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Filter Seeding

Question: What is Filter Seeding?

Answer:  The media in a new filter system is sterile, without any of the Bacteria needed to remove Annomia or Nitrite.  The bacteria will establish itself quite naturally, even without intervention, but the process can take some time dependant upon temperature and water conditions.  A freshwater tank may take 6 - 8 weeks to develop an effective bacterial colony, a Marine Aquarium may take twice as long.

It is not possible to totally eliminate this maturation period, but it can be significantly reduced by using LIVE bacteria to SEED the filter system.  If successful, it can produce a working bacteriological filter in a matter of days instead of the weeks needed by traditional methods.   When Grosvenor Tropicals moved from our old premises in Belfast to our new store in Lisburn this was the method that we used to effect the seamless changeover.  So successful was the exercise that not a single fish was lost to New Tank Syndrome.

So how is it done? Simple really, all that's required is forward planning and some existing mature filter systems.   About 3 - 4 months before the date of our relocation we placed large quantities of additional filter media into the biological filters of our quarantine ponds.  At the same time the existing media was gently agitated to release some free-floating bacteria into the water.  Within a few days the water had returned to full clarity as the filter system re-absorbed all the debris, but some of the bacteria had been trapped in the new filter media.  Over the next few months this bacteria settled into its new home, matured and multiplied. By the time of our move we had 100Kg of fully matured LIVE media which would be used to stock the filters in the new tanks.

As with any new setup the tanks in the new store were filled with purified water and allowed to settle for a 4 - 5 days.  When the temperature was stable and all the excess gasses had evaporated, half of the filter media in each tank was replaced with the live media which we had been carefully culturing.  A few fish were added to each tank and the systems were left undisturbed for another week. 

Maroon Clownfish in an Anemone