The Science Of Bottled Bacteria For "cycling" Aquaria

(Some content removed by moderator)
So I had to go and ask about other patents. I have never really looked into patents so I figured I had best try to answer what I asked above about them. And wouldn't you know it, Google has a Patent Search. Here is the patent filed in the USA in 2003 and published in 2005 by Dr. Hovanec. It includes salt water
What is "worse" is there are other patents out there. I read a bunch of this one for Novozyme Biologicals, Inc. product
I have to do other things for now but if anybody wants to look into the patents further, you can go here
I started by typing in "nitrifying bacteria". A lot of what I did see was either not bacteria but rather other aspects such as media, filter design etc. And much of what I saw that was bacteria was related to sw. Also, it is relevant to note the status of the patents app. grant, filed, published etc. One can also search by name, assignee company etc.  I am going to be poking around this are when I can.
Threads will be locked if they turn into mud-slinging. In the interest of not locking this thread, since the actual debate contained in this thread is useful, I have removed off-topic posts and sections of some posts above. Please stay on topic and do not insult other members during a debate.
My thanks for helping to keep the discussion open and on track!  :)
TwoTankAmin said:
daize- re your speculation about potential bias and the issue of freshness in the patent filing where they compare Dr. Hovanec's mix vs the 4 commercial ones. A bit of detective work in reading the filing lead me to a comparison of the results listed in Tables 10 and 13.

In table 10 they were showing the results of testing the actual bacteria which lead to the specific strains in Dr. Hovanec's mix. Two of the tests were on bacteria first stored for 188 days in a bottle kept in the dark before they were added to the test tanks. In Table 13 they compare Dr. Hovanec's mixes (likeley fresh?) to the commercial ones. Just insert the results from Table 10 for Rtr3 and Rtr4 (the stored bacteria) you will still see those numbers are still pretty good. And how do we know that the commercial additives tested were in the bottle for a few days, weeks or months before they were used?
Well spotted!  I must admit reading this patent gives me even more of a headache than the usual research journals, it's like some hellified union of scientific jargon and legalese designed to confound anyone from understanding what it is they're actually trying to patent.  However I can see your point, the patent does indeed include proof that the bacteria are viable after a length of time in storage and still produces results that beat the opposition.  My question is answered!
TwoTankAmin said:
What makes the results most interesting is that for the commercial products they ran two different dosing levels. The first was as per the directions from the manufacturer and the second was at 3 times that amount. And the one thing nobody can argue in this regard- if you have the right bacteria then the more of them you can start with, the more ammonia/nitrite they can process. And the more they can process, the faster the cycle should establish. Anybody who has done a few fishless cycles knows this, you don't have to be a scientist. So why do several commercial mixes do better at lower doses?
I'm not sure that those results for 1x and 3x dose are different enough to be statistically significant, given how variable cycle lengths can be in general.  On the other hand I would hypothesize that if the additives contain the wrong sort of bacteria then perhaps overdosing could actually inhibit the cycle because it takes longer for the right sort of bacteria to become dominant.
Something I find curious is that a triple dose of Cycle does perform significantly better than a single dose - I assume this is talking about Nutrafin Cycle, which we routinely dismiss as being rubbish.  If a triple dose cycles faster then this would indicate there must be something good in it?
TwoTankAmin said:
tcamos- I am inclined to think it contains both. My reasoning is the results in the patent filing show one drops ammonia better and the other drops nitrite better. So the combination should actually get the fastest results I would think. But I would still like to know for sure.
I'm not seeing this, can you explain where it shows that Rtr5 drops nitrite faster? 
Try emailing Dr Hovanec and asking him whether it contains both :lol: he might tell you!
Daize, I got some of those Evolution Pure Aquarium balls and used them last night as that last 0.5ppm of ammonia just won't shift (i.e. put 4 in my cycling tank filter). The results after 12 hrs were very promising so repeated the dosing of ammonia to 2ppm - will let you know the results after further 12hrs.
Nice catch, daize. I rechecked the numbers and realize i mistated what I saw. There are two basic measures used regarding ammonia and nitrite. The first is the number of days it took to get ammonia and nitrite down to .50 ppm. The second number indicates the maximum level that ammonia or nitrite reached during those days. And here is where it got a but fuunky. Table's 10 and 13 both include results for that test for the Rtr5 and Rtr7 mixes, but the results are not identical at all.
In table 10 the the Rtr7 mix beats the Rtr5 Mix in all 4 measures. Its faster for both A and N and the peak levels reached are also lower for both. However, in Table 13 the 7 mix is still better in terms of days, but now it is worse in terms of the max levels hit. I must have been looking at that and somehow concluded it was days that differed whereas it was the max levels.
But this just makes the whole filing the more interesting. If I remember correctly there was one difference in the tests which produced those two tables. In the first series the fish used were 5 rosy barbs and one giant danio per tank. In the second test "six assorted barbs [(Puntius conchonius) Rosy Barbs;(Puntius tetrazona) Albino Tiger Barbs, and Tiger Barbs] were added to each tank." Incidentally I have not seen anything that stated if any fish died or showed ill effects. Especially in the control tanks. And those numbers make for interesting reading as well.
Control T10      12      23      4.9     13.4
Control T13      15      30      8.9       7.2
And do not be surprised I caught that. Believe it or not, when I quote stuff here and provide a link, I have usually made a good effort to read the entire thing. I do skip over the parts where it explains the genetic testing methods and all the related charts as they are meaningless to me. I read the results or conclusions parts though.
Ugh- that above post was way different I had edited it a bunch- when I hit post I was not still logged in and it lost it all and not I cant fix it ;-( Bt i did mess up on the Rtr7 and 5 things. their numbers between tables 10 and 13 when compared are interesting.
If one gets a chance, look at the numbers in Tables 10 and 13 for the control tanks. What we are seeing is 6 tanks being cycled with fish under controlled lab conditions. There are six tanks which fully cycled with fish in 23-30 days. I wish they had reported the pH and temp data they collected.
Then note that the ammonia and nitrite numbers are -n ones and than the ammonia measured is NH3. There is a lot of interesting stuff to be learned from the parts of the research that had no direct bearing on the results of the study but which were merely there because its usually good science to have them.
I also read most of the studies which others post when they respond. I am retired and have the time.
The above Control numbers had a heading on them 1st col. is days to 0 ammonia, 2nd is the same for nitrite, 3rd is the max ammonia level hit and 4th is max nitrite.
Table 10 does not contain results for Rtr5 (it does contain results for BC5, the mother culture from which Rtr7 was derived).  I'm not actually sure what Rtr5 is as I can't find a definition for it anywhere! 
I don't think the control data tells us anything except that different species of fish will produce different levels of ammonia which in turn affects the length of a fish-in cycle, unless I'm missing something?
In the meantime I'm starting to look into these Pure Evolution Balls.  The official blurb states they they're a mixture of nitrifying autotrophic bacteria and organic-waste reducing heterotrophic bacteria, designed to assist existing biological filters and clear cloudy water.  It does say "PURE Aquarium can also be used when starting up a new tank, to help to mature your filter" but it makes no claims about eliminating new tank syndrome.
Well, Daize, if my cycle does not recover from the spectacular pH crash it suffered last night (7.8 to 6.4 in 12 hrs) - I'd be willing to start from scratch with the Evolution balls since I have some already and post the findings. But only on the understanding that it will be anecdotal and not in the name of science.
Just in case anyone is wondering what we're on about:
Mama, I'm not familiar with the Evolution Balls thanks for the PDF.
In the article the author states, "My best theory is that the process is similar to the immobilisation techniques using polyethylene glycol (or PEG) prepolymers, as used in water sewage treatments. If I’m right then the research behind this method is watertight and the results — at least where treatment of waste water is involved — are well documented and very impressive with captured bacteria that get to work quickly."
Do you know if he or anyone has been able to confirm this? When I read "If I'm right" my mind automatically goes to, "what if you're not".
I also thought it was interesting to note, "The winning factor is the omission of any claim that this will start an aquarium cycle. The product is intended as a standalone to existing biological activity, and although it claims to —and by all accounts should — help establish tanks, it’s not intended as a sole developer of filter bacteria." So this product is quite different than those mentioned in this thread. When would one use this?
I'm not very impressed with that PFK review.  It's clear that Evolution Aqua wouldn't tell him much about the bacteria or manufacturing process, so he's offering some guesswork.  And then there's this:
Does it work? Our experiences so far say yes. Clouded staff tanks have been remedied remarkably quickly and our filters have avoided any crashes or fluctuations.
 It’s harder for us to comment   on ammonia or nitrate reduction, lacking the time and space for a huge multiple tank trial withcontrols, and not having readings in our own systems.
 I’m very impressed. I never thought I’d be saying that about a bacterial product, but the science is sound, the product makes realistic claims, and in the flesh it has positive effects. Good effort, Evolution Aqua!
If you will forgive me a rough translation:
Does it work?  Yes, it cleared up some cloudy water in our janitor's kid's tank so it must work!
Actually we don't know if it helps with ammonia or nitrite because we didn't bother testing it, but the science that I just made up sounds good so it must work!
I'm very impressed because, you know, the balls are round and everything!
Sorry about that.  That's how it read to me :lol:
Ha, that's pretty much how it read to me too.

Most reactions