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Thread: BACTERIA FARM!!!

  1. #1
    DIYFK member Erik_Clark's Avatar


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    BACTERIA FARM!!!

    I am going to be setting up several tanks over the next few months and I want to start them off as cycled. I have concived of this idea (and not all my ideas are good ones LOL) I am calling the bacteria farm. I am putting several different filters (sponge, scrubbies, ceramic, etc) in a 10 gallon tank and I am going to use a fishless cycling method.

    There's going to be about 8 to 10 filters in a ten gallon tank (I can go bigger but figured smaller is better for some reason) and I am going to try to colonize all of the different filters all in one tank so I can just take a filter out, slap it in a new tank, monitor it for a couple days and then stick the fish in.

    Anyone see a problem in this plan before I get 10 days into it and realize its not working?

    Thanks everyone!!

  2. #2
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    No problem at all as long as you provide enough 'food' in the 'fish-less' tank to cycle it fully and keep the bacteria alive and healthy until you are ready to use it... You also should have some sort of air and motion in the tank so it doesn't go anaerobic and to make sure the food and oxygen is distributed among all the sponges...

    As gross as it may sound to some, your own urine will work very well as a food source that is if you don't want to take chances on the ammonia you purchase having 'soaps' in it like several store brands do... Of course the quality of urine can have some effect, if you take a lot of medications, probably not ideal... Also don't go stupid, you don't want your tank smelling like an outhouse, get a test kit and an eye dropper, add drops of urine or pure ammonia to the tank until it test out to about 5 PPM, wait for it to drop to near zero, then add about half as much urine to raise it up to about 3 PPM, and repeat the 3 PPM to 'feed it until you transfer it to a new tank... It won't take much and your tank should never smell like a toilet... Note you are testing for 'ammonia' while you are in the 'feeding' and waiting pattern... Once you put the media in your new tank that is when you should really monitor the ammonia, nitrates and nitrites to make sure that everything is AOK... Also it might be best to do this is a darker area, with the 'spikes' in ammonia as you feed the bio filter you are likely to spike algae growth as well if there is enough light...

    On that note it's funny to see people's 'eeww!' and the 'it contains other stuff' comments when you say use urine, but I have to riddle them, what do you think the bacteria in the tank is going to be living on once the fish are added? The answer is their urine, poop and excess rotting food kinda negates any argument not to use urine, unless you are taking a lot of synthetic drugs or what not... Bio waste is exactly what this bacteria lives for... I equate it to plant fertilizers, sure you can by some crystallized and sterilized pure fertilizers like Miracle Grow, but there is no shortage of people the will swear up and down 'organic' fertilizers (compost, manure, worm castings or what not) work better and produce better plants...

    There are also the chunk of fish or shrimp methods to cycle tanks, why the same people that go 'eeww' or claim 'there is other stuff in there' to people using the urine method, don't have the same reaction with dead fish or shrimp chunks floating round in the tank I can't figure out...

  3. #3
    DIYFK member Erik_Clark's Avatar


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    hahaha! pee!

    If I would have known that ahead of times I wouldn't have gone to 4 stores looking for pure ammonia. Thanks!!

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    DIYFK member Marc's Avatar


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    Reminds me of - ............

    Click here to enlarge

    And........

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    As you were, Marc

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    DIYFK member Avaviel's Avatar


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    As they say in ceramics, you can pour beer into the clay to help age it... or you can filter it though yourself first!

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    DIYFK member Tank1407's Avatar


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    I was wondering about bacteria starter, can we DIY this thing? it would be great to make a bacteria starter by ourselves rather than buy it in a store

  7. #7
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Tank1407 Click here to enlarge
    I was wondering about bacteria starter, can we DIY this thing? it would be great to make a bacteria starter by ourselves rather than buy it in a store
    Well first we have to actually nail down what 'bacteria in the bottle' actually is, and there is a never ending debate on what that actually is... The companies claim it's a some 'proprietary' bacteria in a suspended state just waiting to come to life...

    Now, I'm not claiming that the companies claims are false, they might very well be true to some extent, but if true that is not the same bacteria that eventually colonizes your media, as that bacteria dies as soon as the food source is replenished it doesn't go in to some suspended state and *poof* back to life when whatever happens... And when I say 'when whatever happens' I have ask what is the trigger the magically brings the bacteria in a bottle back to life? Generally in nature the trigger would be light, water or temperature, but that does not seem to be the case here, or else the bacteria would surely die in the bottle as the bottle doesn't effectively filter light or temperature and the bacteria is already in water so nothing is stopping that bacteria from coming to life inside the bottle and starving itself to death if light, temp or water is the trigger... So we are left with food, being the trigger? I guess it's possible that there might be bacteria that goes dormant when no food is around and awakes when food is present, but it has to have a shelf life and come with some other drawbacks...

    I could go on but IMO the bacteria in a bottle is IMO (for emphasis) mostly snake oil with a little bit of truth, it likely (or else they would be sued for false advertising) does have some sort of micro-life that is in some sort of suspended state that eats ammonia and acts as a stop gap until the read bacteria colonizes... But, at the end of the day it's not a substitute for the proper bacteria that will colonize your filter in time...

    That said, I tried both Tetra Safe Start and Jungle Start Zyme in few of my recently setup tanks and to be blunt, I didn't see or observe anything to brag about... That is not saying they did nothing to speed up the cycling of those tanks, as I didn't do any type of controlled side by side testing... What I can say is they certainly didn't appear to hurt anything and for the price and effort I would probably do it again in hopes that it did actually do something as many claim... I know for a fact many 'big' aquariums and zoos use these bacteria in a bottle, so maybe there is some evidence backing they help, but to what degree I don't know and I don't know of any controlled scientific studies on the subject...

    As for a DIY bottling method, IMO there isn't one... If you want a DIY method to speed up cycling the best thing to do is to stuff in some extra media into an existing tank, and let is colonize then transfer that media to the new tanks... I did this for most of my newly set up tanks, I placed little maybe 1.5" x 3.0" x 0.5" strips of polyester quilting inside my long established gold fish tank filter a month or so before setting up the new tanks, then I transferred these now 'seasoned' pieces of media to the new filters touching the new filter media so that bacteria could migrate over... Now, since it's only a small portion of media it wasn't an instant cycle but I suspect it probably cut the cycle time in half... One must also accept that fact that a filter system on a tank will self balance to the available food, so when you put extra media in an existing tank it's not going to fully populate, it will just populate to the level needed to clean that tank, then when you remove it you actually partially uncycle that tank until the rest of the media established the balance again...

  8. #8
    DIYFK member Tank1407's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Meep Click here to enlarge
    Well first we have to actually nail down what 'bacteria in the bottle' actually is, and there is a never ending debate on what that actually is... The companies claim it's a some 'proprietary' bacteria in a suspended state just waiting to come to life...

    Now, I'm not claiming that the companies claims are false, they might very well be true to some extent, but if true that is not the same bacteria that eventually colonizes your media, as that bacteria dies as soon as the food source is replenished it doesn't go in to some suspended state and *poof* back to life when whatever happens... And when I say 'when whatever happens' I have ask what is the trigger the magically brings the bacteria in a bottle back to life? Generally in nature the trigger would be light, water or temperature, but that does not seem to be the case here, or else the bacteria would surely die in the bottle as the bottle doesn't effectively filter light or temperature and the bacteria is already in water so nothing is stopping that bacteria from coming to life inside the bottle and starving itself to death if light, temp or water is the trigger... So we are left with food, being the trigger? I guess it's possible that there might be bacteria that goes dormant when no food is around and awakes when food is present, but it has to have a shelf life and come with some other drawbacks...

    I could go on but IMO the bacteria in a bottle is IMO (for emphasis) mostly snake oil with a little bit of truth, it likely (or else they would be sued for false advertising) does have some sort of micro-life that is in some sort of suspended state that eats ammonia and acts as a stop gap until the read bacteria colonizes... But, at the end of the day it's not a substitute for the proper bacteria that will colonize your filter in time...

    That said, I tried both Tetra Safe Start and Jungle Start Zyme in few of my recently setup tanks and to be blunt, I didn't see or observe anything to brag about... That is not saying they did nothing to speed up the cycling of those tanks, as I didn't do any type of controlled side by side testing... What I can say is they certainly didn't appear to hurt anything and for the price and effort I would probably do it again in hopes that it did actually do something as many claim... I know for a fact many 'big' aquariums and zoos use these bacteria in a bottle, so maybe there is some evidence backing they help, but to what degree I don't know and I don't know of any controlled scientific studies on the subject...
    couldn't agree more, thinking and asking the same questions as you did myself about liquid bacteria starter in a bottle

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Meep Click here to enlarge
    As for a DIY bottling method, IMO there isn't one... If you want a DIY method to speed up cycling the best thing to do is to stuff in some extra media into an existing tank, and let is colonize then transfer that media to the new tanks... I did this for most of my newly set up tanks, I placed little maybe 1.5" x 3.0" x 0.5" strips of polyester quilting inside my long established gold fish tank filter a month or so before setting up the new tanks, then I transferred these now 'seasoned' pieces of media to the new filters touching the new filter media so that bacteria could migrate over... Now, since it's only a small portion of media it wasn't an instant cycle but I suspect it probably cut the cycle time in half... One must also accept that fact that a filter system on a tank will self balance to the available food, so when you put extra media in an existing tank it's not going to fully populate, it will just populate to the level needed to clean that tank, then when you remove it you actually partially uncycle that tank until the rest of the media established the balance again...
    what about the powder type bacteria starter? such as ADA Bacter 100, well i never use any of ADA product except their amazonia soil, but this is what i'm really curious about, i mean for years i did exactly what you said, using 30-50% water and media from cycled tank (older tank or filter) for a new setup, and there's quite a lot of brands in my country selling powder type of bacteria starter, i mean how they're made? with what kind of chemical / ingredient they're using? is it everyday stuff like DIY CO2? (yeast and sugar)

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    DIYFK member HillbillyHomer's Avatar


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    DIYFK member Sasquatch's Avatar


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    As gross as it may sound to some, your own urine will work very well as a food source


    Ya learn something new everyday!

  11. #11
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Tank1407 Click here to enlarge
    couldn't agree more, thinking and asking the same questions as you did myself about liquid bacteria starter in a bottle

    what about the powder type bacteria starter? such as ADA Bacter 100, well i never use any of ADA product except their amazonia soil, but this is what i'm really curious about
    Well I'm sure there is bacteria in the powder, but how beneficial it will be to the tank is arguable... The Bacter 100 is sold more as a planted tank dirt bacteria, but just the same how much effect it's going to have at the end of the day vs just letting the tank establish by itself is arguable... I suspect if you wanted a DIY version of the powdered stuff then just go out to a dried up lake bed and scoop up some of the dirt or even just go dig up a shovel full of dirt from the bottom of a lake and let dry... Sure the stuff in the bottle might be more refined and 'cleaner' but I doubt it's very selective in the choice of bacteria present... We live in a world full of bacteria and micro-organisms, you could sell bags of air and claim they are loaded with 'beneficial' bacteria and be truthful... For example if we look at this article ( https://www.microbe.net/2015/04/15/t...d-outdoor-air/ ) we see that their testing although not 'perfect' found between 1,000,000 and 10,000,000 bacterial per cubic meter of air... This article ( https://extension.illinois.edu/soil/...y/bacteria.htm ) says there are between 100,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 bacteria in a mere teaspoon of soil...

    At the end of the day, bacteria does a mighty fine job of establishing itself by air, water, soil or even hitching a ride on living organisms, so again I argue the effectiveness of anything in a bottle in the grand picture, it might very well 'speed' things up a bit but realistically I doubt it's significant vs natural methods... Example if you are setting up a 'planted' tank, every plant you put in there is carrying a slew of it's own bacteria, the same bacteria that was from the soil or water it was in previously...

    IMO it all comes back to what I said previously I have to argue about how effective these products really are at the end of the day vs letting the tank do it's own thing naturally...

  12. #12
    DIYFK member Donaldgoale's Avatar


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    BACTERIA FARM

    I was thinking of installing a UV sterilizer but started questioning that if it kills bacteria, it would make sense that it would kill the good bacteria grown during cycling as well. So does that mean it would basically harm the tank? Thanks.

  13. #13
    DIYFK member Meep's Avatar


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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Donaldgoale Click here to enlarge
    I was thinking of installing a UV sterilizer but started questioning that if it kills bacteria, it would make sense that it would kill the good bacteria grown during cycling as well. So does that mean it would basically harm the tank? Thanks.
    99% of the 'good bacteria' is stuck in the bio media and not floating in the water column, so a UV sterilizer does little harm to the good bacteria...

    IMO probably best to not use a UV sterilizer for the initial first month of a tank, so that that small amount of good bacteria that is floating around can find it's home on the media... After the tank is cycled the UV sterilizer should have a negligible effect on the good bacteria...

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