February 18, 2017

Why do we need COLONY and OUTBREAK!? Aren't they all the same bacterial?

Colony and Outbreak! are two completely different genomes of bacteria for two different functions.  Colony, aerobic autotrophs, or true nitrifying bacteria, consume inorganic compounds (ammonia/nitrite). These are the bacteria that "cycle" the aquarium.  Outbreak! contains anaerobic heterotrophic bacteria. These bacteria eat organic compounds released in decomposition of organic matter. Typically, you will use a lot more Outbreak! as it is a more "maintenance" type product. Dosage must be repeated to stay ahead of organics, whereas Colony establishes bio-filtration that will last indefinitely in a well kept aquarium. Colony should always be used when bio-load is increased, when ammonia or nitrite spikes are present, or when you have a change of media, as well as after medicating.

What is required in the tank for COLONY to start working? Is it just simply water and porous media?

Porous material is great as media. The more surface area the better. Nitrifying bacteria love carbon. So always be careful to remove a lot of carbon at once, as much bacteria probably has chosen it as its home. Aeration, surface media, water, and some presences of ammonia is what is required for Colony to work.

Dosing ATM COLONY in a newly setup 3ft planted tank filled with rare cryptocorynes, with BorneoWild Shrimp Soil

Dosing ATM COLONY in a newly setup 5ft planted tank filled with hybrid and exotic echinodorus, with BorneoWild Plant Soil

Typically how long does it take for COLONY to start working after dosed?

This depends on how well the instructions are followed. Typically nitrate is seen after four days. However, it is likely present prior to this. Due to many nitrate test kit readings starting at 5.0ppm, much smaller amounts won't be read and especially in a planted system where plants can absorb some of it. Nitrite should start appearing by the 3rd day. Ammonia and nitrite should be 0ppm by the end of 5-6 days. If no nitrite is appearing after five days, an alkalinity test is in order as that is always the likely culprit to Colony Freshwater working slowly.  Colony Marine rarely has issue as salt mixes and alkalinity is consistent from tank to tank

In terms of cycling, does it mean that COLONY can achieve fish less cycle in X number of days, in a properly equipped tank with water flow, filter media? Do we need cycling fishes?

Yes, the instructions on the bottle and water parameters are important! That creates the optimum performance mentioned for Colony. While a fish-less cycle utilizing proper ammonia products will work, it is recommended to use fish to cycle the systems because its just easier and it sets the natural dynamic of the system in place from the start. The fish are safe because nitrogen spikes are controlled by feeding a tiny bit at the beginning and not feeding again until nitrite is at or near zero. Colony is livestock and must be brought along slowly, but in this case the slower you take it the faster they take root. They can be overwhelmed too fast with high levels of nitrite and begin to stall at around 5ppm... they still work, just a bit slower. Barely feed! Its the whole trick to instant cycle. Small food = small spike = food for Colony = safe fish = super fast cycle. None of your common sense rules change.

Why does COLONY has such low water volume treatment per bottle?

Nitrifying bacteria are aerobic autotrophs, which are a non spore-forming bacteria. This means they cannot be concentrated any more than they are in Colonywithout needing to be refrigerated. Refrigerated concentrations are sold commercially to handle thousands of gallons though. But for the shelf stable bottle, refrigeration isn't necessary because the concentration is much lower. Other bacteria, such as those in Outbreak! are safe inside of spores and can be concentrated to much greater ends. Other products that claim to "cycle" the aquarium, yet have treatments exponential of Colony are NOT true nitrifying bacteria and will not cycle the aquarium. Also, there should never be a need to dose nitrifying bacteria more than once. They are either all in there or they aren't. Just like fish, you don't need to put it in the aquarium more than once.

How fast does OUTBREAK! kick in after being dosed?

Outbreak! is a different kind of tool for aquatics.  Outbreak! will continuously, over time improve the aquarium.  Outbreak! doesn't do its job as quickly as Colony. Colony! works with matter at the molecular level and in smaller quantities.  Outbreak! does the same, but with quantities you can actually see with the human eye (fish waste etc, uneaten fish food etc.). Outbreak! is a shift in the entire ecosystem of the aquarium. Continued use keeps a much cleaner and nicer aesthetic and improves water quality by preventing nutrients and nitrates that feed pests at a minimum.  Outbreak! is based on the commercial formula that actually breaks down human waste at waste water treatment plants!

Dosing ATM OUTBREAK! in an established 3ft planted tank CRS, Blue Bolt, King Kong, Wine Red, Red Tibee, Panda Loaches. Set up with BorneoWild Shrimp Soil + Minerax

Dosing ATM OUTBREAK! in an established 3ft planted tank with Rainbow shiners and Altum Angels. Heavy eaters!!


Can COLONY be used as maintenance bacterial instead of OUTBREAK!?

Yes Colony can be used as maintenance. Generally in a well kept system it isn't necessary but instances happen where it is needed as highlighted in the asnwer to question 1.

Can OUTBREAK! be used as tank starter? Whats the disadvantage in doing so?

Outbreak! should not be used as a tank starter. It simply doesn't have the bacteria for the job. The disadvantages are that if tried the tank won't cycle and the fish will die! But Outbreak! will start going after all the sludge in the system. Starting with Outbreak! always ends up a top-notch, clean and hearty ecosystem for the fish.


Is there any problem in overdosing? Such as getting real low in oxygen level? Do we need air bubbling for that?

There is no risk in overdosing Colony nor Outbreak!. Always have air bubbling! All nitrifying bacteria, including Colony, are aerobic so the more oxygen the better they work. If oxygen depletes, they start struggling and working slower.


In emergency situation whereby a tank is fully spiked with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, maybe a dead anemones, dead fishes, over fed, water is murky and everything is in bad health, which product can respond fast and help ease up water condition?

Would it be Outbreak! or COLONY? Definitely Colony. To handle this the first step is to discontinue feeding immediately. Then, as big a water change possible should first be performed with Paradigm added. Then dose Colony. You can double/triple dose it for faster results in an emergency. It is all natural and non-toxic.

Some products claim that their anaerobic bacteria establishes bio-filtration, how can this be? Even though anaerobic bacteria multiply much faster than true nitrifying bacteria (aerobic autotrophs), they would result in a much, much, much slower removal of ammonia and nitrite, if at all. This claim is made due to the known fact some anaerobic bacteria can use ammonia (not nitrite) as a secondary energy source if organics are not present (which is extremely rare in a closed aquatic system). The claim is based on this technicality, but as we look at the actual truth in this technicality it becomes obvious that these bacteria do not perform bio-filtration. For instance, even if organics were not present in a system it could take up to 1,000,000 anaerobic bacteria cells to remove the same amount of ammonia as one cell of the aerobic autotroph bacteria in Colony. So it is clear that just because they can technically called "nitrifying bacteria", they cannot hold the distinction of "true nitrifying bacteria", which is what Colony contains.

Colony truly is the same exact bacteria that you have traditionally waited weeks and weeks to develop for bio-filtration.


Colin flint

Colin flint said:

Hi I used colony and outbreak on my marine tank and works great was thinking of the freshwater stuff for my tropical tank what of the 2 is best for tap water treatment ?

GC Support Team

GC Support Team said:

Hi Colin, Colony is great for starting up a new tank with true nitrifying bacteria while outbreak works hard to de-sludge, keep waste level low like ammonia, nitrate, nitrite.

For tap water treatment, please use Paradigm or Barrier.
Paradigm is the superior one with added vitamins and other great stuff while Barrier is the standard work horse.

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