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    Thread: Nitrite oxidizing bacteria sensitive to visible 4000K light?

    1. #1
      SimonW is offline Senior Member
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      Nitrite oxidizing bacteria sensitive to visible 4000K light?

      Hello friends:

      To make things simple I put 5 kg media in a plastic net bag directly in the water as biofilter, and it is heavily aerated from below. I am sure that the air bubbles makes enough flow through it.

      Above the tank I have 3X 1000 lumen 4000K light bulbs 24/7.

      It works fine for removing ammonia, as it is always zero (clear yellow, not a trace of green), but nitrite is always present at about 0.4 ppm. Nitrate has always been kept 20-40 ppm. I change 30% water twice a week. I have been doing this for >1 month now.

      I donīt understand why nitrite just refuses to go away. I read somewhere that the nitrification bacteria are light sensitive, may it be the reason? Obviously not the ammonia oxidizing bacteria as they work fine, but the nitrite oxidizing bacteria.

      Another question: I now always add NaCl to 120 ppm to protect the fish from nitrite. Can nitrite still harm the fish in long term even when enough Cl-ions are present?
      Last edited by SimonW; 12-09-2019 at 01:35 PM.

    2. #2
      icu2's Avatar
      icu2 is online now Administrator ~ WWKC Treasurer
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      Have you measured your source water for nitrite?
      I don't know if I've ever seen the amount of light effect the bio process. My guess would be that
      you need more material for the load.
      --Steve


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    3. #3
      SimonW is offline Senior Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Have you measured your source water for nitrite?
      I don't know if I've ever seen the amount of light effect the bio process. My guess would be that
      you need more material for the load.
      Thank you for your reply!

      I have checked the source water which does not have nitrite nor ammonia or nitrate.

      Nice to know that the light does not affect the nitrification. I must add more media!

    4. #4
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      I'm unclear when you set this up. Has this system fully cycled before and was the nitrite reading ever at zero?
      Since you already have a sizable reading for nitrate, which is the final step in the nitrogen cycle, I would agree with Steve that you are simply asking too much and have too high a bio load for the filter as it is.

      If you had very low nitrate readings and your water temp was cooler (35-65 degrees F) then I would suspect it was temp related as bio bacteria prefer warmer water. That isn't the case with the nitrate reading you're getting.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    5. #5
      Marilyn's Avatar
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      Another thing that came to mind is that you may not be turning the water over quickly enough to process the nitrite.
      What size is the system and how many times an hour is it turned over?

      We use a number of similar lighting for our systems, ours are in the 5000k range. Our systems have never had an issue processing nitrite.
      Still learning as I go but y'all can call me Marilyn

    6. #6
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      Interesting topic that never comes up in filtration discussions. Looked up several research papers available on the internet and it looks like light indeed does have a negative effect on the bacteria and conversion decreases. The effect varies with wavelength and light intensity on the media. Looks like if you want to maximize conversion keep the media in a dark container. If your media is exposed to light just add extra media to compensate for any reduction.
      Last edited by batman; 12-11-2019 at 09:47 AM.
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    7. #7
      SimonW is offline Senior Member
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      Thank you Marilyn and Batman so much for your advice!

      That was actually my reserve tank which I intended to use for my koi fries when they get bigger, and just some days after my original post I decided to give it up. Instead I bought a 150-liter aquarium and culled the fries from about 200 down to about 60. So I will not need to set up that tank. Possibly survive the 60 fries in that aquarium until I move them out next April-May, or I will cull them again if they get too crowded before that.

      But your advice has still been useful, as the tank that I have been keeping my better koi in has had similar nitrite problem. Its volume is 1,5 m3 and it is equipped with a pressure filter aimed for a pond of 15 m3, and the pump pumps 6 m3 water per hour through it. The air-pump gives 8500 liter per hour. Everything is over-sized because they are for my out-door ponds.

      I let new water trickle into the tank, about 150 liters per day. And I give about 60 gram food each day with 33% protein. Nitrate is constantly 20-40 ppm.

      Later I realized that it might be caused by bad flow, so I adjusted the positions of the inlet and outlet, and the situation seems to have improved: Now nitrite has gone down to 0,2 ppm. Not completely zero though.

      I wonder if you or other knowledgeable know the answer: I always add NaCl to 1200 ppm to protect the fish from nitrite. Can nitrite still harm the fish in long term even when enough Cl-ions are present? If NaCl can keep the harm caused by nitrite away I will no longer worry about it!
      Last edited by SimonW; 12-20-2019 at 01:40 PM.

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