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#STT Seasoned Tank Time Formula (beginning ideas)


DaveSamsell
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Was thinking about #STT & the many variables associated with it.  Below are very rudimentary formulas that I was contemplating.

 

STT=  Established major reference points \ divided by \  % of new changes

 

Would need several "gold standard" reference points to even begin comparisons.  Here is a sample:

1.  Calculated surface area

2.  Total time without any changes to aquarium

3.  Live plant stocking factors

4.  Type of substrate

5.  Others

 

Also, maybe an "additive" test with ammonia itself, so see when the beneficial bacteria is actually starting to become stressed, etc.  This could be another reference point.  By determining how much ammonia would be required to see a small ammonia/nitrite increase, could indicate overall % of beneficial bacteria for a specific tank.

 

I.E.        STT=  10 gallon aquarium \divided by\ Ammonia added in (ml)

 

Just some ideas that came to mind this morning......

   

                        

 

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Are we ready for math at this point? Or might this be as elusive as trying to create a mathematical formula to describe 'good art'.

  • Can substrate types can be ranked mathematically
  • What method would you use to determine the ratios of heterotrophic bacteria to autotrophic bacteria and would this even matter (I like your ammonia challenge idea)
  • A seasoned tank presumably has the resiliency to accept changes without losing its equilibrium, so total time between changes to the aquarium might not yield useful information

But the challenge @DaveSamsell proposes is productive even in its proposing.

It makes me think, just what is a seasoned tank? What characteristics or benefits would be expected from a seasoned tank?

So, here goes my first characteristic of a seasoned tank. A seasoned tank has the resiliency to accept challenges/changes without losing its equilibrium.

Once we have defined the scope of what we think a seasoned tank can do or not do then we can bring in the big mathematical guns.

Kudos to @DaveSamsell for starting the ball rolling on this.

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@quirkylemon103 To me this just seems like a fun quirky way to think about what goes into a well established tank or what is different from a cycled but new tank vs. an aquarium that has been going for quite a while. Kind of like the concept of basic vs. applied science. The benefits may not be immediately obvious, but you never know.

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47 minutes ago, JaredL said:

This is a fun question. Since "seasoned" is a created term that is subjective by who you ask, perhaps best place to start would be gathering info on what experienced aquarist consider seasoned. It's possible from this data you could find a common trend or pattern that could become a good baseline.

This. You got to have one stable baseline, that everyone agrees to. Otherwise, you're going to have 50 million understandings of what seasoned means.

 

 

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I would define seasoned as how well it maintains parameters and self sustains life.  I believe it was initially concerning caradina shrimp, in that its not just a cycled tank, you need a seasoned tank to keep them alive.

Like if you throw 20 blue bolts into a tank, feed them with a weekly nano banquet block, and have them breeding in a month, you were probably working with a seasoned tank or you are really really good.

Perhaps a test where you empty any fish from the tank, put 10-20 fry in it, and see how many you can get to sellable size with out feeding them.  How many survive out of how many you put in would be the seasoned tank rating.  Feels a little cruel towards the fry though.

Edited by MattyIce
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@MattyIce I think the life part is what we mean when we say seasoned. Once your tank has an interconnected web of biology the aquarium always has the tools to right itself.

Cycled traditionally means that a colony of ammonia and nitrite oxidizing bacteria are well enough established in the aquarium to allow for the addition of fish without concern for toxicity.

Seasoned to me extends eco-system to include various algaes, rotifers, paramecium, other bacteria, microscopic worms and crustaceans all living in the water, on the glass, on and in the substrate and on plants in a way that supports a micro food web mostly below the level of visibility (except with a microscope). In other words it is like a creek or a pond.

 

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i dont think a mathematical time frame baseline could be formed for STT. We should instead be looking at what the ecosystem of the tank is doing such as the channel "Life in jars" ( i think thats the name) does where they look at how an ecosystem will grow and change in an ecosystem that is closed off but has already been seasoned. I feel like the ability for a tank to grow algae should be a start and that mulm should be present for a tank to register as seasoned. I feel like algae would be a good start as that means there is nothing in the water inhibiting life from maturing and growing. The presence of mulm would mean that there is bacteria breaking down decaying matter.   

 

the problem with a mathematical standard equation is the variables. Substrate could create a better breeding ground for bacteria. Temperature of water and purification quality of water being used. The stocking of animals creating waste. how often the owner gravel vacuums the tanks and removes the mulm. 

instead if we look for key elements of a seasoned tank we could better give aquarist an idea of how far they are in the cycle of getting a seasoned tank.  

Stage 1- not seasoned tank is still inhibiting the growth of life (aka ammonia or nitrite present)

Stage 2 - mulm and decaying matter is starting to form and the presence of ammonia and nitrite is gone and nitrate is appearing.

Stage 3 - algae or other Life is appearing on its on within the aquarium and sustaining or growing itself

stage 4 - the algae or micro life within the tank is plateauing and sustaining itself. this would be the fully seasoned stage if animals werent added that would eat the micro organisms.

Stage 5 - fully seasoned and sustaining micro life with the present of macro life organisms such as shrimp who hunt the micro.

 

Edited by Marnol D
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Lots of interesting input.  Being "in-tune" with ones aquarium, spending quality time & observing everything are additional key factors on the overall strength of the aquarium's "immune system".  

Many approaches, theories & ideas can possibly yield the same results \ conclusions, when trying to determine #STT, as well.  It is often said, there are many ways to get there.

Standardized parameters for I.E. substrate thickness, total surface area & water flow circulation (gph) are just some other variables that come to mind.  

If nothing else, the subject is making us think of what really is happening in our aquariums.  

 

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Thanks for starting this @DaveSamsell.  I’ve been thinking about this since I first heard STT.  I think the formula should result in a number that approaches but never achieve the nirvana of perfect STT, or 1.  
 

Thinking about establishing the biological filter number of days since the nitrogen cycle last completed divided by total time since the cycle started.  But that is a small part of it.  So seasoned time over total time.
 

you also need to factor in livestock additions, like if you add several African ciclids to an established tank.  It takes a while for everyone to sort things out.  In this case we would want ((1-% change)*total time) over total time 

or moved all your aquatic plants.  Since the plants go through a period of shock, and do not consume the nitrogen products in the water.  So total time less 2 weeks over total time.

or if you rearrange the hardscape.  New substrate different caves etc.  I have not worked this one out relative to time, so we can use the same for plant life for argument sake.   

what if you do all these things?  We would have filter, livestock, hardscape, and plants changes.  Simply multiply each factor and Bobs your uncle.
 

If I set up a new tank 30 days ago, and the cycle complete in two weeks  14/30, STT is .5.  After 90 days, 75/90 or .8333.  You relocate, and everything is changed? You get the picture

 

long post from my iPad.  Please forgive the errors

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ken Burke said:

Thanks for starting this @DaveSamsell.  I’ve been thinking about this since I first heard STT.  I think the formula should result in a number that approaches but never achieve the nirvana of perfect STT, or 1.  
 

Thinking about establishing the biological filter number of days since the nitrogen cycle last completed divided by total time since the cycle started.  But that is a small part of it.  So seasoned time over total time.
 

you also need to factor in livestock additions, like if you add several African ciclids to an established tank.  It takes a while for everyone to sort things out.  In this case we would want ((1-% change)*total time) over total time 

or moved all your aquatic plants.  Since the plants go through a period of shock, and do not consume the nitrogen products in the water.  So total time less 2 weeks over total time.

or if you rearrange the hardscape.  New substrate different caves etc.  I have not worked this one out relative to time, so we can use the same for plant life for argument sake.   

what if you do all these things?  We would have filter, livestock, hardscape, and plants changes.  Simply multiply each factor and Bobs your uncle.
 

If I set up a new tank 30 days ago, and the cycle complete in two weeks  14/30, STT is .5.  After 90 days, 75/90 or .8333.  You relocate, and everything is changed? You get the picture

 

long post from my iPad.  Please forgive the errors

 

 

Lots of Interesting points to note.  Thanks.  All input is certainly a start in addressing this complex, but interesting issue.  My feeling is that a few main indicators (parameters) will rise to the top as key elements & trickle down accordingly.

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@Marnol D mentions algae and mulm.

Those are fantastic indicators as they are both universal and easy to measure or at least observe.

If we have algae, we have primary producers, with which without we have no food chain, no ecological system.

And mulm, which is the dark mysterious end of the food chain with its decomposers and beneficial bacteria doing all the heavy lifting of the nitrogen cycle and all the other cycles that never enter in to our thinking.

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On 10/24/2020 at 10:58 AM, Daniel said:

@Marnol D mentions algae and mulm.

Those are fantastic indicators as they are both universal and easy to measure or at least observe.

If we have algae, we have primary producers, with which without we have no food chain, no ecological system.

And mulm, which is the dark mysterious end of the food chain with its decomposers and beneficial bacteria doing all the heavy lifting of the nitrogen cycle and all the other cycles that never enter in to our thinking.

I agree about the aglae being an indicator.  Maybe different levels of establishment as well, if cyanobacteria, black beard algae or other types are present (or were present).  

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  • 1 month later...

This is a really interesting thread, I found it while searching to see if a question I have had been discussed or answered already.  Thanks to all for the helpful input above. My question is sort of related, but it's a bit more in the "how to" category (or maybe just about other "inputs" in the STT formula).  Understanding that every ecosystem is different and the main ingredient is Time.  I remember hearing on the livestream that minimum time to achieve a seasoned tank would be 3-6 months, but depends on the tank.  I wonder if more experienced hobbyists have opinions on what other "ingredients" help you get to a well-seasoned tank.  For example, I have a 5 week old, ~16 gal planted tank that appears be cycled according to the basic parameters, and I'm striving for it to someday be a shrimp tank.  I can see tons of copepods and detritus worms in there already, and I think what is a little bit of mulm (unattractive brown stuff floating on top of plant leaves but not attached to the plant?), but no algae.  Will the tank season "better" (faster, more robustly, etc.) by adding fish to the system (in a responsible manner that the system can handle)?  Or would you expect it to become seasoned just the same with the half-dozen or so (and growing) number of hitchhiker snails that came with the plants?  Would a tank that has only plants and is snail- and fish-free "season" just as well from decaying plant matter and additional nutrients from fertilizer...or would it take a much longer time to season that way?  

(you all do not know the self-control it took not to make a terrible seasoning joke in here)

 

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Aight so i have a tank now that has a group of water fleas growing (that my pea puffer and neons eats). Nitrates hang around 10ppm (havent done a water change in 3 months because the last time i did a 3 gallon water change on the 20 gallong all but one my shrimp died) and nitrites and ammonia dont exist. I do reminiralize every so often and top off the water. I have some algae growing but its limited due(only seeable on the heater) to the ramshorn and bladder snail population (and the lights stay on for 16 hours and CO2 is blasted into the tank). The tank has mulm build up but i end up mixing that into the substrate to hide it. Plants are reproducing fine. Total time was maybe 5 months and the main inhabitant was a lonely Betta and snails and 7 cherry shrimps. (betta got rehomed because a friend liked it). 

 

Now if i had done water changes and graveled vacuum properly i bet this wouldve taken longer. If I had more fish it may have seasoned faster.  (I probably will start water changing again soon I don’t know. I water change on my 50 gallon weekly. I run to sponge filters in my twenty long and cycle which one gets cleaned) 

Edited by Marnol D
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