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Trying Out The EM-1 Probiotics

filed under: Care and Feeding

Last weekend, a local representative of a popular probiotic formula used in agriculture, has sent me a bottle of a product known as the EM-1 , for me to test out on one of my tanks.  EM stands for Effective Microorganisms, and the EM-1 has been widely used in the agricultural industry for decades now.  This product is supposed to be used anywhere from conditioning soil, to cultivating livestock. A bottle of EM-1 is composed of several species of living colonies of beneficial microbes in a highly concentrated liquid formulation

EM-1 is a probiotics formulation product used in the agricultural industry

The EM-1 bottle I got only had instructions for growing crops, and nothing about how to, or if it is suitable for aquariums, but the representative assured me that this is the same product used in aquaculture and is safe to use on fish. Along with the assurance, he also gave me detailed instructions on how to use the formula, which we will go into detail in a moment.

For now, what does this product, the EM-1, promises? Some of the benefits, according to the representative and the the literature that came with him, are; improved health, eliminating odors, and algae control amongst other things. And since I do have a planted tank, the secondary benefit for my tank is plant growth.

On the surface, some things does makes sense. For instance, beneficial bacteria can sometimes out-compete pathogenic bacteria that lives in the same ecosystem, which in our case is the fish tank,  thus resulting in potentially healthier fish. The same principle may be applied to its algae control properties. Also, this product contains lactic acid bacteria, which research suggests is beneficial to fish health, particularly to freshwater fish.

Leaving the realm of theory for a moment, let us dive into application. As promised earlier, we will now go into detailed preparation and application of the EM-1 product.

Preparation:

We will be making 1.5 liters of diluted EM-1 solution. Here are instructions based on the exact steps I did:

  1. Prepare a clean 1.5 liter empty coke bottle.
  2. Fill 80% of the bottle with non-chlorinated water.
  3. Measure 1 tbsp (15ml) of pure EM-1 and mix it with the water in the 1.5L coke bottle.
  4. Shake  the 1.5L coke bottle well.
  5. Top off the solution with more distilled water.
  6. Add 2 cup of this solution directly into the filter of a 25-30 gallon tank, after the weekly water change.
  7. This solution will be effective for around 2 weeks at most.

Another option is to create a stronger solution that will last more than a few weeks. This method requires activating the EM-1 bacteria with sugars so that you will end up with a very concentrated solution for the same bottle size.  To do this you just adjust a few steps, (with changes highlighted in bold):

  1. Prepare a clean 1.5 liter empty coke bottle.
  2. Fill 80% of the bottle with non-chlorinated water.
  3. Measure 1 tbsp of pure EM-1 and mix it with the water in the 1.5L coke bottle.
  4. Measure 1 tbsp of molasses or brown sugar and mix it with the water in the 1.5L coke bottle.
  5. Shake  the 1.5L coke bottle well.
  6. Top off the solution with more distilled water.
  7. Close the bottle with the cap and wait 4-7 days
  8. Add 1 cup of this solution directly into the filter of a 25-30 gallon tank, after the weekly water change.
  9. This solution will be effective for 1 month.

Observed Benefits:

One week

After 5 days, there seem to be no negative changes in fish behavior. Some fish seem to have increased their appetites. I also noticed that the fish feces on the bottom of the tank are more "solid" and less crumbly than usual indicating that there may have some changes in either the fish's digestive system or in the decomposing properties of the water. Other than these observations, it is too early to tell how the EM-1 will benefit my fish tank. But I will update this post as time goes by.

Please note:

Note: I am in no way affiliated with this product - this articles only illustrates my experience in using this product. If you want to try this product out, it is at your own risk so be sure to do your own research.

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