Bio-Pellets and Bacteria

cromedogg33

New member
This question goes out to all those subastantially smarter than I :wavehand:

I have a fairly new 180g tank that I chose to run bio-pellets on and seed with a bottle of bacteria with dry sand/rock.

I'm having some discussions on some other build threads that are very similar to mine.

We are all having some mixed results as to algae control etc.

I guess my questions about the pellets and bacteria is....

-Why should we continue to dose bactera if it's already colonized on the pellets?

-Where does the bacteria go if we are having a need to add more? (I understand the skimmer may pull some out)

-If I stop dosing bacteria, cyano appears to explode. I know that the bacteria is outcompeting cyano while dosing...which leads back to the other 2 questions.

-Some people running pellets are not dosing bacteria at all with no cyano issues.

Sorry if this seems long winded and convoluted. I'm beginning to think I may need to add different strands/brands of bacteria to add to the diversity of my tank.

Thanks for the help in advance.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Depending on what "bottle" you used, the bacteria may be unsuitable for colonizing pellets, even if they happen to be still alive.

The ONLY rational that makes any sense for adding bacteria is to initially or even continually try to outcompete cyano that may also thrive on added organic matter. There is no other benefit, and I've never dosed any bacteria into my system. In fact, I export large numbers by skimming and on GAC, so I can't see any reason to think adding more is desirable.

Also, these bottle concoctions claim to provide bacteria that do all sorts of things, but it is not clear what bacteria they actually provide and what they may actually do (nitrification, denitrification, etc. usually require different species)
 

cromedogg33

New member
Randy,

Thanks for the prompt reply.

I am trying to outcompete cyano as I try to achieve my ULNS. I stopped dosing bacteria for the last couple months and this is when my cyano came about. I have since started dosing ~10 drops a day. I currently have MB7 and I am moving to Special Blend.

I have noticed a decrease in Cyano since I've began dosing again. So while I understand you are exporting them as well as am I. I'm wondering why the need to keep adding more. It's having a positive affect on my battle of cyano, but as you clearly state you are trying to export them.

I'm trying to come to grips of either to continue dosing as I am seeing positive affects, or to stop dosing and to combat it in other ways.

While I completely agree with you about the bottle of bacteria claiming X and X without knowing exactly what is in it or how they have no real shelf life (which doesn't make sense) could it just be the suspended state the bacteria is in?(just a thought)

Would you reccomend to keep dosing bacteria in a direct fight against my battle on cyano?

I'm currently at PO4 of .02 (hanna checker is -+ .04) Nitrates 0
I am running GAC and WM ecobak pellets.

Again, thanks in advance.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
IME, different organic dosing has somewhat different tendencies to spur cyano. That's why I prefer vinegar, since it seemed to cause less problems in my aquarium than did vodka. Many people using pellets seem to get some cyano, and whether added bacteria can help or not is not clear.

That said, I think that cyano can potentially be held back by using a phosphate binder like GFO at the same time.
 

cromedogg33

New member
IME, different organic dosing has somewhat different tendencies to spur cyano. That's why I prefer vinegar, since it seemed to cause less problems in my aquarium than did vodka. Many people using pellets seem to get some cyano, and whether added bacteria can help or not is not clear.

That said, I think that cyano can potentially be held back by using a phosphate binder like GFO at the same time.

Would GFO do anything with my phosphates being so low or is the cyano using it up faster than I can detect? I'm definately not seeing a huge amount but more of patches.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
Phosphate measurement isn't the tell tale. If there is sufficient problem algae or cyano growing, then there is phosphate available to it. In fact, it may be low simply because the algae or cyano is taking it up so efficiently as it grows. So intercepting it before the algae or cyano gets it is often a good way to beat such pests. :)
 

cromedogg33

New member
Phosphate measurement isn't the tell tale. If there is sufficient problem algae or cyano growing, then there is phosphate available to it. In fact, it may be low simply because the algae or cyano is taking it up so efficiently as it grows. So intercepting it before the algae or cyano gets it is often a good way to beat such pests. :)


This is I guess my question concerning bacteria and will lead us back to the debate of, "are they actually doing anything"

I notice the decrease in cyano while dosing while continuing my normal feeding/husbandy routine. I really don't want to run phophate removal as well as pellets with carbon and an overpowered skimmer as I think it make my tank to sterile. Am I wrong in thinking this, and just need to take my time while battling cyano?
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
If you think the bacteria prevent the cyano, I know of no particular reason to not use it. It will actually be quite interesting to see if bacteria alone, with nothing else changed, impacts the cyano. :)
 

cromedogg33

New member
If you think the bacteria prevent the cyano, I know of no particular reason to not use it. It will actually be quite interesting to see if bacteria alone, with nothing else changed, impacts the cyano. :)

Randy, Thanks for the input, I don't neccasarilly think that the bacteria will prevent cyano, rather out compete it if that makes sense without sounding to terribly stupid :D

Have any tests been done on bacterias such as MB7/Special Blend/etc to provide more info for our hobby world?
 

bertoni

Premium Member
Nope, there are no tests of those products, as far as I've seen, anyway. It's hard to know what they might do in an established system.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
I don't neccasarilly think that the bacteria will prevent cyano, rather out compete it if that makes sense without sounding to terribly stupid

Yes, that's what I meant by impact. :)
 

cromedogg33

New member
bertoni

Do you know of any reason why there hasn't been? Is it a matter of cost vs testing each product? Someone paying for those tests? etc.

I constantly read on bacteria products such as MB7

•Supplied in a state of suspended animation for maximum longevity.
•Formulated utilizing extensive data compiled by microbiologists.

I know this may stir up and old debate and thats clearly not my intent at all, but what does this mean? Can bacteria live without food in a bottle, or is the suspended state implying they are dormant?

I would like to start up a collection to test a handful of the bacteria products to actually get some concrete info on them. :D

Randy,

Again thank you for taking time to answer my questions, much appreciated. I will try and update this thread with some of my personal observations of that "impact" the mb7 will or won't have on the cyano. I will feed daily the same amount of the same food and I don't have a scheduled water change for another 2 weeks. All carbon/pellets will be left alone. Any other suggestions? I know this mayb be another case of what worked for one person won't for the next but hopefully I can contribute.
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

Reef Chemist
Premium Member
It would be quite hard to scientifically test each brand for the functional ability of bacteria in each application (does it consume vinegar? vodka? sugar? ammonia? nitrite? other N and P sources, etc. etc.), does it thrive in seawater, does it out compete cyano, how much is present, etc.
 

bertoni

Premium Member
In addition to those issues, bacteria can mutate rather rapidly, so getting consistent products is an issue.
 

2thdeekay

New member
Another thing to point out, it is possible there could be a lack of microbial diversity in your tank if MB7 is the only bacteria you have used in a system with dead rock/sand from the beginning.

Diversity is indeed important, as you suspect.
 

berniegermie

New member
I had cyano in my tank that suddenly changed in to Dinos after I used Chemiclean. I set up added Rowaphos and got a reactor to run it, also added purigen and some Chemipure and now the Dinos are somewhat under control but still exist in my tank. I'm planning on picking up some new MH bulbs this week to rule out the old bulb theory and also going to pick up some MB7. Hopefully the MB7 will help.
 

cromedogg33

New member
Can the "suspended animation for longevity" be commented upon? Again I understand marketing.

Am I overthinking this and it is exactly what it is? ...."marketing"

Would going from mb7/special blend etc provide more diversity or is this essentially the same thing. I may be asking the same question in a different way since we ultimately do not know what is in each bottle.

As far as testing you confirmed what I was thinking in general of testing but how could we test this as it relates to my algae problems other than observation? Or even test how it relates to our hobby.

Ultimately I bought the product in hope of indeed the N/P attributes as well as ammonia to seed my tank. Definately wouldn't be the first or the last time I could have purchased something that doesn't work as intended.
 
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