Best bio media - Page 3 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #31 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 05:12 PM
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Which is a marketing site meant to sell you his own products so he will say anything. What folks don't understand is the the Aquarium Industry is Unregulated. That means the manufactures, marketing sales are allowed to say, print and publish anything they want without any proof or evidence that their product will work or do anything it says. Which is what we see everyday. Sorry that this is happening.
It looks like the only product he sells is fertilizer and there actually are a lot of regulations for that, though they vary by municipality.

But just because someone is selling something, it does not follow that they "will say anything". It is definitely something to keep in mind, sure, but they don't automatically lose all credibility just because they also made a product.
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Last edited by ElleDee; 11-18-2020 at 05:47 PM. Reason: typo
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post #32 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 05:32 PM
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Which is a marketing site meant to sell you his own products so he will say anything. What folks don't understand is the the Aquarium Industry is Unregulated. That means the manufactures, marketing sales are allowed to say, print and publish anything they want without any proof or evidence that their product will work or do anything it says. Which is what we see everyday. Sorry that this is happening.
That's some piss poor logic imo.

I breed and sell reptiles. I often lose sales because I won't give bad information to people, and when they realize what it takes to care for a monitor, they'll sometimes back out. I could easily just say anything and make my $400+ on a single animal, but don't. It's common and good business practice, because reputation means a lot. We don't need ham-fisted government regulations on everything.

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post #33 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 09:02 PM
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I'm curious: once you get your anaerobic bacteria going, and measure a consistent NO3 reduction, have you ever tried enhancing the de-nitrification with things like vodka, methanol, etc.?
Good to see you back on the other side, for a moment.
Well, the bacteria world is crazier than most think. These tiny microbes live in all conditions and convert everything back and forth. One bacteria waste is another bacteria food. They go after all elements and compounds.

You say methanol? No, I donít use it, remember the headaches? Well, reef and marine aquarists dose 40% ethanol aka Vodka to boost bacteria metabolism in order to remove more NO3. Vodka is C2H6O, a source of organic carbon some bacteria feed on. In planted aquariums, I think, we may have enough organic carbon from fish waste and plant leak. I have tried ethanol few years ago but didnít know much about it. Interesting are scientific studies about plants depressing algae and also about plants leaking glucose C6H12O6. It is something to think about because glucose is also source of carbon bacteria feed on. The idea is to boost beneficial bacteria metabolism, quantity and variety in hope to have all organics taken as well.

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Also, as your NO3 came down, did you note any corresponding drop in KH? I'm wondering if KH might be a confirming indicator of anaerobic bacteria activity, since they should be consuming some of the CO3.
I wouldnít know because I have zero KH. Some bacteria consume carbon from carbonate and also from CO2.

The way I did it is not scientific, it is just for fun. I tried it with three planted aquariums with CO2 injection, 50, 90 and 125 gallon. Dosing daily urea as the only nitrogen addition and stabilized the dosage to have 5 Ė 10 ppm NO3 in the water. So the dose was completely taken by the plants. Then I added to each aquarium canister filter filled with larger garden lava rocks. There were no canisters before. Gradually, I had to start increasing the dosage in order to have the same NO3 concentration in the water. It had leveled after about two months. In all aquariums, I had to dose 3 Ė 4 ppm (as NO3) more. Then I removed the canisters and the needed dosage returned back.

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I believe in the claims behind porous media. I believe tray for tray, Matrix, Biohome, Biomax, Substrat Pro and similar sintered media have considerably more capacity than cheap sponges and the like.
Yes, I think porosity is the key, deep porosity.
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But, your question does make me curious...maybe an experiment would be fun.
Absolutely, love experiments. Thanks for the info.

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Anaerobic information is here.
The article is written by a person predetermined to resist the idea of existence of denitrifying microbes. Sorry but there are thousands of real scientific research papers to prove otherwise.
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post #34 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-18-2020, 11:51 PM
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Sponges are excellent bio media for bacteria; so saying you only run with a sponge is like saying your filter is all bio media.

There has been studies (I don't have any references in front of me) that suggest most of the beneficial bacteria is in the filter and not so much the substrate.
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post #35 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-19-2020, 12:53 AM
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The idea is to boost beneficial bacteria metabolism, quantity and variety in hope to have all organics taken as well.
This is the crux of this entire thread: what medium can best provide this ideal blend.

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Gradually, I had to start increasing the dosage in order to have the same NO3 concentration in the water. It had leveled after about two months. In all aquariums, I had to dose 3 – 4 ppm (as NO3) more. Then I removed the canisters and the needed dosage returned back.
I've been considering changing from my long-standing media-less filter to improve my control over the N stream and, since I've been dosing only urea for a few years anyway, any NO3 reducer would help in this control aspect. Your pointing to the MarinePure in another post (I've ordered the spheres) finalized my decision on this.

Why change if no problems, you ask? Well, last month I left my lights on overnight after bypassing the timer for tank maintenance and, within a day, GSA exploded. I'm thinking, with no ability to test this theory, that moving much of the BB back to the filter, I may reduce the periphyton on the tank and plant surfaces. Since i believe this is a major base for algae operations, I may be able to further inhibit it. Now, knowing how to quickly re-create GSA, perhaps I can test this in 6 months or so.

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Sponges are excellent bio media for bacteria; so saying you only run with a sponge is like saying your filter is all bio media.

There has been studies (I don't have any references in front of me) that suggest most of the beneficial bacteria is in the filter and not so much the substrate.
If you have bio-media in your filter, I also believe this to be true.
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post #36 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-19-2020, 08:25 PM
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This is the crux of this entire thread: what medium can best provide this ideal blend.
To get robust and diverse beneficial bacteria in the filter? I am no expert, just trying to put pieces together. I think we need to divide the bacteria needs into two parts. One is what bacteria feed on and the other where want to live.

As a bacterial diverse community they feed on organic and inorganic elements and compounds. We can supply it with fish food and waste, glucose leaked from plants, CO3 carbonate, macros and micros fertilizers, CO2, ethanol Vodka, glucose dextrose, acetate vinegar.

Such diverse community wants to live in layers divided by dissolved oxygen levels. What is ideal? I would say larger chunks of porous inert material because they have spaces of gradually lower and lower oxygen concentrations from outside to the core. In contrary smaller, not porous or plastic balls are limited to only high oxygen surfaces.

Biological filtration can remove organic and inorganic compounds and nitrate. Here is research paper called Performance of Anoxic-Oxic Sequencing Batch Reactor for Nitrification and Aerobic Denitrification. Below are examples:

In this chapter, the feasibility of achieving nitrogen removal using a lab-scale biological sequencing batch reactor (SBR) exposed to anoxic/oxic (AN/OX) phases is described in order to attain aerobic denitrification. The SBR was fed with acetate and ammonium sulfate.

Carbon is not a difficult compound to eliminate by biological processes; on the contrary, one of the most common problems in wastewater treatment plants is the lack of organic carbon to carry out the denitrification process. Particularly, treatment plants with low chemical oxygen demand/nitrogen (COD/N) ratios exhibit difficulties for nitrogen removal due to a shortage of organic substrate [6, 7].

In conclusion, the organic load stimulated strongly the competition by oxygen between heterotrophic and nitrifying bacteria at low DO concentrations.

Therefore, in addition to achieving efficient nitrification, sufficient organic carbon must be supplied for the denitrification process to take place. High oxygen availability permitted to minimize competition by oxygen between heterotrophic and nitrifying bacteria.

It must be considered that a high organic load led to an excessive growth of heterotrophs, which probably involved an intense competition by different growth factors among heterotrophic bacteria.

Anoxic denitrification rates are commonly higher than those obtained under aerobic conditions [57].

A lab-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) operated with two phases, anoxic and aerobic, achieved complete COD chemical oxygen demand removal.


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Your pointing to the MarinePure in another post (I've ordered the spheres) finalized my decision on this.
Canít wait to see your results!
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I'm thinking, with no ability to test this theory, that moving much of the BB back to the filter, I may reduce the periphyton on the tank and plant surfaces. Since i believe this is a major base for algae operations, I may be able to further inhibit it. Now, knowing how to quickly re-create GSA, perhaps I can test this in 6 months or so.
I expect the periphyton to stay but its composition to change significantly and that should impact algae.
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post #37 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-19-2020, 10:33 PM
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The article is written by a person predetermined to resist the idea of existence of denitrifying microbes. Sorry but there are thousands of real scientific research papers to prove otherwise.

Sure it is possible, just not in an aquarium though. Post your sites that shows how this is done in an aquarium with their tests.

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post #38 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-19-2020, 10:41 PM
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Sure it is possible, just not in an aquarium though.
Do you know if it works with saltwater aquariums?


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post #39 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-19-2020, 10:44 PM
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Do you know if it works with saltwater aquariums?

Pretty sure the same thing. But most saltwater uses live rock. But I don't know about saltwater...
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post #40 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 11:17 AM
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i'm a little confused by the articles linked.

So...if I filled my sump with pot scrubbers...I should expect to eventually get crystal clear water?


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post #41 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 03:43 PM
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I expect the periphyton to stay but its composition to change significantly and that should impact algae.
My hope, as well. I only wish there was some way to test/verify this.

Although I generally have no algae issues, it's always fun to see if we can find ways toward more robust approaches to achieve a final set-and-forget-it tank. Please: no laughing!

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Post your sites that shows how this is done in an aquarium with their tests.
I wanted to alert you to something that may change your opinion of the site you referenced. My intent is to just give you something to consider in case you want to investigate the de-nitrification issue further. Who knows, maybe you’ll become our resident expert on de-nitrification.

The study on the website states that nitrates were “deliberately kept very high, 120 to 240 ppm.” and the author claims that only he did the “scientific experiment with controls.” However, the author seems to have missed a major control point. Could the author have missed the possibility that he had killed all of the bacteria?

High nitrate (nitric acid) removes the buffers in water, causing pH to plunge. Like aerobic bacteria, anaerobic bacteria begin to die below pH of about 7.0. Essentially, NO3 higher than ~100ppm will severely stall the nitrogen cycle as though they had induced an over-the-top “old tank syndrome” environment. So, unless they constantly monitored and maintained pH at optimal levels, they may not have had any de-nitrifying bacteria, let alone not having enough aerobic bacteria (some forms of aerobic bacteria do step in to take-up the slack at low pH levels).

Of course, without the anaerobic bacteria, there is no hope of de-nitrification, but they would also be struggling with ammonia (TAN). However, at such low pH the TAN would be in a fish-safe ammonium form, so the hardy fish that were selected for the NO3 onslaught would have also survived high ammonium levels.

The study makes no mention of controlling or monitoring pH or TAN, which is a major oversight. It may have been a far different outcome had pH been maintained at the optimal minimum of 7.0 and TAN had been monitored. A much lower level of NO3 would also have made it much more realistic, perhaps 60-80ppm. As @Edward mentioned, supplying CO2 as we do with pressurized systems may have further shown anaerobic bacterial activity by supplying carbon.

We do have something of an expert on the subject in @Phil Edwards, who occasionally pops in. You may find these two threads of interest:

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...-products.html

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/1...ol-dosing.html
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post #42 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jake21 View Post
Sponges are excellent bio media for bacteria; so saying you only run with a sponge is like saying your filter is all bio media.

There has been studies (I don't have any references in front of me) that suggest most of the beneficial bacteria is in the filter and not so much the substrate.
Agree, and this is why I don't get the point of the overall never ending debate on this topic. I never do. If it's been proven that aquariums can thrive with something as simple as a pot scrubber, why does any of this matter much lol

There are just so many options that work just fine. I don't doubt at all that some studies may show that more expensive options such as matrix may perform slightly better, but I haven't observed any real world, material difference. (keep in mind, I have matrix in one of my eheims now and have used quite a bit over the years. Not against the stuff, only purchase it when it's on sale/highly discounted)
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post #43 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 08:16 PM
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i'm a little confused by the articles linked.

So...if I filled my sump with pot scrubbers...I should expect to eventually get crystal clear water?
As I understand it, the argument is that nearly all aquarists have hazy water due to excess bacteria/algae/protozoa and this can only be solved with filter media with lots of surface area (20x more than you need for sufficient nitrification) to grown enough biofloc bacteria to outcompete the stuff in your water column and make it clear.

I have a lot of skepticism about that, starting with the claim that unless your water is crystal clear it's unhealthy for fish and going from there.
@Deanna has done a nice job raising some issues with the "experiment" that is supposed to disprove denitrification, but you could do that with nearly the entire website, at least the parts where it's trying to overturn aquarium orthodoxy. I am always up for new ideas, but I need more details and citations and less condescension. There may be some good ideas in there, but it's too much work to pick them out.
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post #44 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 08:19 PM
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Agree, and this is why I don't get the point of the overall never ending debate on this topic. I never do.
Remember that the OP asked for opinions on what the "best biomedia" is. This is why the debate exists and, for some of us, it is interesting to challenge the pros and cons, as others see them, to help us learn. So, there is a lot of back and forth almost as a pastime. If the OP had asked, as some do, "what biomedia do you use" that type of question usually results in simpler answers.

In fact, as can be found in the thread, many believe that no biomedia is the "best biomedia" to use and you can't get simpler than that. I suspect that we could also just throw an old sock (even before we wash it) into the filter and all would agree that it works just fine.
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post #45 of 59 (permalink) Old 11-20-2020, 08:20 PM
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That's the sad thing. The paper i've read show that a simple 30ppi sponge filter will vastly out perform something like bio matrix with regards to efficiency. But in this day and age advertising is king and facts are well not important


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Agree, and this is why I don't get the point of the overall never ending debate on this topic. I never do. If it's been proven that aquariums can thrive with something as simple as a pot scrubber, why does any of this matter much lol

There are just so many options that work just fine. I don't doubt at all that some studies may show that more expensive options such as matrix may perform slightly better, but I haven't observed any real world, material difference. (keep in mind, I have matrix in one of my eheims now and have used quite a bit over the years. Not against the stuff, only purchase it when it's on sale/highly discounted)
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