Like all other living things, they have a biological directive to eat and reproduce. They must compete with each other and with predators. Each strain does only one job, so it takes a coordinated team of strains to purify water, for example.
There are thousands of strains and two major groups. Heterotrophs use organic carbon (as we do). They are elongated, often rod-shaped bacteria, typically .2 µ (microns) wide and 4-6 µ long. Autotrophs use inorganic carbon (carbonate or carbon dioxide) as plants do. They are cocci-shaped (round to oval) bacteria, typically .2–.4 µ in diameter.
An individual strain may digest a specific type of fat, certain proteins, carbohydrates, cellulose or hydrocarbons. Together the right team can eat sludge, animal wastes, etc.
A population of heterotrophic bacteria can double every 20 minutes. Nitrobacter can double every 8 hours. This rapid reproduction (with mutations) quickly evolves new strains.
From Robin’s Nest. We have selected the products based on research and trials in some of our many ponds.
Some bacteria form floc, the slippery material one feels on a tank wall. Although many involved in water purification may get trapped in the floc they typically flow through the system. The bacteria on a biofilter are immobile, and water movement is essential to insure that food is brought into contact with them.
Bacteria can live in most places, but all strains are not everywhere all the time. Water purification cannot be optimized if all the required strains are not present. Bioaugmentation with guarantees the presence of a balanced team. If a proper environment exists, they will multiply.
Freezing can kill over 99 percent of some strains, such as Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter. Spore-forming bacteria are less affected, at least the spores survive. UV light, disinfectants, heat, acids, bactericides, and oxidizers (ozone, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and potassium permanganate) will also kill them.
Light is not only unnecessary for the growth of beneficial bacteria that improve water quality but also will inhibit the growth of nitrifiers, particularly Nitrobacter. Biological filters should be kept in the dark. Ultraviolet light is used to kill bacteria. The toxicity of the uv light is a function of the wavelength, intensity and exposure duration.