Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Saltwater and Reef > Saltwater & Reef - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 09-24-2004, 11:24 AM   #11
AA Team Emeritus
 
BillyZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Western NY
Posts: 4,064
Diverdown and I started to discuss this in PM and we both agreed it should be discussed here so others can both benefit from the discussion, as well as chime in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diverdown69
I hate to disagree with an established member of the community when I am so new, but in this case, I will respectfully do so.
Anytime I see black sediments in a natural marine environment, I can almost certainly correlate it with anoxic conditions and hydrogen sulfide production. You are correct in that the black area is a bacterial colony and that something probably died and ended up in the sediment. Those bacteria didn't colonize there for no reason. They are there because there is a source of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, or an electron donor that benefits them metabolically. Many species of bacteria can utilize H2S as an electron donor in the place of water. It is a common occurrence in deep water benthic sediments and can be proven in the laboratory with proper media and temperature settings. A simple sulfide producer broth media can show this at room temperature. It just so happens that in the case of anaerobic bacteria in a marine environment, the majority of them will either produce or utilize H2S in their routine metabolic functions. It is simply evolution at work. Marcus Beijerinck said that "everything is everywhere, the environment selects..." Our aquaria are no exception to this.
Please don't take this as an insult or a flame. I am simply trying to point out an error that can be easily corrected. I came here to learn and to give the benefit of my education and experiences to others. We are all aquaculturists in a sense and we should seek to assist each other where we can.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyZ
I hate to disagree...
Never be afraid to disagree! This whole site is about debate, discussion and learning from others. In fact, we should probably be having this discussion in that thread so that others can read/learn/participate.

(an assumption I'm making here: H2S = Hydrogen Sulfide)

I don't have the biology background you do so I can only pose questions to you relating your statements to my experience and the anecdotal evidence posted here and on other sites. So, lets discuss...

I agree with you 100% that the bacteria is there "For a reason". In fact, thats why we cycle a SW tank, to give the bacteria a chance to populate the substrate, rocks and any other filter media the tank may be set up with. We do this because that's how the ocean handles waste and it is the most efficient and balanced way to handle it in an aquarium as well. Since the seafloor is merely an extremely large "DSB" it is only logical to assume these bacteria, of all sorts, reside there as well. They are quite common in many very active and very well established aquariums. if you do an image google for refugium you can see in a number of photos that the bacteria is common place. IMO, it is also necessary, not to mention, would be impossible to prevent from occurring, unless you had no substrate at all.

So if the bacteria is an entity that will be in all aquariums and is in the ocean naturally, why do some people have sudden crashes after noticing a sulfur smell? From the reading I've done (on this board and others over that last couple of years) there appear to be a lot of common factors, but not always. A healthy and active live sand bed will have the following:

Bacteria: as we know, these process the various waste materials at different stages.
Flora: algaes that populate the top most surface of the sand bed
Fauna: copepods, snails, worms, etc that inhabit the sand bed.

As I'm sure you know, any natural system that is taken out of balance will eventually fail if not corrected. These DSBs that crash seem to be sand beds that have fallen out of balance. IMO, the most important element of a sand bed (short of the bacteria itself) is the Fauna. These creatures are really the caretakers of the sand bed. Without them a lot of hobbiest notice "clumping" of the sand as the bacteria also produces something (I don't recall the actual name) that dissolves the calcium carbonate (CACO3?) and causes the sand to glue to itself. This is because the fauna is not there to consume the bacteria and its byproducts. My theory is that after the fauna have been reduced, the sand begins to clump and it is not longer being "stirred" by the fauna to release the extra H2S as its produced so the gas begins to build up. Then something causes a sudden release of the H2S, either the owner bought a fish that is disturbing the sand or they move the substrate around or the rock, etc and the gas begins to release itself into the water in high volumes (or the gas has simply built up enough large pockets that it begins to release itself through the sand bed).

We know that high levels of H2S is toxic and will decimate an aquarium. So what causes a loss of the fauna? More often then not the aquarium has some sort of "sand sifting" creature. A Satrfish, horseshoe crab, etc, that eats the fauna in the sand bed (that's why they "sift" the sand, they're looking for food) so people think they're helping their sand bed by getting these creatures when they are in fact hurting their sand bed. The fauna will stir the sand as much as it needs to be. So these starfish and horseshoe crabs exist in the wild, why would they upset the balance in an aquarium? Well, the biggest difference IMO, is the fact that the ocean has acres of sand full of fauna to re-populate the eaten areas and an aquarium does not. So once the fauna is gone, the sandbed is doomed unless it can be repopulated (garf grunge, etc).

It just so happens that in the case of anaerobic bacteria in a marine environment, the majority of them will either produce or utilize H2S in their routine metabolic functions.

I figured as much, I just didn't have the book learnin to back it up So if some produce H2S and others consume H2S, it would make sense to say you want an equal amount of both types of bacteria in your sand bed to keep both the waste and the H2S in balance, correct? Because, "everything is everywhere, the environment selects..." the bacteria that produces H2S must come first so that the bacteria that consumes H2S can begin to co-habitate the sand bed and balance the system, right?

So what are the differences between these two types of bacteria? got any more details? I'd really like to add that info to my theories. I'm sure there's some holes in my theories and I look forward to you pointing them out!

Please don't take this as an insult or a flame

I am not insulted, nor do I consider this a flame. We progress only by research and the debate of the observations of that research.
__________________

__________________
Acronyms and Abbreviations
BillyZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2004, 11:54 AM   #12
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Posts: 128
Okay. Let's look at this on a chronological scale. Let's assume for a moment that we are looking at a brand new tank that hasn't been cycled yet. The WQ is ideal and water was mixed using sterile RO water and Instant Ocean mix. Once this tank is started, it will cycle as we all know. This is the base of the food chain in the tank. It is also known as a primary colonization and is the first step in the ecological progression that goes on to fully mature the tank. A fully mature tank, from an ecological standpoint, could be called a climax community.
Now, let's look at the black spots in the sediments of the tank. As previously mentioned, these black spots may or may not be a colony of sulfide producing microbes. If it is, however, these bacteria have colonized that particular region of the sand because there is something there that benefits them metabolically or physically. The benefit may be something as simple as an attachment point or it may be as complex as a decaying worm that is releasing something that the microbial community needs to supplement its metabolic needs.
BillyZ asked me to point out the differences between the two types of bacteria. Limiting the comparison to two types is very difficult to do as there are hundreds of species that can produce H2S in a given environment. These bacteria utilize sulfur in their metabolic processes and release it in its reduced form as H2S.
Let's look to the sea floor again for more clarification on this. Consider for a moment that we are in the Gulf of Mexico over the Blake Ridge. Water depth here is in excess of 5000 feet. Temperatures and pressures here are extreme. On the Blake Ridge, there exists a large expanse of hydrocarbon seeps and deposits. Moving away from the seeps, we find areas known as gas hydrate fields. These fields are vast areas that contain VERY large amounts of a substance known as methane hydrate. Look it up. It is a fascinating substance. Anyway, microbially speaking, there are sulfur reducing bacteria (Thiobacillus sp. for example) and sulfur oxidizing bacteria (I think Sulfolobus sp. is one of these. Thiothrix may be one too.) There are also species of Archaeon microbes that produce methane (Methanogens) and those that utilize methane (Methanotrophs). These organisms live in a community where each part of the community donates something to another member of the community. The same sort of environment exists in our tanks, but without the extremes of pressure and temperature...and with completely different species of microbes. Attempting to identify them is pointless because, again, there are hundreds of species of microbes that could colonize our tanks and produce H2S gas. Could it be done? Yes. There are many biochemical and phenotypic fingerprinting tests available that will identify a pure culture of a microbe to a 99% confidence level. Is it worth the effort? IMO, no it isn't unless you just really want to know.
__________________

__________________
"If you don't fish, you should..."
diverdown69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2004, 12:04 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,012
Methane Hydrate... Is this "Black Ice"
__________________
75 gal
4x65w PC
AquaC Remora Pro
140#s Live Rock from LiveRocks.com
Frogspawn, Hammer, Zoos, Leather Frag, and Xenia and Green Star Polyp frags from fishfreek and Alarmguy66, Thanks!
Member of the Unofficial A-Team
bound_for_obx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2004, 12:13 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Posts: 128
I don't know that I have heard it referred to as black ice, but it could be. Get on www.sciencedirect.com and look up methane hydrate. I worked with one of the more prominently mentioned authors that you will find published there.
Anyway, I compare our aquaria to these fields because although the processes and end products are considerably different, the basic premise remains the same. This initial colonization that I mentioned is the base of the energy flow cycle in the tank. Waste products that are generated contain a certain amount of energy that the ammonia-removing microbes can utilize in their metabolism. From this point, the energy can be either made unusable or it can be transferred to an organism that higher up on the trophic ladder of the tank. This trophic ladder (food chain if you will) extends from the microbes all the way to the top predator in the tank. I can only imagine what the energy flow diagram for an aquarium would look like. Maybe I should sit down and figure that out.
__________________
"If you don't fish, you should..."
diverdown69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2004, 12:27 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,012
I'm sorry, "fire ice" I read about it in a Clive Cussler novel. I'll need to do some more searches...
__________________
75 gal
4x65w PC
AquaC Remora Pro
140#s Live Rock from LiveRocks.com
Frogspawn, Hammer, Zoos, Leather Frag, and Xenia and Green Star Polyp frags from fishfreek and Alarmguy66, Thanks!
Member of the Unofficial A-Team
bound_for_obx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2004, 08:22 PM   #16
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa,Canada
Posts: 98
So based on your discussion I think what happened was when I added the new LS last week, I pushed some of the old sand aside...probably pushed something down into the anerobic area. I siphoned the main part out today and it smelled a little like what comes out of my skimmer.

So what is my next step? Just siphon out a bit more?

Also how do people keep fauna that require a DSB without crashes? ie I was planning on getting a pistol shrip/watchman goby combo.

Thanks for all the info so far.
-Ron
__________________
canadian_eh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2004, 10:56 AM   #17
Aquarium Advice Activist
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Corpus Christi, TX
Posts: 128
Sorry I was gone for a while. I had to go to Port Isabel to sample for my thesis project.
Canadian, your scenario sounds realistic enough. The reason it smells like what comes out of your skimmer is because disulfide bonds are an integral part of what makes a protein exhibit a metabolic function. When proteins are denatured (broken down) these disulfide bonds are broken and hydrolyzed, thus generating hydrogen sulfide gas. As for the the corrective action, I will leave that to the others here. Siphoning it out sounds okay.
__________________
"If you don't fish, you should..."
diverdown69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2004, 11:07 AM   #18
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Posts: 3,294
After reading and reading this post what it comes down to in the end without using any fancy words, I would not worry about it...... Hundreds maybe thousands of tanks have this area in there tanks. Over time.... Years this maybe an issue but not now. I have had my reef running over 2 years and my 55 over a year and I have this in both tanks/refugiums, my friends have this same area and we all have nice healthy tanks. Its just a natural part of a tank. If you start to syphon out every dark/black spot you see in your tank you will have no sand left in a year. Sit back and let nature do its thing in the tank and enjoy.......
__________________
9/02-125 REEF, 125 lbs LR,LS 4x160 VHO, Reef Devil /Sump, Fuge
7/03-55 FOWLR 60lb LR, 50 lb SD sand 2x40 NO strip light, Reef Devil/sump, Fuge

TANK PICS http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=98202
seaham358 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2004, 10:52 AM   #19
AA Team Emeritus
 
BillyZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Western NY
Posts: 4,064
(sorry for the delay, it's been a busy weekend)

Your comments about the total sum energy in the tank makes some sense. We add fish food, the fish eat and create waste, bacteria consumes the waste and produce "something". In the oceans there are bountiful critters that consume the bacteria etc and those critters become food for something higher up. What types of critters would those be diverdown? Are they something we're likely to have in our aquariums, or could acquire? I think most aquariums would be lacking that vital loop-back to the begining of the food chain.
__________________

__________________
Acronyms and Abbreviations
BillyZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
sand

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Schaumburg area pickup--black kuhli loach Mystery Archive 3 07-31-2009 12:18 AM
pool filter sand or 3M black quartz sand???? FiShDuDe9 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 3 07-06-2009 01:18 PM
Sand substrate turned black in an area fishb0ne Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 5 03-11-2007 10:27 PM
Tahitian Moon Black Sand/ Moonlight White Aquarium Sand angels004 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 13 06-07-2005 09:44 PM
Water Has Developed an Odor Damstar1 Freshwater & Brackish - General Discussion 2 01-19-2003 08:11 PM







» Photo Contest Winners








Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.