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bio-filtration and ammonia
#1
Bio-filtration and the vivarium. Biofiltration is a pollution control technique using living material to capture and biologically degrade process pollutants. Common uses include processing waste water, capturing harmful chemicals or silt from surface runoff, and microbiotic oxidation of contaminants in air.Biofilter was first introduced in England in 1893 as a trickling filter for wastewater treatment and has since been successfully used for the treatment of different types of water. Biological treatment has been used in Europe to filter surface water for drinking purposes since the early 1900s and is now receiving more interest worldwide. Biofiltration is also common in wastewater treatment, aquaculture and greywater recycling as a way to minimize water replacement while increasing water quality.The use of biofilters are commonly used on closed aquaculture systems, such as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Many designs are used, with different benefits and drawbacks, however the function is the same: reducing water exchanges by converting ammonia to nitrate. Ammonia (NH4+ and NH3) originates from the brachial excretion from the gills of aquatic animals and from the decomposition of organic matter. As ammonia-N is highly toxic, this is converted to a less toxic form of nitrite (by Nitrosomonas sp.) and then to an even less toxic form of nitrate (by Nitrobacter sp.). Each vivarium is designed different with every person. I have seen a lot of tank rased tads that are raised in pools that are not seperated from the drainage of the substrate without a biofiltration in place. Does the ammonia build up inside this water without a biofilter have an affect on the tads/frog-lets being produced from it that we are not awear of yet? Does it affect the size of the tads being raised, even with the large tads being tank raised they arent as large as naturally raised tads ,could this be part of the problem? Even in vivariums that do not have pools the water it is still on its own cycle inside the vivarium, it drains, collects at the bottom and is evaporated to the top and comes back in the form of condensation. Is this condensation full of harmful ammonia? Our frogs live in a self contained septic tank. Just an idea i have been working on for a while i havent found any evidence to support this or deny this so your thought and ideas are more than welcome. We can take it even farther than the vivarium and check the levels in the individual cups our tads are raised in. I would like to hear the results from any readings from those who have the kits and would be willing to help test this idea. Again just an idea on how to improve the enviornment our frogs live in. I may be way off key but Is a biofiltration key in vivarium design? Could this be affecting the breeding/tad growth/development of our frogs? I think ammonia build up plays a big roll that is often over looked. It is part of an enviornment we place our frogs in that they arent naturally exposed to. Your thought...
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#2
Two samples i tested on 9/18/13 one was taken from a pool inside the vivarium for tad rearing with frequent water changes (The light colored one) and the other from a tad rearing jar (The dark green colored one) where water was just replaced due to evaporation. Clear evidence ammonia is present in the self contained enviornment we have designed for our frogs to be living in.
~Master Yoda

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"
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#3
I had the idea after reading caspers (Ghostvivs) my tad setup thread. He said he was getting larger frogs with them reared in this way. I started thinking about why? After looking at his set up i soon realized he had a biofiltration in place. The thick gravel bottom and the air stone created this. My next question was how that would affect the health of the tads. My conclusion was in the ammonia build up. The biofiltration is designed to convert the ammonia into a less toxic form of nitrite (by Nitrosomonas sp.) and then to an even less toxic form of nitrate (by Nitrobacter sp.) So i am still trying to tie in the affects of the ammonia on the frogs and tads. Hard to do in a froog room lab, yet fun all the same. Is it the reason we are having smaller tads out of water, what roll does it have with SLS or STS, what about affecting other things like breeding or overall health? Any ideas or suggestions from anyone?
~Master Yoda

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"
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#4
Good questions/point's, would be curious of the levels of ph etc. In the wild. Casper has been having great results raising his communally.

Chris you can get a more in depth water test for free at Leslie's Pools.
-Beth
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#5
Thanks Beth i sent casper a pm asking to get some ammonia testing from his set up if he was able to as well as from his vivs and jars if he uses them. Maybe if he is able to get some tested that would give stronger support. Who knows maybe im way off but it didnt hurt giving it a shot. On the other forum i got a lot of people that were set in there way that a viv did not produce ammonia and it doesnt affect the frogs... a lot of talk yet no solid evidence to back what they were saying. I have proven that the viv water does have amounts of ammonia build up as well as in tad jars.
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#6
Soon as I get a break from work I'll get to it. I did test it with the pH strips but they never changed any color...
What some see as death, others see as beauty.


Casper
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#7
BcsTx Wrote:Good questions/point's, would be curious of the levels of ph etc. In the wild. Casper has been having great results raising his communally.

Chris you can get a more in depth water test for free at Leslie's Pools.
The pH of natural unpolluted precipitation is close to 5.0.
~Master Yoda

"When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?"
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#8
Ghostvivs Wrote:Soon as I get a break from work I'll get to it. I did test it with the pH strips but they never changed any color...
Did you test for ph or ammonia as well? If the strips tested for ammonia and didnt change that sounds as if could be the biofiltration is working in removing the ammonia. Or bad test strips lol And a little info on PH for those that arent awear. PH is the measure of a chemical's acidity and ranges from 0 to 14, with higher numbers denoting alkalinity and lower numbers indicating acidity. Because frogs are dependent on water for reproduction and can respire through their skin, they are particularly susceptible to the effects of environmental pollutants that alter water pH. The cardiovascular system is often the first organ system to be affected by inappropriate pH levels.
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#9
They were pH strips from Petco. Was thinking they might have been bad but figured I'd get a better test kit to try.
What some see as death, others see as beauty.


Casper
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#10
While unpolluted rain water is about 5.6, I guarantee that true blackwater is much higher in acidity. It's why we made tadpole tea.
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


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#11
RichFrye Wrote:While unpolluted rain water is about 5.6, I guarantee that true blackwater is much higher in acidity. It's why we made tadpole tea.
Thanks rich I wasnt awear of the tadpole tea being made for the purpose to increase the ph i was always under the impression it was simply for the tannic acid, and its phytonutrient with astringent and antifungal properties. I do know it has a higher PH yet still within range.
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#12
frogs are cool Wrote:
RichFrye Wrote:While unpolluted rain water is about 5.6, I guarantee that true blackwater is much higher in acidity. It's why we made tadpole tea.
Thanks rich I wasnt awear of the tadpole tea being made for the purpose to increase the ph i was always under the impression it was simply for the tannic acid, and its phytonutrient with astringent and antifungal properties. I do know it has a higher PH yet still within range.

Right, we are not increasing acidity for the sake of just lowering PH. The tannins in our water and in in-situ blackwater are why we are making teas and we look for their benefits.
My point is that many tads in-situ live in fairly tannic , and thus acidic water. And the fact that acidic water is a natural thing for these frogs.
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


If tone is more important to you than content, you are at the wrong place.

My new email address is: rich.frye@icloud.com and new phone number is 773 577 3476
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#13
Dart Frogs have evolved to fill a 'jungle niche' and do things a little differently from other frogs and toads. They do not have the high egg clutch counts and they secret their tadpoles in much more discrete (and smaller) locations like tiny pools and plant axils.

In the jungle, the myriad of leaves creates the acidity with the constant leaf decomposition and high levels of precipitation. We would do well to mimic those PH conditions, as the tadpoles are physiologically designed for it.

There is also a great deal of 'flushing' and rainfall so we can factor that in as well.

As for ammonia, or Tadpole waste, I think a lot of that is converted by the plant (axils) or the microbe teeming tiny pools of water. Rich has proven to get great healthy results from non-organic deposition sites (film cans) so we need to recognize that as well.

For all my Tinc and 'Tinc type' animals, I always suctioned a small turkey baster sized amount of water from the bottom of the tad cups every few days. I feel that is important. Tadpoles are tougher than they look. In fact, the only time I've ever heard of problems was when people tried to give them water that was TOO Clean ! RO and constant 'clean' water is not good IMO.
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#14
and unlike a fish....I think the tadpole is a lot more tolerant of higher levels of ammonia.
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#15
frogs are cool Wrote:Two samples i tested on 9/18/13 one was taken from a pool inside the vivarium for tad rearing with frequent water changes (The light colored one) and the other from a tad rearing jar (The dark green colored one) where water was just replaced due to evaporation. Clear evidence ammonia is present in the self contained enviornment we have designed for our frogs to be living in.

It should be noted that these test kits consider a fairly nuetral pH and test for combined forms of free ammonia and ionized ammonia (NH3/NH4+). Free ammonia raises toxicity issues and is the one we are most concerned with. The problem with using this type of test kit in vivaria or acidic "tadpole tea" is that for each order of change in magnitude of pH, there is an order of magnitude change in free ammonia (NH3). For example, at 25°C, if NH3/NH4+ is 2ppm at pH 7, then free ammonia (NH3) is ~ 0.01 ppm, at pH 6 it's ~ 0.001 ppm and at pH 5 it's ~ 0.0001 ppm. So these kit's don't tell us much about true ammonia levels outside of fairly neutral aquaria.

So what I'm saying is that, depending on pH, free ammonia concentration could be as much as three orders of magnitude lower in a vivarium or tadpole rearing.

It less likely that the frog is more tolerant and more likely that the pH we keep them at mediates the free ammonia concentrations they are exposed to.
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#16
http://tropicalis.berkeley.edu/home/hus ... etads.html "It is important to avoid sudden changes to the tadpole's environment. This includes rapid changes in pH, ammonia, temperature, and amount of debris in the tank. The temperature in the tadpole tanks is maintained between 27 and 28 degrees Celsius, and the pH around 7–7.5. We have found a sudden change in temperature or pH can be more detrimental to survival than a consistently low/high temperature or pH. Additionally, the tadpoles seem to do fine in water quite high in ammonia. In our experience, attempting to quickly lower ammonia levels with water changes or increased drip rates may result in tadpole death. Siphoning more than a quarter of the buildup of food and fecal debris from the tank bottom has also led to negative results. In general, be sure to perform any changes gradually."
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#17
frogs are cool Wrote:http://tropicalis.berkeley.edu/home/husb...etads.html "It is important to avoid sudden changes to the tadpole's environment. This includes rapid changes in pH, ammonia, temperature, and amount of debris in the tank. The temperature in the tadpole tanks is maintained between 27 and 28 degrees Celsius, and the pH around 7–7.5. We have found a sudden change in temperature or pH can be more detrimental to survival than a consistently low/high temperature or pH. Additionally, the tadpoles seem to do fine in water quite high in ammonia. In our experience, attempting to quickly lower ammonia levels with water changes or increased drip rates may result in tadpole death. Siphoning more than a quarter of the buildup of food and fecal debris from the tank bottom has also led to negative results. In general, be sure to perform any changes gradually."

Free ammonia or total ammonia? The problem with the rest of their statement is that water changes could be detrimental for many reasons and they provide no evidence to tie it back to ammonia (free or total) concentrations.
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#18
excellent discussion. This is another factor that most people do not take into consideration when shipping tadpoles.

I try for a 15-20% water 'change/replacement' for tads. No more than that.
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#19
edwardsatc Wrote:
frogs are cool Wrote:Two samples i tested on 9/18/13 one was taken from a pool inside the vivarium for tad rearing with frequent water changes (The light colored one) and the other from a tad rearing jar (The dark green colored one) where water was just replaced due to evaporation. Clear evidence ammonia is present in the self contained enviornment we have designed for our frogs to be living in.

It should be noted that these test kits consider a fairly nuetral pH and test for combined forms of free ammonia and ionized ammonia (NH3/NH4+). Free ammonia raises toxicity issues and is the one we are most concerned with. The problem with using this type of test kit in vivaria or acidic "tadpole tea" is that for each order of change in magnitude of pH, there is an order of magnitude change in free ammonia (NH3). For example, at 25°C, if NH3/NH4+ is 2ppm at pH 7, then free ammonia (NH3) is ~ 0.01 ppm, at pH 6 it's ~ 0.001 ppm and at pH 5 it's ~ 0.0001 ppm. So these kit's don't tell us much about true ammonia levels outside of fairly neutral aquaria.

So what I'm saying is that, depending on pH, free ammonia concentration could be as much as three orders of magnitude lower in a vivarium or tadpole rearing.

It less likely that the frog is more tolerant and more likely that the pH we keep them at mediates the free ammonia concentrations they are exposed to.
In addition, ammonia toxicity increases as temperature rises.
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#20
"It less likely that the frog is more tolerant and more likely that the pH we keep them at mediates the free ammonia concentrations they are exposed to".

So the Indian Almond leaf has a FOURTH benefit ?

1. Provides tannins -anti fungal
2. Provides shelter - anti stress
3. Provides area/mass - Biofilm accumulation, additional nutrients

4. Provides relief from Ammonia concentrations
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