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Aquarium cycle bacteria - which are more hardy?


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This is more of a curiosity that a question, but I'm wondering if anyone has more insight to the hardiness of the different kinds of beneficial bacteria in an aquarium - specifically here I'm talking about the Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter bacteria.

My wife and I have been keeping fish/plants for about 2 years now but only seriously (multiple tanks) for the past 11 months.  I've noticed that when "something" happens to the beneficial bacteria in our cycled aquariums, it is usually the Nitrobacter bacteria that take the largest hit.  We've had once or twice where we forgot to turn on the canister filter for 3-4 hours after a water change and the next day, we'll see a large nitrite spike (no ammonia spike preceding it).  We usually end up treating with frequent water changes every 2 days until it clears, and also add additional Fritz 7 bacteria to the tank in between to give the colony a boost.

We noticed this again today.  Last night, we had a power outage from 11:30pm - 8:30am.  We only have a single UPS and my idea was I would run extension cords from the different canister filters to the battery backup and then recharge the battery from our hybrid van with its built-in power inverter.  Well, the battery only lasted about 35 minutes and the power inverter didn't have enough juice to recharge the battery AND power the canister filters.  We covered the aquariums with blankets to preserve heat (its 15 degrees outside and got down to about 50 degrees in the house overnight).  (Yes, I'm UPS and/or generator shopping today while we wait for a very large battery backup unit to arrive that I kickstarted a few months ago).

We checked water parameters today and actually most tanks were surprisingly okay.  3 tanks are exhibiting a nitrite spike but zero ammonia again.  

So, I'm curious now.  Is nitrobacter bacteria just more sensitive to the loss of oxygen in the canister filter? Or is it something else in the nitrogen cycle that I'm not thinking of?


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I have had similar experience to yours - nitrite problems not preceded by ammonia.

Also, I recently cycled an aquarium and found that the ammonia level reached zero 4 or 5 days before the nitrite level reached zero. I was doing a fishless cycle using the aquariumscience.org "what I do" method, adding ammonia and nitrite every day from the beginning. So the nitrite-consuming bacteria took longer to develop than the ammonia-consuming bacteria.



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