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RE: Bacteria in new substrate

> Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 15:36:57 -0500
> From: "Michael Eckardt" <mike at odg_com>
> Subject: Bacteria in new substrate
> What would happen if the wet gunk from the filter was dried and safed?
> the bacteria (in another form) survive? How long?
> My tanks produce quite a bit of this stuff and it would be neat to have it
> available when setting up a new tank to kick-start the substrate. Cheap

Unless you are taking down all of your tanks and doing without  any tanks-
why bother???  The next time you are setting up a tank you just do: 1) clean
the filter on a healthy tank and add the "dirt and bacteria from it to a new
tank" 2) Do a good water change ~ 40-50% and add it to the new tank.  Add
enough of the old water (from various tanks) to equal about 50% and you're
ready to go, even adding fishes.  People like myself, who have way too many
fishtanks, do this all of the time when we are setting up a new tank.  If
you have even one tank going then you'll always have a source of starter
bacteria.  Cycling a freshwater tank, when you have a ready source of
bacteria from another tank IS A FOOLISH THING and a total waste of time!  I
wonder when people are finally going to get this message and stop wasting so
much time in setting up a new tank?

Does the bacteria survived dried?  In 1995 I was fortunate enough to attend
a lecture given by Dr. Gratzek (I think the spelling is wrong) at the
Pittsburgh Aquarium Society's workshop.  Gratzek is the fellow  that used to
teach a course in fish diseases down in Georgia.  Perhaps someone can update
us on whether he still runs these courses.  In the process of talking about
bacteria etc; and setting up a sick tank, he mentioned that a dried sponge
filter still would contain a lot of bacteria and that a tank it would be
fairly safe to add fish without worrying about an ammonia spike.  Obviously
you should never try this unless you have a reliable ammonia test kit.  If
you overcleaned that sponge before storing it might not have enough bacteria
in it to get going quick enough.  I guess you could take that filter gunk,
and dry it down and sell it to those suckers that have to have something to
add to their tanks to cycle them :-) but you might be better off spending
time pruning, feeding and doing more water changes instead.

Gary Lange
gwlange at mindspring_com