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Old 07-13-2011, 03:21 PM   #1
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Aquarium water and septic

I hope this is in the right area....

My house uses a solid holding tank/sand mound as a septic system.

I normally try to dump aquarium water outside or into a rain barrel for watering grass.

Do you think the beneficial bacteria that are removed when cleaning gravel/etc would have a beneficial effect of the septic system if dumped down the drain? It is fresh, not salt...

Do you think that some bacteria would survive the trip to the holding tank and perhaps live on the waste in the tank?

They sell bacterial treatments that you put down the drain....I'm wondering if the aquarium water would have the same effect?
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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I moved this to the lounge, since it's not directly related to fishkeeping...


My input... the bacteria you're talking about buying is for breaking down the 'stuff' in the septic tank. The bacteria in the tank are not the same. Plus, little to no bacteria is in the water column... so when you do a water change, you're not removing much bacteria at all.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:24 PM   #3
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some of it would, yes. The nitrifiers chiefly responsible for converting toxins probably won't, because they thrive in oxygen rich environments, but there are all sorts of heterotrophs that can live in anaerobic conditions.

That's one reason why some of the 'bacteria in a bottle' things simply don't do the job in aquaria, they are pretty much the same thing that you find in 'sludge remover' and septic systems.

And I agree with mfd about not much bacteria being in the water. There's still a lot in the water, both free floating types and some dislodged through vacuuming, but the vast majority is in the biofilm attached to the tank surfaces.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for moving it

Should say *and septic...oops

Thanks for responses. I think I'll stick with the rain barrels. My grass seems to love fish waste

I just worry about adding extra water to septic system, especially if it rains a lot. I just saw my neighbor having his serviced, so it came to mind.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:50 PM   #5
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I think one of the biggest issues with septic tanks is (besides regular servicing) dumping too many chemicals down the drain, so adding bacteria isn't a bad thing.
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Old 07-13-2011, 03:51 PM   #6
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Well for the last 10 years off living on a septic system changing over 500-600 gallons per week draining into the tank and having my system tested and drained every two years my answer is absolutely not. I flush some blue bag of sawdust looking stuff every month but for all I know the good looking lady from septic company sold me snake oil.
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