Get your System going with Bacteria!

Get your System going with Bacteria!

February 18, 2017

The First Important Step

Aquarium water quality begins with establishing and maintaining biological filtration. Proper biological filtration will help ensure aquarium health and rid your water of toxic elements. 

The nitrogen cycle is the single most important process all aquariums must undergo in order for them to become established. During this process, aquariums cultivate beneficial bacterial colonies and begin to maintain a stable state, where the rate at which toxic compounds are introduced into the aquarium equals the rate at which they are converted into less harmful compounds.

Typical Dosing Procedure of ATM COLONY (Freshwater or Marine)

ATM Colony is a bottle of True Nitrifying Bacteria.

Before fish can be introduced into the aquarium, bio-filtration must be established to filter out the toxic ammonia and nitrite created by fish waste. ATM's Colony establishes this bio-filtration in days instead of weeks with real, commercial grade nitrifying bacteria. Used by ATM, the #1 aquarium builders in the world, Colony comes in two different formulas we use to introduce fish immediately on our own custom installations. Colony for Freshwater contains real Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter bacteria, which are specific for the freshwater environment. Colony for Marine contains two different real strains specific for marine systems: Nitrococcus and Nitrosococcus. These formulas have proven time and again to be the champions of instant cycling on site at ATM installations.


Extra Read:

1.) What experience does ATM's labs have with nitrifying bacteria?

Pro Formulas, Pro Results isn't just slogan but the reality. ATM�s staff of research and production professionals include microbiologists, aquaculturists and aquatic specialists who have spent every day over the last 20 years perfecting the growth and packaging of pure strains of true nitrifying bacteria.

What designates ATM as the global leader in aquatic biological formulas is that they can be found in multiple professional aquatic, environmental, and industrial applications across the planet, not just home aquaria. The subsequent answers from our team result from extensive application as leaders in the field for a very long time.

2.) Can nitrifying bacteria last for 4 years in a bottle? If not, why?

True nitrifying bacteria, that which colonize bio-media within an aerobic filter and which utilize primarily inorganic ammonia and nitrite, do not have the ability to create spores like other types of bacteria that utilize organic (sludge like) substances in an aquatic environment. The ability to create spores give bacteria a �seed like� ability to survive long periods of time, sometimes years and years, with no detrimental effects to the bacteria. In the case of aerobic nitrifying bacteria, the bacteria does not have the ability to create a spore form and subsequently must �draw� from internal nutritional resources to survive. If you think of nitrifying bacteria like a hibernating bear, it can survive for a extended period of time (several months) given unique environmental parameters but it is continually sacrificing nutritional reserves in order to survive.

Under the best �environmental parameters�, true nitrifying bacteria can survive for approximately eight months in an hibernate state. Knowing this, there is no way that the true nitrifying bacteria can survive 4-years in a bottle since they do not create spores and cannot survive longer than 8 months in their hibernate state. This effectively disqualifies them from the equation of a product claiming a four-year shelf life and at the same time claiming to establish bio-filtration as we desire in aquaria or any other aquatic application that relies on true nitrification.

3.) Is there any value in regard to nitrifying bacteria of the anaerobic variety? Are there any anaerobic bacteria that perform nitrification?

Although true nitrifying bacteria have the ability to survive aerobically, ammonia and nitrite are not converted without the presence of oxygen. There are a few non-nitrifying bacteria that possess the ability to convert ammonia directly to nitrate under unique environmental conditions not typically found within an aquarium. Some might draw a conclusion that this is nitrification but since these same bacteria often possess the ability to convert the same nitrate back to deadly ammonia within a extremely short period of time, the use of this type of bacteria would be dangerous and impractical for aquarium use. Furthermore, wet dry filters, sponge filters, carbon filters, rotating bio contactors (RBC), gravel filters and fluidized beds are all designed to house and grow true nitrifying bacteria-all aerobic for a very good reason. 

4.) What are the limitations of using Nitrosomonas bacteria?

Lack of oxygen limits true nitrifying bacteria from doing their jobs. Since aquariums should always have plenty of oxygen this limitation becomes irrelevant. Antibiotics can wipe out nitrifying bacteria. Since nitrifying bacteria have no spore stage, any attempts of drying nitrifying bacteria can cause the cell to lice or �crack open� which kills the bacteria. Any dry products claiming to be nitrifying bacteria and are in a dry powdery form are not living nitrifying bacteria. Over heating true nitrifying bacteria over 45 C or freezing bacteria at 0 C will kill true nitrifying bacteria. Aquariums should maintain a minimum 85 ppm of alkalinity at all times so that true nitrifying bacteria, the only bacteria responsible for proper bio-filtration, can properly utilize ammonia and nitrite.

5.) Would you call the bacteria in Colony unstable?

The bacteria in Colony is very stable as long as it�s not older than 8 months, does not freeze or over heat. In the aquarium environment, they are as stable as the aquarium itself since true nitrifying bacteria function optimally at pretty much all of typical, healthy aquarium conditions.

6.) Is it realistic for nitrifying bacteria to work the same in all water parameters across the board?

No. In the case of just about any living organism, the closer that you are to an optimum environment condition the better the organism functions. In the cases true nitrifying bacteria, non optimal conditions could cause reduction in efficiency.

A good example would be cold water situations. In cold water, nitrifying bacteria continue utilizing ammonia and nitrite but not nearly as effective as when the water is warmer. This is the case when looking at pH or low alkalinity situations or other water parameters, the further that you slip away from optimum, the less affective nitrifying bacteria become. If any product is claiming that nitrfying bacteria of any usefulness works in any and all parameters it is a faux pas and they are not describing true nitrifying bacteria.

7.) Can freshwater and saltwater nitrifying bacteria be packaged in the same bottle together, or with other kinds of bacteria? If not, why?

No. Saltwater and Freshwater nitrifying bacteria are completely different bacteria species that are normally maintained in different environmental conditions and therefore must be bottled differently. It must be realized that these are organisms and not chemicals, therefore have express handling rules. The biggest deception in the hobby is products that claim to establish bio-filtration in both freshwater and saltwater environments with the same product. You must have separate appropriate strains and they cannot be packaged together based on laws of nature. 

In the case of combining nitrifying bacteria with non-nitrifying bacteria such as spore-forming bacteria, the combination of the two types of bacteria would destroy true nitrifying bacteria almost instantly. Spore-forming bacteria are packaged in spore form, this is why they can live for long periods of time. To maintain sporulated bacteria in a spore form requires the presence of a preservative. Preservatives signal to these types of bacteria that the environmental condition, within the bottle, is not suited for the bacteria to emerge and the bacteria stays in a spore form. Since true nitrifying bacteria do not possess the ability to form spores, these preservatives, or sometimes called inhibitors, intended to maintain spore forming bacteria instantly kill aerobic nitrifying bacteria on contact. The possibility of combining the two bacteria for more than a week would mean a 100% destruction of true nitrifying bacteria. The two forms of bacteria cannot be combined to form a viable product. 

8.) Is there any advantage to spreading out dosage of Colony or is it better to dose all at once?

True nitrifying bacteria can live for hundreds of generations and as long as environmental conditions stay about the same, additional applications of Colony are not normally needed. With that said, it is rare for environmental conditions in an aquarium or water garden pond to always stay the same. Instances where an additional application of Colony would prove useful would include after cleaning a biofilter, after the use of a disease fighting compound such as copper, antibiotics of formalin, after the introduction of additional fish or just after a pond warms up in the Spring and fish start eating aggressively. True nitrifying bacteria grow and shrink to meet the daily demands of ammonia and nitrite production so adding Colony is always a safe practice to follow.

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