Nerite Snail Bioload

bass master

Well Ive always heard that nerite snails have a pretty large bio load in an aquarium. This always made sense to me because snails are fairly large creatures that do create quite a bit of waste. But then I started thinking, nerite snails feed on algae, algae feeds on mostly nitrates and phosphates created by fish waste and fish, so really as long as you aren't supplementing the snails diet with other foods, shouldnt they have more of a neutral bioload? After all, most of the nitrogen that accumulates in our tanks originates in fish food we add to the aquarium, if we aren't adding any extra food for the nerites, how can they themselves be creating extra nitrogen? Just a question that's been puzzling me, wanted to see what everyone else though.
 

funkman262

You kind of answered your own question. If the nerites are eating the algae, they're removing a source of nutrient removal while creating their own waste. Let's say after all of the algae is removed, the nitrate will just accumulate in the tank (if without other means of nutrient export). The only way for the waste to actually be removed from the tank is for the algae to be physically scraped off the walls and removed. Even though they're eating algae, their waste composition is not much different than other creatures in the tank. The waste will degrade, turn into ammonia and so on.
 

bass master

yea, I answered my question with my own theory, just wanted to see how plausible it was. Even algae will further decompose when scraped I would assume, mine just turns to dust and dissolves into the water, I'm guessing that will cause as much ammonia build up as nerite poo. Their waste will produce ammonia like most other creatures, but the nitrogen isn't appearing from nowhere, its nitrogen that was already supplied to the tank, so the nerite in no way increased the amount of nitrogen building up in the tank. So shouldnt nerites have less of an effect on the water than you would think?
 

funkman262

The total mass of ammonia does not change unless you're adding it in some form. However, the way in which it exists DOES change. When algae uses it for energy, some of that nitrogen is stored within the algae itself, so in order to remove any nitrgoen mass from the tank the algae itself would need to be removed. When a snail or fish eats the algae, the waste then releases nitrogen back into the tank. So in other words, the nitrogen is being recycled. When it's in form of algae, it doesn't affect the aquarium because its fixed in its form. When it's eaten, the nitrogen is released back into the water column to be converted to nitrate. Make sense?
 

bass master

yea it makes sense, that's what I said. I'm asking if anyone knows that to be true because Ive noticed people seem to say that nerite snails as well as other snails have a large bio load.
 

funkman262

If you understand the concept I was explaining to you then you would know that yes, it is true. Any creature that consumes something and creates waste from it will have a bioload. Whether it's a LARGE bioload or not may depend more on the size of the creature and how much food it eats. I'd imagine a 5" mystery snail would have a rather large bioload. A 0.25" malaysian trumpet snail, not so much. Pleco's eat algae and have HUGE bioloads. Since they have pretty much the same diet, you can just consider a snail to be a small pleco in terms of bioload.
 

Kupcake

I would think that a nerite would have a bioload of about 1gal per snail. Just how I would calculate it
 

funkman262

I would think that a nerite would have a bioload of about 1gal per snail. Just how I would calculate it

??

If you want to actually calculate a bioload, it would probably be more like mg of ammonia produced per day. It wouldn't simply be a volume. One snail per gallon would be more of a stocking suggestion.
 

Kupcake

??

If you want to actually calculate a bioload, it would probably be more like mg/L of ammonia produced per day. It wouldn't simply be a volume. One snail per gallon would be more of a stocking suggestion.

When I think of bioload, I only use it when considering stocking. So when I say a goldfish has a huge bioload, I wouldnt know or have any idea the AMMOUNT of ammonia it produces, and then the ammount of ammonia the waste produces over time as it decays if I don't happen to clean it up.

But I do know that a gold fish produces so much waste that it would need about 20gal with appropriate filtration per fish to keep the levels non toxic while the biological filtration can take care of it.

How you do caculate bio-load, do you put it in numbers? I consider bio-load as to if a guppy needs about 2 gal per fish, and a snail about 1gal per fish then I won't have too big of a bioload for what ever size tank I am considering.

I hope I have cleared up the way that I caculate it and you understand why I gave bioload in terms of gallons per snail.
 

funkman262

The biload is used for stocking suggestions but they're not the same thing. A goldfish has a large bioload because it produces a lot of waste so we recommend larger tanks to dilute the waste in-between water changes. Simply saying 2 gallons per fish doesn't mean anything because without water changes, the waste will continue to build up until the fish dies. But by knowing the bioload of a fish (mass of waste produced over time), we can calculate how often to do water changes in order to keep the nitrate concentration at a certain level. Stocking suggestions based on bioload are not exact, they're just guidelines created based on the experience of fishkeepers over the years. If you choose a larger tank than suggested, you can get away with doing smaller water changes but if you choose a smaller tank, you'd need to do larger/more frequent water changes to keep the nitrate levels in check. However, in both instances, the bioload is the same.
 

Kupcake

The biload is used for stocking suggestions but they're not the same thing. A goldfish has a large bioload because it produces a lot of waste so we recommend larger tanks to dilute the waste in-between water changes. Simply saying 2 gallons per fish doesn't mean anything because without water changes, the waste will continue to build up until the fish dies. But by knowing the bioload of a fish (mass of waste produced over time), we can calculate how often to do water changes in order to keep the nitrate concentration at a certain level. Stocking suggestions based on bioload are not exact, they're just guidelines created based on the experience of fishkeepers over the years. If you choose a larger tank than suggested, you can get away with doing smaller water changes but if you choose a smaller tank, you'd need to do larger/more frequent water changes to keep the nitrate levels in check. However, in both instances, the bioload is the same.

That is exactly what I was saying. Do you give numbers when people ask your for bio load?

If someone asks me for bioload, I give it in gallons per fish along with proper housing. If you give something diffrent then that is how you do it, I can respect that

I don't have any way of caculating the exact ammount of poop made (especially since everyone feeds diffrently) and how much that poop will decay at diffrent rates because of water temps and other varriables. I only caculate on my experience with what I feel comfortable putting them into as far as gallons per type of fish to keep toxic levels down to a minimum (which is exactly what you said, but in a diffrent way).

The OP asked if we thought that snails have HUGE bioloads, specifically nerites. I think that their bioload is less than a mystery snail, but I am not exactly sure, so I would use the same rule as for a mystery snail, 1 gal per snail.
 

funkman262

That is exactly what I was saying.

I'm sorry you read it that way. Stocking suggestion does not equal bioload. Our stocking considerations may INCLUDE bioloads, but they are not solely based on it. The OP was asking strictly about bioloads, not stocking suggestions. You can calculate a fish's bioload in terms of numbers if you wanted. For example, if a goldfish produces 20ppm of nitrate per week in a 20 gallon tank:

(20mg/L/week)(3.785L/gal)(20 gal)(1week/7days) = 216 mg of nitrate per day produced by the goldfish.

Now another member can divide this number by the amount of liters of his/her tank to determine how much quickly the nitrate concentration builds up. Knowing this concentration per day, a person can determine how often to do waterchanges (or how much of a water change to do each week).

Simply being told a bioload is 1 gallon per fish will not give you any of this important information.
 

Kupcake

I'm sorry you read it that way. Stocking suggestion does not equal bioload. Our stocking considerations may INCLUDE bioloads, but they are not solely based on it. The OP was asking strictly about bioloads, not stocking suggestions. You can calculate a fish's bioload in terms of numbers if you wanted. For example, if a goldfish produces 20ppm of nitrate per week in a 20 gallon tank:

(20mg/L/week)(3.785L/gal)(20 gal)(1week/7days) = 216 mg of nitrate per day produced by the goldfish.

Now another member can divide this number by the amount of liters of his/her tank to determine how much quickly the nitrate concentration builds up. Knowing this concentration per day, a person can determine how often to do waterchanges (or how much of a water change to do each week).

Simply being told a bioload is 1 gallon per fish will not give you any of this important information.

To keep this thread about nerite bioload only, I created another thread for generalized talk about bioload here:
Bioload estimation
 

bass master

If you understand the concept I was explaining to you then you would know that yes, it is true. Any creature that consumes something and creates waste from it will have a bioload. Whether it's a LARGE bioload or not may depend more on the size of the creature and how much food it eats. I'd imagine a 5" mystery snail would have a rather large bioload. A 0.25" malaysian trumpet snail, not so much. Pleco's eat algae and have HUGE bioloads. Since they have pretty much the same diet, you can just consider a snail to be a small pleco in terms of bioload.

I completely understand the concept, after all I created the thread about the topic. The only problem is that often times things to not operate according to theory. A 5" mystery snail would technically also produce no waste if you did not feed it, heck you could have a tank with no bio load if you just don't feed your fish. That would be overlooking way to many variables though, that's why I wanted to put up the question to see what others thought.
 

funkman262

I completely understand the concept, after all I created the thread about the topic. The only problem is that often times things to not operate according to theory. A 5" mystery snail would technically also produce no waste if you did not feed it, heck you could have a tank with no bio load if you just don't feed your fish. That would be overlooking way to many variables though, that's why I wanted to put up the question to see what others thought.

I'm sorry but you're actually not understanding the concept. And just because you created the topic doesn't mean you understand it, in fact it usually means the opposite. If you understood, you wouldn't be asking in the first place. You do not need to add food in order for there to be a bioload. I have not added food to my saltwater tank in a couple months because I just have snails and crabs in there eating the algae. However, you should see my protein skimmer which clearly shows they have an affect on the system. Like I said, they eat the algae and produce waste, therefore they have a bioload. When algae consume the nutrients, it is fixed into their system and not excreted so you can't measure it in your water column. However, when snails eat the algae, they create waste that decompose and can cause an ammonia spike if there were no bacteria in the tank to convert it. It's not theory, it's fact.
 

bass master

you certainly seem to be talking down to several people here, I explained the concept myself in the original post, I see nothing you have added to the concept here. I am asking because like I said, there are often too many variables to just go by the math. Your saltwater tank would be a good example. You seem to be somewhat educated so I'm sure you understand the concept of conservation of mass. If you don't add it to your tank, its not gonna appear out of nowhere. You're not feeding your inverts in that tank and yet they still produce waste, this is basically the exact concept I am asking about. You stating that your crabs produce waste flouts your argument that my original theory would surely be correct. After all, what's the difference between a snail feeding on algae and a crab. Now you've said your peace, and I do not feel like arguing any further with you, I would appreciate to just hear from some other members at this point.
 

funkman262

If your concept is "so really as long as you aren't supplementing the snails diet with other foods, shouldnt they have more of a neutral bioload?" then it is mistaken. They still have a bioload. Unless my nitrate readings reaching 15ppm without any food addition was false. Nothing is "coming out of nowhere." Everything is just changing form. The algae uptakes nutrients from the water column. If the algae consumed ALL of the nutrients, then a nitrate test would read zero. Now if a snail eats all of the algae, it would produce waste, putting the nutrients back into the column. Now, if you were to measure the nitrate (considering there are bacteria to convert the ammonia), you would find high concentrations of nitrate. Nothing is being created, just transformed.
 

bass master

yes but if the algae is constantly being eaten and then regrowing, you have no more nitrogen in your tank than you started with. As algae is eaten or decomposes, it breaks down in to simpler nitrogen compounds. When algae grows, it integrates the nitrogen back into itself into the more complex compounds, if nothing is being added, the nitrogen levels cannot continue to climb, they will reach a balance *in theory*
 

funkman262

yes but if the algae is constantly being eaten and then regrowing, you have no more nitrogen in your tank than you started with. As algae is eaten or decomposes, it breaks down in to simpler nitrogen compounds. When algae grows, it integrates the nitrogen back into itself into the more complex compounds, if nothing is being added, the nitrogen levels cannot continue to climb, they will reach a balance *in theory*

The only problem is that often times things to not operate according to theory.

At least you're right about things not operating according to your theory. A bioload has to do with all waste produced by the snail, which means more than just nitrogen. Other components, some that are required for the algae to continue to grow, can't simply be recycled as you think. Plus, according to your theory, the algae would have to grow at the same rate that it's being eaten. Either way, we're not talking about how to MAKE a snail's bioload neutral, we're talking about if it IS neutral. Does a pleco that eats solely on algae not have a bioload? Ask anyone who owns a pleco and they'll tell you that pleco's have HUGE bioloads.
 

Kupcake

Ask anyone who owns a pleco and they'll tell you that pleco's have HUGE bioloads.

But they can not give the bioload in terms of numbers (especially in gallons) or they will be giving stocking suggestions...so in theory bioload is mermaid magic.
 

funkman262

But they can not give the bioload in terms of numbers (especially in gallons) or they will be giving stocking suggestions...so in theory bioload is mermaid magic.

Do you not own a nitrate tester?
 

bass master

Plecos eat more algae than snails, the algae feeds on excess fish foods which gets further processed by whatever algae eater you have. Nerite snails don't fly through algae like some other algae eaters. In my tank, balance has been achieved in algae consumption and growth, its not a rare thing to happen. I think I'm done here, tired of arguing... Closing the thread.
 

funkman262

Why don't you add too many fish at a time? Because your bacteria need time to catch up to the bioload. Does this mean that the bacteria must get 5 more gallons? Do you add water every time you add fish? No, your bioload increases because more ammonia is produced, not because water is produced.
 

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