Monday, March 19, 2012

I love bacteria!

It's been 21 days since I started cycling the system.  Overnight the Nitrite levels fell to an acceptable level..
It's simply amazing to see the results of a Nitrospira bloom.
Just 12 hours ago this test was still off the chart purple.

It always seems to take about three weeks to get the bloom, but here are a few things I did to hasten the process.
  • Gravel from the existing Koi pond was used in the grow bed, but it's been cold and may not have had an active culture.
  • One small bottle of NiteOut was added at the beginning.  To be fair they suggest much more.
  • Aqua Gold was also added on the first day.
  • During the past two days I have been adding water from my aquarium, and even rinsed that bio filter in the water.
  • Limited the draining of the grow bed to half way (may not have been the best thing to do)
My take on the actions above are that the commercial additives quickly promote ammonia conversion, with bacteria and enzymes, but the Nitrite conversion takes time.  My feeling is that Nitrite will always take about three weeks with or without the commercial additives.

For many years the bacteria responsible for ammonia conversion were thought to be Nitrasomonas species, but more recent research indicates that these bacteria may do little or nothing in freshwater, and that bacteria known as Nitrosococcus may be the true ammonia-oxidisers.
NiteOut claims to contain select strains of Nitrosomonas, Nitrospira and Nitrobacter.
  • Nitrosomonas oxidize ammonia to nitrite
  • Nitrobacter and Nitrospira oxidize nitrite to nitrate

It was originally thought to be Nitrobacter species which were responsible for nitrite conversion to nitrate, but again, recent research (by Dr. Timothy Hovanec and others) indicates a different group of bacteria - Nitrospira - are responsible, but NiteOut includes both.

I added eight of the largest fish into the 800 gallon tank today!

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