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Re: [APD] Getting shot of Nitrate Xperiment

Stuart Halliday wrote in response to a discussion of bacterial inoculation
by commercial potting medium of rockwool:

>I never read that before. But it's stunning obvious when you point it out.
>:-) Then I've only been in the hobby 4 years.

You missed a lot of fun.  As with other new processes, it was controversial
for a bit, then everybody jumped on with their own variants.  Unfortunately,
many of those did not fully understand the biological requirements, thus we
have the current confused state regarding fishless cycling.

The likely average without inoculation does appear to be 30-45 days.  The
average for the beta tests (granted, all were experienced to advanced
hobbyists) was <2 to 2 1/2 weeks.  The average by those we coached through
the process on the hobby boards was on the order of 2 1/2 to 3 weeks.  Most
of the difficulty seemed to be learning to do and read liquid test kits.  We
suggested (and I used in my own trials) the medium from one potted plant for
15 or under US gallons, from two potted plants above that (no tanks larger
than 50s were tested).

Stuart further wrote:

>I'll be interested in finding out how long it takes to cycle my test tank
>with rock wool.

>Funny that shops don't sell cheap bunches of rock wool taken from the
>of their plant tanks to allow aquarists, new and old, to cycle their tanks
>more quickly. Seems like a nice little earner.

>Can you buy dry rock wool somewhere?

It is not the material itself; it is the fact that it was in a circulating
nutrient solution for weeks during the development of the transplants to
sale size.  Any porous filter medium would do the same.  It is not the
medium used, but the situation under which it was inoculated/cultured.
Rockwool was long ago an insulating material (for houses, refrigerators,
etc.  It has been largely replaced by fiberglass in home use.  It is not
quite as poor as fiberglass as a tank medium, but neither is desirable.
Both can release fibers or particles into the water.  If I were to use a DIY
medium, I would opt for porous fish-safe sponges or bonded fiber pads.  They
would do the same job for bacterial purposes, but would be both expensive
and undesirable for a plant potting medium - you could not (easily? Ha!)
tease it away from the plant roots.  And it should not be on the base of the
tank (too much debris, too much light, too many non-nitrifying bacteria to
compete for attachment space) but in a chamber with good prefiltered water
flow with dissolved nutrients - in other words, in a filter.  Or just use
"conditioned" filter material from an established tank.  But if novices
don't have such, they can buy a potted plant. FAN plants are common in my
area, In Europe, Tropica would be comparable, as theirs are similarly potted
(their feelings would be hurt by my comments, they have been leaders for a
long time and pioneered many of the techniques, but we cannot get their
plants in the US).

I did a note on this, but it has not been widely accepted, as it is a but
more up-front requirement, and more care in the process:



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