Possible new aquarium technology

SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
I had an idea last night. This might be just super stupid and impossible because of different unaccounted for reasons by me but here's the pitch. Or it might actually already exist. So you know biolodes. You know how it is completely opinion based. Well here's the idea we make an actual chart or system. We could literally get stocking down to a formula (Except swimming room) . Sure we wouldn't have half as long conversations about stocking on here but it could be really helpful. But maybe other things contribute to ammonia like pee. So the first system wouldn't work but possibly the second. And I think this would be a cool like forum wide project. So here is how we would do it.
1. The first way would be to count poops. Measure it by poops per hour. So we get a tank put one fish in it and count how many times it poops and we watch for an hour. And since there is thousands of people on fishlore it wouldn't be as impossible. And I wouldn't mind watching a fish for an hour, I would just hate to be the kid stuck with a bisher. But the problem would be for schooling fish, they probably wouldn't poop as much if they weren't comfortable being with just themselves. So we could count all of there's and divide it but that might be kind of tricky. I would say for all fish have a background and a substrate and nothing else so they feel comfortable and can't hide behind anything. Then we do this like 100 times for each fish. But we would split it up between a bunch of people. Also we would need to make a formula that says "Ok you are feeding this much food then so much will make it to the bottom so add a couple to your final ammonia score. There is probably a way to do that. Also that would probably be an option because maybe you have corys and don't have to worry about food being left on the ground.
2. The second way is a less accurate, time consuming, and would be the only way if there is more factors that go into creating ammonia. So this one is super opinionated so we rate the fish on how heavy their biolode is on a scale of 1-100. And we collect tons of opinions and take the average or the mode.

Then the final thing we would need to do is figure out how many poops per hour types of filters can run based on how many gallons they say, what type (Sponge, over the back, canister, sump, etc.) I know I couldn't figure that out but I bet there are some pretty smart people on this forum who could. We would also have to account for plants, how much they can filter. And you would convert the filter type, amount of gallons, etc. into poops per hour. So if you have any thoughts it would be nice to hear them. Again this might be completely impossible or already exists. But this was just a thought of mine.
Thanks, Ryan
 

A201

Member
Well thought out proposal Ryan. Probably too many variables to come up with a standard bio load management charting system.
IMO, The management of bio load in an aquarium environment comes down to; Common sense stocking; Adequate filtration & Water changes in direct proportion to the population. At a minimum 50% of the water volume changed weekly.
Others will of course have varied opinions on the subject. Lol
 
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SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
Yeah. I didn't know. I just couldn't stop thinking about last night, just had to put it out there.
 

LightBrownPillow

Member
So you've just had your first inspiration for a formal research project, nice! But the level of rigor needed to actually get useable results out of this will be far beyond what our community can provide. This is something which should be done in a much more tightly controlled environment, be it a graduate college or independent research facility, with lots of charting at tight control of as many variables as possible.

Would be pretty awesome to have a big reference work of "X fish at Y inches long will produce Z ammonia per hour" for the hobby industry! I just don't think we can get something meaningful out of a citizen science project.

I don't know your personal life situation OP, but you could try and find some schools with aquaculture/fishery programs, meet their students, and see if you can't inspire some of them with time & funding to get onboard.
 
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SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
Cool. You know what's funny. I live right next to a college. And I know a few students who go there. And they have a huge building dedicated to freshwater fish species.
 

Fuzz

Member
It's not really that fish stocking is opinion based, it is that fish stocking truly varies so there isn't a strict formula, more like evidence based guidelines, AKA, an educated guess. Some people will make up a strict formula that works for them but the reality is every tank is different.

I encourage you to look into this further but let me try to put you on the right track as I am quite certain poops per hour is not a variable. No offence. Try to think of the aquarium as one system with inputs, outputs, and reactions within the system boundary. look up "system boundary", then "the law of conservation of mass", and finally "mass balance". In this research you should stumble upon some theoretical models based upon these principals that can be applied to the aquarium. Particularly that of the ideal batch reactor (IBR) and completely stirred tank reactor (CSTR). If you follow this to its end you will find that fish stocking is not the best way to describe bio-load capacity as it is not an input, output, or a major contributor to reactions, rather, it is a consequence of other yet still dependent variables. Therefore fish stocking can be effectively eliminated as a variable.
 

AvalancheDave

Member
There are already formulas used by fish farms based on body mass, feed quantity, feed protein %, filter surface area, dissolved oxygen levels, etc.

Also note that, at least in freshwater fish, most nitrogen is excreted via the gills so the feces don't count for much.
 

Utar

Member
I like your enthusiasm but there is the academic world and the real world. Young engineers I have met in life fresh out of college have made this mistake. The variables for what you have proposed can be controlled in a lab, maybe. But in the real world those variables will be three fold or more. A fish dies goes unnoticed, plant matter, how much food actually goes uneaten, etc, etc. There are always unforeseen variables that can never be controlled in a lab.
 
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SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
I agree with poops per hour not being sufficient enough. I started thinking more about it later and just remembered you can just do 24-hour periods with the same water and test ammonia levels afterwards then just change the water. That would be a lot more accurate. And I had been thinking even when making the post that there most likely is another way they create waste and ammonia.
 

david1978

Member
Isnt what you propose called aquadvisor?
 

flyinGourami

Member
david1978 said:
Isnt what you propose called aquadvisor?
No. Well I don't think so. If they saw my guppies poop.. THat would change everything.
 

Utar

Member
I forgot about aqadvisor mentioned by david1978. That is an attempt to do something similar along the lines your talking about. I have used it in the past, but many people I have talked to do not trust it. Not sure why.
 

Mr. Kgnao

Member
Maybe it's better to think about things simply in terms of the upper bound, the amount of nitrogenous material you're adding into the tank.
 

AvalancheDave

Member
Utar said:
I forgot about aqadvisor mentioned by david1978. That is an attempt to do something similar along the lines your talking about. I have used it in the past, but many people I have talked to do not trust it. Not sure why.
It sometimes gives odd results and seems to be based on filter turnover and other things that don't really matter.

In aquaculture, dissolved oxygen is often the limiter.
 

david1978

Member
AvalancheDave said:
It sometimes gives odd results and seems to be based on filter turnover and other things that don't really matter.

In aquaculture, dissolved oxygen is often the limiter.
Im not saying i agree with aquadvisor just that its along the same lines as what op is thinking. No program or chart will ever be 100% right. In the end at least to me it comes down to experience, research and some common sense.
 

Fuzz

Member
Utar said:
I like your enthusiasm but there is the academic world and the real world. Young engineers I have met in life fresh out of college have made this mistake. The variables for what you have proposed can be controlled in a lab, maybe. But in the real world those variables will be three fold or more. A fish dies goes unnoticed, plant matter, how much food actually goes uneaten, etc, etc. There are always unforeseen variables that can never be controlled in a lab.
Right, but if you want to understand you have to start somewhere. It's really important to understand the theory.

I'm not sure there is such a disconnect between the academic world and the real world. It is not the purpose of academia to interpret an alternate reality (usually). Sometimes we try to understand just one thing at a time which is terrible at describing a whole system but it adds to the collection of knowledge so that things can be improved over a long time. It is often within the scope of academia to show that ideas are in fact relevant to the real world. Yes, things fail miserably, there are plenty of examples of that which often has to do with unlearned lessons and unforeseen variables. Things that can be applied to subsequent iterations.

david1978 said:
Im not saying i agree with aquadvisor just that its along the same lines as what op is thinking. No program or chart will ever be 100% right. In the end at least to me it comes down to experience, research and some common sense.
I'm not familiar with Aquavisor but I assume its some type of aquarium modeling program. I agree that it will never be 100% right but if it at least works sometimes then it represents a great wealth of real world understanding that maybe Ryan's research can improve upon.
 

Utar

Member
Fuzz I am sorry if I seemed to step on somebodies toes here, it wasn't my intentions. Your right research has to be done and it has to start somewhere.
 

david1978

Member
Fuzz said:
Right, but if you want to understand you have to start somewhere. It's really important to understand the theory.

I'm not sure there is such a disconnect between the academic world and the real world. It is not the purpose of academia to interpret an alternate reality (usually). Sometimes we try to understand just one thing at a time which is terrible at describing a whole system but it adds to the collection of knowledge so that things can be improved over a long time. It is often within the scope of academia to show that ideas are in fact relevant to the real world. Yes, things fail miserably, there are plenty of examples of that which often has to do with unlearned lessons and unforeseen variables. Things that can be applied to subsequent iterations.



I'm not familiar with Aquavisor but I assume its some type of aquarium modeling program. I agree that it will never be 100% right but if it at least works sometimes then it represents a great wealth of real world understanding that maybe Ryan's research can improve upon.
Oh i do applaud the effort that went into the program. Don't get me wrong its a monumental task that they have been working to improve upon.
 

Redshark1

Member
I think Aquadvisor is a terrific starting point for info which can then be discussed with people who keep (or have kept) the fish you are interested in.

I've put data into Aquadvisor a number of times to test it and I largely agree with what it came up with.
 

squizfish

Member
I liked using aqadvisor as a general guide. It does not seem to work anymore. The domain is for sale.
 

Utar

Member
squizfish said:
I liked using aqadvisor as a general guide. It does not seem to work anymore. The domain is for sale.
Its still working...
 
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SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
It only works on some devices for some reason, It doesn't work on my computer, worked at my grandmas on my mothers phone. But not on my mom's phone at our house. Then she got a new phone and it works on her phone at our house. Really weird.
 

Gone

Member
No need to count fish poop.

Just use an uncycled tank. Track how much food you put in, then measure the ammonia in parts per million. This amount of food in, this kind of fish, this amount of ammonia produced.

I've logged all my test results for every tank I've ever cycled. I didn't track the precise amount of food I put in, but if I had the numbers would give the answer.
 

Zach72202

Member
This is an idea, but a lot of time and effort would be needed to produce a chart. You would need to keep variables the same and use a system everybody understands. You would need a theoretical and an actual yield table and equipment that could accurately measure amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
This would be an example:
1 Neon Tetra in 1 Gallon of water for 24 Hours Experiment:
Tank will not be cycled
Water will be 0ppm at begin of study
1 Year old Neon Tetra will be fasted 3 days exactly to start of project.
The Neon Tetra will be fed 0.5 Grams of Omega One Freshwater Flakes at the mark of hour one, and ammonia level will be measured upon completion of 24 hours.
Repeat the process of feeding at hour one 0.5 Gram of the specified food and measurements.
Do this several times.
Report the yield - say 1ppm ammonia.
What does 1ppm ammonia mean?
PPM or Parts Per Million means 1 Milligram/Liter of water.
So 1PPM of NH3 = 1.18g NH3 (Google it)
You can convert this to a molar mass of 0.059 Molarity (Mols/Liter) NH3
To do the conversion you need the balanced equation of Nitrification, which is;
NH3=Ammonia, NO2=Nitrite, NO3=Nitrate
2NH3+3O2=2NO2+2H?(POSITIVE ION)+2H2O
This is only the process for nitrite, therefore you would have to do the formula for nitrate after this.
Because NH3 and NO2 are a 1:1 ratio the amount of Nitrite is still 0.059 Mols.
This is just theoretical, but then you would have to do Nitrite to Nitrate.
Another thing to account is the H+ ions, making the water more acidic, which lowers the pH, and also turning some of the ammonia into ammonium (NH4+)
This is just the tip of the iceberg with this kind of project, but keep in mind, this is for a 1 year old neon tetra, let alone how many other fish there are.

This is not to say can it be done, yes it can, but the question of should it be done.

Did I mention I am a biochem major?
 

Johnez

Member
This is an interesting idea. The variables are endless. I suggest picking a few variables that you can reliably track and that represent the most relevant and useful factors in fishkeeping. In my opinion this would be surface area to ammonia reducing capacity. By controlling surface area you can make inferences into how an actual tank performs by measuring or estimating the surface area. With regards to ammonia, controlling this would be useful rather than taking all the variables that produce ammonia into account. First use the controlled environment to figure out how much surface area removes a certain amount of ammonia in a certain time. In later experiments you can figure out what thing produces however much ammonia. Figuring out how much ammonia one dead Java leaf produces, the ammonia produced from one dead fish in a 24 hour period, 5 milligrams of fish food, 10 2 oz fish after one day of no food, etc. Make a computer model with all the variables taken into account, have it spit out something like "Based on the surface area of your aquarium which includes the inside of one 29 gallon aquarium, 1 PetCo pirate ship, 4 anubias Nanas, one standard AquaClear 30 gallon filter, 15 lbs of sand, your bioload can handle 68 micrograms of ammonia per day." And then have a value of how much ammonia each fish produces in a day. Maybe a better thing to produce a value for would be how much food a tank can handle per day, would be the good input since you can track that exactly and your fish can only produce based on what you give them.

If I were to design the experiment this is what I would do:
-set up multiple tanks identical in size and surface area and cycle them. Maybe dozens.
-introduce variable surface areas into tank sample
-introduce variable amounts of ammonia input
-record how tanks react, what amount of surface area gets rid of however much ammonia
-expand experiment to include other variables such as temperature, surface agitation, plant affects, and filter types.

Sounds fun, wish I had the time/room to carry this out. I believe experiments like this were carried out in the past with regards to the effectiveness of certain filters and media (k1 kaldness vs suspended sand vs trickle, etc).
 
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SouthAmericanCichlids

Member
This would be so cool to do, wish I could do it.
Johnez said:
Maybe a better thing to produce a value for would be how much food a tank can handle per day, would be the good input since you can track that exactly and your fish can only produce based on what you give them
But there are variabilities, like plecos excrete waste more than most (Or have a high bioload) and goldfish are messy eaters though. So I think it would be better to do it the way you and others have suggested.
 

Fahn

Member
There are far too many variables to consider I'm afraid. Rates of metabolism differ by species and are affected by environmental stressors; the amount fed, temperature, etc. It would also vary based on the age, weight, and overall physical health of the fish.

On a species-by-species basis, some produce far more waste. Plecos, goldfish, livebearers, and cichlids produce a lot of waste, in contrast to small tetras, rasboras, etc.

Something not considered also is that fish excrete ammonia through their gills, not just solid waste. There is also ammonia from decaying plant matter, uneaten food, dead organisms, and even some people's tap water to consider.

It is such a complicated thing that no one formula could encompass it all.

The best thing to do is just have a moderately stocked tank with a high plant biomass to animal biomass ratio, do weekly water changes, and ensure you do not overfeed.

It is possible for a tank to reach equilibrium so no water changes are necessary (my crystal red shrimp tank is pristine and only requires fertilizer and top-offs), but it is better to follow general animal husbandry practices and use common sense.
 

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