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!  

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