?'s about biological filtration - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 07:09 AM Thread Starter
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?'s about biological filtration

Hello all,
I am new here and I have some questions about aquatic plants, bacteria, enzymes etc. that can and will reduce harmful toxins from the water. I have been doing some research online and it seems that I may need to take chemistry 101 before I can continue my studies. Before I do that I am hoping that I can find someone that can simplify it all for me. First of all let me explain my situation. I own a large (4") semi-aquatic lizard that originates from West Africa. I am hoping to create a system that will help keep her water as fresh as possible. The problem is that she prefers to use her pool as a restroom. Therefore, it's a real challenge keeping her water clean and sanitary. I am currently using approximately 20-25 gallons with a plastic tub plumbed into a fluval 405 canister filter w/biozyme I believe my next move should be to create more water storage. If there is anyone here that can point me in the right direction, I am very interested in hearing from you. Any and all comments are welcome.






Thanks, Ron
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-26-2006, 12:14 PM
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Hi Ron. Nice lizard.

Without getting too scientific on you, I can shed some light...

Bacteria
1. First of all, as the fish/animal excrements decay, it turns into ammonia (harmful to aquatic species)
2. Certain bacteria feed on ammonia and produce nitrites (harmful to aquatic species).
3. Other types of bacteria feed on nitrites and produce nitrates (harmful to aquatic species at high levels only)


Plants
1. Plants, using light, feed on CO2, ammonia (I believe) and other heavy metals in the water and produce oxygen, through photsynthesis.
2. Plants, during night, will feed on oxygen and produce CO2.

In a tank with NO plants, bacteria and chemical solutions will help provide liveable conditions for aquatic species up to a certain point. Unfortunately, there will be a buildup of heavy metals that will eventually be harmful to aquatic species. The only way to remove these is by water changes.

If the tank is heavily planted, plants can provide safer conditions for aquatic species. Keep in mind, certain plants have specific requirements, such as lighting (low, medium, or high lights), additional nutrients (more CO2, heavy metals, etc. if the species in the water cannot produce enough).


Enzymes? Not sure exactly what you are looking for here, but some solutions will...
- remove the chlorine/chloramine (harmful to aquatic species) in the water
- remove ammonia (harmful to aquatic species) in the water
- remove nitrites (harmful to aquatic species) and nitrates (harmful to aquatic species) in the water


Hope that helps.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2006, 06:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks

Thanks for the reply! Do you have any ideas for a system that will work in my case?
What do you know about the product Biozyme?
How much water can I replace without harming the balance? (assuming that it does ever become balanced)
Thanks Ron
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2006, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R0N View Post
Thanks for the reply! Do you have any ideas for a system that will work in my case?
What do you know about the product Biozyme?
How much water can I replace without harming the balance? (assuming that it does ever become balanced)
Thanks Ron
As far as bacteria starters, the common is Bio-spyra. It's supposed to be really good. Other bacteria starters are not typical bacteria found in water, therefore, in order to keep the colony going, you must keep adding the bacteria starter for each water change. It can get expensive. The natural benificial bacteria thrive and multiply as long as there is sufficient surface area to colonize, water, oxygen, and food (waste).

In order for you to know that your water is properly established, you must...
1. Provide the bacteria. This can be obtained from a filter, sponge, substrate, or any type of material found in an already established tank (running for several months)
2. Provide oxygenated water. Using a powerhead or filter can provide this.
3. Provide food. I'm assuming the lizard will provide this.

Once the above has been provided, you should frequently check the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. When a tank first establishes, waste will break down and produce ammonia. Using a test kit will show any level above 0. The bacteria will start to multiply and feed on the ammonia. The amount of benificial bacteria will depend on how much waste is produced. The benificial bacteria will take in the ammonia and then produce nitrites. Sometime later, either a day or 2, the ammonia levels will go down, but the nitrite levels will increase. Other types of bacteria will feed on the nitrites and then produce nitrates. Ammonia and nitrite levels will go down and the nitrite level will increase. Unfortunately, this cycle will continue, increasing/decreasing the ammonia and nitrite levels. When it finally balances out is when the ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0 and the nitrates are anywhere above 0. Using a test kit frequently can help you with this.

Keep in mind, some water supplies contain chlorine/chloramine in the water. Chlorine will kill the bacteria. Therefore, I would recommend using a dechlorinator when adding water, IF your water supply does contain chlorine/chloramine.

With you having a lizard, I'm not sure if the above is worth your while. Fish are more sensitive to the levels in the water, since they eat, crap, sleep, etc. in the water. Your lizard may not be effected by levels of ammonia or nitrites since it just may bathe in it.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2006, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Eddie,
That realy helped clear things up!
Ron
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-27-2006, 06:06 PM
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No problem. Glad to help.


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