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Joined: Mar 2009
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Dear forum,
I, like most people reading this, take great pride in my pond; and I like to do things the correct way. Since the inception of my pond I have been amazed at how expensive proper pond maintainence is. I have dumped a huge amount of beneficial bacteria in my pond. The problem is, there is no way of measuring results; does it work? I don't mind the expense if it works. I decided to do an experiment over the winter.

Stacy and I have set four aquariums (10-15 gallon):
(1) 2 inches of leaves and 1 cup of fish food - with aeration
(2) 2 inches of leaves and 1 cup of fish food - no aeration
(3) 2 inches of pond sludge - aeration
(4) 2 inches of pond sludge - no aeration

Into the aerated tanks we put the maximum recommended amount of beneficial bacteria (made for sludge).

Into the nonaerated tanks we placed 2 times the recommended amount of bacteria. We are keeping the tanks at their optimal recommended temperature. I won't mention the manufacturer but this is one of the most popular products on internet sites. They have several lines but this one is made for sludge. By reading between the lines it appears it has bacteria plus enzymes.

We are documenting progress. Before I take my scientific expertise too seriously (which I have been known to do) would some of you with more experience in this field please show me the weaknesses in my experiment model? We will share results with PB members as the winter progresses. We will add bacteria as time progresses as per their direction and we are taking detailed photos of progress or lack there of.

Thanks for your time,
Steve Munsey and Stacy

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Stubby,

From a study design standpoint, there are some improvements I might recommend. Assumming you only have 4 tanks, I would place the same (exact) amount of sludge/leaves/food in each tank (carefully weighed/measured). Have one tank with no aeration and no bacteria (the control tank, which is what your original design was lacking), one tank with with just aeration, one tank with just bacteria, and one tank with aeration and bacteria. Ideally you would have replicates so that means and variances could be calculated, but it's probably not practical and you probably won't be publishing the results in a scientific journal:) Use the same amount of bacteria in the two tanks that get the bacteria. Use the same amount of aeration in the two tanks that get the aeration.

Just be sure to use the exact same amount of organic material and water in each tank. Come up with a standardized way of measuring the organics so that you can later test for reduction. This can be done by weighing the material and measuring the "depth" of the material once it is laid out flat and even at the bottom of each tank. I would plan on doing the measurements every month so that you can track the decay rate...if it does exist.

Also be sure to write down everything you do including the amount of water, bacteria used, monthly measurements, etc.

I'm very interested in your findings and I hope you keep us posted as the experiment persists. Take some photos, too!

Good luck. Shawn



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Hi Stubby,
As deterioration of the leave debris and fish food releases amino,tannic,and fatty acids incorporate pH monitoring as well.
Over time this acidic presence can actually alter the pH complexion of the aquarium and will markedly effect the rate of digestion. In open water bodies this may not be as dramatic , but in a closed finite system such as you have it bears watching.
I would also recommend that the waste base be shredded before introducing to the experiment as uptake of the carbon by bacteria is usually in soluble condition.The easier the waste can become soluble the faster the rate of deterioration. Important: Should your pH value become less than 6.5 I recommend introducing a small amount of sodium bicarb to buffer the acids.
One pound of sodium bicarb administered to 1000 gallons of water
will raise pH approximately one point. Good luck on this venture
and much success. Hope this helps. D

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I'm definitely not one of the science types here but I agree with Shawn, you lack a control tank. Plus I wouldn't have altered the amount of bacteria that you put in the non aerated tanks, I would have put the exact same amount of bacteria in all of the tanks.

Before you get too involved with this experiment you might want to contact Bill Cody to get some feedback from him. I guess it all depends upon what you want to do with the results, is this just for your own amusement or do you plan to do anything with the resultant data?

You might want to monitor and record various water parameters, since I'm a bean counter I have no idea what to monitor other that perhaps the DO in each tank.

Perhaps we can get one of the science geeks experts to weigh in on this.


JHAP
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"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."
...Hedley Lamarr (that's Hedley not Hedy)
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As always, a different (and smarter) set of eyes and ears - makes a difference. Please don't think this is in any way an experiment to be published; just for kicks. Basically, in my many querries to people in the industry, the only people that have told me unequivocally that bacteria and enzymes work as claimed are the people selling it. I find that some vendors' claims that their bacteria will "digest" 24 inches of sludge in one month a little hard to swallow. I can't believe we didn't think of a control tank. We will also add a nonaerated tank with the "recommended dose" of bacteria in addition to the 2 existing nonaerated tanks that have 2x recommended dose.

As always, thanks for the great help. Control tank is now in action.


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 Originally Posted By: Stubby Steve
I find that some vendors' claims that their bacteria will "digest" 24 inches of sludge in one month a little hard to swallow.


I wish they would work like that. Heck in a year my pond would be over 40 feet deep.


JHAP
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"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives."
...Hedley Lamarr (that's Hedley not Hedy)
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The bad thing about this project is he's taken over the room I had hoped to over-winter my passion flowers in!! \:\( It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next few months. I never know what he's going to get into next!

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Good project for us pond nuts, Stubby. I will be following closely.
BTW, Stacy, passion flowers will look just lovely along side some mucked up aquariums.


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Stubby:
This is a cool experiment. I think it is the wave of the future in water mgmt. The thing is, it seems you have to know what strains to use for which problem. I think it works well in some subdivision lakes around here,lakes with planktonic algae issues, provided you get the right lake mgmt. company that really knows their stuff. The BOS are into it, having lots of success, but our sub didn't go for it. Not yet anyway.


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I subscribe too, but tried and failed at the fish logo.
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Consider yourself lucky Stacy4Stubby, after all Steve could be into vintage muscle cars and the living room could become a staging area for a 1972 Oldsmobile restoration project, not I that I have any personal knowledge on that subject.


JHAP
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That only happens when you need the garage to park in and the house doesn't have a basement.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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Jeff, that's funny! I can show you pictures of the full restoration of a 1971 hemi cuda! We were tripping over leaf springs carrying the aquariums in! This project is a simple one compared to what I'm use to around here!

We look forward to updatiing you with progress!

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Hell, forget the stupid aquariums, I want to hear about the Hemi Cuda. \:D


JHAP
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Well,... since it's gonna take time to see any progress in our aquariums.... I guess it couldn't hurt to talk car!!!! She's a beauty! He has a matching numbers 70 cuda and then the 71 hemi cuda clone he had restored. I'll figure out how to post pics and start a thread in the proper place so I don't get in trouble ;\) He keeps threatening to sell one on ebay so he can make room in our basement for Stubby Steve's production... but really, I enjoy flyfishing SOOO much, but I LOOOVE fast cars more!!!! (just a little bit). I keep trying to talk him into keeping them!

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Simple solution Stacy. Tell him nothing gets your motor running like driving/riding in the Hemi Cuda. That ought to do it.

As and also and besides I absolutely knew JWHAP was a keeper when she asked for an Edlebrock manifold and a carburetor for her birthday. She sealed the deal when she asked for chrome valve covers for Christmas.


JHAP
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Cool I thought about doing an experiment like this in 5 gal buckets. Our pond has never had anything added to it.

I think tommorow Im going to pick up a bottle of rid-x or equivalent for the pond. I just manually removed a ton of muck and was thinking I should kick start the bacteria process before the winter.


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