Sunday, March 22, 2015

Just trying to expand the information chain with also trying to debunk some of the bad information that is on the Internet.

Hey, Kevin who are you quoting when doing these posts? haha, I have always wondered. Good information nonetheless, but how many people really ever experience these die offs of fish or hydrogen sulfide being produced etc... I guess it does happen because people always seem to talk about it, but I have never had issues and have never heard of anyone close to me ever have their a tank crash.
As well, these are all true for the bacteria, but one cannot ignore what plants do to the system and that some plants do not like O2 touching their root hairs, while other produce the O2. Tom Barr did tons of studies and found that the optimum nutrient exchange/O2 circulation within the substrate is that of a natural one, what does he mean, one with just soil or Aquasoil, no need for heating cables, not need for laterite or power sand and definitely no need for undergravel filters, he did experiments with reverse undergravels and found the REDOX areas shaped themselves like the shape of an egg box, areas of lower and higher REDOX,  as well I have heard other scientists say that you do want some anaerobic areas, so is this true, so they can strip the O off of the nitrate, and I know some must be converted back to ammonia, but in the presence of plants and high CEC Aquasoils it will be quickly taken up by the roots or chelated for later, then the roots release CO2 and the H+ trades spots with the chelated basic nutrient like K.

So my whole point is that I have an article that Tom Barr sent me talking about how bacteria " the biofilm" as well as the plants themselves determine a healthy environment, not just the bacteria, and that the plants play a huge role and will manipulate their surroundings to more than ideal. I am sure what you are saying is true, you are the Professor , but I think there needs to be more emphasis on what plants are capable of doing to the substrate. I use Aquasoils which are high in humates and baked with high CEC clays, so you have the best of both worlds when using Aquasoil. Humates have even more CEC/AEC than the clay, but you have the clay for helping to keep the pellet shape and it aids, I am sure, in nutrient exchange, similar to laterite, as well as trapping all colloidal particles making for crystal clear water, and it is very light and allows for good oxygen exchange at the water column/substrate interface. And the pellet shape helps against compaction.

Anyhow, I have never worried about bacteria and have always had very good success with African Cichlids and planted aquariums. I figure that for the most part the bacteria and the plants will manipulate their surroundings just like they do in nature, but you cannot ignore what the plants do to the system. Tom's studies show that power sand, heating cables and laterite are not necessary and he was actually getting the best readings of exchange rates and whatever else you scientists do with just plain dirt in his tank.
Is he just way off? I want to keep an open mind, but Tom is a pretty big heavy weight in the hobby. Any advice or info would be appreciated and here is a link to the article. Maybe you could help clarify.



Hi Dave,

Excellent letter… not quoting anyone except myself on these informative posts, the same is on my blog. Just trying to expand the information chain with also trying to debunk some of the bad information that is on the Internet.

If you have read any of my post you will see that I highly recommend a plenum for diffusion of ions and water movement through the substrate. I see too many YouTube videos that show the wrong way of doing things and people need to know that it is wrong and within a year sometimes a little longer that tank(s) do “crash”. I have seen many and I also have replicated this crash in tanks myself at home and in the lab. Of course the definition of crash will have to be defined because what becomes a crash to some may be just a nuisance to others.

When you talk about optimum nutrient exchange and oxygen penetration into the substrate like that of a “Natural system”; if ions are not allowed to go into and out of the substrate without hindrance then we are talking only about closed systems and not the working of a natural system where the substrate is electrically charged.  When redox is in the shape of an egg in the substrate then your system is a closed one and those pockets of higher and lower redox prove that the ion exchange is being hindered or you have pockets of oxygen depletion happening. In a plenum the redox stays at a neutral redox throughout the bottom and does not change or have pockets.

No it is not and I will emphasize this right now, no it is NOT good to have “anaerobic zones in a closed system, this is not good. The reason is the obligated anaerobic bacteria only make more ammonia/ammonium ions and that’s it. Microbiologist know better than to say ‘anaerobic zones” in any aquarium is good thing. Anoxic conditions are desired and nothing below that as far as oxygen depletion is concerned. That way you will have facultative anaerobic bacteria that will take oxygen from nitrates NO3 if need be and not the ammonia making obligated anaerobic bacteria that will leach the ammonium ion back into solution once again. Is this really what you want?  Please click on the link below and follow it to Syd’s Internet site.

This article will open up you eyes to the truth and all that misinformation that is out there in cyberspace will be debunked for you.

Bacteria trying to hold on to a moving media by polymeric adhesive create Biofilm and this adhesive is made up of living and dying cells. In an anoxic system like the one I have invented, the cells do not have to make this biofilm that clogs filter media microspores and they go on about doing what they are suppose to do and that is eat, multiply and take care of the nitrogen cycle.

If you or anyone can create an environment that is stable, and remember this is the key word here is stable environment in a substrate and it is in an Anoxic state at all times, then plants will become secondary in the biological process of the microbial world. Plants are not as dependable as you may think. There are many variables that can and will change the way plants takes up and utilize ions and when. I do not want people to thinks that just because they use plants that they and not the substrates bacterium will save the day in their tanks and ponds…they will not! It will take more plants than most hobbyist know, to do the job of determining a healthy environment.

The fact is if you don’t get the substrate right the first time, then everything from then on will only have to work harder to correct ones mistakes.

Yes, you are exceedingly correct in saying what plants can do an their benefits in the closed system and that cannot be emphasized enough. However, depending on plants alone will not bring about success for everyone in the aquarium hobby or pond hobby, what people need is a constant that anyone can repeatability do, not just some and not just those with all the CO2 equipment. If those plants are in a closed system and not an open one, like that of natural systems where water is going into and out of the substrate or an Anoxic Filtration System, then the plants will not do as much work as you are lead to believe. It would take several pounds of plants to do the work you are talking about and that is a scientific fact.

Aquasoil is a good substrate for planted aquariums when new but what if you already have a medium to use such as aquarium gravel and you don’t wish to buy new gravel all over again? Aquasoil will become exhausted then what do you do? Then you make mention of “trapping all colloidal particles” that means that the substrate is a noncystalline substance and that means no attraction of positive ions out of the water body. Clay (Laterite) has a crystalline structure and that in turn attracts positive ion out of the water body. When it becomes exhausted it can be added to using various methods.

QUOTE: ”plants play a huge role and will manipulate their surroundings to more than ideal.” Sorry but this is not quite true and ask any pond owner when they go to transplant their water lilies (remember they are under the most ideal condition ever with direct sunlight and all the CO2 in the world at their disposal) and see blacken soil and smell what it is doing, and they will tell you the same thing. Plus, I give an example that even with plants the gravel will blacken at the very bottom of the glass aquarium in time. I would not call that manipulate their surroundings to favorable conditions, would you? Blacken gravel means no oxygen is getting to that part of the substrate and that means obligated anaerobic bacteria are creating their havoc.

Look Dave, I’m not trying to be a smart ass here, but all that I talk about is being taught in universities in microbiology classes along with aquatic botany of plants. You don’t think I spent 10-years of scientific research on the AFS and I didn’t try dirt, do you? Dirt fail miserably in a closed system because of permeability and porewater did not quite make ideal conditions unless the plants were very aggressive in bringing oxygen into the substrate. It was only repeatable if conditions were ideal and then if there was a break down of the plants ability to take in cantons and anions in equal amounts, the soil went bad and anaerobic conditions took over the substrates. The substrate has to depend on other means to get water into it and oxygen and plants are not the answer alone. That’s why in the AFS it works with and without plants because of the science behind how it works with the substrate and bacteria.

When I try and help the hobbyist, I try and give repeatability of doing things that gives them a 90% chance or better for success for their endeavors. Heavyweights in this hobby invent things that make it better for all, not give none scientific anecdotal accounts of what they think is good for all. It takes years of research and experimenting to come up with great ideas that benefit all and not just a few. An then when you’re all done an bring it out to the public, you better have all your ducks in a row or they will eat you alive and smash your face right into the grown, and laugh all the while they’re doing it. Hobbyists are brutal people and don’t…like…change!

By the way, thanks for the Internet site.


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