anaeobic bacteria. good or bad ? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-09-2008, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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anaeobic bacteria. good or bad ?

hi. i am sort of new here.
i quite confused. i read up on anaerobic bacteria.
some say it can convert nitrate to nitrogen which is good
but some say these bacteria can harm fish
can someone explain to me ?

appreciated =]
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-09-2008, 10:21 AM
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Well first off anaerobic are not something you'll find in most aquariums. Gravel substrates allow too much oxygenated water to reach down into the substrate. Sand is more likely but only if you have a deep enough bed to create anaerobic conditions near the bottom. In those conditions where oxygen isn't available the bacteria will use other compounds, some the nitrates others things like sulfur. These sulfur using bacteria are the real concern. They make hydrogen sulfide gas which IS quite poisonous. Here's the deal though, when hydrogen sulfide contacts the well oxygenated water in your aquarium it rapidly breaks down into harmless compounds. So substrate gas pockets aren't going to harm your fish, though if you disturb them the decomposed hydrogen sulfide gas can smell pretty rank.

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post #3 of 4 Old 12-11-2008, 07:04 PM
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Hmm...I've read reports of people not stirring their deep sand substrates and then suddenly disturbing them with deadly results for their fish, so I'd say it's best to keep them stirred either yourself or with some sort of sand-sifting creature like Malaysian trumpet snails.

In saltwater tanks, anaerobic pockets form deep within live rock, but before any harmful materials can reach the rest of your tank they come in contact with the outer parts of the rock where these compounds are broken down. Many people also support the use of deep sand beds for their nitrate removal abilities, but when these are used you never want to disturb the sand bed as this could cause spikes of toxic stuff like sulfur compounds.

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post #4 of 4 Old 12-11-2008, 07:22 PM
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Hydrogen sulfide smells a lot like rotten eggs when released. This can cause acute respiratory problems to the fish. As suggested, get MTS or stir frequently to prevent anaerobic pockets from forming. Point your powerhead slightly towards the substrate to help with the circulation although the plants won't like too much movements on their roots and will not thrive at all.

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