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Now that we have a small contingent of people from The Northstar State here, I thought it would be nice to have a thread to keep other lake-landers up to date on what's happening in the area.  So, if you have news about aquarium happenings around Minnesota, this can be a place to put it.  Likewise, if you want to hear about what is happening here on the edge of the prairie, follow this topic.

To start us off, I'm curious if others here attended the virtual Minnesota Aquarium Society meeting last night (because it was online, there were people from Seattle to Virginia, and from Arizona to well, Minnesota)?  I did and I thought the speaker, Dr. Timothy Hovanec, was fantastic!  He packed in so much information about cycling tanks and what the biology and chemist is that underlays the process. 

For those who missed it, here is a summary of what I took from it:

  • Tanks cycle faster in higher pH and with harder water, this is because the bacteria use ammonia and not ammonium as their source
  • The species of nitrogen oxidizing bacteria that occur at low N concentrations (e.g. aquariums) are completely different than those that occur in high concentrations (e.g. waste water), so waste water approaches are rarely transferable
  • There are bacteria species than can go directly from ammonia to nitrate, skipping the nitrate step
  • Ammonia oxidizing bacteria grow faster than nitrite oxidizing bacteria, and so it is often nitrite spikes that kill fish while a take cycles
  • Anoxic denitrification is nearly impossible to actually achieve in a home aquarium and not worth the effort
  • Probably the most relevant for the folks on here, when setting up a planted aquarium, cycle first then add plants as plants are great at grabbing N (which many people are well aware of from experience!) and they can thus increase the time to get the bacteria to grow
  • The one I perhaps liked the most, in older freshwater, and in colder saltwater tanks, it is archaea and not bacterial that do the ammonia oxidizing.  Totally different life form and totally different game in some ways!

The next meeting for MAS is on aquascaping and will be virtual as well on Sept 9th. 

Looking forward to more MN news here!

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On 8/6/2021 at 4:46 AM, OnlyGenusCaps said:

The one I perhaps liked the most, in older freshwater, and in colder saltwater tanks, it is archaea and not bacterial that do the ammonia oxidizing.  Totally different life form and totally different game in some ways!

Thank you, @OnlyGenusCaps for sharing this tidbit! Very relevant to my PSB tank, for sure. 🙂

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On 8/6/2021 at 11:23 AM, Patrick_G said:

I didn’t watch the talk but recently read a paper on archaea in the Nitrogen cycle.  It’s very interesting. 

Not to highjack the thread, but I am finding very good results with algae and biofilm for keeping parameters in good order. Now I am going down this fascinating rabbit hole! 🤪

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On 8/6/2021 at 11:27 AM, eatyourpeas said:

Not to highjack the thread, but I am finding very good results with algae and biofilm for keeping parameters in good order. Now I am going down this fascinating rabbit hole! 🤪

Yes, my anecdotal evidence is my 100 gal goldfish pond. Even with growing fish and a high load the parameters are staying stable. The sides of the pond and the submerged planters are all covered in biofilm I can’t help but think it’s a huge help in denitrifying the water. 

Edited by Patrick_G
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On 8/6/2021 at 11:57 AM, HH Morant said:

Is it thought that algae and biofilm have a significant effect on nitrates? I am sure algae consumes some nitrates but I never heard it touted as a fix for nitrates.

And what is the definition of biofilm?

In my case I am learning about cold saltwater systems with different challenges from the FW aquarium. I am down a rabbit hole learning about this, and should probably leave it to the experts to explain: @Biotope Biologist and @OnlyGenusCaps

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On 8/6/2021 at 12:41 PM, eatyourpeas said:

In my case I am learning about cold saltwater systems with different challenges from the FW aquarium. I am down a rabbit hole learning about this, and should probably leave it to the experts to explain: @Biotope Biologist and @OnlyGenusCaps

Ok I understand!
In my case I was just thinking the extra biofilm was home to regular nitrifying organisms that are processing more Ammonia and Nitrite than might be expected with my small filter and large fish. 

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On 8/6/2021 at 12:50 PM, Patrick_G said:

Ok I understand!
In my case I was just thinking the extra biofilm was home to regular nitrifying organisms that are processing more Ammonia and Nitrite than might be expected with my small filter and large fish. 

I found this in one of the papers by Carla C. C. R. de Carvalho I am reading:

"Bacteria and other microorganisms have evolved an ingenious form of life, where they cooperate and improve their chances of survival when subjected to environmental stress, called biofilms. In these communities of adhered cells, bacteria are protected by a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances that provide protection against e.g., temperature and pH fluctuations, UV exposure, changes in salinity, depletion of nutrients, antimicrobial compounds, and predation. Their success in marine environments and the number of bacterial cells in the sea, allow them to colonize nearly all man-made surfaces in contact with seawater."

I can't imagine it being too different from FW, but again, would prefer to leave it to the experts. 😉

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That's pretty much it! Haha in the home aquarium its mostly lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates that are hydrophobic (important note: most carbohydrates are actually hydrophillic, but it depends on which way their hydrophobic faces are facing. Hence "hydrate.") and float to the surface. The film is as mentioned above a colony of bacteria, fungi, and/or algae that break these waste nutrients down. I believe most of the biofilms in the aqaurium are formed from the nutrients that come off of fish foods but it can form from many different biological functions.

 

I hope I didn't miss anything!

 

I don't know enough to answer the first part of @HH Morants question

Edited by Biotope Biologist
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On 8/6/2021 at 12:28 PM, Biotope Biologist said:

I will have to mark my calendar for sep 9th. I love the aquascaping world, even if I always go for more of a natural aesthetic

You should absolutely come!  I'm not really sure how large aquarium clubs are typically, but I know there are over 300 members of MAS and they are planning on keeping the online presentations format because so many members are from out of the area.  Perhaps that what comes from being around for 90 years?

On 8/6/2021 at 1:10 PM, eatyourpeas said:

Very relevant to my PSB tank, for sure

I thought of you immediately when I learned that tidbit.  😊

On 8/6/2021 at 1:57 PM, HH Morant said:

Is it thought that algae and biofilm have a significant effect on nitrates? I am sure algae consumes some nitrates but I never heard it touted as a fix for nitrates.

So, algae will indeed consume nitrates.  The issue is that when they decompose they release the N again.  In saltwater systems people use macro-algal species and then harvest it as it grows.  That acts as a N export.  In freshwater we don't have so many macroalgae options.  Though if you were able to get a good growth of hair algae and pulled it, perhaps that would do the trick?

The key with plant uptake (here I include algae in a taxonomically archaic lumping - forgive me Linnæus) is that it need to get the N out of the tank.  If the material remains in the tank and dies, then it decomposes and the N is liberated and available again; rather defeating the purpose. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you are in Minnesota, the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking input from aquarium and pond enthusiasts about aquatic invasive species.  Here is the link for any folks currently living in Minnesota who might be interested in taking the survey and making their voices heard:

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/invasives/aquarium-and-pond-hobbyist-survey.html

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the Minnesota Aquarium Society (MAS) meeting was last night.  Again there were many folks from well outside of the region who attended the meeting via Zoom. The presentation was by Balin Shaw on Aquascaping.  I suspect many of the folks on this forum would have enjoyed the presentation immensely.  He discussed different styles of setups, from Dutch streets, to Nature style.  One thing that struck me was how many of the modern styles that have been created for short term shows, and are nearly impossible to maintain long-term.  I also didn't realize, but should have been able to guess, that judging each style is quite rigid and must follow strict rules. 

For me, the best part came after the talk in the breakout rooms.  When I got there, someone was already showing off a very cool fish room, with all sorts of fish in it.  We were then treated to a second impromptu fish room tour later.  This online format, though more stifling to natural feeling conversation, provides endless opportunities to see different people's setups. 

It appears MAS will be moving to hybrid meetings, both an in-person, and online presence.  There is a chance the meetings will remain online, thus being accessible to everyone, wherever you are, and the in-person component will become Saturday events.  If it goes this route, I will certainly keep including updates here not only for the folks in Minnesota, but also for potentially anyone who wishes to participate in future.  Certainly, all are welcome. 

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Even though I don't live in MN, it would be neat to catch a meeting or two online. I have watched presentations for meetings for several clubs that are doing online since the pandemic started. I've seen Dean's talk on his fry system along with a couple others through one of the Chicago clubs (can't remember if livebearer or cichlid one)

I have wondered myself about some of the aquascaping styles, how thy would be maintained long term. I enjoy scaping, but my tanks end up being more of a jungle after a while. And that is definitely cool that you got some impromptu tours of other peoples fish rooms, I like seeing how others have theirs set up and what they are keeping. 

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I attended the meeting last night and found it quite fun. As @OnlyGenusCaps stated, a lots of these competition tanks are treated as paintings for a specific show. Balin Shaw is scheduled to present at the GSAS next week, and I would like to ask how long it takes for these longer term tanks to fall apart and deviate from the original vision.

I love planted tanks, but there are too strict rules for me to find enjoyment in putting up a grid and placing pieces in such a constrained manner. Did that for living for too long already!

Nevertheless, it is a fantastic starting point for aquascapers. I firmly believe in understanding the rules so you can break them for a better result.

Now, if you add fish, they may need to be consulted or they'll remodel your concept in no time. 😉

Thanks to @OnlyGenusCaps for letting us non MN nerms know about this meeting. 🙂

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I know that the last few presentations have been recorded.  I do not currently see them available for playback as a member.  I do not know if this is a licensing / copyright issue or if the club is still working on getting things available for playback.  We have some wonderful volunteers on the board but I know they can be stretched pretty thin at times as most all volunteer organizations are.

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Another Minnesota update.  I swung by Sea Level aquarium shop in Hopkins today.  They are having a "moving" sale until the end of the month.  I put "moving" in quotes because they don't know where they are going yet, which sounds concerning giving how much retail space is available currently.  So, if you are in the area, looking for a deal, and want to support an LFS, head to Sea Level before they "move". 

 

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On 9/10/2021 at 9:24 AM, DSH OUTDOORS said:

Lol good to know you think my fish room is Very Cool!  It was fun showing it off and seeing others in the breakout room.

That fish room is way, way too organized and clean.  That's my only critique.  It's like a fish room run by a drill sergeant.  Okay, if were are honest here, I'm just impressed.  My little fish rack looks like an earthquake hit it most days.  It's a great fish room! 

On 9/10/2021 at 7:18 PM, Up North said:

Does anyone know a good place to get fish in the Brainerd area?

Sadly, I do not.  Sorry.  According to the great and powerful Googles, there is not much up there for fish, unless you want help getting as hook into a fish's mouth.  Then there are options!  😜

I don't even have a good LFS in my part of the Metro.  My nearest is like 30min away (assuming light traffic).  If you are looking for fish, you could get some cool stuff via the MAS auction, and make a day of coming down for the pickup.  Plus, they always have free food!  Last time was tacos (good soft ones, not those terrible crunchy abominations 🤣), and taquitos.  And they were decent too. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Minnesota Aquarium Society Members!  The fall 2021 auction is live!!!

Get your pictures and descriptions ready if you are looking to participate in the BAP or HAP programs or if you are looking to move other live aquarium items.  I will be submitting soon.

If you don't have anything to sell, but are looking to grow your stock take a look.  There is nothing better than getting locally raised healthy and hardy fish from NERMS just like yourself.

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