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Anaerobic weed tea into aerobic?  RSS feed

 
Dougan Nash
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Location: Eastern Shore, Maryland
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A few years ago I got into fish keeping because I love planted aquariums so much. I bought "ecology of the planted aquarium" and there was a section that breaks down certain bacteria (maybe all bacteria) can live in both aerobic and anaerobic states. This got me thinking.

A week or so ago I took a lot of weeds, placed them in a 5-gallon bucket then filled it with water. If I strain this liquid (now smelly and developing a white mold) and place it into another bucket with an airstone - will the bacteria revert to their aerobic states? Should I add a food like molasses?
 
Zach Muller
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Hey dougan, im no expert on bacteria but i have thought some about this. From my observation and understanding of organisms in compost tea, there wont be many that can change between aerobic and anaerobic conditions. If you breed an aerobic crew of microbes and start removing oxygen, you can see them steadily decrease in activity and die, as conditions become more anaerobic from that point, a new crew of organisms will come in.

I have considered attempting to use anerobic organisms as a food source for higher organisms in the tea. Which is quite a bit like what i think would happen if you went about your experiment. If you had an anerobic microbial fluid and you oxygenated it, the bodies of the anerobic bacteria could in theory be consumed by the larger arobic organisms like ciliates, rotifers, flagellates, and nematodes. Although it is their usual behaviour to consume living aerobic bacterias, so it needs to be tested under microscope.

Adding mollases would be a fine food source, but without a guideline of who is eating this food and how much of them are there, how to know what amount to add? Over feeding an aerobic tea can cause oxygen levels to drop, which can put all your aerobic organisms at risk.

I would begin with seeing the result of bubbling the anerobic brew. Check the brew under the microscope before bubbling. Try less than 5 gallons so your oxygen level can be garanteed to be sufficient. If it starts smelling sweeter then check it again under the scope to see whats happening. Only if there were promising results from that experiment would i bother adding a food source like mollases.
 
Dougan Nash
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Thanks Zach. I've gone ahead and put it in a bucket with more water and an air stone. I'll see how it looks tonight.
 
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