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Replenishing dormant bacteria

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  • Replenishing dormant bacteria

    Previous content: I have to ask a question, if you guys don't mind terribly. We know that our bacteria has an optimal activity at a certain pH, the values are everywhere on the web though, or generally speaking, certain conditions. Recreating certain conditions from nature, for example, takes us to a challenge of having bacteria living in rough conditions : marine aquariums, black water aquariums. There are many German or Asian equipment providers that are following certain theses and I kinda need to know how much is marketing and fact, respectively.

    They sell tinned, bottled or powder-like bacteria and, although, on so many marine ones is saying that it is common practice to replenish our bacteria, in all conditions, varying just the amount accordingly with the gravity of our mishaps but stating a certain amount also for preservation, it happens to know of at least one freshwater product that comes with a similar instruction, though the amount needed is somehow halved. Isn't our bacteria hard to -get rid of -kill and isn't our bacteria entering a dormant thus reduced metabolic state?

    Are these products used just in case of emergency of the rushed man? As in when we need badly some bacteria to repair the environment or to just get a faster cycling. I am interested in a somewhat low pH setting, let's say of 5 - in these conditions the bacteria is not so efficient, though, among the hobbyists it is said that the bacteria is as gone, in the books it said that it is just dormant. If one replenishes the bacteria, although, there are several types in a single product, aren't these fresh ones entering in a similar state of dormancy also?

    My example is not that great just because one can say that the nitrogenous products at that pH value are not that toxic. But what happens for example in a marine or a great rift setting where people do buy bacteria to preserve it, isn't it getting into the same rough condition as the other old sisters? Thank you for taking away this headache and I do really hope to find someone that can respond straightly to this childish question. I am not so interested in alternatives or creative ways of leaping the problem, also because the low pH setting was serving just as an example.

    Later edit: Now, that I gave it a thought, found some resolve and then got back to my usual mindset, I have to say that despite the scientific pieces about the bacteria I came across with, the response I got from Seachem, though I guess they tend to write a word to anyone with less or more precise arguments and they are quite unique from this point of view, considering the fact that from a German manufacturer, for example, it's quite difficult to get at least a <<hello thank you for your interest>>, saying that their bacteria mix has one genus that stays active in a pH as low as 4, I am still willing to get to know, if not more about the nitrification processes under acidic conditions, then, at least the name of the genus of that spore form nitrifying bacteria, contained by Stability, in an unmodified form available in nature, as they say, thus being kept secret, and staying active at pH 4. Would it be just a soil bacteria? At least several genus of soil bacteria, from what I have read, would stay active in conditions like that.

    I don't know why I would like to go and grab the smallest, less shining and probably useless needle of the haystack, when the hobbyists are fine with the idea that conditions as acidic as those I am referring to are firstly not much of a problem, if that anecdotal saying that these organisms are transforming toxic mater and therefore under those conditions the toxic adjective is not around much and secondly not even a common situation for a common enthusiast. But then again, it's a fact that there are nitrates forming in glacial lakes in virgin places with no other connections or in traps or bags under Antarctica. The low (freezing) temperature is not as rough as the pH. Maybe I am getting crazy but maybe there is more about the nitrification. When the nitrate will be the secondary immediate problem of the global warming, okay now I am way of the horse, maybe we will need a way to control the bacteria or to even stop it for periods of time in some specific places. Interesting bacteria is discovered from time to time, kinda in the way it happened with the one that oxidizes the ammonium, anaerobically, in the Black Sea.

    I believe that there is poor understanding in what exactly inhibits it in acidic conditions, though there is a ton of researches about it and I would bet on a new genus that has also a spiral form in that is to be found in a bog water somewhere. Why is the peat forming again? The leaves are not oxidized, they stack and they form huge beds of leaves in places like Kalimantan, Borneo, bags of trapped carbon which is setting off haze into the atmosphere. These deposits are peat in the first phase of coal formation, the second being the lignite to anthracite transformations and the last one, a higher carbon allotrope like graphite. Is peat one of probably thousands of proofs that at some point the bacteria can't be active in acidic environments? It is true that the coalification is done in an anoxic setting, so we talk here about an anaerobic oxidizer probably similar if not identical to a methane bacteria. Therefore is microbiology - bacteria course 101 showing schematically everything we need to ever know?

    In the peat swamp, as long as there is an oxygen source, the licorice labyrinth fish, I am giving just an example, is living happy. What happens to the nitrifying bacteria in there? If is it going to exist a period of no bacteria activity between the cycle and the recycle of the elements, how long before the depletion of oxygen is the nitrifier dying? Just before the formation of the so called rough condition of low pH? If there is acid and the ammonia becomes fully ionized, how many nitrates will be found in the water of peat swamps? We simply have no harmful aquarium environments as long as the pH stays low? How abrupt is the fall of the pH? If one tries to keep it steady with a pH controller with a socket and the dosing pump is connected to it, we don't even talk about cycling and the filtration is the removal of organic content slash humic acid and other compounds. It is hard to believe that there is no bacteria around.

    In Guyana and Suriname, one genus also in Peru, where some pencil fish and head standers are living in some incredible conditions, the oxygen content doesn't seem low enough for them to develop lungs or labyrinth organs.

    Therefore the pH listed is somewhat even lower than the one found in the peat swap of Asia. Or maybe not. I guess I am missing something huge in here. The licorice gourami swims in lemon juice, right? Sarcasm. Why would not the bacteria be at work in South America, consuming the oxygen as it is still available while the swamp dies off waiting for the first rain of the yet to come wet season? Maybe Seachem knows more. From what I know they have a chemistry of their own and here I am thinking at that polymer, which has a name that appears nowhere except for their bottle. So maybe the bacteria, they claim would be active, is indeed -living in water and -being a chemoautotrophic one. If this is not the case, then it should be just the organisms which live in associations or symbioses, sharing interconnected enzymatic pathways and working, for those who report Stability as an useful product for their project, simply due to bioaugmentation. Any thoughts? Should I give it a rest?
    Last edited by client; 04-05-2012, 12:19 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by client View Post
    I am interested in a somewhat low pH setting, let's say of 5 - in these conditions the bacteria is not so efficient, though, among the hobbyists it is said that the bacteria is as gone, in the books it said that it is just dormant.
    Client, most of your material is way above my head, but I do know that there are people growing plants in very soft, acid water (5ish) and they do seem to have the N cycle going in their tanks. You will find several examples on the forum that I linked in the PM.

    Also, many wise and/or experienced aquarists seem to consider those add-on bacteria unnecessary.
    Nothing is simple.


    • #3
      I don't trust any of the bottled products -- it's probably a little strong but in the absence of any obvious means of preserving cells therein, the general absence of use-by-dates, I'd go so far as to suggest most of these products are close to the "snake oil" category.

      The microbes that power the N cycle in your tank are mostly ammonia-oxiding archaea, poorly studied and infrequently cultured in pure culture. The reality is that if you change the pH it is going to affect the microbial community in your filter -- however, the filter community is very probably dynamic. I haven't specifically worked on archaea in fish tank filters (but I have worked on them in other systems) and my suggestion is that the community composition would change at the taxonomic level (i.e. different taxa would be present) -- but functionally it's likely to work within reason (for example at very low (>2 etc) or very high pH things are going to start to not function well). Hope that's useful! -- Rhizomorph.