Zeolite media

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Zenial

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Hello!

I've been reading the Zeolite helps decrease ammonia levels. Thus, it sounds like a handy material to have around the aquarium. Or would it only decrease my good bacteria and damage my cycle? Just thinking, it could be great for adding in if you had to miss a water change (eg: going on holiday).

What experience have you had with it?
 
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Aquarist

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Good morning. I use Marineland White Diamond in the link above. I add about 1 cup into a filter media bag and place it in my filter. I change it out every 4 weeks. I've always used it and along with frequent water changes, not over feeding, not being over stocked, I don't have any ammonia issues.

For me it's a safety net, I can't say for certain that it helps or that it doesn't. Peace of mind is a big issue for me and fish keeping

If you are having ammonia issues then I recommend it. If you aren't having any ammonia issues then I don't really see that it's necessary.

If your tank is cycling and you use this product, I don't think it will inhibit the tank from cycling but it might slow down the process.

Ken
 

claudicles

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I'm glad you asked Zenial. I have been wondering about that. I don't know if it would help to reduce risks with missing water changes because you shouldn't have significant ammonia in your water in a cycled tank anyway. I don't know what other toxins it may bind though and water changes are mostly to get rid of nitrates and other toxic stuff we don't measure. It is possible zeolite binds these other things but I can't see it in the product info. Maybe someone with more knowledge of the chemical properties of zeolite can help.

As for interfering with cycling, I think it probably does.

Two reasons: Ammonia eating bacteria (BB) grow in response to ammonia levels in the water and in a cycled tank are kept alive by the amounts of ammonia produced by fish. The bacteria gobble it up and prevent it from reaching detectable levels in the water. Anything that reduced ammonia in the water reduces the food to the bacteria. This is the same reason people recommend prime rather than other water conditioners while cycling. It leaves the ammonia there but in a less toxic form, so the bacteria still get a meal but the fish don't get too poisoned. If zeolite pulls it out of solution then it must hamper the establishment of a BB colony.

The second reason - ChemiZee (the aqua one brand available here) has on the container to change the zeolite when ammonia levels rise. Ammonia levels should rise like that in a cycled tank so it seems aqua one expects your tank not to cycle if you regularly use zeolite.

As for protecting you from spikes I'm not sure. I guess it depends on the relative avidity for ammonia of either the BB or the zeolite. I'm assuming your tank is cycled and you are adding zeolite after it here. If Zeolite is a better grabber of ammonia out of the water than BB then your BB are likely to die off to a lower level with it in. If BB are hungrier so to speak, then zeolite will act the same as any porous filter media. You'd have to do bacterial colony counts in your filter media with and without zeolite to work it out, which seems like a lot of hassle.

Theoretically, zeolite should be good for cycling with fish if you get to the stage where you have toxic levels of ammonia and the fixsh are still suffering despite frequent water changes and prime. Not an ideal situation but one quite a few people seem to get into anyway.

Just my thoughts. I'm not an industrial chemist and I am sure searching scientific literature would yield a more accurate answer but I have been wondering about this stuff myself and that is what I came up with.
 
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Zenial

Zenial

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Thanks for the info!

I've just been reading up on it a little more this morning. It mostly seems to depend on your type of filter. The theory is zeolite is placed after filter wool/sponges in the filter so that nitrifying bacteria receives the full amount of ammonia it can take. Zeolite only removing the left overs.

Reference:
http://www.fishdoc.co.uk/water/zeolite.htm
See "Using Zeolite"

NB) It's interesting that's it's washed clean with salt/can't be used in marine aquariums.
 

ranga97

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Hi Zenial,
when I first started my tanks the guy at the lfs told me to get some due to my ammonia. He sold me a "zeopad" from aqua one, it is a pad with zeolite inside it and I am having know issues whatsoever.
 
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