dr. johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson, DVM
Veterinarian, author and fish health specialist.
Visit his site at www.koivet.com
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3. Mistakes to Avoid

Mistake #1:
You can't leave your UltraViolet Sterilizer (U.V.) on when you're using TurboStart because the U.V. will kill 100% of the bacteria instantly as it passes through the U.V. chamber. Don't make the mistake of spending all that money on TurboStart and then leaving your U.V. on because it's more than an "Oops" - it's OVER for those bacteria. Time to buy more.

Mistake #2:
Salting heavily during application is not a good idea. We tested TurboStart in salted systems but they were only salted to 0.3% (one pound per hundred gallons) and it's well known that the specific nitrifier (Nitrobacter) is sort of sensitive to salt. I'd recommend that you run little or no salt during t he TurboStart applications. Salt does not kill your bio unless it's introduced or dissolved directly in your skimmer basket. Direct dissolution of salt into the filter will skin your bio- media "sugar-white". No more bio.

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Low level salting, at three pounds of salt per one hundred gallons is not deterimental to bio-filtration but it DOES "impede" or slow down the more rapid seeding of Nitrobacteria.

Mistake #3:
You have to support the carbonate alkalinity and allow physiological phosphate levels for the bacteria. [See conditions]. The Total Alkalinity of the pond or facility should be over eighty [80] ppm. If your Total Alkalinity is lower than seventy, you will probably be disappointed with any introduced nitrifier. When you boost your new pond's alkalinity, it doesn't hurt to use a buffer with phosphates (older ponds generally have enough phosphates). Most of us relate phosphates to Algae growth, but indeed, nitrifying bacteria *also* need some phosphate to survive.

YOU SHOULD KNOW: If your Total Alkalinity is lower than seventy, you will probably be disappointed with any introduced nitrifier.

It's important to note that MOST hobbyists have plenty of phosphates in their systems for bacteria to fluorish. You know, phosphates primarily arise in the systems from the food we give the fish. It's a natural by-product of digestion in aquaculture.

YOU SHOULD KNOW: Feed your fish, and unless you've got something wierd going on, you've got phosphates...

Mistake #4:
If your filter is rated for five hundred gallons and the pond is five *thousand* gallons, absolutely no introduced-nitrifier will work. There's really not enough area for the bacteria to live. Not even in the biofilm. It's not rare for a person with an under-sized filter to check their water and detect an accumulation of nitrogen. (Ammonia, Nitrite or Nitrate). So they buy something like TurboStart to reduce the nitrogen, and it just doesn't work. TurboStart is a bacterial culture. It does not chemically reduce or remove Ammonia or Nitrite the way sodium-methane-sulfonate does. The introduced nitrifiers will enter the system and quickly colonize available surfaces and begin to reduce the nitrogen. If those surfaces do *not* exist, there will be disappointment. It's important for the hobbyist to conserve their resources and take the time to establish that their filtration system is proportionate to their feeding practices, fish loading and water volume. THEN the investment in TurboStart is wise.

Mistake #5:
If you nuked your filter with a medication, and then immediately add TurboStart, you will be disappointed. (I did this). The medication may remain and interfere with colonization. You'd be smarter to execute a massive water change (90%) with dechlorinator and then apply the TurboStart a half-day later, when the system is stable.

Mistake #6:
Remember, it's a bacteria culture, not a chemical. So applying it to a pond which has been recently filled with *chlorinated* water is basically sending your money to it's useless death. Always dechlorinate, even when fish aren't there. Your beneficial bacteria will love you for it.

Mistake #7:
If you apply TurboStart to water which is unfit for Koi inhabitation, you're going to fail. In fact, I daresay TurboStart bacteria could benefit in their application by *heightened* aeration, and extraordinary circulation. Water with high turbidity and which 'stinks', or is depleted in oxygen will simply kill your introduced nitrifiers. These bacteria are just as sensitive as the Koi are to water temperature, dissolved oxygen and overall cleanliness. The notable exception is that these bacteria relish Ammonia or Nitrite accumulations whereas your fish don't.

Mistake #8:
Bead filters specific: People start up a bead filter, pour in the TurboStart and run the filter on "high flow". They backwash every couple days trying to control the naturally occurring haze which is common in virgin water as it "breaks in". This early haze has nothing to do with the TurboStart. Running the filter on "high" does not permit sufficient residence time for the TurboStart to grab those beads. If you can stand it, run the pump on low and let the bacteria enter the filter and stay as long as possible with gentle flows. BY ALL MEANS do not backwash a new bead filter during the first three weeks (unless specifically and verbally directed to do so by the manufacturer). PERIOD. When people see some deterioration in water quality with a bead filter, they have this tendency to backwash over and over again, and they "strip the beads" (see glossary).

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