Jump to content

The Complete Cycle


Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member

I just tested my 75 gallon tank and got readings of 0 across the board. How, you may ask? I don't have plants. I have a complete cycle, not a lack of one.

Anyone who has nitrates in their tank, has a partial cycle. Going from ammonia -> nitrIte -> nitrAte -> Water change.

A full cycle is one that goes from Ammonia -> nitrIte -> nitrAte - > Nitrogen (goes back into atmosphere via air exchange)

The final step is done by an anaerobic denitrifying bacteria that does its job in places without oxygen. It strips the oxygen from the nitrAte, leaving nitrogen in the water that returns to the atmosphere.

NitrogenCycle.gif

The proof of this is that I according to some people my results would show that I do not have a cycle or that it has crashed. However, this is impossible because it's been a week since my last water change and I am well overstocked. (when I had 3 in my 15 gallon, they produced .25ppm of ammonia per day) I have double checked my results and my test kit is not expired. API drops.

Now how do you invite these critters in? Give them a home! Typically they live in the bottom of two inches of substrate where there is a lack of oxygen because the other bacteria consume it in the top layers. I don't have any substrate, so where to mine live? My two 2.5" (maybe more) diameter bags of crushed coral in my filter and my custom filter that holds two liters of seachem matrix and has a 145gph powerhead. I think crushed coral is a good addition to any tank even if you have a stable pH already, so if you make the bag thick enough, there you go.

I was getting a bit annoyed with people in the disease and diagnosis section saying that because someone got 0's across the board, they didn't have a cycle because that's misinformation. Truth is, if anyone has results at all, they don't have a complete cycle. Hope this will help clarify some things and hopefully this will get pinned and the cycle information on this site can be updated.

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I have heard about this before. The thing is though, you walk a tight line here. Because the oxygen-deficient places these anaerobic denitrifying bacteria you talk about like the live in are the same places that anaerobic bad bacteria (that cause illnesses) like to live. It's one reason why we always encourage people to have less than 1/4 inch of gravel. Goldfish already have compromised immune systems, so I'd be wary of letting any place in the tank become a possible breeding ground for bad bacteria. Maybe if you had a super powerful UV sterilizer though, it might be a different story. :idont

Please don't get annoyed with people here though. Everyone's only doing their best! :)

Edited by Sakura
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I've read about this before too. Problem is anaerobic bacteria zones can produce toxic hydrogen sulfide very easily (creating that "rotten egg smell", and harmful for fish). While the "cycle" we typically adhere to in fish keeping is not scientifically "complete", it is the easiest to maintain.

I would hesitate to agree that you are experiencing this in your tank. You fish are having issues for a reason....

And your crushed coral would not have oxygen free dead zones in your filter...with water running through it constantly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Filters actually can develop oxygen-deficient zones if they're very clogged with poo and other debris. Which is why we recommend swishing filter media out in a bucket of old tank water each month :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Filters actually can develop oxygen-deficient zones if they're very clogged with poo and other debris. Which is why we recommend swishing filter media out in a bucket of old tank water each month :)

Yes of course :) I was assuming good filter maintenance. As filters clogged with poop & debris causes problems of it's own. :)

Edited by Red
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I'd always avoid anaerobic bacteria wherever possible, my experience with them has been in the form of the sulphide producing ones and unfortunately they're much easier to cultivate than nitrogen producing ones. You may have a complete cycle, well and good, but you may also have sulphide poisoning in your fish... I had one of my fish was very 'off' for a few days and I didn't clock what it was until lifting out a tall shot glass I was using as a vase, it stank of rotten eggs and you couldn't smell it until the glass was lifted to the top, but the fish certainly noticed. Found it in Stu's tank too when he'd left one of the filters turned off and just sitting in there.

Nitrogen producing bacteria are fine and all in theory, but they're not going in my tank because they like to bunk down with too many nasties. I'll take the water changes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I've read about this before too. Problem is anaerobic bacteria zones can produce toxic hydrogen sulfide very easily (creating that "rotten egg smell", and harmful for fish). While the "cycle" we typically adhere to in fish keeping is not scientifically "complete", it is the easiest to maintain.

I would hesitate to agree that you are experiencing this in your tank. You fish are having issues for a reason....

And your crushed coral would not have oxygen free dead zones in your filter...with water running through it constantly.

My fish aren't the ones having problems. My fish are completely healthy. I read through the d&d often to know what to look for if something does go wrong. My water smells perfectly fine.

I thoroughly aerate my water and there's no where for anaerobic bacteria to live outside of my filters because of the lack of substrate etc. My nitrates started falling a couple weeks after I put the coral in so i doubt that's a coincidence. The coral is the last stage in my canister so my other bbs have already used enough oxygen by then to let the denitrifying bacteria do their job. New low oxygen water is pushed through all the time so floating bacteria can't stay in the low oxygen zone and probably die. My fish also can't get to this low oxygenated zone to be exposed it either.

Sakura, how do goldfish have already compromised immune systems? I was thinking about a UV but when I posted on here, no one gave me any useful advice on brand or power. I've been looking into it myself but with finals it's a bit more difficult.

I tend to get annoyed because it seem people take too many things at face value and don't bother to look into things themselves. I know people are just trying to help and it's in good faith but still, there is progress to be made in how we care for our fish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I'd always avoid anaerobic bacteria wherever possible, my experience with them has been in the form of the sulphide producing ones and unfortunately they're much easier to cultivate than nitrogen producing ones. You may have a complete cycle, well and good, but you may also have sulphide poisoning in your fish... I had one of my fish was very 'off' for a few days and I didn't clock what it was until lifting out a tall shot glass I was using as a vase, it stank of rotten eggs and you couldn't smell it until the glass was lifted to the top, but the fish certainly noticed. Found it in Stu's tank too when he'd left one of the filters turned off and just sitting in there.

Nitrogen producing bacteria are fine and all in theory, but they're not going in my tank because they like to bunk down with too many nasties. I'll take the water changes.

That would have been stagnant water then, which is not what's happening in my filter. 340 and 145 gph turned on max... :read

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I don't think so. All the common rules or things taken at "face value" I have heard have pretty much turned out to be true in my experiences. So I think people take them to be true because they understand that these things have been tried and tested by many hobbyists before them. And many of the things we suggest are also recommended by professionals and are backed-up by science.

I did go back to your UV thread and give you my suggestion just a while ago, so check that again. However, I do think you need to decrease the number of fish in your tank ASAP.

Goldfish have compromised immune systems because of how they're bred. To get the fancy looks we're going for, it's best to breed two sibling fish, which causes weakened immune system and tons of deformities in the offspring. It's why so many fry die off and need to be culled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I've got to tell you-I have PLENTY of filtration on my 170g-4 Eheim Pro 3 2080s(450 gph/ea),and it's been running just over 1 year. I get PLENTY of nitrates in my tank! I have got oxygen galore,and IF I don't do the 50% w/c/week-my fish start to suffer-visibly!!! Simply put-my fish would die were I not to do the w/c to rid the nitrates. Because my tank is uncycled? No! It is VERY WELL seasoned. Einstein himself could possibly explain your theory to me-it would not be his fish that suffered,therefore I have to go w/ what worksbingo.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I've got to tell you-I have PLENTY of filtration on my 170g-4 Eheim Pro 3 2080s(450 gph/ea),and it's been running just over 1 year. I get PLENTY of nitrates in my tank! I have got oxygen galore,and IF I don't do the 50% w/c/week-my fish start to suffer-visibly!!! Simply put-my fish would die were I not to do the w/c to rid the nitrates. Because my tank is uncycled? No! It is VERY WELL seasoned. Einstein himself could possibly explain your theory to me-it would not be his fish that suffered,therefore I have to go w/ what worksbingo.gif

ok.. did I say a tank was uncycled because it had nitrates? I'm pretty sure I didn't. I know i said it was incomplete though. If you had the denitrifying bacteria, you wouldn't have to change the water for that purpose and the nitrates would not get high enough to hurt your fish if they were well established like the other bacteria in your tank...

It works just like the other stages of the cycle so i'm not sure what you're having trouble understanding...

This is supposed to be good news... I'm not really understanding the resistance here...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

It's a forum...discussion, you know?

I guess it will take more than just you to convince people...seeing as long time, seasoned, knowledgeable fish keepers, who have been in the hobby for years, do not adhere to this theory. So if it was so easy and good, everyone would be doing it. We don't haul water for our health...but our fish's!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Yuko, I just think you're coming across as a little bit argumentative although I'm sure that's not your intent. :( I think if you read through the previous posts with a bit more of an open mind, you will hopefully understand our hesitance about this. The main thing is that the conditions needed for this denitrifying bacteria are the same that are needed for the types of bad bacteria. And the bad bacteria grow and establish themselves much more readily than the denitrifying type. Even if there is bad bacteria growing in the filters where the fish can't get to, they can still be distributed throughout the tank via the water flow and infect the fish easily since goldfish have compromised immune systems, as I explained above. Now can you understand our issue with this?

Edited by Sakura
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I'll take water changes over chancing bad bacteria colonies along with the good ones you are trying to cultivate to "complete" the cycle.

A weekly water change isn't going to kill me, but a deadly bacteria bloom erupting when I disturb a gravel bed or filter box because I've done something wrong trying to achieve your results juuust might kill my fish.

Remember that a fish tank in the home is a mini-environment. It is near-impossible to replicate nature as it is in the wild in captivity. While this may happen in nature, I have a feeling getting it to occur in my tiny 29 gallon tank would go the way of Jurassic park.. Which is to say, it'd have negative consequences.

Maybe in a larger tank like the OP has? I personally wouldn't mess with it, but to each their own or whatever, right?

Finally, I worry that advice like the OP is giving will give cause to newbie keepers not to water change. We have enough resistance when we tell people that maintaining water quality is important, and a lot of work. For a seasoned keeper who understands the cycle, the OP's suggestion might be manageable, but for someone just starting out I think it'd be dangerous. Confirm/deny?

Yuko, I don't think it's trouble understanding that we're having. You are one person, whose made (as far as I can see) one thread regarding the subject. What's your background? Are you a scientist of some sort? If a fish-keeping journal, or say a major, reputable koi or goldfish breeder, or even a research group posted the findings and backed it up with evidence, evidence, evidence, maybe we'd be more interested.

In the world of academia, you have got to have just about a million and one research sources, you have got to be heavily peer reviewed by others in your field and then you have to be published in a major journal for anyone to give your salt.

You may be onto something, but don't expect a group of PET-fish keepers set in their ways (that have really worked!) to consider changing without an army of proof and information at your side.

It's a little like saying to a parent "Hey, stop feeding your child fruits and veggies, and feed them chocolate at every meal instead! It makes them super smart!". No body's going to believe you without extensive proof, and chances are, few people are going to be ready to experiment for themselves on their kiddos.

I doubt chocolate will revolutionize child-rearing.

Now, you may have the seed of something that could revolutionize fish keeping. Who knows? I'm just not going to experiment on my fish to find out the hard way that it wont work for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

All right read a bit into anaerobic bacteria and dabbled a bit into the nitrifying bacteria too. There's a few points that need to be clarified from both sides here. All my quotations come from this very helpful link

It sounds as though your crushed coral is in a fluidized state. If that's the case then anaerobic bacteria could very well be growing and culminating. As long as the bacteria say in that fluidized pocket it will continue to help your nitrates go to zero. Though whenever you turn off your filter you are stopping that fluid process and the anaerobic bacteria can and will spread.

" The water at the bottom of the filter is fresh and high in dissolved oxygen, so aerobic bacteria cultivate in the bottom half of the sand bed, and remove ammonia and nitrite, using up oxygen in the process. In taller fluidized-bed filters, enough aerobic bacteria cultivate in the bottom half so that as water flows past them, they remove most of the oxygen from the water, so facultative anaerobic bacteria cultivate in the top half of the sand bed where they remove nitrates. Not all fluidized-bed filters are tall enough to promote anaerobic denitrifying bacteria, but most are very efficient at cultivating beneficial aerobic bacteria."

So the theory is that you may have been able to make a miniaturized version of this with your crushed coral. I think that's what you were trying to express to us.

As for the anaerobic layer within or under the gravel layer, that is a part of the Jaubert Plenum system which is used in reef tanks. It needs a protein skimmer and live rock to work effectively. The critters who dig in the sand in a reef aquarium can handle the deoxygenated areas.

Why this doesn't work with goldfish?

Goldfish have a compromised immunity due to genetic mutation, shipping stress, living in an artificial environment. If we left a group of goldfish alone for a bit and they bred naturally, over a few generations it would revert back to it's natural state, green/brown color, single caudal, elongated body, carp. We have mutated these genes for color (more melanin that natural for skin and scale issues), body size (egg shape and pearlscale are prone to swim bladder), wens (prone to tumors), elongated fins (tearing, larger area to burn and heal if ammonia crops up). Most all the goldfish are bred overseas and then are shipped here, it is my belief that shipping such long distances can cause innumerable problems with goldfish, they have to get adjusted to a new environment rather fast and I've seen some a year later that still are dealing with issues from shipping, some fish just don't ship well. Thirdly the artificial environment we provide them. Natrual goldfish root at the bottom of ponds and lakes, get very little lights, are used to being able to eat 24/7 via algae and bugs and have lots of room. We are basically providing them the exact opposite environment than they are naturally thriving in.

Also, goldfish root for food, they are bottom dwellers, unlike the bottom dwellers in a reef tank that are designed to deal and consume anaerobic bacteria we have goldfish with compromised immuities, taking very little to set them off and plopping them near a bunch of hydrogen sulfide that they can inhale and burns their insides (hard to heal) and causing secondary infections to occur in the process.

I agree there is great potential here in having a perfectly cycled tank where the readings will always be 0,0,0. Remember that most of the people in D&D are beginners, they are just starting out and it is easier to teach them that water changes and monitoring are better keys in the beginning than hitting a swing and a miss as you have in a stable anaerobic area in your tank where no current issues exist. Of all the people here, you are the only one who seems successful in creating this situation which tells me it probably doesn't happen a lot.

I believe the resistance comes from it not worth the risk for most hobbyists. It works for you and I'm glad, I still recommend regular water changes to thin out the growth restriction hormone, provide extra oxygenation insurance and to remove any harmful bacteria that may be in your tank because of leaching from this anerobic pocket in your canister filter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

well then. i must admit, it took a while to read all this, but it was well worth it as i am still learning. interesting debate this has become here. all of you have great knowledge of this, and i feel that most of you know well enough what you are doing. bodoba makes a great point that the D and D section is more so your novice group, so teaching them that water changes is a must. is a good habit to teach. D and D though also consists of people , such as a lot of people on koko's that do know what they are doing, but at times. get stuck. it happens.

i dont know much of this stuff, but i have learned from all this, so i do thank you guys for starting this.... formal debate i suppose.

in conclusion though, i do feel that its safe to say that everyone here has good knowledge about what they are currently talking about, and maybe instead of being annoyed, or arguing with one another, it would be nice to TEACH one another :D as i have learned some interesting stuff as well.

what i have noticed is that OP has their own method of keeping their water clean, and so do other posters. its just habbits, luck, skill and overall knowledge which i feel are unique to everyone, and of course some general knowledge and skill which more or less, should be followed. Now if i lost you guys a bit is, this is what i mean, OP has a barebottom tank it seems, but has been able to counter her argument with crushed coral, etc. while other posters have their own method to dealing with their water quality with substrate, sand, type of fish etc.

so in the end. i say it would be nice if maybe we can get some more threads involving various techniques or ideas all shared together. almost like a wikipedia page. we all contribute. something like this thread, but maybe without the sort of arguing part as some people know more than others, so they cannot expect everyone to be at the same skill level.

:D

just my 2 cents!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

ok.. did I say a tank was uncycled because it had nitrates? I'm pretty sure I didn't.

Actually, you kind of did:

Anyone who has nitrates in their tank, has a partial cycle. (...............) Truth is, if anyone has results at all, they don't have a complete cycle

Also:

My fish aren't the ones having problems. My fish are completely healthy.

I saw a couple threads by you about your fish in that section though. Not sure what exactly they were about though.

Anyway, the information you are providing is sure interesting, and I appreciate you posting this.

Nonetheless you should leave that attitude outside Koko's though. No one is trying to bash you, they're explaining why this process can be a big risk for the goldfish.

Edited by Oerba Yun Fang
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Yeah I intended this to be a hey, water changes isn't the only way and 0,0,0 doesn't mean no cycle isn't this cool? Except when people started talking about how much they do for their fish and stuff, it was a bit frustrating because this is for their fish and is supposed to help control nitrates if fish are sensitive to it. Having this could easily solve kukana's nitrate problem instead of saying only Einstein could explain it to her. :unsure: This isn't against water changes, it's just to keep them safe between water changes. Lack of oxygen shouldn't be a worry for a normally stocked tank if mine is fine though i may just be lucky. My filter is always running unless i'm cleaning it as well and I don't know why someone would leave a inoperative filter attached to their tank. :unsure:

I'm basing this off my internet research, horticulture research (I'm a hort and international business double major), and seachem's research and potential response to my inquiry about this subject. Seachem is the company we rely on for our Prime conditioner and other products.

What bodoba posted is what I was trying to say. I guess because I have a fluval 405 that's about a foot or more tall could be the reason this is working. An I have a 75 gallon tank rather than a smaller one so maybe the water volume helps as well.

What started me on researching this is curiosity to how nature handles this and the fact that I had asked koko on this forum a long time ago now if there was any other way to reduce nitrates other than water changes and she said no, which i now know to not be true. A cycle also implies a continuous turning like a circle. So with the cycle most of you use, it's only 2 out of 3 bacterium where as this one is all 3: Food/poop -> ammonia -> nitrite-> nitrate -> nitrogen back to atmosphere to be reused by plants to make food.

I do see that gravel isn't a great idea since they would be pulling that de-oxygenated old water and bacteria from it when they eat or search for food which is why i said my fish can't get to the low oxygen area in my filter. I just remember someone posting that it lived there too so i added it to my list of homes. it would probably work with a needle nose gar, hatchet or another surface dweller.

Whether the keepers have kept for years or not, they should be given all of the correct knowledge we have and the right to choose. We do give the advice that we know which is why i figured i'd post it and see where we get. I dont expect all of you to jump on and use this technique, but you should at least give people the option to try it rather than act like it doesn't exist.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Yuko, I feel like you are ignoring or missing this point that has been made by myself and others, so I will repeat it again.

The main thing [problem] is that the conditions needed for this denitrifying bacteria are the same that are needed for the types of bad bacteria. And the bad bacteria grow and establish themselves much more readily than the denitrifying type

That is pretty much the only reason I take issue with cultivating this denitrifying bacteria in fish tanks, especially goldfish tanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Yuko, I feel like you are ignoring or missing this point that has been made by myself and others, so I will repeat it again.

The main thing [problem] is that the conditions needed for this denitrifying bacteria are the same that are needed for the types of bad bacteria. And the bad bacteria grow and establish themselves much more readily than the denitrifying type

That is pretty much the only reason I take issue with cultivating this denitrifying bacteria in fish tanks, especially goldfish tanks.

agreed, but if there was that problem, seachem probably woudn't market this product: Matrix

and this is what I asked seachem about and am waiting for a reply since I'm not an expert in other anaerobic bacteria.

Edited by Yuko
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Hmm. I don't know if I'd make that assumption though. There are many companies that make products that are no good...

I think we need to remember that while they do make some useful products (Prime), they are still a company and are out to make money. Most of the time that means by whatever means necessary.

Edited by Sakura
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

They sent me a new pH alert at no cost because I used salt while it was in there when you're not supposed to. Their stability and replenish also work. Which is just about all I've needed to try at this point. My matrix is obviously doing its job and now it's just a question of whether or not this bacteria can get into the water and cause problems. I guess I could pull a sample of my water and ask my school if I can use a microscope. Agreed, this seems to be a new product and companies are out to make money, but without a good product, there is no money long term. Sakura, I'm starting to believe that you're too afraid of this happening to believe anything anyone says on the matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

What do I have to be afraid of? No, you're definitely wrong about that. I just don't believe one person who I do not consider to be an expert. I think I need to be done with this discussion now though, so good luck with everything. :hi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

I know the research involved in this undertaking cause my brain is literally fried with learning about anaerobic bacteria to try and answer your post well. I do hope that you didn't think I was being contradictory I was just pointing out my views on what you were doing, why it was working for you and why it may not work in general for goldfish vs. heartier fish.

Though water changes are needed for more reasons than just nitrate (if that is your only issue). There is the benefit of removing the growth restricting hormone that the alpha fish (and sometimes more) will give off, it adds aeration. Water changes will stimulate growth and even aid in breeding if that is your route.

It's also interesting, 2 of the 3 anaerobic bacteria I looked up had the reproduction cycle start at 50C and the bad anaerobic bacteria which is hazardous to fish have a much lower reproduction rate. Though it was wikipedia I was looking on just for a basis and not actual research papers.

In regards to the matrix product, it is a direction of 500ml for every 200ml (50 gals). My 90gal tank would need almost 1000ml of the product to be placed in my (most effectively used in canister or wet/dry filters) filter. As they say, their internal porous system provides a spot for denitryfying bacteria but you would still need low oxygenated water in order for the denitrifying bacteria to be effective. That is going to be a very TALL filter in order for it to deoxygenate the water before it gets to the product.

I'm glad you have stumbled upon the fluidic method but even looking into this I'd say it's too complicated a set up for beginners. I also agree that the nitrogen cycle should be properly stated that the end product should be N2 released in the air, that really is the nitrogen cycle. But I remember when I started here, it was all very very confusing and I just took everything slowly. The nitrogen cycle was one of the last things I learned about fishkeeping as a beginner and that was with the belief that nitrates need to be removed from the water via water changes or by heavy planting.

You have done some very good work in regards to the fluidic method being adaptable to canister filters. But it seems the method you are stating will only work with canister/wet dry filters. Most of the people on here have 2 or 3 HOB Filters to which the water does not deoxygenate enough to create an area for denitrifying bacteria to harbor.

I myself have a modified HMF to which I may adapt it still when I do get fish again. I do not have the space seeing as the HMF is an internal filtration system to provide a deoxygenated area for denitrifying bacteria. I may create the space and equipment necessary to do a controlled experiement later I just don't have the time now. I wish I could for I'm sure it would bridge the viewpoints together faster.

All in all most people don't devote the time breeders do to this hobby. This is a pet they are dealing with and may not be able to afford all the things needed in making an adaptable fulidic method filtration system but the spike in water bills is neglible. So advice will be given on the basis of what the general public has, which means the water changes will continue to be advised. Personally though for the other canister filters out there, I'd love for you to concrete your findings a little more and send it in as a research post on the site. They just need to know how to do maintenance and turn OFF the filter cause the fluidized space to fall and spread the bacteria throughout possibly crashing that part of the cycle. Fluidic filters have little to no maintenance needed but canisters have a higher maintenance schedule.

All in all good luck. I'll try to read more on anaerobic bacterium and their reproduction cycles for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...