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Biowheels, nitrate and reading what's written

I wrote:

>> 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)

Matthew R. Sprague wrote:

>    Doesn't the first paragraph above contain some inaccuracies? Yes bio
>wheels do compete with plants for nitrogen products such as ammonia but not

Not if you read what I _wrote_ and not read other things into it.

Where do you think the nitrate comes from?  I never said the bacteria
compete for nitrate.  I said they compete for NITROGEN.  Ammonia(um) is a
compound of nitrogen.

>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

How do you figure that?  We add NITRATE to a planted tank because it is
safer for our fish than adding ammonia.  The plants certainly can use it.
But their _preferred_ source of NITROGEN is ammonium.  Why colonize extra
bacteria to compete with them if the supply is limited in the first place?

>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.

I never said that the biowheel would use nitrate.  The biowheel converts
excess, poisonous, ammonia to nitrite and then to nitrate so that you don't
kill your fish in an overstocked tank.  _YOU_ must reduce the nitrate level
by doing water changes.  You'll have to do those water changes anyway in a
heavily stocked tank because the phosphate level will also be rising and
you're going to run into algae problems if you have much light on the tank.

>    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.

And that's a _great_ solution in a fish tank.;-)