All Bacteria products are not equal

Discussion in 'Biological/Natural Filtration and Deep Sand Beds' started by FransSny, 5 Mar 2011.

  1. FransSny

    FransSny

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    With the whole hype surrounding bacteria dosing going on now I thought I would share a few thoughts.

    Firstly , when we look at biologically treating our tanks we need to understand that there is 2 ways of doing it.

    1. Bio Stimulation

    This is the adding of nutrients to stimulate NATURALLY occurring bacteria. This is normally achieved through the addition of a catalyst in the form of enzymes.Within the major enzyme groups one has to differentiate even more as each enzyme has its own function

    The fact that enzymes are specific , not living and thus cant reproduce, and are not consumed during the reactions the do makes them not very effective as they are actually quickly washed out of our systems or "destroyed" by heat , additives etc.

    Vodka is an example as it is a protein based enzyme.

    2. Bio Augmentation

    This is where we want to be !! This is the addition of bacterial organisms to ENHANCE the naturally occurring bacterial population. Why would we want to do this ? Lets first look at the fact that different bacteria functions under different conditions, ie aerobic , anearobic , photosynthetic , faculative (low oxygen environment) etc etc. Some even thrive in toxic environments.

    It thus makes common sense to have different bacteria which can operate under different conditions, thus covering "all your bases" so to speak.

    Why is bacteria better then ? They are living and thus reproduce, they produce enzymes which in turn metabolizes contaminants and they stay in the system :thumbup: Why then do I need to dose on a continuous basis you ask .....more about that later :whistling:

    OK say what do I look for when buying bio augmentation products ?

    1. Is it "food grade" (lack of a better description). This will ensure that it is free of contaminants such as coliform and harmful bacteria

    2. How many bacteria is present per gram / ml. GENERALLY speaking , more bacteria per volume or mass will perform better.

    3. Are any nutrients included in the bacteria package. This is VERY important as they will feed off this until they reach the organics they need to digest.

    4. What is the optimum temperature & ph range under which the bacteria will operate, these ranges will affect the speed at which bacteria reproduces and the effectiveness.

    5. This is probably the most important.
    What strains of bacteria are you buying. The manufacturer should be able to provide this (at least what group they belong to), if they are not rather dont waste your money. Some products out there for example only contain one group of bacteria ie Bacillus sp, this would obviously make the results quite limited.

    The more groups, genus and species contained the better results you wil achieve.

    6. Track record of the manufacturer
    Make no mistake there are a lot of "snake oils" out there. And to be quite honest, some of them you can grow in your own back yard so its imperative that you choose a manufacturer with PROVEN results. Just saying its used in this or this industry is pissing in the wind IMHO

    7. Choose the correct product for the correct problem. There is no use in adding a bacteria strain (or enzyme for that matter) to try and correct a problem for which its not designed / developed. Thus , in short , know your enemy.

    I hope this helps new guys in choosing the right product and not just wasting money because the manufacturer has a good marketing strategy.

    Just remember that results will ALWAYS vary as these are living organisms operating under a wide range of variables and this needs to be taken into account and monitored on an continuous basis.

    Happy bugging ;)
     
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  3. Bob the (reef)builder

    Bob the (reef)builder

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    Thanks Frans,

    Question? You call vodka (and i assume that would include vinigar and glucose type additives too) an enzyme. I've always thought of it as "food" for the bacteria, as in they need a source of N and of P and of C, this last one (carbon) being supplied by the Vodka, or other carbon source. Is this not correct?
     
  4. chikaboo

    chikaboo

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    mmmmmm very informative .... firstly thanx and secondly ..... WHERE WERE YOU ALL THIS TIME! Thought you skipped the country ... Nearly posted you in the "where's the regurlars?"thread......
     
  5. FransSny

    FransSny Thread Starter

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    LOL , hi chicka, no moved to an area in Hermanus without ADSL ! (yes it does exist)

    Yo are actually correct Rob (I should have elaborated a bit more, apologies)Vodka does act as a food as bacteria from CH2 & CH3 molucules.

    Enzymes break down molucules to their simpler form . In cells enzymes will be produced through the metabolic processes.

    Hope this clears it up a bit
     
  6. fly*

    fly* MASA Contributor

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    Nice article Fransny,

    Now the money question. What product would you recommend? :)
     
  7. Istio

    Istio

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    Sorry noob question. Does live rock originating from reefs contain bacteria of the right species/strains of bacteria would one still need to augment using commercial products?
     
  8. Reef Maniac

    Reef Maniac MASA Contributor

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    Hi Istio, and WELCOME to MASA.

    Yes, live rock will contain the correct "filtration" bacteria when you buy it, but you need to allow the rock to "cure" for some time before it can be used for filtration. this curing allows the dead organisms in/on the rock to decompose, creating lots of food for the filtration bacteria, causing them to massively increase in numbers.

    If you are just starting up your tank (i.e. it is still cycling with no higher life-forms added) you can boost the cycle by adding a frozen (food type) shrimp or prawn, enclosed in a piece of pantihose (to keep the rotting pieces together and make it easyer to remove). Quick-frozen shrimps and prawns have lots of bacteria in their intestines that can boost the bacteria diversity. Just adding shredded pieces of shrimp/prawn or fish as food for the inhabitants will also add bacteria.

    Of course, adding anything alive into your tank (be it fish, corals, snails or algae) will also add millions of bacteria.

    Don't stress about adding bacteria - tanks have been doing well for many years without this, and although it could possibly make a positive contribution to nutrient control, it is not essential :whistling:

    Hennie
     
  9. Istio

    Istio

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    Thanks ReefManiac.
     
  10. leslie hempel

    leslie hempel Moderator MASA Contributor

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    very informative post frans well worth a thanks:thumbup:
     
  11. FransSny

    FransSny Thread Starter

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    Ditto on what Hennie said, using NSW will add bacteria for instance, enhancing the bacteria population will only ensure you have enough bacteria in the exponential growth curve of their life cycle... this making the buggers more effective in consuming "pollutants"

    LOL fly , that would put me on the spot :whistling: I have my personal favourite for two simple reasons, the manufacturer has PROVEN and DOCUMENTED results and not scared to share info regarding this or the bacterial composition of the product.

    So in short , do the research before just purchasing
     
  12. Seabass

    Seabass

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    Hi, nice article, but seriously is it special blend, looking at ordering this week, please advise.

    Thanks.

    Your PM box is full. Wanted to pm you the question.
     
  13. FransSny

    FransSny Thread Starter

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    LOL Seabass , I havent even gotton around to cleaning it out.

    I only use & recommend Specialblend for the reasons listed below ie they are reputable (been around since the 70's), proven results are available and a complete list of what is INSIDE the product is available.

    Just look at Microbe-Lift.com :: Home for more info and then look at the other products's websites for comparison. IMHO facts speak for themselves
     
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  14. Alan

    Alan Admin MASA Contributor

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    Its amazing how this hobby runs in cycles and i agree with all that has been stated above. I remember a few years ago when skimmers were an absolute fad and bristle worms were considered an absolute no no in a tank. Seems the skimmer thing has gone quite as the skimmers available to us now all seem to offer fairly decent performance. The cycle then focused on lighting and the difference between T5's, which were very new and MH's.
    This is all good at the end of the day as we tend to be more focused on one aspect of our systems at a time, all the time improving the environmental conditions of our systems.
    With all the talk of bacterial products at the moment, could this be the next phase of the cycle?(Pun not intended)
     
  15. costa

    costa

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    Hi FransSny,

    Off the topic here...just wanted to know whether you stay in Hermanus or were
    simply visiting?
    I lived there a while back.

    Great thread though :thumbup:! Thanks!
     
  16. FransSny

    FransSny Thread Starter

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    Pleasure costa, yip I stay here ...Sandbaai actually , just before hermanus...roughly 400 mtr from the beach
     
  17. costa

    costa

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    Lovely! Must admit I envy you. I used to live in Vermont & loved it!

    As far as bacteria are concerned, I have just started to use the Prodibio range. I think it's a relatively young product and I would like to get your input. Pm me if you think I am putting you on the spot :whistling:
     
  18. FransSny

    FransSny Thread Starter

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    Yip cool but also has its drawbacks, especially if you need specific goods or services :p

    As for puttin gme on the spot, no I dont think you are . I am just giving my opinion, based on facts and personal experience.

    Yes Prodibio is still new (but so was the internet at one stage :)) , so that is not necessarily making it a bad product. I have actually also used it in holding tanks before and it worked well, unfortunately as it was only in holding tanks I cant comment on the effects it has on corals etc (with Special Blend most people report increased coral coloration etc.)

    What I do have against the product, is the limited information available regarding the manufacturing process, species list etc etc.

    I know Lanzo had a visit from the owner recently so maybe he or one of the attendees could shed some more light....

    The best advice I could give is research before buying and take all factors into account...hope this helps
     
  19. costa

    costa

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    Thanks FransSny!

    I attended the "lecture" given by the manufacturer of Prodibio. The meeting was great and highly informative but it did fall short w.r.t. the type of bacterial strains. He gave us a brief description of how the contents are housed in the ampoules and he also mentioned the no. of strains present in each ampoule.

    I am definitely going to give this product a try and see what happens! :)
     
  20. Tony

    Tony

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    I once had a lwan of derbesia in my tank and Prodibio sorted it out quickly. I think there are circa 20 odd strains of bacteria and about 30 million bacteria in each vial.
     
  21. Boegie

    Boegie

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    The latest news on bacteria. Very interesting:
    Feature Article: Bacterial Counts in Reef Aquarium Water: Baseline Values and Modulation by Carbon Dosing, Protein Skimming, and Granular Activated Carbon Filtration — Advanced Aquarist's Online Magazine

    The bottom line with respect to the carbon dosing hypothesis is clear; the basic tenets of this theory appear to hold up to experimental scrutiny; carbon dosing does increase water column bacteria populations, and skimming does remove some bacteria with their attendant nutrient loads. Thus, the underlying science behind this approach to nutrient export appears valid.
     
    Last edited: 7 Mar 2011
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