Adding bacteria.

Discussion in 'Water Features' started by tadpole, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    We're getting warmer!!

    Need to focus a little closer.
     
  2. jp14

    jp14 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    I believe the answer you are seeking is that autotrophs cannot be dried nor form spores and heterotrophs are spore forming and can therefore be put into a dried form. The liquid forms are more focused on dealing with ammonia (hence why most of us add it at pond start ups/cleaning) and are the types of bacteria that colonize the bioconverter while the dry form is more of a "maintenance" bacteria that cleans up organic material. You can count me in the group that uses liquid bacteria in the spring when a "total" cleanout is required. Otherwise I let nature take its course in established ponds that require routine maintenance.

    If permissable, I would pose a follow up question to your original post...how many guys add dry bacteria throughout the season and if so, why? If the pond is in proper balance, why would it be needed?
     
  3. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    What you are saying is true. Heterotrophs naturally occur much the same as autotrophs. They are present in an established pond, whether the pond is balanced or not. Even in a pond with no visible signs of organic debris or sediment, there is always a certain level of DOM that will support a population of heterotrophs. Why add more?
     
  4. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    One proposed justification for adding bacteria year 'round would be to promote CE (Competitive exclusion). Below is the link to an article that is, I feel, both controversial and thought provoking. Bottom line, IMO, CE is just another method used to 'White Wash' tampering with a pond's eco-system.

    http://www.koiquest.co.uk/CE.htm
     
  5. jp14

    jp14 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    In my opinion, the use of bacteria additives reflect the ever present demand for instant results (both from the customer and from the contractor perspective) and the success of the marketing of these products. I don't think anyone would argue the role of bacteria in the pond. But I think we each have a differing view on if it must be added, how much, what type (dry vs liquid) and how well it actually works.

    I stopped selling additives years ago and let my customers decide for themselves if they want to use them. I will educate them on what each one is supposed to do and I will suggest which product to use if they choose to pursue that option but I no longer profit from being a seller of "stuff" for ponds. I use some products and try others to see if they work and I have a few I believe in enough to use in my own ponds/greenhouse/retail location. However I will readily admit I still have a lot to learn why these products work or more specifically, why they work in certain situations and not in others. The complexity of the pond world makes it such that just dumping in product X is not the answer in any case.

    In the end, I guess my opinion is somewhat colored based on a consultation I did a few years back. A customer asked me to visit their pond and give them some recommendations on how they could lessen maintenance tasks and eliminate both green water and string algae. Their pond builder had made the same visit the year before and recommended dumping in brand X dry bacteria. His advice was to add it every day to help "clean up" the pond and eliminate the extra organic material.

    After following his advice for a year and running up an $800 bill for bacteria, they were looking for another approach. I took one look at the pond and understood the root of the problem. It wasn't the lack of bacteria...it was the lack of honesty from the builder. The pond was "overstocked", even by the most lax standards, was designed such that there were numerous stagnant areas, had very low turnover, was no more than 18" deep (probably averaged about 10" deep for the entire pond) and had a filter that only got cleaned once a year when the builder came to do his spring cleaning.

    I gave them my advice but they never called me back or followed any of my advice (that I am aware of) because I told them the truth...that they had too many fish, that they needed to do more regular maintenance, that they needed to address some of the design challenges, etc.... More often than not, customers don't want to hear the truth..they want to hear that product X will make caring for their pond simpler and easier..and so the product sells. That doesn't mean the product is bad or unnecessary...just that products are sold and used as substitutes for true knowledge. And so the challenge exists for us to educate consumers and use products as a tool to improve a customer's pond when needed, not as cure all for everything that ails a pond. Just my opinion.
     
  6. tadpole

    tadpole LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,216

    The U.S.A. is the land of 'Instant Gratification'. Is it any wonder that this mindset spills over into the Water Feature industry? Why wait for Nature to correct a problem the sure and proper way when you can toss in a bottle of Dr. Carpio's Universal Koi and Goldfish Rejuvenator and Nuisance Critter Buster? If that doesn't produce the desired results, why there is always the Acme Aquatic Water Quality Manipulator.

    Give me a break! Reminds me of a M.D. giving a patient an RX to combat the side effects of a previous RX given to combat still other side effects from yet another previous RX, ad infinitum.
     

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