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What Does 'good Bacteria' Look Like?

Discussion in 'Tropical Discussion' started by Schmill, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Schmill

    Schmill Member

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    Just a quick question, as I can't seem to find any reference to it.

    What does the 'good bacteria' look like?

    It never really occured to me before as I just figured being bacteria it was to small to see with the human eye, and therefore a void question, however that was before I started noticing the gooey clear bio-film in my new tank, and the brown speckles on the sealent at the joins of the tank. Suddenly I wondered if perhaps a large bacteria colony might be visible, is this 'sludge' them?

    I ask because I want to know just how much I should wash my filter?
    On my 60L tank when I clean the internal filter I leave the ceramic containing 'pod' in the tank (as it looks pretty clean), and just take the sponges away to clean in the old tank water. After picking out the various bits of plant matter, and the snails the sponge is usually still fairly clogged with what can only be described as brown goo. It doesn't smell or anything, but I usually give the sponges a good swishing in the water until the majority of this 'goo' is rinsed off, then I put them back in the filter.

    So I'm a little confused - lol
    The ceramics look 'clean' (ie. no 'goo'), so I don't rinse those, but that is where the majority of the bacteria are supposed to grow.
    The sponges are covered in goo, which I wash away.
    Whenever anyone gets cloudy water, or clear 'goo' growing in their tanks it's always put down as a 'bacterial bloom' or 'bio-film'.

    So the big question... is goo good or not? Is that where my bacteria are or not?

    :blink:
     
  2. Miss Wiggle

    Miss Wiggle Practically perfect in every way

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    i don't think you can see them, think teh goo is just broken down detritus
     
  3. Schmill

    Schmill Member

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    So pretty much my thinking then, but I do remember reading somewhere that the brown 'goo' that is all over the silicon sealent in the tank (but no where else), is actually bacteria feeding on the silicates(?) that are leaching from the sealent (I think thats correct from memory), so I don't understand then why I can see those fellas - lol
     
  4. celaeno

    celaeno Arkangel

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    whatever they look like, they're definitely dark in color. i know because my bio-wheel darkens as the good bacteria colonize it.
     
  5. saz326

    saz326 Member

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    The sponge that gets the brown goo-ey yucky non smelly stuff is a physical medium that pretty much is intended to collect bits that float in the tankwater - i.e. broken bits of plant leaf, bits of poo and bits of food.

    By the sheer nature that it is in the aquarium water - it will grow good bacteria on it.

    The sludge isnt itself the good bacteria, but will certainly have some of the bacteria in it.

    Remember that the bacteria in question require surface area (hence the reason we use ceramic media with high surface area). The colonies of bacteria are only a few thick, so I doubt you would ever see any colour. They need to have direct access to water passing over them, so any deeper than a few on top of each other and the ones below would starve/suffocate and die off.

    The colouration of the biowheel is probably down to some of the brown sludge stuff making its way through the system.
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    You cannot see the bacteria without a microscope.

    The brown crap that builds up in the filter is simply rotting fish waste and should be removed regularly to keep the tank healthy.
    The gunk does hold some beneficial bacteria but it also reduces the surface area for the bacteria. Sponges and other filter media only have a certain amount of space for the bacteria to live on. If the pores/ spaces are full of gunk there is less space for the bacteria. So when you wash the filter media you remove a lot of the bacteria.
    If you clean the filter regularly (about once a month) the media shouldn't get too blocked up and should hold plenty of bacteria. Then when the media is cleaned you don't lose as much bacteria and are less likely to have an ammonia spike.
     
  7. Schmill

    Schmill Member

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    Excellent, thanks all. It's reasuring to know then that I've been doing right by washing off the goo :p
     
  8. backtotropical

    backtotropical Retired Mod
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  9. Schmill

    Schmill Member

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    Cheers BTT, now that is intriguing...

    Reading that, it would seem to be saying that the Ammonia processing bacs are slower to grow into a decent colony than the nitrIte processing bacs, and yet it is always the nitrIte bacs that we are waiting for...

    Ah of course, the article makes no mention of how much ammonia, (or nitrite) a single bacteria will consume, so it could just be that the nitrIte processing bacteria needs to have a hellishly larger colony than the ammonia bacs, and that would explain why it takes so long :)

    I'll just shutup now :p
     
  10. raptorrex

    raptorrex Inactive

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    you can see these bacteria, though not well in a filter. if there is enough food around they don't need media. it grows into long brown jelly type tendrils or ribbons. clearly this is many millions of the guys connecting together. many bacteria grow, in nature, in this way. the ones we have in our tank are no different.
     
  11. pauly

    pauly Member

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    [​IMG]





    I'll get my coat :blush:
     
  12. backtotropical

    backtotropical Retired Mod
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    :lol: :rofl:
     
  13. Schmill

    Schmill Member

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    Cheers for that Pauly, I definitly don't have any of that in my filter, so perhaps thats where I'm going wrong.... I'l lstock up next time I go shopping :p
    Question is, which will work best... this stuff, or the 'snake oil' the LFS tried to sell you? I'd almost bet this stuff - lol (almost...)
     

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