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2.13. Indraai test

Foto van auteur

Auteur : David Bogert

Gepubliceerd :

Tijd om te lezen :
9 minuten
Difficulty : Level 6

Excerpt :

This article delineates some testing that was completely to establish how fast various aquarium cycling methods worked.
A series of tests were run in buckets to see what feeding regimes produced the fastest cycles. The second series of tests were run in the buckets to see what water parameters give the best cycling times.

A caveat has to be noted here. These tests were run in the same room that held several functioning breeding and quarantine tanks that had bubble aeration from air stone-operated sponge filters. These airstones would have produced what is called an aerosol of water droplets that contained very small amounts of beneficial bacteria. This bacteria would have slowly inoculated all of the experiments below. For this reason, there will probably be some unpredictable increase from these numbers with cycling a new aquarium without a good inoculate.

Buccochromis rhoadesii
Buccochromis rhoadesii

Test One Abstract

The following results were obtained (each number is an average of three tests):

  • A – 23 days, food + urine+ phosphate
  • A – 25 days, food + urine
  • A – 25 days, ammonium chloride + phosphate
  • B – 35 days, only 2 ppm ammonium chloride was added daily
  • B – 36 days, ammonium chloride solution added per the directions of Dr. Tim + phosphate
  • B – 37 days, ammonium chloride + Stability + Prime
  • C – 43 days, only ammonium chloride solution added per the directions of Dr. Tim
  • C – 52 days, only food added

The results pretty well speak for themselves. Because it takes some time for food to break down into ammonia the fact that the two fastest were food additions was surprising. This makes the fact that only food took the longest some what puzzling. But Mother Nature is unpredictable.

Running statistics on the data separates the data into three groups which were statistically significantly different from each other. These three groups are labelled A, B and C.

Pauw Ruby Red Roter Kaiser
Pauw Robijn - Rode Roter Kaiser

Note we did not test fish-in cycling. Defining the end of cycling with fish-in cycling is difficult as it is not good for fish to load the tank up to 2 ppm ammonia every day. A food load that high will give bacteria loads in the water and bacterial toxins which are not good for the fish. And adding a combination of a small amount of food and a large amount of ammonia is not realistic.

It is difficult to predict what fish-in cycling will do. In addition to the problem with defining the end of cycling, there is the fact that fish have tons of beneficial bacteria in their gut. Their feces thus provide an excellent inoculum for starting up a cycle. So I’ll make no judgments on fish-in cycling other than to say I no longer do it.

Image of an aquarium fish Auloncara sp. 'Stuartgranti' Galleriya reef F1
Auloncara sp. ‘Stuartgranti’ Galleriya reef F1

Test apparatuur:

  • Home Depot 20 liter emmers
  • Commercial dry fish food (Hikari)
  • 100 gram BASF-ammoniumchloride opgelost in 3,785 liter gedestilleerd water
  • Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride
  • Human urine
  • Potassium Phosphate powder purchased over the internet.
  • luchtpomp en luchtvaartmaatschappijen
  • mini sponsfilters
Chalinochromis popelini
Chalinochromis popelini

Test procedure:

Five-gallon (20 liter) buckets were set up with reverse osmosis water. The water was naturally about 6.8 in pH 0 KH after sitting for a week to stabilize.

  • Three buckets had food and urine added daily, calculated to give 2 ppm ammonia per day added to the bucket. Phosphate was also added at startup only.
  • Three buckets had food and urine added daily, calculated to give 2 ppm ammonia per day added to the bucket. Phosphate was not added.
  • Three buckets had ammonium chloride added daily, calculated to give 2 ppm ammonia per day added to the bucket. Phosphate was also added at the startup.
  • Three buckets had only 2 ppm ammonia added daily.
  • Three buckets had ammonium chloride added per the directions of Dr. Tim, i.e. only add ammonia when the ammonia level drops to 0.5., and they had phosphate added at startup
  • Three buckets had Stability and Prime used in them per the directions of Seachem with 2 ppm ammonia added daily.
  • Three buckets had ammonia added per the directions of Dr. Tim, i.e. only add ammonia when the ammonia level drops to 0.5.
  • Three buckets had only food added, calculated to be enough to take the ammonia level to 2 ppm.

No inoculum was used. The buckets were then cycled. The buckets were then tested every day for ammonia and nitrite. Note this was eight buckets used three times each. The buckets, sponge filters, and tubing were all sterilized with bleach between each usage to prevent inoculum from being carried over. The pH was kept above 7.0 by additions of baking soda when necessary.

Aulonocara Baenschi 'sunshine peacock'
Aulonocara Baenschi ‘sunshine peacock’

Resultaten:

Door nul (technisch gezien is het minder dan of gelijk aan 0,25 ppm) ammoniak en nitriet gedurende twee dagen (twee metingen) te definiëren als cyclisch, werden de volgende resultaten verkregen:

BehandelingGemiddelde tijd om in te draaienTank 1Tank 2Tank 3
Eten + urine + fosfaat23182626
Eten + urine25282226
Ammoniak + fosfaat25322024
Alleen ammoniak35423032
Dr. Tim ' s + fosfaat36403336
Ammoniak + Prime + Stabiliteit37383043
Alleen Dr. Tim ' s43483842
Alleen eten52425460

One needs to be cautious about these test results. The three colors represent groups that were statistically different using computerized JMP statistical software. Making any judgments within each group is not valid.

Note that this test was deliberately kept quite simple so that anyone can easily duplicate it if they want to. A rigorous scientific test under laboratory conditions cannot be replicated by any hobbyist so that was not done. This test was not designed to be published in some scientific journals. But the large difference in the test results makes the conclusions unmistakable and very valid, even if the science is not as rigorous as some would like.

image of an aquarium fish female Black x Blue ram hybrid
female Black x – Blue ram hybrid

Test Two Abstract:

Another test was run to see what type of water and what ammonia additions are best for cycling an aquarium. The test showed four things:

  • De test toonde aan dat een pH van 6,0 het fietsen koud stopte.
  • The test showed using the Seachem Stability and Prime regimen increased the time to completion of cycling by 12 days.
  • The test showed using Dr. Tim’s regimen of only adding ammonia when the level hits 0.5 increased the time to cycle by 11 days

Merk op dat deze test met opzet heel eenvoudig is gehouden, zodat iedereen hem gemakkelijk kan namaken als hij dat wil. Een strenge wetenschappelijke test onder laboratoriumomstandigheden kan door geen enkele hobbyist worden gerepliceerd, dus dat is niet gedaan. Deze test was niet bedoeld om gepubliceerd te worden in wetenschappelijke tijdschriften. Maar het enorme verschil in de testresultaten maakt de conclusies onmiskenbaar en zeer valide, ook al is de wetenschap niet zo rigoureus als sommigen zouden willen.

picture of an aquarium fish Leptobotia elongata Royal Clown Loach
Leptobotia elongata Royal Clown Loach

Test apparatuur:

  • Home Depot 20 liter emmers
  • 100 gram BASF-ammoniumchloride opgelost in 3,785 liter gedestilleerd water
  • Potassium Phosphate powder purchased over the internet.
  • luchtpomp en luchtvaartmaatschappijen
  • mini sponsfilters
Polypterus ornatipinnis Ornate Bichir
Polypterus ornatipinnis Ornate Bichir

Test procedure:

15 buckets (actually eight buckets set up twice) were set up with reverse osmosis water. A pinch of potassium phosphate was added to each bucket as earlier tests had shown that this addition is necessary if one is using ammonia additions only. The water was naturally about 6.8 in pH 0 KH after sitting for a week to stabilize.

  • Aan drie emmers werd niets gedaan (de "controles") met dagelijks 2 ppm ammoniak toegevoegd.
  • Drie emmers werden in pH verlaagd tot 6,0 met zoutzuur waaraan dagelijks 2 ppm ammoniak werd toegevoegd.
  • Three buckets were taken up in pH to 8.0 and KH up to 10 using baking soda with 2 ppm ammonia added daily.
  • Three buckets were set up with 6.8 water and Stability and Prime used in them per the directions of Seachem with 2 ppm ammonia added daily.
  • Three buckets had 6.8 pH and ammonia added per the directions of Dr. Tim, i.e. only add ammonia when the ammonia level drops to 0.5.

The buckets were then cycled. The buckets were then tested every day for ammonia and nitrite. The results were then separately addressed as four separate tests. The pH levels were maintained during the test by the addition of baking soda, with the exception of the low pH test.

picture of an aquarium fish Lethrinops Gold Harbor (Monkey Bay)
Lethrinops Gold Harbor (Monkey Bay)

Results of First Test: Low pH

Door nul (technisch gezien is het minder dan of gelijk aan 0,25 ppm) ammoniak en nitriet gedurende twee dagen (twee metingen) te definiëren als cyclisch, werden de volgende resultaten verkregen:

Low pH test

Time to cycle an aquarium with a low pH
Time to cycle an aquarium with a low pH

This test clearly shows that a low pH stops cycling cold. Note that there are organisms called “archaea” which will oxidize ammonia at low pH. They just take 4 to 24 months to grow into sizable colonies.

Some will take issue with the fact that low pH stalls the beneficial bacteria. A post on social media from a newbie to a hobby is pertinent. He had been cycling his tank for FOUR MONTHS (120 days!) and still had 1 ppm ammonia (fish in the cycle). His pH test was yellow, which means his pH was somewhere less than 6.0. ‘Nough said.

Placidochromis milomo Super VC-10
Placidochromis milomo Super VC-10

Result of Second Test: Using Prime and Stability

This test clearly showed that Seachem Prime adds to the cycling time, even with the added addition of Seachem Stability.

Time to cycle an aquarium with Prime and Stability
Time to cycle an aquarium with Prime and Stability

This showed an average of 12 days added to the cycle time by using Prime and Stability. This is probably because Seachem Prime is a reducing agent. Beneficial bacteria are autotrophs that oxidize ammonia to nitrate. Oxidation in chemistry is the opposite of reduction. So a reducing agent such as Prime will interfere with and slow down the beneficial bacteria.

Image of an aquarium fish Dimidiochromis compressiceps Malawi Eyebiter
Dimidiochromis compressiceps – Malawi Eyebiter

Result of Third Test: Using low dose Ammonia Additions (Dr. Tim’s directions)

This test showed using the directions of Dr. Tim extends the cycling time.

Time to cycle an aquarium with ammonia
Time to cycle an aquarium with ammonia

This test showed that Dr. Tim’s regimen of ammonia additions produced a cycle time that averaged 11 days more than adding 2 ppm daily of ammonia. This is not surprising. Beneficial bacteria, like all primitive organisms, reproduce at a rate directly proportional to the food supply. Dr. Tim’s regimen means roughly 1.1 ppm of ammonia is in the tank on the average while the 2 ppm regimen insures roughly 4 ppm is in the tank on the average. So the 2 ppm regimen goes faster.

Pseudomugil gertrudae Gertrude’s Spotted Blue Eye Rainbows
Pseudomugil gertrudae – Gertrude’s Spotted Blue Eye Rainbows

These are easy tests anyone can do. Interesting. Again, note that these tests are not “proof” of much. Mother Nature is unpredictable and beneficial bacteria much more resilient than social media give them credit for. So different results from what these tests show are to be expected.