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Very helpful, Byron. Many thanks.
I recommend making this a sticky thread--it answered several of my questions for which I've been googling.
 

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I must be misunderstanding something...I thought that you needed a balance of all these types of bacteria (including anaerobic) to complete the nitrogen cycle. Can you explain further why one would want to limit the growth of anaerobic bacteria? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I must be misunderstanding something...I thought that you needed a balance of all these types of bacteria (including anaerobic) to complete the nitrogen cycle.
This is correct, and what i do advocate in the article.

Can you explain further why one would want to limit the growth of anaerobic bacteria?
You don't want it to take over, as hydrogen sulphide can easily occur. The snails, not too deep a substrate, and live plants should keep this balanced.
 

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Do you mean any snails or just Malaysian Livebearing snails cos I have some snails (it's hard to keep them with clown loaches) and they eat plants mainly - especially healthy ones.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Do you mean any snails or just Malaysian Livebearing snails cos I have some snails (it's hard to keep them with clown loaches) and they eat plants mainly - especially healthy ones.
All snails will assist in breaking down waste, but the Malaysian Livebearing snail is the best for burrowing through the substrate which is also important to prevent widespread compaction.

MLS do not eat live plants that are healthy; they will only eat decaying/dying matter. Pond snails and acute bladder snails are the same for this. Some of the larger snails may eat plants.
 

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So is stirring your sand by hand to get rid of the gas bubbles a bad idea? Does this mean I need MTS?
 

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Discussion Starter #27
So is stirring your sand by hand to get rid of the gas bubbles a bad idea? Does this mean I need MTS?
I never do this. Some compaction is necessary as I point out in the article, it completes the nitrification cycle. One doesn't want the whole substrate to go though, and MLS are in my view the best way. In marine systems this can be done by worms, so i read anyway; but we in fresh have the much nicer snails.:)
 

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Oh gosh. Well all this time I though all the bacteria was in the filter too. Does this mean getting a new filter has little impact on the cycle?
I'll have to pick up some MTS this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Oh gosh. Well all this time I though all the bacteria was in the filter too. Does this mean getting a new filter has little impact on the cycle?
I'll have to pick up some MTS this weekend.
If the tank is well planted, you can change the filter, wash the media under the tap, or throw the filter away...and you will have no issues bacteria-wise. The plants take up a lot of ammonia/ammonium.

If you can't find MLS locally (they can be difficult to acquire) I can send you some on some plants, as you are in Canada, if you pay the postage.;-)
 

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Wow great post!

Ok now using this knowledge why don't you make a product that instantly cycles an aquarium or in less than 2 days anyway.

Would that even be possible?
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Wow great post!

Ok now using this knowledge why don't you make a product that instantly cycles an aquarium or in less than 2 days anyway.

Would that even be possible?
Establishment of the nitrifying bacteria takes anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks under normal conditions. As i noted in the article, various factors can affect this. And no two aquaria will ever be identical due to natural biology.

Dr. Tim Hovanek who is referenced in the article has carried out very extensive work in this area. And he is now advocating a product he calls "Dr. Tim's One and Only" which is a bacterial supplement. He claims it will cycle instantly. I certainly do not question his knowledge and expertise, given that he led the team that discovered the true bacteria species and certainly developed the initial bacteria supplement products that do work to quicken the cycle, comparable to seeding the tank. Whether or not this new product does what he claims, I've no idea.

Byron.
 

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For your consideration: the saga of a keeper whose tank cycled in less than a week using Dr Tim's One-and-Only. http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/betta-fish-bowls-habitats-accessories/cloudy-water-after-dr-tims-122044/

I've heard of successes with Tetra Safestart, also invented by Dr. Hovanek, the precursor to O-a-O.

While I prefer using live nitrifying bacteria from my own established tanks, I think I'd advocate using one of these products rather than live bacteria from a questionable tank.
 

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I just joined TFK today so I can say thank you Byron for your post. I'm always looking for information and answers that are backed by scientific evidence. Your post cleared up a lot of confusion I've had for the past 2 year. Now I really want a planted tank, but I have a lot more to learn before I change to live plants.
 

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Xyliablue, Byron Hosking has not been active on this forum since July 2013, much to the detriment of the forum. We all miss him and the wisdom and information that he shared with us.

You would do yourself and your pets a great service by finding and reading all the articles by Byron.

A naturally planted tank (NPT) is indeed a high-order project requiring study and serious application to practice successfully. But all aquariums and their inhabitants would benefit from as many live plants as you can manage. In other words, you can grow into it. (Pun intended.) Check the "planted tank" sections of the forum for advice and coaching.

Welcome to the forum.
 
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