Tropical Fish Secrets
It's always fun when a guest comes into my home for the first time... you can see their eyes light up like a little kids' and exclaim, "Wow, an aquarium!" as they make a "B-line" for it and proceed to gawk in amazement!
Tropical Fish Secrets

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Biological loading

Biological loading is a measure of the burden placed on the aquarium ecosystem by its living inhabitants. High biological loading in an aquarium represents a more complicated tank ecology, which in turn means that equilibrium is easier to perturb. In addition, there are several fundamental constraints on biological loading based on the size of an aquarium. The surface area of water exposed to air limits dissolved oxygen intake by the tank. The capacity of nitrifying bacteria is limited by the physical space they have available to colonize. Physically, only a limited size and number of plants and animals can be fit into an aquarium while still providing room for movement.
In order to prevent biological overloading of the system, aquarists have developed a number of rules of thumb. Perhaps the most popular of these is the "one inch of fish per U.S. gallon" rule, which dictates that the sum in inches of the lengths of all fish kept in an aquarium (excluding tail length) should not exceed the capacity of the tank measured in U.S. gallons (about 7 mm per liter of water). This rule is usually applied to the expected mature size of the fish, in order to not stunt growth by overcrowding, which can be unhealthy for the fish. For goldfish and other high-waste fish, some aquarists recommend doubling the space allowance to one inch of fish per every two gallons.
The true maximum or ideal biological loading of a system is very difficult to calculate, even on a theoretical level. To do so, the variables for waste production rate, nitrification efficiency, gas exchange rate at the water surface, and many others would need to be determined. In practice this is a very complicated and difficult task, and so most aquarists use rules of thumb combined with a trial and error approach to reach an appropriate level of biological loading.

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Tropical Fish Secrets
It's always fun when a guest comes into my home for the first time... you can see their eyes light up like a little kids' and exclaim, "Wow, an aquarium!" as they make a "B-line" for it and proceed to gawk in amazement!
Tropical Fish Secrets