guarantee success. The user has some responsibility to provide a decent environment." So it sounds like there is more to it than just following the directions.
I'm going to guess it is to do with the ammonia loading under which these products are produced, high ammonia loading will favour the growth of those <"bacteria that occur in sewage works etc.">, but not those that actually occur in planted aquariums.

Personally I'm pretty sure that <"plant and wait"> is the best option, particularly if you already have seeded filter media.

Because we now know a lot more about the <"actual microbial assemblage"> that occurs in aquarium filters, it looks like it is a <"diverse assemblage">, with a , <"stable core of Ammonia Oxidising Archaea (AOA) and COMAMMOX Nitrospira">* and an ever changing cast of bacteria dependent upon ammonia and oxygen availability.
I contacted Dr. Tim when I was using his product. His response was prompt, considerate, scientific and professional. I have no issue with him.
Very much the same for me. I've got a <"lot of time for him">, he was good enough to answer our <"initial email"> and he has revised his product <"and opinion"> in light of more <"recent scientific advances">.

cheers Darrel

* Bartelme, R., McLellan, S & Newton R. (2017) "Freshwater Recirculating Aquaculture System Operations Drive Biofilter Bacterial Community Shifts around a Stable Nitrifying Consortium of Ammonia-Oxidizing Archaea and Comammox Nitrospira" Frontiers in Microbiology 8 pp101:108
 

jaypeecee

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I did this and the evidence was that nothing happened for 2 weeks. No decrease in ammonia, no nitrites or nitrates appeared. I used Dr. Tim's per the instructions.
Hi @kayjo

Did you also take on board my comment below? If so, please let me know what the figures were for pH, KH, how much phosphate added, water temperature and aeration details. And, what was the starting ammonia level?
In order for the bacteria to multiply, attention must be paid to:

pH, KH, minerals in the water (particularly phosphorus), temperature and aeration

If we work together on this, we may be able to find a solution. But, I'm not here to defend Tetra SafeStart. It has been a great help in my tanks but it is entirely conceivable that it may not work in 100% of all the tanks out there.

JPC
 
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Jaseon

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When its said the conditions have to be right for these bacteria to thrive what does that mean? It must get a lot of people scratching their heads, and wondering well what's that's special thing i have to do? The old cliché of life will find a way springs to mind when it comes to how well bacteria will grow.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
When its said the conditions have to be right for these bacteria to thrive what does that mean?
He does go through this in the <"linked video">, it is mainly aimed at a marine aquarists, but I've just watched it and it is quite interesting and talks about ammonia loadings etc.


The old cliché of life will find a way springs to mind when it comes to how well bacteria will grow.
Yes, I think so. It is back to the <"all you can eat buffet">.

I was always <"dubious about the traditional view of cycling">, even before I found out about Ammonia Oxidising Archaea (AOA) etc it just didn't seem to make any ecological sense.

cheers Darrel
 

jaypeecee

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When its said the conditions have to be right for these bacteria to thrive what does that mean?
Hi @Jaseon

In order to answer your question, what specifically are you referring to? Was it something Dr Hovanec or I or someone else stated? It certainly is true that the conditions have to be optimal and pH, KH, etc. are all important, for example.

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Jaseon

And it may be obvious but, as Dr Hovanec is keen to mention in one of his videos, it is very important to shake the Safe Start bottle before pouring into the tank. Plus, it's a living product so ensure that what you're using isn't past its Expiry Date.

JPC
 

Jaseon

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Hi all,

He does go through this in the <"linked video">, it is mainly aimed at a marine aquarists, but I've just watched it and it is quite interesting and talks about ammonia loadings etc.



cheers Darrel
Are the revised names for the bacteria the same for fresh water? Its a bit of a surprise that the bacteria that are seen in the treatment of sewage are not the same ones that we commonly associate with our aquariums.

He finally put to bed the idea that bacteria live in the water column.
 

Jaseon

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Hi @Jaseon

In order to answer your question, what specifically are you referring to? Was it something Dr Hovanec or I or someone else stated? It certainly is true that the conditions have to be optimal and pH, KH, etc. are all important, for example.

JPC
No im referring to the general mystique behind the process in general. I mean what does it take to get it to the point where everything goes drastically wrong, and the system crashes, and your fish die? Adhere to the basics, and with common sense the conditions can be easily met imo.

I really enjoyed what the Dr said. There's no doubt his knowledge is the best out there at the moment.
 

jaypeecee

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He finally put to bed the idea that bacteria live in the water column.
Hi @Jaseon

I can't remember if Dr Hovanec mentions this - but nitrifying bacteria avoid light, particularly blue light and UV light. So, the place for them to reproduce and multiply is inside the typical filtration unit - be that a canister or simple sponge filter. Heterotrophic bacteria, on the other hand, are plentiful in the water column.

JPC
 

Jaseon

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Hi @Jaseon

Heterotrophic bacteria, on the other hand, are plentiful in the water column.

JPC
Right, but not in the concentrations worth any mention, and not the kind we want?...well according to Dr tim that is. Ive heard of some using old tank water, and if they do give some benefit its not the benefit they assume it is. Thats kinda what im referring to.

If im learning it correctly the Heterotrophic bacteria, strip the micro nutrients especially phosphate out of the water column, and so is in direct competition with the 'good' bacteria. So we need to remove the completion (Heterotrops) as much as possible
 
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jaypeecee

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No im referring to the general mystique behind the process in general. I mean what does it take to get it to the point where everything goes drastically wrong, and the system crashes, and your fish die? Adhere to the basics, and with common sense the conditions can be easily met imo.

I really enjoyed what the Dr said. There's no doubt his knowledge is the best out there at the moment.
Hi @Jaseon

Ah, I'm on the same songsheet now. And I guess there is a degree of mystique around this aspect of aquatics. When I was first trying to get to grips with the nitrification process a few years ago, I read all the scientific material that I could lay my hands on. Since then, I have not lost any fish to ammonia, nitrite or nitrate.

Feel free to ask further questions. I, for one, will do my best to answer. And if I don't know the answer, I'll tell you.

With reference to Dr Tim (Hovanec), his name will go down in aquatics history. And, you know what makes him (even more) worth listening to - he is himself a fishkeeper.

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Right, but not in the concentrations worth any mention, and not the kind we want?...well according to Dr tim that is. Ive heard of some using old tank water, and if they do give some benefit its not the benefit they assume it is. Thats kinda what im referring to.
Hi @Jaseon

Nitrifying bacteria are autotrophic in that they make their own food (from ammonia/nitrite). Heterotrophic bacteria typically feed on detritus and dissolved organic matter. As you can imagine, there are varying populations of them dependent on tank hygiene.

JPC
 
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