Old substrate & Filter mulm under New EcoComplete?

Discussion in 'Substrates' started by Wilis, 3 Jan 2009.

  1. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Joined:
    17 May 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hi, I'm almost at the point of setting up my new tank, I have bought EcoComplete,managed to get it for £17 a bag reduced from £23-probably due to the current economic climate! I was wondering if i should use some filter mulm & some of my old substrate-tropica substrate under fine gravel-which i'll sift out,under the new EcoComplete? I'm planning on using the mature filter media from my 2 existing externals & putting it into my new externals along with some new media as they're bigger,heavily planting the tank from the off & swapping all the livestock over in one go-keeping the same bioload. Will old substrate & mulm under the new stuff help considering there's supposed to be heterotrophic bacteria in the EcoComplete already? Obviously I'll be keeping to a heavy water change schedule for the first 2 months or so.
    Regards
    Will
     
  2. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
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    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi,
    Yes it's always a benefit to use mulm in the sediment but you have to be realistic about the substrate bacterial population at the start. It will be months before the population in the sediment is at proper operating system levels. Don't be impressed by the expression "heterotrophic bacteria" though. A heterotrophic organism is simply an organism that needs to eat something else in order to survive. Human beings are heterotrophs. Autotrophic organisms are those that can make their own food. Plants are autotrophs. The bacteria that we are most interested in cultivating are among those specific species which perform nitrification and whose populations will be stimulated by the decay of the organic matter in the mulm as well as the carbohydrate content of the mulm. Multiple water changes per week is a great idea. :D

    Cheers,
     
  3. Dave Spencer

    Dave Spencer Member

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    1,389
    Location:
    N. Wales
    Using mulm this way should get you off to a good start. Regular, big water changes are a good thing, too. You should be off to a flyer with this tank.

    Clive, do you have any references to substrate bacteria colonies and their population numbers? I so often read on other forums that this poulation is negligible, and maturing the filter is the only thing that matters.

    Dave.
     
  4. Wilis

    Wilis Member

    Joined:
    17 May 2008
    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    Deganwy, North Wales
    Hi,
    Thanks for the input guys, much appreciated-it's good to know I'm going down the right track-I try n do the best for my fish, & plants, & if I had time on my side I wouldn't just swap them straight over but I think with the right amount of care & maintenance they'll make the transition with as little stress as possible

    Will
     
  5. ceg4048

    ceg4048 Expert/Global Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    11 Jul 2007
    Messages:
    8,953
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    Hi Dave,
    Well remember we aren't necessarily talking about the sediment capability to keep NH4 levels below toxic levels for fauna. The filter does that and the bacterial effectiveness in the filter bed is augmented by the flow. I was referring more to the sediments ability to cycle waste products and local ammonia production that contributes to algae. This might be one reason why we almost always see diatom algae in a new setup. Poor bacterial populations in the substrates contributes to the instability of planted tank systems. So while it might easy to declare the sediment's contribution to nitrification negligible, remember that in natural wetlands the sediment is the filter and does most of the waste cycling.

    Check one of K. R Reddy's papers=>Nitrification at the plant root-sediment interface in wetlands The sediment is where the bacteria that produce Urease lives, and this enzyme is responsible for urea conversion at reportedly very high rates.
    => Urea transformations in flooded soil columns

    Of course, in natural systems there is a heck of a lot more sediment mass and the water volumes are much higher when compared to a tank. In fact, that why we need filters in the first place.

    Cheers,
     

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