How long does it take for a proteïn molecule to be converted into ammonia?

Harold999

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I wonder, when uneaten food start to dissolve into almost molecules, so small the particles will go through your filters, how long does it take to become an amino acid and later on ammonia? Is this known?
Is this a matter of hours or days?
 
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Dan_P

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I wonder, when uneaten food start to dissolve into almost molecules, so small the particles will go through your filters, how long does it take to become an amino acid and later on ammonia? Is this known?
Is this a matter of hours or days?
What type of food are you wondering about?
 
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Harold999

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What type of food are you wondering about?
Not particularly one type, just proteïn and organic waste in general.

I want to now if it really makes sense to put a nano skimmer in the backchamber sump of a nano tank, where the flow is much higher than the internal flow in the skimmer itself. Maybe a 1:10 ratio or something.
The skimmer will skim only 10% of the sump flow in this case, but if proteïns stay long enough in the water before turning into ammonia, the skimmer gets several chances to take it out.
 

Dan_P

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Not particularly one type, just proteïn and organic waste in general.

I want to now if it really makes sense to put a nano skimmer in the backchamber sump of a nano tank, where the flow is much higher than the internal flow in the skimmer itself. Maybe a 1:10 ratio or something.
The skimmer will skim only 10% of the sump flow in this case, but if proteïns stay long enough in the water before turning into ammonia, the skimmer gets several chances to take it out.
Food is not the only source organic matter in an aquarium. There is feces from all the animals in the aquarium from the visible to the microscopic and there is all the debris from molting and dying organism. There is always waste to skim. The aquarium would generate organic waste even if every scrap of food is eaten.

As for the flow past the skimmer versus through the skimmer, a high exterior flow means that the water exterior to the skimmer will not become depleted of waste as fresh waste water is being brought in faster than the skimmer can process it.
 
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Harold999

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As for the flow past the skimmer versus through the skimmer, a high exterior flow means that the water exterior to the skimmer will not become depleted of waste as fresh waste water is being brought in faster than the skimmer can process it.
This is the dilemma. But the waste that bypasses the skimmer will meet the skimmer again the next round it goes through the sump, etcetera etcetera. Unless the waste has turned into ammonium, then it's too late for the skimmer to take it out if you know what i mean.
Hence my question how long will proteïn be proteïn before it turns into ammonia.
If it takes a long time then the nano skimmer makes sense.
 
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taricha

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Hence my question how long will proteïn be proteïn before it turns into ammonia.
If it takes a long time then the nano skimmer makes sense.
feeding fish food and amino acid etc to aquarium bacteria, somewhere in the 3-5 day ballpark where ammonia is being produced.

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 10.51.33 PM.png


green line is aquarium bacteria. ammonia production from breakdown of the amino acid stopped by 3-4 days.

if it's well-aerated, faster. if it is anaerobic - much slower. some super-rich concentration of fish food without enough O2 produced ammonia for 3 weeks.
 
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Harold999

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feeding fish food and amino acid etc to aquarium bacteria, somewhere in the 3-5 day ballpark where ammonia is being produced.
So an internal skimmer flow / sump flow ratio of 1 : 10 may sound bad but really isn't because the skimmer has basically all the time in the world - a couple of days - to take the aminos out.

Altough now a second question comes to my mind. Does biofilter mass (ceramic pipes, sponges etcetera) catches the aminos and holding them till the point they become ammonia? In that case the 1:10 ratio is still a bad thing...
 
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Dan_P

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This is the dilemma. But the waste that bypasses the skimmer will meet the skimmer again the next round it goes through the sump, etcetera etcetera. Unless the waste has turned into ammonium, then it's too late for the skimmer to take it out if you know what i mean.
Hence my question how long will proteïn be proteïn before it turns into ammonia.
If it takes a long time then the nano skimmer makes sense.
@taricha has observed the fate of various organic matter when it is digested by aquarium microorganisms. Generally speaking, high value organic matter like protein and amino acids seem to be consumed faster than left over matter that accumulates in quiet corners. And if I remember correctly, ammonia generation happens for every type of matter collected from the aquarium. The higher value food also seems to support faster growth. All types of organic matter takes time to digest though. Nothing is instantly digested.

Adding a skimmer will help remove material that when digested produces ammonia. I would guess that a system with a light bioload could be successful without skimming and letting microorganisms take care of all the waste, including ammonia.
 

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Skimmers also remove (some) waterborne bacteria after they have eaten the organics in the water.
I'm thinking the skimmer limitations are going to be more about what fraction of organic material is skimmable, and less about how many times you can pass the water through the skimmer.
Here's an article on how well skimmers actually remove this material.
https://reefs.com/magazine/the-deve...ve-evaluation-of-protein-skimmer-performance/

Nevertheless, the data are robust enough to glean general trends. Thus, all skimmers tested remove around 20 – 30% of the TOC in the aquarium water, and that’s it; 70 – 80% of the measurable TOC is left behind unperturbed by the skimming process.
 

DxMarinefish

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Interesting thread. Watching :) .

I skim but i don't collect, relying instead on my two ATS, LR, Sponges, filter feeders and flow, more or less.
I assume that the 20-30% or so will remain and decompose.
With this in mind I also assume that ammonia extraction from my system is dependant on how affective the consumers of ammonia are and the relative decomposition rate.

Am i correct?
 
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Randy Holmes-Farley

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So an internal skimmer flow / sump flow ratio of 1 : 10 may sound bad but really isn't because the skimmer has basically all the time in the world - a couple of days - to take the aminos out.

Altough now a second question comes to my mind. Does biofilter mass (ceramic pipes, sponges etcetera) catches the aminos and holding them till the point they become ammonia? In that case the 1:10 ratio is still a bad thing...

Most amino acids are not skimmable. Some proteins are.

Proteins do not just break down into amino acids then into ammonia. They must be consumed by organisms for that to happen.

Thus, how fast it happens depends very strongly on what eats it and how soon it is eaten. Fish will excrete ammonia from fish food they eat much faster than the graph that taricha shows for bacteria action alone.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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Interesting thread. Watching :) .

I skim but i don't collect, relying instead on my two ATS, LR, Sponges, filter feeders and flow, more or less.
I assume that the 20-30% or so will remain and decompose.
With this in mind I also assume that ammonia extraction from my system is dependant on how affective the consumers of ammonia are and the relative decomposition rate.

Am i correct?

Sorry, I don't really understand what you are asking.

20-30% of what "remains"?

Nearly all of the N and P fed in foods, whether eaten by a fish or not, ends up as phosphate and ammonia/nitrate in the water.
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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So an internal skimmer flow / sump flow ratio of 1 : 10 may sound bad but really isn't because the skimmer has basically all the time in the world - a couple of days - to take the aminos out.

Altough now a second question comes to my mind. Does biofilter mass (ceramic pipes, sponges etcetera) catches the aminos and holding them till the point they become ammonia? In that case the 1:10 ratio is still a bad thing...

Skimmers are not going to be a main export method for most amino acids. Consumption by organisms is.

I'm not sure what connection you are trying to make to flow rates.
 

DxMarinefish

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Sorry, I don't really understand what you are asking.

20-30% of what "remains"?

Nearly all of the N and P fed in foods, whether eaten by a fish or not, ends up as phosphate and ammonia/nitrate in the water.
sorry i did not clarify.

I was referring to the linked article that stated that skimmers only remove approx 20-30% of TOC in the aquarium. Assumption being that with a skimmer only 20-30% of TOC gets removed. With my system 100% don't get removed by the skimmer.

As I don't collect the skimmate and I have low N (undetectable on Salifert) and P (0.09 Hanna ultra low), I am assuming that the ATS and other organisms are doing a great job
 

Randy Holmes-Farley

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sorry i did not clarify.

I was referring to the linked article that stated that skimmers only remove approx 20-30% of TOC in the aquarium. Assumption being that with a skimmer only 20-30% of TOC gets removed. With my system 100% don't get removed by the skimmer.

As I don't collect the skimmate and I have low N (undetectable on Salifert) and P (0.09 Hanna ultra low), I am assuming that the ATS and other organisms are doing a great job

Yes. You may have extra TOC without skimming (or GAC, Purigen, etc.), and still have low N and P because photosynthetic organisms take it up fast enough. :)
 
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Dan_P

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Skimmers also remove (some) waterborne bacteria after they have eaten the organics in the water.
I'm thinking the skimmer limitations are going to be more about what fraction of organic material is skimmable, and less about how many times you can pass the water through the skimmer.
Here's an article on how well skimmers actually remove this material.
https://reefs.com/magazine/the-deve...ve-evaluation-of-protein-skimmer-performance/
The 20-30% we keep quoting is likely a lower limit. Feldman ran his skimmer experiments with manufacturing settings, i.e., he dry skimmed. This means once the organic material that made stiff foam played out, his system came to a steady state of 20-30%.

Had he run the skimmers at various foam rates approaching say 1% of the system’s total volume per day, he would likely have found a higher removal rate.

I think this hobby underestimates the value of wet skimming.
 
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brandon429

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Dan you know my most pressing question in all of reefdom: when ammonia is produced in a post cycle reef tank, how long does it take to become nitrite and then nitrate

and can it stall, being slow in some post cycle reefs, but just not slow in the threads where people add ammonium chloride for power feed
 

Dan_P

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Dan you know my most pressing question in all of reefdom: when ammonia is produced in a post cycle reef tank, how long does it take to become nitrite and then nitrate

and can it stall, being slow in some post cycle reefs, but just not slow in the threads where people add ammonium chloride for power feed
I am on the verge of running small scale studies of nitrification in my sand bed. I will initially do some basic stuff to get a feel for what a given amount of sand can do to ammonia and nitrite. Then I will challenge the sand bed to see if it can be damaged. This will not be the end of the story, but something we can use as a reference point.

If the study gets interesting, I might be able to entice @taricha to look at his sand. And towards the bottom of the list of ideas is testing ”miracle” sand and products.
 

brandon429

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I’m in minor shock this morning at the rash of outbreaks for months long sustained free ammonia in the general forum, 100% acceptance that red sea or api ammonia is infallible, but then total silence from the ammonia dosing thread kicked up in the chem forum on how a five thousand dollar 1.5 yr running sps reef tank is stuck and can’t uptake any extra


the inconsistency is troubling lol, deeply.


On one flip of the coin (how a thread is titled) everyone agrees api is wrong and nitrification is trustworthy, timely and reliable. They agree a cycling chart is accurate for ammonia control after X number of days.


on another flip (thread title, ammonia emergency) all that is out the window and for pages the test is right and a cycling chart for ammonia control is wrong.



where’s the objectivity- our microbiology is suffering terribly in reefing.

reefs get to claim symptomless ammonia non control for pages. In any other form of veterinary medicine, the animal dies overnite.

this thread asking about conversion time for protein to ammonia I thought was interesting as we continue on the scale discovering how fast ammonia is nullified in a cycled system.
 
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taricha

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Dan you know my most pressing question in all of reefdom: when ammonia is produced in a post cycle reef tank, how long does it take to become nitrite and then nitrate
I can say that in any cycled reef tank, ammonia will disappear at a rate of multiple ppm NH3 per day. (99% confident)
What I can't say with any confidence at all is whether it's actually "cycled" in the traditional sense: ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate , or if it just gets eaten by algae, coral, and heterotrophic bacteria.
I'd bet in my tank the nitrifiers are last on the list, but I have very little evidence of that.
 
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