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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On the last wash of new substrate I add a conditioner and nitrifying bacteria to the wet substrate before adding it to the tank. Am I overdoing it or should I carry on with my routine?
 

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Opinion only? I would think it to be more effort than benefit. The bacteria need O2 from water flow to live, etc. When washing all the sub and then most of it being buried, I'm not sure enough lives to really matter. I look more toward getting/keeping bacteria in the easier spots for it to survive like used filter media.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks - my idea was just to kick start it when covering existing substrate
 

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I would think it doesn't hurt but I might doubt how much actual benefit there is also. The benefit of adding bacteria is that it provides a large amount but if not coming from a bottle it will appear anyway as it is all around. Just a bit slower?
 

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Works just fine adding it to the water, or you can add it to the filter (or right at the intake).
As noted by PlantedRich there is less oxygen deeper in the substrate, so the bacteria will not do so well when added to the substrate.
 

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I am with Rich and Diana. When I setup, redo, or add to a tank, I dose microbacter for a couple of weeks. I'm like that old lady in the Frank's hot sauce commercials. You are probably helping to seed a bacteria colony, but you are probably wasting more than if you just dosed your bacteria into the water column.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks good people. The conclusion seems to be that it's not necessary. I have a bottle of DoPhin 14 in 1 bacteria possibly made in China which smells like effluent from a sewerage factory. Apparently live bacteria feeds off dead bacteria so has a little lifespan. The tank has enough bacteria on plants/glass/filter etc... and appears stable and happy. My thoughts were if I covered old substrate containing bacteria (and tank harmony) with a thin layer of new substrate without bacteria it would unsettle the equilibrium. My other rule of thumb is that if I add a new fish; I add another plant :)
 

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That is the wrong bacteria.
Nitrospira species and the other nitrifying bacteria do not eat dead organisms. Tou may have a bottle of decomposer micro organisms (which do eat dead organisms).
Look for Terta Safe Start, Dr. Tim's One and Only, or other product with Nitrospira species of bacteria.
 

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Not familiar with that product, but sounds most definitely to contain Heterotrophic bacteria (these are the ones that break down/decompose organics/mulm into Ammonia).
Autotrophic bacteria are the Nitrifying bacteria. As Diana mentioned, they don't "eat" dead organisms, although the dead organisms being broken down by Heterotrophic bacteria into ammonia, could supply ammonia as the energy source for Autotrophic nitrifiers. However, in those bottled nitrifying bacteria products, to the best of my understanding, there is not ammonia bottled inside the products, the nitrfiers are simply in a extremely slowed down metabolic state (hibernation if you will).
The nitrifying bacteria you want are Nitrosomonas (ammonia-oxidizers) and Nitrospira (nitrite-oxidizers). They are found in Tetra SafeStart, Dr. Tim's One and Only, Microbe-lift Nite Out II
The bottled products usually last around a year if stored properly. Keeping it refrigerated (not frozen), slows down the metabolism even more, which keeps them alive longer.

For the original question of the thread, washing substrate with nitrifying bacteria is a waste. The substrate is just not a really good location for nitrifiers. Nitrifiers will want to colonize in the best locations, that being where dissolved oxygen levels and flow are most prominent which is usually the filter.

Nearly all of your nitrifying bacteria will be contained in your filter. Very little amount is on the substrate, walls, decor or in the water column. So don't worry about covering up the bacteria on the substrate. You can lose 50% of your nitrifiers and be fine. Autotrophic nitrifiers reproduce (double) in about 24 hours.

If you are still worried, add cleaned substrate to the tank, then just add the bottled nitrifiers into the tank water (or better yet, in the filter area), and just let the filter run so it can collect all the suspended nitrifiers.

Remember chlorine can kill bacteria, so always treat/dechlorinate the water before exposing the bacteria to it.
 

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When I start a new tank I try to keep a ripe, running old sponge filter handy to rinse into the tank I'm starting. Jorge Vierke suggested doing this for new tanks in his book, The Natural Aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Learnt something. Guess that's why I joined this group :) Thanks

Bump: I'll post what it says on the bottle when I get home
 

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running old sponge filter handy to rinse into the tank
Since the organisms we are concerned with grow in a bio film, firmly stuck to surfaces, simply rinsing a cycled sponge is not going to wash off very many of the organisms. Better to move the sponge over to the new tank.


The nitrifying bacteria you want are Nitrosomonas (ammonia-oxidizers)
Actually, they are still researching just which organisms are the ammonia oxidizing ones. Might not be an actual bacteria at all.

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Actually, they are still researching just which organisms are the ammonia oxidizing ones. Might not be an actual bacteria at all.

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Hmm, I will look more into that. Won't purchase the full document though haha. But from a glance, it seems that Archaea may oxidize ammonia, but I don't think that is present, or at least a dominant ammonia-oxidizer in freshwater aquaria.

Here is a publication (of Dr. Tim and some others, albeit a older publication) detailing what ammonia-oxidizers were found. Scroll down to page 9 and read the first paragraphs if you want to get to the conclusion.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/wp-content/files/scientificpapers/hovanecAEM_Dec01.pdf
In short, Nitrosomonas marina (AOB) was the most prominent ammonia-oxidizer in typical freshwater aquaria ("low" ammonia levels). Guess Archaea wasn't a monitored variable though? ahah

More various Dr.Tim's scientific publications for those interested.
http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/library-presentations/scientific-papers

I have also read a handful of various college publications that also found Nitrosomonas bacteria as predominant ammonia nitrifiers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Have the nitrifying bacteria bottle in my hand. Obviously has a bit of Chinese script, and also states that it contains bacillus sp, lactobacillus sp, streptococcus sp, aspergylus, fungi, yeast and enzymes, it will remove ammonia nitrite and hydrogen sulphide. Smells like sh-one-t. Unsure when, or if to use it again.

Bump: Shall read provided links - thanks for effort
 
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