Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Understanding Calcium Carbonate…

Understanding Calcium Carbonate…

I stumbled upon a forum in which copy pasted an article there by Willam Wurts, a PhD in aquaculture at Kentucky State University. In the article, William Wurts agreed upon the importance of CACO3 for Koi and also mentioned that even though Japanese Mud ponds have low TDS, the Koi can still get their needed dose of Ca++ directly from the mud. This is not so for our Koi ponds, thus we must supply artificially Ca++ thus compromising a bit on TDS (this part is my conclusion). The link to this post is here http://www.koiphen.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-52088.html..

 But then again Ca++ is a cation, so even though I do put in some CACO3 in my pond, and dissolves some Ca++, wouldn’t it just be absorbed by the BCB’ before reaching the Koi? This then again reminded me about another question you once asked me about the stability of my pond/AFS when I add some clay to it, a question which till now I don’t understand, especially on what was the stability questioned moreover how to measure it. But rather me asking the wrong questions, may I ask your opinion about this CACO3 towards Koi development and its compatibility with the AFS?

Thank you.

Most Koi foods have an added supplement like calcium in their ingredients and some cat litter clays also have Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) in them already. However, I can see your concerns about adding Ca++ to your pond and is the BCB’ absorbing that added calcium and taking it once again out of solution.  The simple answer would be no, but then that would not be giving you the whole representation of the whys. You are introducing through a clay additive Ca++ to your pond and so far it has been working I take it? It sounds to me that you are trying to add more Calcium to your pond because your water is soft or under the recommended 63-250 mg/l of CaCO3, is that right?

I see on that forum you recommended to read that Roddy, one of the posters, is misinterpreting the information given by the Agricultural Ph.D. and makes the statement that, Quote: “Below 100-ppm the fish will suffer unless they are in a mud pond where they can eat mud and get calcium from it. Unfortunately, some of the current pundits in the hobby confuse mud pond water parameters with our back yard Koi keeping, and that is a mistake that costs some folks their Koi coloration and growth rate from keeping the GH below the minimum requirements.” This statement is painted with a very wide paintbrush and encapsulates under the same umbrella that Koi food, make up water from evaporation and water changes have no effect on our Koi’s growth and coloring or the adding of Ca++ back into the system?

Cyprinidae or cyprinids is the largest family of fish with about 2400 species and can take a diverse range of water conditions with no ill effects, which also includes low Calcium salts too, like in Japanese mud ponds. In the wild were water is low in calcium carp eat snails, crayfish, tadpoles, and bivalves and all these foods will supplement the fish with calcium when salts are too low in solution and they still can grow to become the monsters of the lake.

I doubt very seriously that the Koi in Japanese mud ponds are only getting their Ca++ supplements from eating the clay off the bottom of mud ponds as stated by Roddy with no other additional food supplements. Once again we're back to misinformation to the hobbyist and for those that are new to the hobby may even take it as presentational fact. I know for a fact that when I was in China, fish farms made their own foods and added vitamins and minerals to help supplement their fish’s diet for optimum growth, so why not the Japanese do like whys. I use Purina Game Fish Chow Food for ponds as I have mentioned before and some of the ingredients included in the food are Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Pantothenate, and Calcium Iodate the same as the Chinese fish farms use along with the Japanese fish farms too. These additives to supplementary fish foods are why the Japanese and Chinese fish farms keep their TDS, GH and KH so low.  As stated by Purina and Quote:

  • Multiple Size Particle - feeds all sizes of fish
  • Floating ration - great for viewing
  • Higher digestibility of nutrients
  • 32% high protein with attractant
  • Added Vitamin C to reduce deficiency-related problems
  • Enhances production of forage fish to enhance size and number of bass

Purina Game Fish Chow Food for ponds: Some of the ingredients included in the food are Calcium Carbonate, Calcium Pantothenate, and Calcium Iodate.

The Agricultural Ph.D. that wrote the article knows that all fish farms and agricultural fish food farms add Calcium Carbonate to their foods so keeping the water at a high GH is really not needed if the Koi or game fish are supplemented with additional foods (Which they are!) that will help bone development and growth. When I was in Israel, Israeli Koi farms also did the same thing by supplementing the diet and not so much the water.

Koi and Goldfish forage in the mud or bottom sediment by sifting through it for food that I mentioned above by constantly taking it into their mouths and spiting it out, but they don’t eat it directly but indirectly, not as Roddy has stated. So, adding additional Ca++ to a pond is nothing new in the Koi hobby. Cyprinidae didn’t become the largest backbone species on the planet because they were touchy little animals and didn’t know how to adjust to water parameters that weren’t perfect in the eyes of us humans!

The addition of Calcium Carbonate is nothing new in the Koi world and one such additive that I have seen even by professional Koi keepers are that of Oyster Shells. Oyster Shells like that of Hen eggshells are mostly made up of Calcium carbonate and by adding them to the ponds mass they will disintegrate and add Ca++ back into the system…at least in theory that is.  Now depending on what side of the fence you’re on, most say they do nothing and some say they do. But it takes chemistry to unravel this mystery on why some say they do work and others say Oyster shells are useless placebos at raising the GH or adding calcium to ponds!

Oyster shells and eggshells will not disintegrate back into salts unless the water is more acidic than alkaline in nature. The acidic pH is what does it, which is a pH of 6.0-6.5 will do just fine at breaking down the calcium from the shells.  This would probably explain why it would work for some hobbyist, those with lower pH and not for others because it is pH dependent. Like that of Calcium Reactors used in saltwater aquariums, the pH is driven down by pressurized CO2 and Aragonite is used as a medium in the reactor to be broken-down for its Calcium content and trace elements. However, the Koi hobbyist is not using a reactor but just placing a bag of the Oyster shells in a waterfall hoping that it will add Ca++ back into solution. You add it by the clay additive and others do it by Oyster shells. Your way of adding Ca++ to your pond will give you better results than the iffy Oyster shell game though.

There is another way of adding pure Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) back into solution that only some know of and for the life of me I don’t understand why it’s not used more often in the supplementation of Calcium if needed. The purest form of Calcium Carbonate in the world is something that we all grew up with as children and probable don’t even know it…chalk! Yes, blackboard chalk is the easiest obtainable of all Calcium carbonates and chalk is inexpensive!  By placing the chalk in a mesh bag and then placing it by the inlet diffuser of your AFS or in front of any outlet tube, it will then break down the chalk back into solution once again and elevate the calcium salts of your pond. It is not pH dependent like Oyster shells and eggshell are, and is guaranteed to work. I remember doing a seminar for a saltwater club and told them about the benefits of chalk in reef aquariums and they all though I was crazy because it was too cheap and if the Calcium Carbonate didn’t come from a bottle or reactor it just couldn’t be true! I use to place chalk in my filters sump to my saltwater invertebrate tanks and it worked just fine.

If you wish to give your Koi the benefits of Calcium because your food does not have it as an additive, then you're stuck with supplementing it by other means. But make sure it is not in your food fist so your animals’ don’t get an overdose of calcium, which is bad for them like it is for humans. So if the food already has Calcium in it then it will not be attracted to the BCB’ and stay in the Koi until expelled by the animals latter.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Okay when you say the AFS doesn’t place a burden on the ponds DO you're right; it doesn’t!

Hi Yogas,

Are 100 pages on your forum a lot, and how many views do you have so far? When I was on KKU forum, by the time it closed we had over 72,000 views with hundreds of pages to read, more than any other thread on that forum. Good people and no one tried to act like a know-it-all either! Your father was right; when you teach so shall you learn.

Okay when you say the AFS doesn’t place a burden on the ponds DO you're right; it doesn’t! Read what I say below and maybe you will better understand the complicated process that takes place inside a BCB. You're also right in reading and rereading something that is said to have it sink in, I do the same thing.

Maybe you can translate what I say here for your fellow forum hobbyists so they can understand what is happening. I’m sorry for my ignorance that I don’t speak your language and you speak English so good that it is embarrassing that I can’t speak yours. But right now we are speaking the international language of friendship, and it doesn’t hurt to throw in some science too.

Many hobbyists say that: “It is impossible to have oxygen in the baskets because the substrate will compact, and therefore will inhibit any biological process to take place.” However, they forget about the substrate permeability1 qualities, and the large part it plays in the microbial and chemical processes. The permeability of Kitty litter and Laterite allow oxygenated pond water with inorganic compounds to pass through the substrate on a current-carrying magnetic field, which then allows the substrate to stay more aerobic. Such substrate has two characteristics that enable fluids to move through it: (1) porosity and (2) permeability. Porosity is the presence of small openings, or pores. Permeability means that some of the pores are connected by spaces through which fluids can move. Nonetheless, actual tests of the baskets have confirmed the existence of oxygen at low levels for bacterium to exists and exists it does. Yet, in all honesty, how it gets there is still somewhat of an unknown to scientist. Yet, I will try to explain the best I can for the hobbyist.

Oxygen penetration is less and less with depth. It decreases for two reasons: microbial metabolism and subsequent biogeochemical processes. Diffusion is a very effective process over short distances; however, it has its limitations.

Yet, the presence of oxygen in the biocenosis clarification baskets suggests that oxygen does diffuse as far as the center of each basket. Concomitantly, biogeochemical processes may produce or retain some oxygen.

Differential pressure existing across gradients. Ion displacement (differential pressure) exists when there is a relationship with carbon dioxide removal. If there is a substrate producing some carbon dioxide, it then becomes a factor in creating anoxic condition. The addition of anion producer such as microbial or aggregate or both needs to produce enough oxygen to engage or attract the carbon dioxide and that will then move the cations, releasing the oxygen and consequently going more aerobic. The point being made here is that it is that oxygen is present in the substrate of each basket and it is clearly not there only because of diffusion alone.

[Ed: in other words it’s not taking all its oxygen from the ponds mass like autotrophic bacteria does but making its own oxygen inside each BCB’.]

Carbon availability for autotrophs, such as cyanobacterium, or those bacteria that utilize light and carbon dioxide to carry out their biological processes and can quickly use an abundance of inorganic carbon. Heterotrophs are mostly responsible for breaking down organic matter and thrive in areas where diffusion abounds and where organic carbon is well cycled. It is also a fact that mediating biochemical transformations (protein and/or enzymes) and genetic controls (DNA/ RNA) show a common reliance on specific ratios of carbon (DOC), nitrogen (DON), and phosphorus (DOP). It could then be said organic carbon is a major player in how well inorganic nutrients, example, nitrogen and phosphorus, are used. In addition, there appears to be a specific ratio needed, which is thought to be approximately 36-parts Carbon, 6-parts nitrogen, and 1-part phosphorus, sometimes referred to as the Redfield Ratio.

Evidence suggests that when heterotrophic bacteria are limited by both organic carbon and mineral nutrients, they have a negative affect on their trophic neighbors in the microbial food network. In other words, if they suffer, it appears to negatively affect neighboring processes. Nevertheless, nitrogen is generally the primary limiting nutrient in our ponds because it controls the rate of primary production. If the system is supplied with high levels of “nitrogen,” then algal blooms will generally occur.

Whether organic carbon is cycled or stored, it appears to be a matter that relates to how the baskets substrate supplies heterotrophic and autotrophs their essential foodstuffs. However, it has been shown that when only an organic carbon source is added, autotrophs are out competed by heterotrophs for inorganic nutrients, demonstrating a need for the corresponding nitrogen. If inorganic nutrients are only added, autotrophs will increase, such as cyanobacteria. Therefore, the ratio between carbon and nitrogen and that of phosphorus are very important factors when facilitating population densities of either bacterium. One thing is evident, that the basket substrate along with where diffusion is the most critical player, are very efficient at cycling organic carbon to balance the ratio of available constituents.

Another thing that pond hobbyists worry about: is that of phosphates. Actually, most phosphates in our ponds are due to food fed and the quality of tap water used for evaporation makeup or water changes. However, it has been said anaerobic areas, were obligate anaerobic heterotrophs live, accumulate phosphates. As a matter fact, the anaerobic area with its lower pH and redox is an efficient user of the oxygen electrons tied to the phosphorus element; therefore, phosphate is quickly reduced to other phosphorus molecules and ions.

Therefore, phosphate accumulation anywhere where it is not attacked for its oxygen, suggesting that in more aerobic and anoxic bed areas there would be greater accumulation since oxygen is readily available. However, that is also not accurate! In those areas, it is mostly bound to calcium and manganese (a trace element in Laterite) where it is quite stable because it is very easy to maintain its “charge” balance. Therefore, phosphates are usually not available for uptake in substrates unless associated with reducing conditions.

[Ed: The above paragraph also tells you why the bacteria do not employ the ponds oxygen. The bacteria will, as you know use the oxygen from phosphates and Nitrates, too. This explains why Dr. Franco found that by adding a BCB to his Nitrate and phosphate laden aquarium, that it completely wiped-out his phosphates to zero. People must understand that these bacteria are smart little buggers and can utilize so many different recourses for their food requirements and oxygen provisions.]

I believe that a nearly complete recycling can be achieved in a pond equipped with biocenosis clarification baskets. The fact remains that grain size and depth of such, play a major role in the class of bacteria that inhabit the biochemical pathways of the substrate of each basket. Nevertheless, when the right percentages of each are present, the substrate world has a very positive effect on the overall pond water mass and will therefore make it suitable for aquatic animals!  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Thank you for devoting so many years of passion, time and effort in bringing light to Anoxic filtration.


Hi Kevin,


Thank you for devoting so many years of passion, time and effort in bringing light to Anoxic filtration.

I've been reading your blog and eBook, and have some questions I hope can be answered to bring more clarity to AFS.

     The baskets act like magnets. I assume that the Laterite center is the core of the magnet. Thus we want water flow to be all around the basket at equidistant. This explains the required gap at the bottom, top and all around the basket. If this the case, wouldn't it be optimum to have a circular basket, resulting in an equidistant of water all around the basket?


Ed: Actually the Laterite can be mixed in the cat litter or placed in the center of the BCB’ and has no bearing or reinforcement of the cores magnetism or for that matter the clays crystalline structural electrical charge of diffusion whatsoever. Its primary purpose is to aid in the bacteria’s reproduction and add vital trace elements like iron (Fe) and manganese (Mn) to the plants, too.


My testing has shown that it doesn’t make any difference if the BCB’ are squire, rectangular, pentagon or circular. We (Beta testing pond) tested both/all types and neither one of them outperformed the other in biological processes. At present I’m using a basket that is elongated and no negative affects whatsoever for the past 25-years now has shown up. So what can be called ‘optimum’ would only be a matter of opinion but not scientific researched confirmed by any means.


Also, the flexibility in the size of the basket also draws attention to the 'magnetic reach' of the basket. I understand that there must be gaps between baskets and the floor to allow water flow. What is the optimum distance? How far can each basket be without overlapping their effective range?


Ed: The diffusion of ions is the same if you use a basket that is 6"X6"X6" or 24"X10" round basket like I show in my book and at the center of the page here on my post. What we did find out is that like magnets, the more BCB’ the better uptake of ions out of solution faster! So the gap between BCB’ can be as little as 1/4"( this also applies to the bottom of the baskets) or as far apart as room will allow. Also the BCB’ act like baffles, which I will explain latter on how that works. The farther the BCB’ are from each other the effectiveness will be lessen to a greater degree because you will only be using less BCB’ to do the job but will not play a role in their ability to carry on biological processes as a single entity but it would make cleaning the AFS easier. It’s really the laws of physics here; the more BCB’ the faster ion uptake because of a larger biological mass and dwell time of water laden with ions to BCB’ is increased.


How does the size of the basket alter the above factors? Other than the difficulty in moving the basket, what is the largest recommended basket size? I assume size is somewhat linked to the distance between the Laterite and the edge of the basket? So instead of having a certain cup size, would the volume of the Laterite actually be worked out from the amount of Laterite require to ensure that the Laterite is at the core of the basket from all edges?


Ed: The size of the BCB’ are only restricted to their weight and what one can lift easily without getting a hernia. It’s not only the cat litter you have to worry about but water weighs 8.5 lbs. per gallon and that has to be added into the overall baskets weight when lifting it out of the pond.


Laterite is not restricted to only the core of the baskets but can be mixed up in the center of the baskets or homogeneous placed in the BCB. Using physics this means the BCB’ although having different constituents throughout will still have the same electromagnetic interaction with ions and will be uniform without irregularities no matter where the Laterite is placed. You don’t have to make the adding of Laterite into Rocket Science. If you add too much Laterite to a BCB then so what, if you add less then that’s okay too. You do have some margin of error to play with because either way it will still work. That’s the good thing about the AFS, it give you some flexibility.


You recommend an "as fast as possible" flow rate across the baskets. Are the baskets so efficient that they work even better at high flow rates like 10,000GPH? Is there no dwell time recommendation like conventional filtration?


Ed: The AFS can take a faster flow rate because water is not being forced through the substrate and therefore have no restrictions like conventional filters do. The point is that you want the ponds mass to become one with the filters mass. The BCB’ are taking in ions out of solution and the quicker you can represent those bad ions to the BCB’ the faster they can do their job at taking them out of the waters mass. The trillions and trillions of cells that are in each BCB will become greater or lesser in numbers according to the available foodstuff that is represented to them.

If your AFS is big enough to take 25,000-gph+ then why not do so. But this does not however mean that you have to! If all you can push through your AFS is 500-gph then it will still work but it gives you flexibility that other filters don’t or cannot give to the hobbyists. The slower water moves through any filter means that what is in A will not get processed until B becomes emptied of its contents first. However, all filters except the AFS have restrictions because biological and chemical processes will be disrupted if you do not follow the guidelines set by the manufacture. Not so an AFS! The bacteria do not have to worry about water-shear like other filter do and lag time is not an issue because that is automatically being controlled by the porewater and permeability of the medium being used in each BCB. The none clogging medium is what makes an AFS stand out from other filtration systems. So if each BCB can carry some Septillion cells today, it will also carry that same amount 25 years from now! This then allows the Koi to grow but not outgrow the filter too.


2) Water tracking and flow


Most AFS build I saw online are horizontal flow. In my opinion, an optimum setup due to water's preferred flow. http://koikichi.com/water-flow-patterns/

However, it's said that AFS can be stacked as long as there's sufficient gap between the baskets. I read somewhere that there's a certain recommended depth of the basket? Is it to the pond level, ground level, or the water level in the AFS? That being said, would an upward or downward flow system reduce the AFS's effectiveness? Why and why not?


How high can we stack the baskets?


From my understanding, we want as much water flow around the baskets. Thus the flow pattern would matter in the AFS system?


Ed: The recommended depth of an AFS has been set because at 24" which gives you the greatest stability of water parameters along with ease of maintenance. Tests have shown that because of our filters are outside and exposed to the elements the stability is compromised at lesser depths. Twenty-four inches give you about 15-gals of water per cubic foot of space. If you would like to add the BCB’ to a shallow stream that feeds your pond that will work too, as long as you understand that the water will lose heat faster at shallower depths and may compromise temperature stability and cool down or even heat up the mass too quickly.

The flow of water going through the AFS is governed by gravity and it doesn’t matter in what direction the water flows as long as it’s not disruptive to the cat litter or mulm inside the filter. That’s why diffusing the inlet water is so important. Speed of inlet water is not as important as (CFPH) cubic feet per hour of water through the filter. Remember, all the BCB’ are doing is attracting ions and in what direction the water is flowing doesn’t matter as long as it not disruptive to the system.

The site you give above is about the Eric filter and has no scientific research done to his hypotheses of water flow. Let me explain: Water is like electricity; it will take the path of least resistance at all cost. If you have a chamber that is constantly agitating the incoming water (He uses aeration to accomplish this.) the macro and micro particles will have no time for settlement. The reason the BCB’ are spaced in the filter is not just to let water flow in-between the BCB’ but also now they become baffles and will then allow micro settlement to collect in the AFS. This micro detritus is not being compact are bushed together like conventional filters do, but allowed to freely settle in the AFS. Like natural systems do, the bacteria will colonize on this detritus and turn it into mulm.

The large BCB is 24" X 10" deep and has holes drilled all around it with 3M fabric covering the holes so that the cat litter will not come out. In the 25 years of its existence it has only been transplanted twice. When the BCB was ten years old a hobbyist came over to help me move it and he was amaze that the cat litter was in pristine condition still.

The Eric filter allows this micro and macro detritus to now accumulate on the filtration medium and not in a settlement camber like it is supposed to. That agitated water now is moving the water so fast that the bacteria on the outer layers of his media (facing and the back of the media) now will begin to clog from polymeric adhesives from the bacteria trying to hold on to prevent water-shear! The bacteria are now responding to the dynamics that he is creating and stresses the bacteria’s responses thereto the fluids forces. This sticky polymeric adhesive, made from living and dying cells, will first turn brown in color, and then get darker as time goes on. Like that of a water pipe that has that slime in it from living and dying cells that can reduce water flow by 30%; that too will reduce water flow through his filter media. Now the incoming water will take the path of least resistance once again. His accomplishments are now defeated, no matter what way the water flows due to clogging…end of story!

The Eric filter can only have water passed through it at the ponds volume in 2.5 hours. That means if your pond pollutants are @ 1-ppm every 24 hrs., the filter would have a surplus of 18-ppm of insulting ions in just one month. In one year that would be a whopping 216-ppm of pollution left in the pond mass if water changes were not carried out every month to lessen these insults. However, even with a 50% water change every month that 18-ppm would still be at 9-ppm plus the following month insults of 18-ppm on top of that, that would now bring it to 27-ppm before another 50% water change was to be executed and so on.

Do the math and you will come up with the same numbers as I have. No filter will eradicate 100% of the biological and chemical insult in one pass. Getting the insults in our pond from point A to B as fast as possible and then making sure that those insults will be 100% eradicated is not as easy as it sounds. Since water is positively charged why not take advantage of those positive ions first by taking them out of the water column, then let the bacteria do their thing under ideal conditions where they will not be disturbed, like that of a BCB.

I read that aeration is discouraged due to the possibility of the bubbles dislodging clay from the basket. Would a fabric container like the Smartpot then serve a better purpose in an AFS system with aeration to disturb water tracking and encourage more water contact with the baskets?

Ed: Aeration is not needed in and AFS because the oxygen in the filter is the same as that of the pond main body of water. Once again an aerator would only cause a disruption of the mulm in the AFS and would then compromise the turbidity of the pond. Why add more equipment to something that doesn’t need it in the first place? Also, plants do better in water that is moving but not disruptive to them or agitating the surface of the water.

Smartpots can be used for BCB’ but they cost more than the plastic ones and will not be as rigid as plastic ones. The 3M fiber baskets would also make it harder to stack the BCB’ on top of one another. Other whys, if you feel comfortable in using the Smartpots then use them, but I would not say they would be better, just different. My plastic black baskets have lasted me over 25-years now, so what advantage would a more expensive Smartpot make if all were equal in doing biological processes? I have used the 3M fabric before and still using it to this day in homemade 24" large BCB’ and it works very well without clogging. You can also use the big floating baskets that they sell today and make them into BCB’ but they are very expensive and then they wouldn’t become very cost effective in the long run.


3) Fabric containers- http://www.smartpots.com


Plastic aquatic planting baskets are the recommended containers. Would fabric containers like Smartpots actually serve the purpose even better? They are extremely permeable. Water just gushes out if filled on land. Yet they don't allow any fired-clay to exit. My only concern would be if they would clog more easily.


4) Floating planting basket


Following from the above question, would a floating planting basket actually work well as a biocenosis basket? Cyanobacteria may form at the bottom, but can also be fed on by the koi.



5)Microbe aquatic planting media


I found this kiln fired clay media on Amazon. It's more expensive than the right kitty litter, but i'm guessing can work the same.


Ed: Right now the three preferred mediums are cat litter clay, oil-dri or Zeolite cat litter with no additives. They are very inexpensive and cost effective in the long run. Why spend more if you don’t have to. If all you can get is the more expensive kiln fired clay then that will have to do.


That's all for now. Have a great 2014.


If this is to be posted anywhere, I hope to remain anonymous.





Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Koi Market Aquatic, Gardens 475 West Main Street Huntington, NY 11743

Hello Shawn,

Well it’s nice to see that a shopowner is actually taking pride in what they sell and not letting commerce dictate that for them. It’s a hard judgment call on doing what is right over doing what will bring in the most revenue for your business.  It sounds to me that you’re looking out for the betterment of your customers.

In the article: Testing 11 commercial products claiming to contain nitrifying bacteria that will facilitate in the conversion of toxic ammonia to nontoxic nitrate within the pond.  None of the cultures used did I give names to in that article because of liability lawsuits and unfortunately some of these companies that make these products have lawyers on retainer that will destroy a biologist or chemist’s career if they were given the chance to.  I have a chemist I work with that almost lost everything by the big tobacco companies because he had a product that would stop cigarettes from causing cancer. Yes, lung cancer and other respiratory diseases would be a thing of the past. The tobacco companies sued him because his product would be ‘an admission of guilt’ if they were to use it in their products.

 All testing on the bacteria cultures in the article were tested at an optimum temperature of 27°C (77°F), temperatures that our ponds never reach until late summer or if you live further south than the Mason-Dixon Line then maybe sooner. Remember, the testing was at ‘optimum conditions for cell growth’, something that our ponds never replicate like in a lab.

The two products you’re referring to: AWT-1 and Koi Care Kennel Jump Start are blends of Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter, and Nitrospira bacteria and if I remember correctly… one or both of them have to be refrigerated to give it a longer shelf life. Most storeowners do not carry those products here in Chicago because of the refrigeration they require. The refrigeration process is to slowdown the cells inside the bottles down @ 2.22°C (36°F) but not killing them altogether. You may want to read Nitrobacter and cold weather:

My endorsement is on both of these products from lab testing that I have personally done. You can rest assure you’re doing your part in selling the hobbyist a good product for inoculating their ponds in early spring as being honest to your clientele, a lot better than the freeze-dried cultures because of faster reaction times. 

Question: Also, do you have a recommendation for a qualified bacterium that aide in the removal of sludge? This is also a product we sell a lot of and I do not want to sell something that does not work.

Now this is something I really question when a hobbyist ask me this. Why do you have so much sludge (smuts) in your pond in the first place? Why aren’t your bacteria taking care of the nitrogen processes and the oxidation of these organics in ridding your pond or water garden of this sludge? Is the hobbyist confusing sludge with mulm? Is the mulm inert and has it been broken down into its simplest form already? Mulm only becomes a problem when it begins to clog biological and chemical pathways; otherwise it becomes another biological media for the bacteria to live on. At least in natural systems that’s how it works.

Okay, sorry for the rambling but too much sludge in anyone’s pond from Autumn foliage or yearly buildup is not a good sign of astute pond husbandry. When it comes to sludge, look for a bacterium product that mainly takes care of organic materials using heterotrophic bacteria. Most products out there use exclusively heterotrophic bacteria in their sludge additives that use organics as a foodsource. Once again stick with those that come in liquid form over freeze-dried because of reaction time is shortened.  

There is a way of improving these sludge remover products that hobbyist buy.
1)  Increase aeration from bottom to top of pond heavily with air stones and a strong air pump.
2)  Increase water movement along the bottom of the pond to bring more oxygen and oxygenated water turnover to the organics that you’re trying to oxidizes.  Heterotrophic bacteria need lots of oxygen to multiply and can become very competitive with the animals in our ponds for oxygen and will cause a pond die-off if the consumption of oxygen outcompetes that of the higher life forms.
3)  Never let hobbyists think that an overabundance of heterotrophic bacteria from sludge removers in solution ends all problems, because they will outcompete autotrophs’ for space, food and oxygen and they will end up with a pH swing or an inefficient nitrogen cycle. They will then have to inoculate their ponds once again with more autotrophic bacteria for their nitrogen cycle and may end up with an ammonia swing because that is the byproduct of heterotrophs. 

What I’m saying if you sell a hobbyist a sludge remove make sure they have a backup product on hand. Such sludge remover will also consume large amounts carbon. These reduced carbon compounds can be used as an energy source by the autotrophs and provide the energy in food consumed by heterotrophic bacteria too. Ninety-five percent or more of all types of living organisms that live in our ponds are heterotrophic and I bet most of your customers don’t even know that.

So the sludge remover you’re selling is a good one and there are several other brands that would service too but they are all about the same.