Bacteria in the Freshwater Aquarium - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 06:46 PM
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Very informative, Byron. You are a wealth of knowledge. Is fish keeping a hobby or are you into it professionally?

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
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post #12 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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Very informative, Byron. You are a wealth of knowledge. Is fish keeping a hobby or are you into it professionally?
Just a hobby. I've always been interested in animals and in high school I was close to taking up biology for a career but didn't. Now that I'm retired (early) I have time to devote to research which I do love.

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]
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post #13 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 07:19 PM
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This seems against conventional wisdom...

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The greatest population of bacteria in a healthy balanced aquarium occurs in the substrate, not the filter. The floc or humic compost that collects in the substrate is the host for the biofilms; this is why the substrate in planted tanks should never be disturbed, and many aquarists apply this to non-planted tanks as well.
Is he saying don't do gravel vac's?
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post #14 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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This seems against conventional wisdom...
Is he saying don't do gravel vac's?
Yes to the question. In planted tanks one should not touch the substrate under normal conditions. The natural process that will occur in the substrate is crucial to a healthy aquarium. The whole point behind "natural planted tank" is allowing nature to do most of the work, rather than buying paraphernalia and using chemicals. If the tank is balanced (fish, plants, volume, light, nutrients) it also runs itself. After all, for decades before we had lights and heaters, aquarists had successful planted fish tanks.

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]
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post #15 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 07:27 PM
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Yes to the question. In planted tanks one should not touch the substrate under normal conditions. The natural process that will occur in the substrate is crucial to a healthy aquarium. The whole point behind "natural planted tank" is allowing nature to do most of the work, rather than buying paraphernalia and using chemicals. If the tank is balanced (fish, plants, volume, light, nutrients) it also runs itself. After all, for decades before we had lights and heaters, aquarists had successful planted fish tanks.
Wow, i need to plant my tank!
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post #16 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 07:37 PM
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Yes to the question. In planted tanks one should not touch the substrate under normal conditions. The natural process that will occur in the substrate is crucial to a healthy aquarium. The whole point behind "natural planted tank" is allowing nature to do most of the work, rather than buying paraphernalia and using chemicals. If the tank is balanced (fish, plants, volume, light, nutrients) it also runs itself. After all, for decades before we had lights and heaters, aquarists had successful planted fish tanks.
Does that mean even a light cleaning of the top of the substate isn't recommended? I also read that sand should be "poked" 3-6 times a year. By this write up, that's isn't necessary and actually a bad thing?

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
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post #17 of 35 Old 11-30-2011, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Does that mean even a light cleaning of the top of the substate isn't recommended? I also read that sand should be "poked" 3-6 times a year. By this write up, that's isn't necessary and actually a bad thing?
I don't touch it. I used to vacuum my gravel substrates, along the front that is. Then when I was researching this article, I came across countless sources saying the opposite and of course the scientific studies. I stopped touching the substrate, as I have plants in all my tanks.

There should be no need to poke a sand substrate. Keep it shallow, 2-3 inches max. Lots of substrate-rooted plants because these send out roots all around and they aerate the sand--plant roots release oxygen, and a lot of it, which is crucial to the bacteria down there. Then we have our trusty helpers the Malaysian Livebearing snails that keep the substrate "sweet and fresh" as one writer put it.

Of course, all this works if the balance is there. Overloading with fish is going to upset the balance, and then you are in a very different game. And the type of fish have an impact, along with the plant species.

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]
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post #18 of 35 Old 12-09-2011, 01:02 AM
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Okay. Little confused here. Are you just talking about NPT or any tank that has plants in it? I have plants in my tanks but they are either stem plants (which I don't vaccum around anyway), floating or rooted to driftwood. I also have MLS in almost all of my tanks (bloody goldfish). I already alternate the sides for vacs. Should I not be doing gravel vacs at all?

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post #19 of 35 Old 12-09-2011, 01:23 AM
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Were it me,and Goldfish were the resident's, I would keep doing as you are.
Goldfish may produce more waste than plant mass/Bacteria could easily process, perhap's even in fairly well planted tank if plant's wer/are, slower growing.
Disturbing half the tank's substrate if you are able ,won't do any harm.
I threw some leopard val's from one tank into pleco tank, and despite weekly gravel vac, and relatively shallow substrate,these weed's thrive along with floating Pennywort,and that tied to driftwood with fishing line.
In two other tank's I have with smaller fish along with plant's,Trumpet snails,Amano shrimp,cory's,tetra's,I don't need to worry bout substrate cleaning and could clean very little, if I wanted to.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #20 of 35 Old 12-09-2011, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Agree. The fish load makes a difference and has to be consideered, and "fish load" here means not only numbers but the fish species. Heavy waste producers obviously have a more significant impact on the system. And the type of plants is important; substrate-rooted plants like swords, crypts, Vallisneria, Aponogeton, etc will have more of an impact on the substrate than other types of plants.

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]
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