Too low Bioload? Is it a bad thing? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Too low Bioload? Is it a bad thing?

So it it common knowledge that a low Bioload tank is the way to go when it comes to fish keeping. Is it possible to have too low a bioload in a tank? I have a 29 gallon that has been setup for quite some time, running 2 aqueon 20 HOBS. Only plants are a few live marimo. I plan on taking the fish I have out of there due to aggression issues and putting my lovely little betta in there. I would take off one of the Hobs. The only things in the tank will be the betta and about 5 nerite snails. Will the tank properly maintain a cycle? Will I still have to do once weekly water changes? I was thinking 50% w/c every other week. Aqadvisor says stocking percentage is extremely low and required weekly 1% water changes. I'm hoping for an easy to maintain aquarium! Also my betta would love the upgrade from his 5 gallon prison cell.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 02:38 PM
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There probably is such a thing as too load of a bio load, but I don't think you'll have that problem. I've been bettas live perfectly healthly lives in 40 gallon tanks with the company of a few snails with no problem.

With a bio load that low, I don't see a reason for you not to be able to get away with bi-weekly water changes. The only reason I could see for there being a reason to do water changes more often is if the betta got sick for some reason.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 02:43 PM Thread Starter
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There probably is such a thing as too load of a bio load, but I don't think you'll have that problem. I've been bettas live perfectly healthly lives in 40 gallon tanks with the company of a few snails with no problem.

With a bio load that low, I don't see a reason for you not to be able to get away with bi-weekly water changes. The only reason I could see for there being a reason to do water changes more often is if the betta got sick for some reason.
Thanks! I love betta fish, espically when they get to swim around large tanks. How long did your live? Currently in the 29 I have two angelfish, about the size of my hand. I was told they would be okay in this setup but they poop much more than I expected and they look a little cramped to me. I'm scared if they breed or pair up becasue they started showing some aggression lately. I've only had them 3 weeks.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 02:44 PM
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As long as there is an ammonia source, the tank will remain cycled to that ammonia level.

In this case, I can only think of two reasons to do water changes a) to dilute accumulation of toxic substances b) to bring in new usefull substances.
But wait a second, where do those harmful substances are coming from and what are those usefull substances for? You will end up topping off the tank once in a while. As far as I am concerned, those are your water changes. For some months, if not longer.

But I bet the above is irrelevant: a 29g tank with basically no plans and a beta? How long before you either take down the tank or start adding more fish and / or plants? Uhm, I would bet 2 - 4 weeks?
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 02:50 PM
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Thanks! I love betta fish, espically when they get to swim around large tanks. How long did your live? Currently in the 29 I have two angelfish, about the size of my hand. I was told they would be okay in this setup but they poop much more than I expected and they look a little cramped to me. I'm scared if they breed or pair up becasue they started showing some aggression lately. I've only had them 3 weeks.
The longest I've been able to keep a betta is about a year. I don't think it is from something I'm doing aside from possibly not buying betta not in the best of health to begin with.

You have a reason to be concerned as far as the angelfish go. They're cichlids and when the breeding mood strikes, they get cranky and territorial.

If you have concerns about there not being enough ammonia added to the tank to keep it cycled, you can always test once a week until you feel comfortable that things are stable.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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As long as there is an ammonia source, the tank will remain cycled to that ammonia level.

In this case, I can only think of two reasons to do water changes a) to dilute accumulation of toxic substances b) to bring in new usefull substances.
But wait a second, where do those harmful substances are coming from and what are those usefull substances for? You will end up topping off the tank once in a while. As far as I am concerned, those are your water changes. For some months, if not longer.

But I bet the above is irrelevant: a 29g tank with basically no plans and a beta? How long before you either take down the tank or start adding more fish and / or plants? Uhm, I would bet 2 - 4 weeks?
Already went through this phase! Haha! I got MTS really bad a few months back. Started up a bunch of tanks. Through my tank journey I have found that I'm the kind if person who likes have a single fish and a large(ish) tank. I kept community aquariums and I have to say I don't like them. I tried different plants and I just didn't like that either. I love three things, marimo moss balls, bettas and cichlids. I love my betta unconditionally. I'm just that kind of person I guess

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 03:28 PM
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Just get some floating plants and call it a day, they will basically negate the need for regular water changes which will leave you with top offs only, with maybe a proper w/c every so often
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 07:13 PM
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Bacteria colony size is self regulating and is dependent on the availability of food, oxygen and a platform. Your moss balls provide very little in terms of water purification so some real plants would be a benefit, if even as mentioned, just low maintenance floating plants.
I cringe a little when folks suggest that no water changes are required. Fresh water is only 'fresh' because it is often renewed by rain and rain runoff. For the aquarium, we are the rain.
Not only is old water removed, but it is replaced with fresh water and it's associated minerals that plants and fish need.
In your situation, 25%-50% every other week would seem fine.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2016, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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25%-50% every other week would seem fine.

I think I'm going to short for 50% change every other week. I have about 30 moss balls and a small handful of water wisteria and brazilian penny wort floating at the top of my betta 5 gallon I can move over to the 29.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 11:48 AM
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I wouldn't even bother doing water changes, just top off. One Betta in that size tank is nothing.
But I am a bad person.

I have never counted clean up crew as part of the bio-load, but I probably should. I probably get away with that because I don't really keep ornamental fish, just CUC and plants (plants also contribute to adding metabolic wastes to the water, fyi)
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 03:56 PM
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I know from your other posts that you genuinely care for the health and wellbeing of your fish, and that you want to provide the best possible care for him/them. I second the advice given by AbbeysDad, especially his reasoning behind doing water changes. While aquariums are generally thought of as "closed systems" that mimic the "closed" natural habitat of a lake or stream, with a natural nitrogen "cycle " and an oxygen/CO2 cycle, in reality the lake or stream is not a true closed system. The water, as AbbeysDad pointed out, is renewed and refreshed by rain or watershed runoff, more so in some habitats than in others. New supplies of nutrients are introduced and waste products are taken away by outflow or broken down by natural processes that don't occur in the aquarium. (Keep in mind, also, the average aquarium is stocked at a much higher load per gallon than most natural bodies of water.) Thus, we must imitate nature's actions by adding nutrients and removing waste elements with periodic water changes. While it is true that one betta is a nearly insignificant bioload for a 29 gallon tank, as has been mentioned, there is a proportional amount of nitrification taking place in the filter and tank that will adjust itself to any increase in waste production. Also, there are those who will tell you that, being anabantids, bettas are adapted to live in poor quality waters because they can take in oxygen from the air they gulp in at the water's surface, which is true. However, the bettas we buy today are not the same sturdy fish that HAVE to deal with poor water quality in their native environment in order to survive; they are many, many generations removed from their sturdy ancestors, somewhat inbred (to develop desirable traits) and although still relatively hardy and able to survive in a small bowl, it is still susceptible to all the regular fish maladies. So do the biweekly water changes and feel comfortable in knowing that your betta will be one of the best cared-for bettas in the world, and if you must miss a water change or two, don't fret about it and just remember that, because of the size of his home, he will still have good water quality to live in.

By the way, a betta's lifespan is only about a couple of years or so, so prepare yourself for when his time comes.

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 04:48 PM
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There is an LFS I sometimes get elodea from, he has bettas in there, that were in about half a cup of water each back in November. They are like in 2 fingers' water now, and the water has turned urine yellow. They insist on not doing water changes. I'll never buy fish from there.

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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
As long as there is an ammonia source, the tank will remain cycled to that ammonia level.

In this case, I can only think of two reasons to do water changes a) to dilute accumulation of toxic substances b) to bring in new usefull substances.
But wait a second, where do those harmful substances are coming from and what are those usefull substances for? You will end up topping off the tank once in a while. As far as I am concerned, those are your water changes. For some months, if not longer.

But I bet the above is irrelevant: a 29g tank with basically no plans and a beta? How long before you either take down the tank or start adding more fish and / or plants? Uhm, I would bet 2 - 4 weeks?
Not so. Evaporation only takes the water. It leaves behind all the minerals. A WC gets rid of those minerals and to an extent dilutes them. (Assumes you top off with anything but distilled or RO water of course)

as for low bioload I've had 55's running for at least a year with just one fish in it and no problems.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-07-2016, 03:06 PM
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It is a self balancing system, as long as there is enough surface area, and the initial ammonia load is not too high bacteria colonies will grow in size to deal with the daily waste. That does not meant you can go crazy even if you think you have good filtration, as some believe the rate of ammonia production to have an influence on the growth of certain algaes, which has nothing to do with your filter's ability to deliver water that stays within healthy parameters for your fish. When you have a low bioload, just don't go and add a million fish one day when you feel the need for more inhabitants. One or two at a time, a few days apart and all should stay safe.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-08-2016, 03:25 AM
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@GraphicGr8s and @AbbeysDad thanks for calling me on WC. Doing regular WC is part of Best Practices and my comment in the open forum was irresponsible. Phew.
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