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The freshwater aquarium, when indulging in reductionism,
is a large glass box that you occasionally sprinkle some
food into. This presents a problem, since the food isn't
removed. To combat this, some bright spark placed a few
fish into the box, and they obligingly ate the food and
of it into random movement and CO2.
Irritatingly, in order to continue living, the fish require
some protein. When metabolized, the nitrogen on each
amino acid diffuses out of the gills as ammonia where it
promptly kills the fish. Fortunately, there are opportunistic
environmental bacteria that make a living oxidizing this
ammonia, using the energy to make more of themselves.
During this process, they also need phosphate, another
waste product to make DNA and yet more of that nitrogen
for proteins of their own. Ultimately, the bacteria will stop
growing once they bump into another limiting factor. This
factor is usually a carbon source. Algae get around this by
using CO2 and light energy, but the nitrogen oxidizers
So, solve the problem by adding some sugar. Now you will
have extra bacteria gradually building up in the tank and
you're no closer to removing the nitrogen/phosphorus
excesses from the food. So, the device.
On the back of the tank, we have the device. It pumps
water out of the tank over a rotating plastic cylinder
before allowing it to flow back. With added carbon, the
rotating cylinder will be an attractive aerobic environment
for the culture of the appropriate bacteria. The cylinder
will have a spiral groove cut along it to add surface area
and to guide a stylus-like follower. This follower will
scrape off bacterial growth into a waste container as it
progresses along the groove over a period of a week or so.
The grooves will be slightly too deep for the follower to
completely clear, so that there's always a seed stock of
bacteria able to repopulate the environment after the
majority has been removed. The re-population is what
consumes the excess nitrogen/phosphorous waste and the
nutrients are exported into the waste collector which you
rinse out every now and then. You re-set the stylus-
follower and carry on with your life.
There, nutrient export for the freshwater crowd, take that
you salty protein skimmers.
||<Choking and spluttering noises/>
// rotating plastic cylinder //
||Fine for the prototype, but the production version will be crafted from precious metals and gemstones, shrley ? Otherwise it won't be nearly expensive enough to satisfy the typical obsessive tank-tender...
||//crafted from precious metals and gemstones//
||No, still plastic, like all the other aquarium stuff, but we'll
charge gemstone money. Esp. for the on going "fish, shrimp &
pant safe carbon supplement".
||// pant safe carbon supplement //
||Your strategem is revealed; you're going to charge so much money for this that you need locking metal boxes in your trousers to carry all the cash away ...
||carbon fiber for low weight and fewer inconvenient
questions at airport metal detectors.
||Can't you just occasionally take some of the pisswater out
put fresh in?
You could use it to water a potplant or tomatoes or
something and save on babybio.
||//So, solve the problem by adding some sugar.//
||...keep on adding sugar until you have a sort of
fish jam. Now your fish are preserved!
||When did you last see an aquarium indulge?