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Old 01-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #251
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Wow I wake up to this? I'm glad someone has finally taken an interest! Lol

The goal for me was to understand or try to find out why there are so many posts on this forum asking for help during a fishless cycle. We are not done here but we have learned a lot.

I believed that the cycle would benefit from a low initial dosing with increasing doses gradually up to the target. My thoughts before research was that constantly adding 4ppm of ammonia to a bacterial colony that is only just establishing would result in a backlog of nitrites, since reproduction times of nitrite eating bacteria is slower and that is why cycles stall. Because of too high nitrites.

What we now understand is that all the scientific papers and experiments we have read, ammonia dosing was in the hundreds with no direct effect on the cycle.

Now I would consider 4ppm ammonia not so high. We don't think that high levels during a cycle are going to get near the levels used in these experiments so can assume that either high nitrites nor high ammonia is going to stall anything. Maybe the downside to adding so much ammonia at the start is the removal of nitrates before fish. Which is not really a big deal.

It's interesting you mention the shrimp because I was going to mention this last night. This could be quite an effective method.

Scientific research also does not show that bacteria die off as is stated ALOT on this forum.

Also lab tests have shown consistently that cycles are well underway at the 3 weeks mark. None of which mentioned an addition or replenishment of trace elements. (I'm not saying this isn't true)

How long does the fishless cycle instructions say this should take. Maybe a reiteration of patience along the way and a time of up to 2 months would ease people's eagerness and reduce testing. To be honest I've always said I would only ever test for nitrates during a fishless cycle after my initial dosing once I had those id check the others.

One question I do have that bugs me is what happens to heterotrophic bacteria when essentially we are bypassing them by adding pure ammonia. I understand there may be organics in the water that could sustain them or do we not need worry about them.

Yes there are many things a human could do that could effect the cycle. However, if they had instructions that worked effectively 99% of the time things may be less likely to go wrong. I am an engineer and follow manuals religiously so If things don't work after I've done all that was asked I get frustrated. As these people do. But what is more frustrating is seeing people frustrated. The startup of an aquarium is usually the most exciting part to a newbie and the prospect of adding their first fish.

Should we encourage a pinch of fish food an a teaspoon of baking soda at the start?

We have also read that bacteria prefer a temp of 30 degrees,and no light. Maybe we could suggest this. If not already suggested. I need to read the fishless cycling guide I guess.

We were also trying to understand the fish in cycle which is getting a little more in to things with regards to how high nitrite levels have to be to affect fish but we can talk about this later.
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Old 01-04-2014, 03:38 PM   #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
Wow I wake up to this? I'm glad someone has finally taken an interest! Lol
I know right!
Man what happened to Sixtyfou??
We do have other people that follow this thread even if they don't post much, I've seen other mentions around the forum

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
The goal for me was to understand or try to find out why there are so many posts on this forum asking for help during a fishless cycle. We are not done here but we have learned a lot.
I'm curious, what else do you think we need to do? Not that I think we're done either. But I'm kind of flailing for what else to actually research. Maybe we are ready to move on to the quasi-scientific cycling experiments.

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
I believed that the cycle would benefit from a low initial dosing with increasing doses gradually up to the target. My thoughts before research was that constantly adding 4ppm of ammonia to a bacterial colony that is only just establishing would result in a backlog of nitrites, since reproduction times of nitrite eating bacteria is slower and that is why cycles stall. Because of too high nitrites.

What we now understand is that all the scientific papers and experiments we have read, ammonia dosing was in the hundreds with no direct effect on the cycle.

Now I would consider 4ppm ammonia not so high. We don't think that high levels during a cycle are going to get near the levels used in these experiments so can assume that either high nitrites nor high ammonia is going to stall anything. Maybe the downside to adding so much ammonia at the start is the removal of nitrates before fish. Which is not really a big deal.
A+ summary

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
It's interesting you mention the shrimp because I was going to mention this last night. This could be quite an effective method.
Sounds so... smelly /shudder. I'm sure it's effective though. But... ewww...
How many days does it take for it to start breaking down? Would it make it all take longer?

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
Scientific research also does not show that bacteria die off as is stated ALOT on this forum.

Also lab tests have shown consistently that cycles are well underway at the 3 weeks mark. None of which mentioned an addition or replenishment of trace elements. (I'm not saying this isn't true)
Often I saw the water is specifically phosphorous buffered, even though a later water change was never mentioned. They front-loaded it with extra phosphorous. I'm glad you mentioned this because I never thought to comment on it, but I saw it a lot. I think phosphorous is quite key so the fish food thing is a lot more important than people realize.

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
How long does the fishless cycle instructions say this should take. Maybe a reiteration of patience along the way and a time of up to 2 months would ease people's eagerness and reduce testing. To be honest I've always said I would only ever test for nitrates during a fishless cycle after my initial dosing once I had those id check the others.
In the Dr Tim study, which is one of the few that charts the cycle life cycle, it was 40 days so almost 6 weeks. Of course this is done under ideal conditions.
I think what we need is a somewhat specific guide about when you will probably see stuff.
By this I mean:
"You will probably begin to see NitrItes around day 7-10"
"Your nitrItes will be at their highest around Day 21, but will be so off the chart you cannot read them"
"Around day 40 your nitrItes will disappear and your cycle will be complete"
Increasing the range of numbers, but actually providing them at all. One problem is the fishless cycle sticky gives zero indication of when any of these things happen. So here comes Joe Newbie on day 10 freaking out that his cycle is not completed.

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
One question I do have that bugs me is what happens to heterotrophic bacteria when essentially we are bypassing them by adding pure ammonia. I understand there may be organics in the water that could sustain them or do we not need worry about them.
I don't think we worry about them. I think they are what make an aquarium established vs unestablished. Because they form the biofilm around the aquarium once you have fish. They aren't so important in the pre-fish phase.

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
Yes there are many things a human could do that could effect the cycle. However, if they had instructions that worked effectively 99% of the time things may be less likely to go wrong. I am an engineer and follow manuals religiously so If things don't work after I've done all that was asked I get frustrated. As these people do. But what is more frustrating is seeing people frustrated. The startup of an aquarium is usually the most exciting part to a newbie and the prospect of adding their first fish.
Yes, I worry about how many people just give up without asking for help, or get fish and do a fish-in INCORRECTLY and then give up

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Should we encourage a pinch of fish food an a teaspoon of baking soda at the start?
Fish food - 100% agree
baking soda - I think this is more dependent on their pH and the pH crash will usually come around the nitrite spike. At the expense of making it more complicated, I would tentatively suggest that we advise checking pH every few days once nitrite is detected.
I would suggest it be done in alignment with dosing ammonia, which does not need to be done so often as the sticky advises!! After nitrites are detected, you cut to half dose every 2-4 days. I would compromise on 3. Then the instructions would be to half dose every 3 days and check your pH on that day too. If pH is under 7.0, add 1/4 tsp per 5 gallons (or whatever the correct number is)

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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
We have also read that bacteria prefer a temp of 30 degrees,and no light. Maybe we could suggest this. If not already suggested. I need to read the fishless cycling guide I guess.
It actually does mention this (and the fish food too) but these things aren't reinforced to the newbies. Obviously not an option if there are plants.


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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
We were also trying to understand the fish in cycle which is getting a little more in to things with regards to how high nitrite levels have to be to affect fish but we can talk about this later.
The
I am really still interested in this too! So I'm excited to tackle this after we "complete" the fishless topic

Nicely summarized. I totally see you as an engineer.
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:12 PM   #253
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So I managed to fry my motherboard this morning, so I'm late in getting back, and may be more delayed in the future. Welcome to 2014...


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I just I think it would take... quite a long time to handle that much in a 12h window. They don't double that frequently. It's just all so unnecessary. That particular tank is probably already acceptably cycled to 4ppm in a 24 hr period.

The doubling time of these bacteria is 12h for nitrosomas and 18h for nitrobacter. If the definition of a matured biofilter is the ability to convert 4 ppm of ammonia into nitrate in 24h, then the accommodation for dosing every 12h will take less than a day. Because of this exponential growth, bacteria colonies are much more robust than most people give them credit for, eg, death of 99% of the population will be recuperated within a few days. That's also why I don't think that bacteria will die off all the way; rather, they'll die back most of the way, but they'll have the basis to rapidly replenish when ammonia is available again.
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:45 PM   #254
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Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
The goal for me was to understand or try to find out why there are so many posts on this forum asking for help during a fishless cycle. We are not done here but we have learned a lot.
As I alluded to before, I think most of this can be boiled down to A) people trying to grow bacteria in a nutrient deplete environment and B) people being impatient and anxious about getting their tank underway, with likely more B than A. That's my opinion on the matter, combined with personal experience and some microbiology.


Quote:
I believed that the cycle would benefit from a low initial dosing with increasing doses gradually up to the target. My thoughts before research was that constantly adding 4ppm of ammonia to a bacterial colony that is only just establishing would result in a backlog of nitrites, since reproduction times of nitrite eating bacteria is slower and that is why cycles stall. Because of too high nitrites.
I'm not sure why you think a 'backlog' is necessarily a bad thing. The level of nitrite doesn't matter all that much in the long run, as 90% or so of the nitrite is consumed in the final days of the nitrite portion of the cycle due to the exponential growth. 12 ppm of nitrite is not an unreasonable, although I can see where someone would get into trouble adding 4 ppm of ammonia daily trying to keep their ammonia oxidizing bacteria alive.

Quote:
What we now understand is that all the scientific papers and experiments we have read, ammonia dosing was in the hundreds with no direct effect on the cycle.
I haven't read all the articles posted previously, but I would offer two bits of skepticism here. It's entirely likely that there are two strains of bacteria involved here, each adapted to live in its own environment. The 100+ ppm found in waste environments is pretty extreme, and I'm not sure that most bacteria could survive in that outside a few strains specially evolved to do so.

Quote:
Now I would consider 4ppm ammonia not so high. We don't think that lihigh levels during a cycle are going to get near the levels used in these experiments so can assume that either high nitrites nor high ammonia is going to stall anything. Maybe the downside to adding so much ammonia at the start is the removal of nitrates before fish. Which is not really a big deal.
Also the dynamic range for test kits that I mentioned previously. It's not really reasonable to detect changes in concentration outside the range beyond very large shifts.

Quote:
Scientific research also does not show that bacteria die off as is stated ALOT on this forum.
I've been harping on this point for years, largely to deaf ears it seems. It makes sense that bacteria would die if not fed if you don't have a lot of experience with microbiology.

Quote:
Also lab tests have shown consistently that cycles are well underway at the 3 weeks mark. None of which mentioned an addition or replenishment of trace elements. (I'm not saying this isn't true)
Which articles are you referring to here? Most academic work deals with bacteria grown on cultures, which will supply all the nutrients/minerals a growing bacteria colony would need.



Quote:
One question I do have that bugs me is what happens to heterotrophic bacteria when essentially we are bypassing them by adding pure ammonia. I understand there may be organics in the water that could sustain them or do we not need worry about them.
Heterotrophic bacteria aren't as important to fish health immediately, so they're often overlooked in aquaria. There efforts are also difficult to detect as there aren't really test kits that look at organic content, so it's a largely unexplored area in aquaria. That being said, heterotrophs are much fast growing, with some having a doubling time of nearly 20 minutes vs the 12-18h of chemoautotrophs. They'll establish themselves pretty handily. If you've planted your tank, then they'll already be developing as they feed of plant detritus. Everyone should plant their tanks

That being said, I've sometimes wondered to myself if there's some relationship between the diatom blooms and heterotrophic bacteria populations maturing. They seem to pop up in young tanks and go away on their own some weeks later. The official party line on the matter is that they're feeding of leached silicates from new substrates, but the more one explores that, the less true it seems. It's a curiosity, but I'm not sure that we can necessarily get to the bottom it easily.

Quote:
Yes there are many things a human could do that could effect the cycle. However, if they had instructions that worked effectively 99% of the time things may be less likely to go wrong. I am an engineer and follow manuals religiously so If things don't work after I've done all that was asked I get frustrated. As these people do. But what is more frustrating is seeing people frustrated. The startup of an aquarium is usually the most exciting part to a newbie and the prospect of adding their first fish.
I think that's the hardest part for most people who are fishless cycling. Many people start an aquarium with enthusiasm to get fish, and then end up staring at an empty tank for two months, which kills the excitement. This probably adds to the problem of overtesting to the point that people find problems where there aren't any. Fish-in cycling might be better for some people, depending on their temperament and patience.

Quote:
Should we encourage a pinch of fish food an a teaspoon of baking soda at the start?

We have also read that bacteria prefer a temp of 30 degrees,and no light. Maybe we could suggest this. If not already suggested. I need to read the fishless cycling guide I guess.
I think those are in there. I know temp and baking soda are at the very least.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:25 PM   #255
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As I alluded to before, I think most of this can be boiled down to A) people trying to grow bacteria in a nutrient deplete environment and B) people being impatient and anxious about getting their tank underway, with likely more B than A. That's my opinion on the matter, combined with personal experience and some microbiology.









I'm not sure why you think a 'backlog' is necessarily a bad thing. The level of nitrite doesn't matter all that much in the long run, as 90% or so of the nitrite is consumed in the final days of the nitrite portion of the cycle due to the exponential growth. 12 ppm of nitrite is not an unreasonable, although I can see where someone would get into trouble adding 4 ppm of ammonia daily trying to keep their ammonia oxidizing bacteria alive.







I haven't read all the articles posted previously, but I would offer two bits of skepticism here. It's entirely likely that there are two strains of bacteria involved here, each adapted to live in its own environment. The 100+ ppm found in waste environments is pretty extreme, and I'm not sure that most bacteria could survive in that outside a few strains specially evolved to do so.







Also the dynamic range for test kits that I mentioned previously. It's not really reasonable to detect changes in concentration outside the range beyond very large shifts.







I've been harping on this point for years, largely to deaf ears it seems. It makes sense that bacteria would die if not fed if you don't have a lot of experience with microbiology.





Which articles are you referring to here? Most academic work deals with bacteria grown on cultures, which will supply all the nutrients/minerals a growing bacteria colony would need.











Heterotrophic bacteria aren't as important to fish health immediately, so they're often overlooked in aquaria. There efforts are also difficult to detect as there aren't really test kits that look at organic content, so it's a largely unexplored area in aquaria. That being said, heterotrophs are much fast growing, with some having a doubling time of nearly 20 minutes vs the 12-18h of chemoautotrophs. They'll establish themselves pretty handily. If you've planted your tank, then they'll already be developing as they feed of plant detritus. Everyone should plant their tanks



That being said, I've sometimes wondered to myself if there's some relationship between the diatom blooms and heterotrophic bacteria populations maturing. They seem to pop up in young tanks and go away on their own some weeks later. The official party line on the matter is that they're feeding of leached silicates from new substrates, but the more one explores that, the less true it seems. It's a curiosity, but I'm not sure that we can necessarily get to the bottom it easily.





I think that's the hardest part for most people who are fishless cycling. Many people start an aquarium with enthusiasm to get fish, and then end up staring at an empty tank for two months, which kills the excitement. This probably adds to the problem of overtesting to the point that people find problems where there aren't any. Fish-in cycling might be better for some people, depending on their temperament and patience.







I think those are in there. I know temp and baking soda are at the very least.

The point you make about the bacteria being cultured therefore has been given relevant nutrients is a good one and one that eluded me. Are there any commercial products such as plant fertiliser that could provided these to our bacteria?

The point about the backlog of nitrites was something I believed to be true before I had conducted any research.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:26 PM   #256
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Btw how do you split previous posts up so you can edit in between the lines like you guys do?
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:48 PM   #257
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on my phone and I have less patience forposts this way so it will be brief

Aqua Chem, they one paper you should read is by Tim Havonec et all 98 about nitrospira. It claims that in aquaria we grow nitrospira not nitrobacter and several studies since have supported this. It also studies the life of the cycle and specifically used aquariums in its lab work, not wastewater treatment systems. It was a pretty revolutionary paper and quite relevant to our current discussion.

I already can't remember what else I wanted to say and can't scroll up and look with my phone so that's all for now
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:49 PM   #258
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Quote:
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The point you make about the bacteria being cultured therefore has been given relevant nutrients is a good one and one that eluded me. Are there any commercial products such as plant fertiliser that could provided these to our bacteria?

Plant fertilizers should do the trick for the most part, although many of them are lacking macronutrients, particularly phosphate. They are meant to be used in an aquarium with fish, where the fish waste supplies copious phosphorus and nitrogen, but inadequate potassium and micronutrients. We add nitrogen in the form of ammonia, but no phosphate.

If I were to mark a system for fishless cycling, I would probably advise to use plant fertilizer initially (per directions if you have plants) and find a source of phosphate. Old watechange water works, as do many terrestrial fertilizers. If this doesn't work, you can purchase Fleet Enema (exactly what it sounds like) from CVS/Walgreens, which is a source of pure sodium phosphate. Baking soda for bicarbonate if needed, ie, soft or unknown water hardness. Add ingredients, turn temp to 80F, and just forget about it for 6 weeks.



To divide up quotes, you can put in a quote tab. Put [/ quote] (no space) to close a quote and add something, and [ quote] to open it again.
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Old 01-04-2014, 05:59 PM   #259
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Plant fertilizers should do the trick for the most part, although many of them are lacking macronutrients, particularly phosphate. They are meant to be used in an aquarium with fish, where the fish waste supplies copious phosphorus and nitrogen, but inadequate potassium and micronutrients. We add nitrogen in the form of ammonia, but no phosphate.

If I were to mark a system for fishless cycling, I would probably advise to use plant fertilizer initially (per directions if you have plants) and find a source of phosphate. Old watechange water works, as do many terrestrial fertilizers. If this doesn't work, you can purchase Fleet Enema (exactly what it sounds like) from CVS/Walgreens, which is a source of pure sodium phosphate. Baking soda for bicarbonate if needed, ie, soft or unknown water hardness. Add ingredients, turn temp to 80F, and just forget about it for 6 weeks.



To divide up quotes, you can put in a quote tab. Put [/ quote] (no space) to close a quote and add something, and [ quote] to open it again.

I heard adding fish food helps with phosphate?

Well these are conditions we are working towards however, ammonia dosing, frequency of dosing, time of cycle and whether water changes are necessary. It would seem that a water change plan would be beneficial but not for the reasons people might be thinking.

However, If we could add something that means we can just forget about it then this may be better. Or if we can help people understand the importance of macronutrients and other nutrients they can at least choose whether or Not to add these at the start or do a water change, since this would be less cost.

Just look at the getting started page in freshwater. There are 6 threads in a row that are struggling with this fishless cycle. It needs addressing.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:30 PM   #260
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Aqua Chem, they one paper you should read is by Tim Havonec et all 98 about nitrospira. It claims that in aquaria we grow nitrospira not nitrobacter and several studies since have supported this. It also studies the life of the cycle and specifically used aquariums in its lab work, not wastewater treatment systems. It was a pretty revolutionary paper and quite relevant to our current discussion.
Yes, you're right. I should have said nitrospira, not nitrobacter. The halflife is about the same though for the temperature he use.
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