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Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

Discussion in 'General Plant Topics' started by craynerd, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. craynerd

    craynerd Junior Poster

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    Hi all,

    I am going to use Mulm in place of PS as discussed in several other threads.

    I wanted to get some mulm since i didnt have enough myself out of my own filter. I asked someone to post some old filter floss.

    Is it true that all the bacteria will die? Someone posted that nitrifying bacteria die within 2 hours with no fresh water flowing over them.

    So 1) Will the bacteria die during 2 days in the post?
    2) What bacteria is the mulm providing for my tank?


    Chris
     
  2. vidiots

    vidiots Prolific Poster

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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    You could make your own. That way you would have as much as you want, and avoid the shipping problem. Hear is a link about composting plants in water.

    http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/composting.html

    I'd imagine you'd be able to use just about any type of green leafy plant like grass clippings etc. to make your mulm. I would also imagine that initially it would leach many of it's nutrients into the water column. So you may want to avoid fish in the tank and do many water changes to bring the levels down enough for fish to survive.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Hi Chris, mulm is not a replacement for PS, it's just bacteria and some organic matter.
    Adding a little peat along with this is good for most any planted tank.

    Then add ADA As over this.
    Then use EI and good cO2.

    Some of the bacteria will die as soon as you remove them.
    Not much, but if you keep the bacteria in a breathable bag or something just like you might with fish, they are fine, fish will die without any aeration etc for 2 hours also.

    You likely have enough from the filter, and plant roots have a lot also.

    So beyond this, the nmulm is mainly a nice starter culture, and organic food for the bacteria to eat, new tanks have very little food for bacteria, they just use the NH4/NO2 but..............they still need a carbon source(not CO2 but reduced carbon, just like us eating our carbs).

    Mulm is great for that and there are plenty of cyst etc that help decompose the plant detritus also.

    Mulm has a lot more than mere bacteria, there are many inverts that help decomposition also.

    Take a sample and look under a scope sometime.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  4. craynerd

    craynerd Junior Poster

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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Thanks Tom,

    I`m actually a Chemistry teacher so have access to microscopes in the Biology lab, how would you suggest i prepare the mulm sample for looking at under a microscope and what should i expect to see ? (I can’t just go try since I’m on summer holiday)

    If you are saying that mulm is not a replacement for PS but that PS is not needed either, then is PS a waste of time, what are you actually buying? Lots of people i talk to seam to swear by it, but they haven`t a bloody clue what’s in it or what it does!?!

    Can you also advise me further about the EI dosing that you recommended.
    I have noticed the ADA ferts Step 1 is mainly a mix of trace. Therefore, if we are doing EI dosing, should we really be dosing NPK right at the start?

    Thanks for all your help Tom, your posts are very informative on all the forums that i see you frequent.

    Chris
     
  5. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Chris, a lot of the people who swear by Power Sand today also swore by Flourite, Eco-Complete, Leonardite, Profile, and numerous other "hot" substrates, when each had its day in the sun.

    They all claim benefits, but they all also require the addition of nutrients to the water column, as does plain gravel. I never could see any sense in paying more for the substrate in a tank than for the tank itself, but then I am a skeptic.

    Here is a link to a discussion of what might be the next hot substrate - buffalo dung mixed with soil. I bet it will be very fertile. :) http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/science-of-substrates/28924-buffalo-dung-with-soil.html

    Good luck.

    Bill
     
  6. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Bill, do you have to use peat with that dung? Mulm? Does it have to be water buffalo dung? I'm just trying to learn all I can about the next big thing!
     
  7. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Vaughn,

    The cited thread referred to American bison dung. I would think that one might want to use peat and mulm with it, depending, of course, on what the depositor had been eating.

    But water buffalo dung? That is a good question. I would think that if the dung were collected from the water where it was deposited, and kept moist, enough bacteria would be present to make mulm unnecessary. Water buffalo dung deposited on land is another matter, of course. a horse of another color.

    I believe that cow dung (with peat and mulm) might also work, in the absence of a local bison. It would be interesting to see if someone here would test that.

    Bill
     
  8. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Good, using pond water or mulm makes for excellent micriscope usage skills.
    I do this for my students as a way to get them familiar with lookign for critters and focusing etc for scopes and making a wet mount slide.

    I have them do a "hanging drop", then lightly place the drop on the slide and then lightly and genetle lay the cover slip over, too much/just dropping on the drop is like slamming a giant brick wall on the critters.

    You should see many inverts, diatoms, other algae, BGA etc.
    It's more than bacteria!!!!!

    PS is mainly NO3/PO4, it as well as AS has some small amount of NH4, but NO3 is pretty mobile, and is not a cation(neither is PO4).........so it will not bind well.

    AS and PS have aboyut the same amount of NH4 initially, but the NH4 washes off the pumic in PS and is also quickly converted to NO3 in the presence of O2.

    The folks that make such claims about PS have not done a simple thing: use a control. See if the effect they see are actually from PS or is it from the AS.

    If you use both, you cannot tell what is causing what.

    If you use AS and then AS and + PS and you dose EI, you will not see any difference. This is to be expected.

    If you do not dose anything to the water column at all, then the PS+AS will help and do better.

    Why shouldn't it? You are adding nutrients to one tank and none to the other........

    That is just plain common sense.

    But PS has some use for folks that are clueless about KNO3 dosing/EI etc, and for LFS's displays etc that are too busy to add things.

    But if you know about EI/KNO3 etc, there's little need to do this.

    This idea about adding nutrients to the substrate is many decades old, see the buffalo dung thread. It was worm casting before that, then lamb manure, then cow patties, garden soil, etc.

    The issue is really seeing what is actually causing the effect and helpign plants grow and what methods do this easily and consistently over time.

    All soil/PS/Manure type substrate wear out over time, Amano freely admits to this and redoes the tanks about 1-2 years, if you use EI in conjuction, you get a much longer life out of them, or you can forego them altogether and supply most of the nutrients through the water column.

    As long as you add enough plants and mulm from the start up, you can dose EI right away. You might need quite as much, but 1/2 should be fine and o 2x a week 50-70% water changes for the first 2 weeks or so.
    Add algae eaters etc.

    Normal stuff for new tanks etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  9. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    What a load of bull:)

    Manures have been around since the 1800's for aquatics.
    For our tanks, soaking it for 2-3 weeks to convert the NH4 to NO3 is the best thing you can do prior to adding, or boiling for 15 minutes.
    Worm castings also use to be the "substrate of the month".
    It was suggested to boil it as well, this oxidizes the NH4 rapidly rather than allowing bacteria to do it.

    We have plenty of "Barr's Bison Biscuits" only 39.95$ per "load"(about 2lbs).
    From natural free range organic animals, raised by Amish caretakers and they bless each load personally. :rolleyes:

    Actually there's some in the Golden Gate park here, and several places sell it on line too.

    But do not think it'll give you an edge, all sort of substrate cockamainy has come and gone, some folks like to fiddle, but in the end, the plants still us NH4/NO3, does not matetr where it comes from so much, just what makes it easiest on us and our routines/and the trade offs involved.
    In general, slow growing non CO2 tanks get the most out of nutrient rich substrates as tyou really reduce the need to dose down to little if at all.
    I have more control with the water column especially at higher growth rates.

    But there;s no reason you cannot have good water and sediment nutrient levels either. Just not so much that pulls up reduced forms of N etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr







    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  10. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    If anyone is bored and just wants some entertainment, get out one of the wife's best pans, dump a load of BS in it with some water, set it on the kitchen stove with the flame on high. Then run as fast as you can!! (If BS is unavailable, take a trip to SF's Golden Gate park and grab some bison patties.)

    Seriously, since we can grow plants faster than we are comfortable with just using cheap substrate like Soilmaster and water column ferts from Greg Watson, plus CO2 of course, why would we want to go looking for BS??
     
  11. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Something different, tired of the same old Bull.............I suppose.
    Some folks give a s**t.
    Some charge for it and act like it's something novel and "new".
    And that's when I get crotchety............

    I think a few want to grow plants at high light, without having to dose as much KNO3/KH2PO4, or add none at all, and get most of the N and P from fish waste alone, and still get good growth. I'm not sure why adding KNO3/KH2PO4 at the same time you add, say some traces, is so darn inconveinent.

    But if you think this through, using less light makes much more sense if you want to maintain nice growth, but slower growth. Next up is CO2 and not adding that, you can still maintain most plants very well with a little once a week dosing of a few things using such methods.

    Now I have no damn idea why folks want high light and then limit growth with nutrients and location.

    I think they assume since "so and so" is doing it, it'll produce better coloration and growth or something........or it's some grower's "edge" with plant health.

    This notion seems to stem from past methods of days gone past.
    Wghen I suggest that they might get better results by lowering the light, they don't want to hear that.

    But when I blew up their theory about excess nutrients do not cause algae, they have been looking for other reasons now to do such methods and have been critical of me.

    Some say they are going to learn, learn new methods etc.
    This is not learning new methods, this is rehashing old methods that folks did many years ago.

    They did them namely because they did not have the KNO3 available and did not understand as much, they also had much much less light.

    Now why these folks today seem to think that more light, 2-6x as much is = to these sugegstions is beyond me, older books say some plants prefer higher light etc, well, they just grow faster is all and that makes things tougher.
    Older books and myths/dogma from days past are not correct on many things abotu nutrients.

    I've grown those plants and gotten those colors also, without such sediments and I've easily been able to reproduce any of these so called dramatic results without resorting to any of this sediment monkey business. And with the specific species of plants etc, both with high and lower light.

    So I know it's not the light directly, I also know it's not the sediment primartily, and I know adding or having higher ppm's of the macros in the water column does no harm either.

    Now trying different methods is good and should be encouraged, but one should also think it through to the logical end, what is it that they are trying to achieve? What are the trade offs ? Is what I'm seeing really applicable to everyone? Should I run the test a few more times firast just in case?

    When someone does not do that, then wants to haggle with me over it, I tend to get a little crotchety.

    Why do a method that fights with you?
    Is it easier to maintain a nice healthy plant algae free with 5w/gal or at 2 w/gal?

    Seems that most anyone would agree.

    Would your sediment based nutrient source provide better nutrients to the plants at a given growth rate at high or lower lighting and have time to fully assimilate the nutrients up into the growing tips?

    Why walk a razor's edge when it offers you no benefits?
    I want some consistency and wiggle room.
    Everyone does.

    So a nice balance of some easily workable sediment nutrients, say like the ADa As and dosing the water column with eI seems to give the best results for high light.

    If you use less light, you can scale most everything else down from there relative to the light intensity.

    Older tanks tend to do better due to light drop off as bulbs age, not so much because the system is "matured". No one ever seems to think about stuff like that.

    Regards,

    Tom Barr
     
  12. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Ok, I now know that your statements about excess nutrients and algae really apply to a tank in which there are a lot healthy plants and the nutrients are in the proper relationships.

    But I bet that the buffalo dung/soil mixture (or other dungs) with even low light would produce a hellacious crop of green water. I believe people use mixtures like that to grow green water for their daphnia.

    BTW, I've read that "green" (moist/wet/soupy) dung is better than dry dung. I wish that I lived in buffalo country so that I could dart into a herd, collecting the freshly-deposited material as I ran. Perhaps someone could perform an experiment?

    Bill
     
  13. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    I live in a condo now, instead of a house, so when my resident animal politely requests, I let him run in the common green area, but I follow him carrying a plastic bag. Sooo....I have this mental picture of Bill and his plastic bag trailing after a two ton bison..... Just don't expect to be able to toss a toy and have that guy go after it while you scoop.
     
  14. aquabillpers

    aquabillpers Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Hmmm. That's something to consider. Two tons at 30 miles per hour is a lot of force. I guess I got carried away with the science of it all.

    So I stopped at my local Home Depot store and asked for buffalo manure but all I got was a funny look. I settled for dehydrated cow manure, $5.25 for a lifetime supply.

    Bill
     
  15. Laith

    Laith Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Just to expand everyone's knowledge about buffalo dung a bit more: ;)

    In rural India (and rural Pakistan) I've seen rows and rows of round plate sized flat pieces of buffalo dung being dried in the sun. They form them into these shapes and once they're dry, they are used as a substitute for firewood.

    Apparently burns really well with very little smoke... and protects the forests! Brilliant.

    Aren't you glad you know that now? :p
     
  16. VaughnH

    VaughnH Lifetime Charter Member
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    I feel a lot better knowing it is being burned than I did thinking of it in an aquarium. (Or thinking of Bill collecting it!)
     
  17. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Did you want some Buffalo dung?
    Haha, I can send you some.
    There should be no issue with it if you never uproot, have a deep sand cap.
    Later, maybe 6 or more months, you can.
    Or you boil or soak in a shallow tray for 3 weeks with a thin layer of water etc.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  18. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    It's still plant matter, just like coal, just a bit younger is all.
    Still makes CO2, but at least they are not chopping forest and slower growing plants down.

    If they were smart, with a simple cheap cardboard reflector they could cook all the food with solar energy and not need the dung nor wood.

    Kenyan women are now doing this and doing quite well. Frees up lots of time and energy to do other things than chase and collect fuel to cook.
    Cost about 1$ for the solar stove and they are easy to transport.

    No CO2, no stinky stuff, no waste, can use the dung for fertilizer to help their crops grow better instead.

    Regards,
    Tom Barr
     
  19. defdac

    defdac Lifetime Members
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  20. craynerd

    craynerd Junior Poster

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    Re: Mulm, whats the bacteria and how quick does it die?

    Hi Tom,

    This thread has brought up lots of random but interesting ideas.

    Not managed to get into work (school) yet to try the slide, but i`ll definitely give it a go with my lower school class in the first few weeks of the new term, since they have to do a module on "microscopes!" I`ll prepare one myself and take a look and if its any good i am sure they will find it more enjoyable than still slides. No doubt i`ll find it very interesting myself.

    Very random discussion now about Buffalo dung, i`m slightly lost but i can see you lot have had a bit of enjoyment discussing it!!

    Solor cookers are amazing. We have a very small one, again at school for use in a physics demo. It simply boils some water. NOW why the hell are these not used more readily all over the world. I never really thought of the potential of these things. I know another member of staff tried to cook some pizza`s in a home made DIY solar cooker, it didnt work (due to cloudy English weather) but wow, for developing and any hot country, like i say, what potential!

    Finally and most importantly, i now completely understand what you are trying to say about Powersand. I have posted a few messages regarding it, but at last you have hit your point home! Thanks for taking the time to explain.

    Kind Regards

    Chris
    craynerd
     
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