Water Change Question - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-21-2013, 08:28 PM Thread Starter
I know this thread is somewhat old, but I need to ask a question. I was looking around to see if bacteria in a bottle would actually do anything and I heard a lot of mention of BIO-Spira (in tetra safe start). Is the BIO-Spira actually the archeae in question? Or is it bacteria? If it is not archeae wouldn't that immediately dicredit tetra safe start and other bacteria in a bottle products that contain BIO-Spira? Also, if BIO-Spira isn't it do any bacteria (I guess I should call it Archeae ) in a bottle have the correct archeae.

Also, what do you think makes the nitrifying archeae be in the kingdom archeae. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't archeae basically bacteria that live in extreme conditions? These archeae like high levels of oxygen, warm water, and lots of surface area, which sounds like the opposite of living in extreme conditions. Is it because they can consume nitrogen gasses like ammonia, ammonium, and Nitrite?

This question is sort of related, but not much: Is there any bacteria/archeae that will turn nitrate into nitrogen gas? If yes what conditions do they need to start appearing? If not than is there anyway nitrate will turn into nitrogen gas without interference (water change)?

Sorry for all the questions i'm really curious ! Thanks in advance!
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-21-2013, 09:29 PM
I'm not sure how we could comment on the contents of any bottled beneficial biology product since the manufacturers aren't all that forthcoming in releasing specifics. They're all competing in a limited market and have their 'secret recipe's' guarded.

As to the biology that extracts O2 from nitrates that releases nitrogen gas it has always been confirmed that it is an anaerobic organism. With the possible exception of live rock/live sand (SW), deep sand or specialized filters whith low/no O2 levels, it's very difficult to culture these organisms in our highly oxygenated aquarium environments. Seachem claims their Matrix and De*Nitrate bio-media products can do it, but I'm still experimenting and personally can't confirm at this time.

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post #13 of 16 Old 03-21-2013, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JDM View Post
Apparently they don't starve to death either, they go dormant.
I routinely leave my quarantine tanks empty for several weeks to a few months at a time, and I never have a problem putting fish in them. Like many do, I used to move media back and forth and all. Like with many things, I eventually found that to be unnecessary.

125 - BGK, chanchito cichlid, pictus cats, silver dollars, palmas bichir
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-21-2013, 10:00 PM
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Regardless what the bottled stuff is or does, the ammonia oxidizing organisms, bacteria or otherwise, exist and seem to follow predictable patterns. Any of the studies I have read have found the same conclusions regarding the efficacy of nitrifying organisms but identified the organisms responsible according to what they have observed. Now they are doing some sort of DNA analysis to determine relative amounts of each in working nitrifying environments which removes most of the subjective part of the observations, dry reading but worth the effort to gain a better understanding of how this works. Both bacteria and archeae are present, one just in far more numbers than the other depending upon the particular setting. The studies have ranged from marsh and swamp settings over years to sewage treatment settings, effluent ditch runoffs, lab settings and even dirt environments... one used aquariums for testing material.

Nitrobacters, nitrosomona, nitrospira, archeae... eventually one name will prove to be more correct more often than another.

This doesn't negate the bottle stuff, necessarily. I think that no matter what is supplied in a bottle, the real nitrifiers develop on the tank surfaces on their own and are not introduced in the bottle.... the bottle supplies a temporary nitrifier to allow the permanent ones to do their job. Based on most of the instructions that I have read, this seems to be the case. Multiple applications needed while the tank cycles, ammonia being supplied with the contents.... looks temporary.

Having said that I have zero experience with any bottled "starter" and I know less about what is actually in them, it just seems logical, based on those instructions, that the bottle is a crutch to help the new aquarist get over some of the initial cycle starting issues.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #15 of 16 Old 03-22-2013, 10:39 AM
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I am in agreement with what others have posted in response to your latest question. We have over the past two decades learned a lot about bacteria and processes in the aquarium, much of which is showing that the long-held assumptions may be somewhat inaccurate. We know certain things occur, but as to exactly why, we are still learning. Remember, it was as late as 2008 that science discovered Archaea as unique.

When Dr. Hovanec and his team identified the bacteria, they also tested the products like Cycle. Dr. Hovanec noted that while the bacteria in Cycle are completely wrong with respect to nitrification, the product does help to establish the nitrifying cycle faster in a new aquarium. I believe he found that the process was shortened by a couple weeks when using Cycle. However, he marketed his own bacterial supplement which he claimed would instantly establish the nitrification cycle, and there is no doubt that in tests using this product it did. I've no idea how, but I am convinced that in the absence of plants, these products do help cycle a new tank and prevent fish losses, though there may be a defined limit on how far this goes.

To your question of Archaea being bacteria, this is incorrect. Here is a citation from Wikipedia that defines Archaea [I copied/pasted so the "links" still show]:

The Archaea (singular: archaeon or archeon) constitute a domain of single-celled microorganisms. These microbes have no cell nucleus or any other membrane-bound organelles within their cells.
In the past Archaea had been classed with bacteria as prokaryotes (or Kingdom Monera) and named archaebacteria, but this classification is regarded as outdated.[1] In fact, the Archaea have an independent evolutionary history and show many differences in their biochemistry from other forms of life, and so they are now classified as a separate domain in the three-domain system. In this system, the phylogenetically distinct branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryota. Archaea are further divided into four recognized phyla, but many more phyla may exist. Of these groups, the Crenarchaeota and the Euryarchaeota are the most intensively studied. Classification is still difficult, because the vast majority have never been studied in the laboratory and have only been detected by analysis of their nucleic acids in samples from the environment.
Archaea and bacteria are quite similar in size and shape, although a few archaea have very strange or unusual shapes, such as the flat and square-shaped cells of Haloquadratum walsbyi. Despite this visual similarity to bacteria, archaea possess genes and several metabolic pathways that are more closely related to those of eukaryotes, notably the enzymes involved in transcription and translation. Other aspects of archaean biochemistry are unique, such as their reliance on ether lipids in their cell membranes. Archaea use a much greater variety of sources of energy than eukaryotes: ranging from familiar organic compounds such as sugars, to ammonia, metal ions or even hydrogen gas. Salt-tolerant archaea (the Haloarchaea) use sunlight as an energy source, and other species of archaea fix carbon; however, unlike plants and cyanobacteria, no species of archaea is known to do both. Archaea reproduce asexually by binary fission, fragmentation, or budding; unlike bacteria and eukaryotes, no known species form spores.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]

Last edited by Byron; 03-22-2013 at 10:41 AM.
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-22-2013, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
I actually know that archeae aren't bacteria, I know that they were once considered a type of bacteria until scientists realize that acrheae is different enough from bacteria to have their own kingdom. So archeae became their own kingdom. Now i know why... The article says they use much wider range of energy than bacteria, and one of the listed ones is ammonia.
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bacteria , water change

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