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Shipping of hydrobionts

Сегодня отсылка живых гидробионтов по почте стала невероятно популярной, появились замечательные приспособления для того, чтобы питомцы прибыли к месту назначения в целости и сохранности: пенопластовые ящики, дышащие мешочки, согревающие и охлаждающие пакеты, кислород, закачиваемый в целлофановые мешки и т.п. Казалось бы, к чему изобретать велосипед? Все давно придумано. Тем не менее меня не в полной мере устраивало все то, что было доступно из стандартных приспособлений.

Nitrogen cycle. Biological filtration in an aquarium.

There are many articles on biological filtration in aquariums. I myself have seen dozens of similar descriptions, and none of them convinced me. All these articles are either frighteningly "scientific", or do not cover all aspects of the topic. I personally spoke to many hobbyists who verbally are aware of the importance of understanding the nitrogen cycle in aquaria, but in reality they demonstrate a lack of understanding of key points of biofiltration. This is how the idea to write such article came into my mind. I aim to briefly describe the key points needed for understanding the essence of biofiltration, with detailed description of a real aquarium as a closed biosystem.

My experience of keeping and breeding volcanic shrimps Opae Ula (Halocaridina rubra)

About a year ago I came across a description of the “ecosphere” - a closed ecosystem in which, according to the authors, all components exist in complete biological balance. This ecosystem is a sealed glass bulb, completely isolated from the outside world, it’s located in natural light and is balanced in such a way that there are higher aquatic life in symbiosis with lower plants - algae, and all parts of this ecosystem are in strict equilibrium with each other. The mechanism was described as follows: shrimps inside the sphere eat algae that develop on the surfaces of a sphere: on the walls, on the ground, on a piece of driftwood. During the life shrimps produce small amounts of waste products: carbon dioxide, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, which, in turn, are a nitrogen fertilizer for plants (in this case - for the lower algae). They provide nutrition, along with the results of photosynthesis - the formation of chlorophyll of carbon dioxide in natural lighting. Following the laws of the nitrogen cycle, nitrite are converted into less toxic nitrate by nitrifying bacteria that inhabit the soil and organic surfaces (piece of driftwood), and nitrates are absorbed by lower algae. The algae, in turn, produce the light necessary for life shrimp oxygen, etc.

Plant Filtration?

Back in 2008-2010 I've had the honour to be in business and personal relations with Charles Clapsaddle, the owner and founder of Goliad Farms, a company that for decades is a good supplier of ornamental fish for pet stores and tropical fish hobbyists. Charles is knowledgeable professional and a great person. My wife and I visited Goliad Farms and saw his hatchery. I was impressed with how well it is thought-out.

I discussed plant filtration subject with Charles many times; I even took some of his plants he uses for plant filtration: Hornwort, Bacopa and Najas grass to try this way of filtration in my home aquariums. My intention was to reduce or eliminate the need of 50% water changes a day. At the time I was in discus hobby, and this is well known that a discus setup requires massive daily water changes. Considering that the water has to be heated up to 84 degrees and I used at least 500 gallons a day, this was quite costly.