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Subject: Re: Biowheels-CO2-plants redux

> OTOH, bio-wheels are _strictly_ biological filtration, so they compete
> the plants for nitrogen.  If your tank is over stocked or under planted,
> they will give you a margin of error.  If you are having trouble keeping
> the nitrate levels up in the tank anyway, biological filtration is more of
> a nuisance than a help.  (If you have to change water to keep your nitrate
> levels reasonably low, you probably benefit from the bio-wheels, if you
> have to add nitrogen, remove them)

>Is the consumption of nitrate by the bacteria really significant? They seem
>to have left enough for the algae. BTW, can anyone recomment a good,
>sensitive, accurate nitrate test kit?

    Doesn't the first paragraph above contain some inaccuracies? Yes bio
wheels do compete with plants for nitrogen products such as ammonia but not
nitrates. Bio wheels produce nitrates and if one is having trouble keeping
nitrates up then a bio wheel would be beneficial to the system not a
nuisance. The bacteria that utilize nitrates for energy are found in anoxic
regions and would not colonize a bio wheel. This makes the staement that a
bio wheel should be used if water changes are needed to reduce nitrates
false as well. The exact opposite would hold true.
    Yes the consumption of nitrate can be significant if anoxic regions
exist in the tank. Some bacteria are so efficient they can even reduce
nitrate all the way to ammonia.