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[APD] Why we might want to add some OM(Organic matter) to the substrate
Why would we add some OM to the substrate to a new tank?
Generally there's no carbon source for the bacteria to live on, they need carbon also, there are heterotrophs(like us, we need carbon based organic materials as a food to live, got to eat other living/previously living things).
A new tank does not have any carbon in the substrate(unless the maker adds it etc).
An established tank has enough from mulm/fish waste.
A bacterial colony will not be able to cycle and establish itself quickly WITHOUT a carbon source.
So adding this will greatly enhance your new tank's stability.
Many people know all too well the problems associated with a "new" tank till it settles in.
What's the difference between a new and an estblished tank? The substrate mainly.
The filter does not play such a large role, plants remove the NH4 etc but filters also can be carbon limited so a little mulm does the trick there.
You can wait for the OM to accumulate naturally in a tank or you can jump start it.
While ALL the Aquarium manufacters suggest adding bacteria filter aid bacteria, none that I know off suggest adding a carbon source in a new tanks.
Another note, there are some doing George the Great's method of electric current in the substrate coils to reduce the metals found in the Toumaline gravel substrates in some ADA products I think.
This reduction can also be done via peat and regular bacterial actions with OM if you add enough. I really do not think using this electric method to reduce trace metals will last that long in good working order, and how much you can say is bacteria after a few month's time, that is something that is a real question that is unanswered.
That takes a bit more than using Electrons to reduce the metal, you need to separate what influnece is really from the bacterial actions and the electric current.
George's old electric current April fool's day gag might be somewhat useful I guess:)
I might be wrong about the whole thing with elenctric reduction, but it would not surprise me if some company came up with such a device that does this instead of heater cables.
I would assume the current is very mild, but it does seem like a crust would build up around the cables. They use sacrifical Zinc cathodic protection on things like metal boats, air craftcarriers etc for corrosion control in FW and SW.
I think bacteria and plant roots do a good job at reduction along with porous substrates and knowing what a water column can do well, will allow you to know what good a substrate method might be also useful or not for your habits and desires.
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