Category Archives: Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle of Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate

New Fish in New System Won’t Live, Dying

New set up … I have recently started a new pond or tank and introduced several fish. I have lost several fish. There are no marks or signs of disease?

New Fish in New System Won’t Live, Dying

This is caused by new pond/tank syndrome due to a build up of toxins such as ammonia and/or nitrite.  It takes a new filter at least 6-8 weeks to mature – that is for the nitrifying bacteria to start to colonize the filter media. The only way around that is BioSeeding from an established tank.

Ammonia is freely excreted by fish as part of normal metabolism and during this maturation time the levels of these toxins can rapidly build up to dangerous levels. It is important to only introduce only  few fish at a time during this period, and constantly monitor (at least twice weekly) water quality for ammonia, pH and nitrite.  For more details see the nitrification page.

If Ammonia levels do rise they should be reduced by carrying out a 10 -50% water change (depending on the degree of pollution). For example, if the ammonia is twice the acceptable level, a 50% water change will only reduce it back to an acceptable level, whereas a 25% water change would still leave it 1½ times the acceptable level!  Obviously, smaller more frequent water changes are better.

As conditions improve the frequency of testing and water changing will slowly reduce. Once levels have stabilized only introduce a few new fish at a time as every new addition will increase the ammonia load on the filter.

Please note that to bypass the “break in” period you can Bioseed from a safe, established donor system.

Everything You Need to Know About Nitrites

Nitrites – A Tenth the Level of Ammonia is enough to Kill.

i.e. 3.0 ppm ammonia is as deadly as 0.3 ppm nitrite.

Nitrites: Second Waste product in the Cycle, Low Numbers KILL!

Nitrite is an intermediate metabolite in the CYCLE. Nitrite binds fish Red Blood Cells causing gasping and “brown blood disease”. Extension agents without testing gear can make a presumptive diagnosis of Nitrite poisoning by simply cutting a catfishes’ head off, and the blood will be brown.

Fish that die with their gills flared, usually died of Nitrite induced “met-hemoglobin-emia”
Ways to combat nitrite intoxications are as follows:
1) Know the problem exists, a simple test will tell.
2) Partial waterchanges will lower Nitrite levels
3) Addition of salt (non iodized 1 teaspoon per gallon all at once) will inhibit uptake of Nitrites. (Preferred)

Interestingly, the protective function of salt lasts maybe 3-6 weeks.

If you’ve got Nitrite problems, then that means you DON’T have enough Cycle bacteria –  so if you can, BIOSEED!

4) Methylene Blue at bottle doses may also help, but not entirely reverse the Met-Hemoglobin-emia.
In many instances, the filter needs cleaning or upgrading.
Feeding should be suspended or reduced.

If you are running a drip irrigation water replacement system (CLICK), you will not need to worry about Nitrites.

Article Number Two on Nitrites

Nitrites – Brown Blood Disease

The Cycle of beneficial ammonia reducing bacteria in aquatic environments
The Cycle of beneficial ammonia reducing bacteria in aquatic environments

Ammonia is converted into Nitrite by Nitrosomonas
So, when you set up a new pond, and the fish produce Ammonia; that ammonia is reduced to Nitrite, the subject of this article.

Nitrite is converted into NitrAte (plant food) by Nitrobacter.

Nitrites cause reddening of the fins and irritation of the gills, gasping + excess mucus. A simple test kit can detect Nitrite.

Nitrites also bind the fish Red Blood Cells resulting in suffocation and “Brown Blood Disease”.
-> Nitrite toxicity is temporarily reduced by the addition of salt at one teaspoon per gallon of water.

Nitrites can be created from Nitrate under anaerobic conditions. (Deep sand, clogging filters, stalled sand filters etc.)

Nitrites can be controlled with wet-dry filtration, constant replacement of a little water all the time to the tune of ten percent per week, and traditional water changes as needed.

Nitrite toxicity is weakly reversed by addition of Methylene Blue.
+ “The reversal of Nitrite poisoning by salt is not permanent. Work at Auburn University showed the protection varied among fish species and could last up to eight weeks.” ~ Doc Johnson

+ Note From Doc Johnson
“When I have Ammonia or Nitrite problems, one of the first things I do is raise the Total Alkalinity of the pool with baking Soda, ph pills, Neutral Regulator, Oyster Shell, or similar. Then I will suspend feeding and increase aeration until the numbers come down.” ~ Doc Johnson

+ Nitrite accumulations with certain kinds of filters can be due to common undersizing mistakes. It may also be that you’re not giving sufficient oxygen or Calcium to the beneficial bacteria living in your filter. Before you get too frustrated with your filter, make sure you get some calcium carbonate for it.

Ammonia – Hidden Killer of Fish, First Step in the Cycle – Symptoms and Cure

Ammonia: Most Common Killer of New Fish

– By Dr. Erik Johnson
Ammonia is the primary waste product of fish, excreted primarily through the gill tissue, but to a lesser extent via the kidney. Ammonia can also accumulate from the decay of fish tissues, food and other organic debris derived from protein. Ammonia accumulations cause reddening of the skin and disability of the gills by its direct caustic effect on these surfaces. Fish suffering in water with high ammonia accumulations will isolate themselves, lie on the bottom, clamp their fins, secrete excess slime, and are much more susceptible to parasitic and bacterial infection.
Ammonia is a big problem in new systems because the bacteria that would naturally dissolve ammonia are not established, see discussion of cycle. As well, even in established systems, ammonia may accumulate in springtime when the water is cold but fish are eating, because filter bacteria have not emerged usefully from hibernation.

Ammonia ionizes below pH 7.4 to Ammonium – and so in its ionized state is less toxic to fish.
Above pH 8.0 most ammonia is ionized, and so becomes more toxic. Care should be taken not to increase th pH of a system if ammonia is present but the need to drop the pH or restrict oxygenation to tanks of fish to keep pH down is an overrated aberration in the literature.

Treatment: Water changes and management of the pH near neutral will go a long way to cutting losses from Ammonias, ancillary, less useful modes of Ammonia management include the use of the various water conditioners that bind ammonia, and the application of rechargeable Zeolites to the system filter. I am still going to tell you that time and water changes are the two mainstays, however.
Water that is warm, high in pH or deprived of oxygen will have an enhanced toxicity when ammonias are accumulating. These are all important considerations as we try to interpret the varying symptomatology of fish at the same ammonia level, for example, but are affected very differently.

You will never have to worry about Ammonia if you use a drip irrigation system for constant water replacement at about 10-20% per week.

ammonia as an important toxin to pond fish and koi

More about ammonia

Ammonia – Understand this! – by Doc Johnson
Ammonia is the first waste product of your fish. It is often the cause of your first mortalities in new facilities and new ponds. There is a simple test to measure the levels. I am a big fan of Kent’s Ammonia Detox to reduce the toxicity of ammonia, and of Enviro Reps BRF13A (Ammo Down) for the seeding of beneficial bacteria to reduce the ammonia on the long term. Bioseeding may be the most effective method of all, when possible, and AP’s AmmoLock is great. I do not like Amquel. At all.

  1. Made from rotting fish wastes/urine/food
  2. Tested with Nessler’s Drop Type tests
  3. After (the regrettable) addition of aldehydes such as Formalin or Ammonia-binder agents, test with Salicylate reagent tests.
  4. Ammonia causes redness of fins, general poor health, excess mucus production, flashing, and by chronic auto-intoxication: Pinecone disease.
  5. Ammonia is more toxic at pH above 8.0
  6. Ammonia is directly irritating to fish gills and tissues
  7. Ammonia is removed from the environment by beneficial bacteria called “Nitrosomonas”.
  8. You can control Ammonia with partial water changes or addition of Zeolites.

I discourage the use of chemicals for Ammonia binding. All but a few of them contain aldehydes (glutaraldehyde) which are guilty of binding oxygen and irritating the fish.

Wet dry filtration (versus submerged media) is very superior for supporting nitrifying bacteria.
I will upload a VERY lengthy discussion of Ammonia in *doc format please check the downloads section.
There will also be a pretty-rare document there showing Gratzek’s research on my favorite ammonia binder, Ammolock II

Additional notes:
“First of all, because it is foiled by fewer organic molecules, let’s establish that Salicylate test kits are superior to Nessler’s tests. Still, Ammonia testing can present a problem. You may not know that dechlorinator can zero-out your ammonia test. The reason is that in the salicylate test kit, chloride ions provide a reagent. Ample dehlorinator and other ammonia binders will zero out this free chlorine reagent and show you a zero test. The only way to be sure that the Ammonia is truly bound up is by “live-tissue cell culture histopathology”. Cells are bathed in test-water and then examined for tell-tale signs of Ammonia damage. The only company that has done this so far is Aquarium Pharmaceuticals who used Drs Lukert and Gratzek at UGA. This Ammonia binder does not contain any aldehydes. Even the so-called “Sulfide Ion” binders are often nothing but Formaldehyde-bi-sulfite (rongalite) which is incredibly unstable.” Doc Johnson

Ammonia “The Silent Killer” Koi Health and Ammonia Accumulation

Ammonia is the primary chemical waste product of the fish. It’s basically fish urine. It can accumulate in ponds and cause health problems for the fish. Step Four is to assess this ammonia level with a test kit, or have someone test this for you. After assessing Ammonia levels in the pond, assure a healthy pond by doing water changes to remove the offending Ammonia, and reduce feedings in order to reduce Ammonia production by the fish. In some cases a dead fish may be decaying in the pond and cause high Ammonias. Some people use chemicals to bind the Ammonia but even though the application of certain chemicals may deceive your ammonia test kit to show a negative, the application of chemicals for Ammonia seldom results in healthier fish.

Don’t go too far into a discussion of Ammonia without also knowing about its correction by easy water changes, and Bioseeding.

From my sister-site Fishdoc.co.uk by Frank Prince-Iles

Keywords: Considering Ammonia, ammonium water quality, the nitrogen cycle and Koi Health

Ammonia is extremely toxic and even relatively low levels pose a threat to fish health. Ammonia is produced by fish and all other animals, including ourselves, as part of normal metabolism. Such is the toxicity, that most animals immediately convert it to a less harmful substance, usually urea, and excrete it in urine.
Fish shortcut this process and continually excrete metabolic ammonia directly into the surrounding water via special cells in the gills. In a natural environment, such as seas, lakes and rivers, it would be immediately diluted to harmless levels. However, in the confines of aquaria and ponds, levels can rapidly rise to dangerous levels unless it is constantly removed, usually by biological filtration. Additional amounts are produced from decomposing fish food, fish waste and detritus.

The effects of Ammonia on fish health:

Raised levels affect fish health in several different ways. At low levels (<0.1 mg/litre NH3) it acts a strong irritant, especially to the gills. Prolonged exposure to sub-lethal levels can lead to skin and gill hyperplasia . Gill hyperplasia is a condition in which the secondary gill lamellae swell and thicken, restricting the water flow over the gill filaments. This can result in respiratory problems and stress and as well as creating conditions for opportunistic bacteria and parasites to proliferate. Elevated levels are a common precursor to bacterial gill disease.

Fish response to sub lethal levels are similar to those to any other form of irritation, i.e. flashing and rubbing against solid objects. Without water testing it would be very easy to wrongly conclude the fish had a parasite problem.

Setting Up A New Community Tank – For Beginners

This article concerns the selection, purchase, and set up of a tank for fish – geared to the beginner.

Part One for Beginners – The Tank

You might be amazed at the lack of crossover between pond hobbyists and freshwater aquarists in this country. It might amaze you to know that *most* people who have ponds do *not* keep indoor aquaria. Most people with aquaria are only later interested in pondkeeping.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that the pond tends to be an investment in time that precludes aquarium keeping, another possibility is that pondkeepers grow accustomed to looking at the watery world from above, and aquarists prefer to study their specimens with the personal and up-close angle of sideview.

In any event, I want to provide a three part series that details the successful set-up and inhabitation of a nice ten to twenty gallon freshwater system, but most of what I will tell you is fitting for systems up to seventy five gallons.

First, select a tank size. Sounds simple to most people, they would choose the cheapest tank, or one that fits on a small table. I would encourage you to consider a larger tank, which gives you more water, more space, and ultimately more success with your fish. The perfect starter tank is thirty gallons. The “Thirty-long” is an excellent tank for almost all types of fish except the really huge Managuense and Oscar.

Secondly, tank placement is important. The tank can receive a few hours of natural lighting each day so long as the sunlight does not contribute to warming. Also, more light could contribute to algal overgrowth. A thick green carpet of algae does nothing for viewing your fish. When placing the tank, be sure to set it level, on a sturdy piece of furniture that can tolerate some water splashing on it. However careful you may think you can be, some water will eventually end up on this piece. Cut a piece of styrofoam (white insulating board from the hardware store) or a thick piece of rubber matting to set the tank on. This will dramatically reduce the chances of stress fractures and leakage on the tank, and also extend the life of the aquarium. Silicone sealed tanks *can* flex a little bit, but the styrofoam will even-out the weight distribution and protect the tank.
The tank will need a cover. All glass covers are ideal. Overhead lighting of the flourescent variety is ideal, at least two tubes of appropriate size should be employed, with an ideal number being about four tubes. My seventy five gallon tank features two 48″ tubes and two 15″ tubes suitable for a ten gallon. Lighting can be adjusted to suit the needs of individual plants and one of the short tubes is left on at night. Full spectrum lighting may be ideal, but little of it’s beneficial Ultraviolet rays will get through your glass cover. True plant hobbyists always use full spectrum or actinic bulbs suspended *without* any cover over the planted system. I do not advise this for the beginner.

The background of the tank can of course suit your aesthetic preference. There are sheets of illustrated paper to tape onto the tank. My preference, for health reasons, is to allow the back glass of the tank to overgrow with thick green algae. This coating of Algae assumes a nice hunter-green hue and obscures the wires and fittings on the back of the tank, and looks exceedingly natural. Some even allow algae to grow on the side-panes of the tank and only scrape the algae from the fore-pane.
Regardless of the type of fish you intend to keep, I can highly recommend the following filtration system for the starter tank. An undergravel plate. UNDERGRAVEL filters are perhaps my favorites in marine and freshwater systems. They are basically plates that go under your gravel, in an aquarium. The plates support stacks, that pull water down thru the gravel, trapping debris. Here again, the gravel then supports bacteria that ‘eat’ the debris.
The UG filter needs to be ‘hydro-cleaned’ or ‘siphoned’ clean every 2-3 weeks when waterchanges are done. This keeps the spaces between the gravel open for best effect. Finally, the UG plate needs to be pulled out and the gravel very well siphoned, 100%, every 6 months, as there can accumulate under the plate, a pile of dangerously decayed debris after much more then half a year.
For best results, I recommend that the Undergravel filtration system be driven by power heads. These are tiny motors that pump water and mix it with air by the venturi-apparatus sold with them. If you apply the tubing correctly and keep the powerheads just under the water surface on top of the stacks, they mix an impressive amount of air with the water, to the delight of your fish.

At this point you might be saying: “Gosh, it would be *cheaper* to use…blah blah blah.”
It would also be far less effective. And in some cases, the Undergravel is talked down by pet shops who want to sell you the fabulously expensive and totally useless hang-on power filters. Please heed my advice. Set up the tank and use the Undergravel filtration system with powerheads. You will not be disappointed.

Ornaments in the system can include any rock other than shale or limestone. Any porous rock should be avoided. Granite, Volcanic Rock and other inert, molten-made rocks are acceptable. Sedimentary rocks should be excluded because many contain petroleum residues. Petrified wood is also highly ideal and is very attractive. Driftwood will dramatically reduce the pH of the system and this would be acceptable for certain south American fishes, or it would need to be corrected upwards with a chemical buffering compound. More on this in Part Two.

Heat should be provided to any fish you intend to keep, including Goldfish. Many Goldfish keepers are unaware that the highly selected Asian carps are better suited for warmer waters. Ranchus, Orandas, Bubble eyes, etc. all do better in heated systems, e.g. 74-78 degrees at a minimum, which might mandate a heater , especially during the winter.

The problems you can encounter with Goldfish kept too cool include: Increased susceptibility to bacterial infection, increased incidence of irreconcilable Dropsy or floater diseases, where the fish floats helplessly at an unusual angle, even upside-down! As well, the filter in cooler systems does not function well, and ammonia problems may result. All in all, you will only enhance the health of the fish and the function of the aquarium when you heat it up, as I said, 74 degrees minimum.

Fill the tank with water. Any water will do, but distilled water contains no electrolytes and should be avoided. Standard tap water is acceptable since there are no fish in it.

Heat the tank to 78 degrees and make sure aeration is very vigorous from the power heads or as an alternative, from an airpump through a tube to a large airstone. In any event, we want the water to be warm and bubbly.

We should add a buffer (click). The buffer will support the pH from falling as the system undergoes the Cycle. “Buffers” help those folks whose pH will not remain constant due to a variety of factors.

Fish wastes and the metabolic by-products of de-nitrification also bring down the pH, unless it is buffered. Compounds that buffer include: Dolomite, Crushed Coral, Oyster Shell, Bicarbonate, Limestone, and a variety of commercial buffers on the market. I personally use and recommend SeaChem® Neutral Regulator or if not available; Kent’s pH Stable.

You need to start the beneficial bacterial “cycle” so the water does not get polluted.

If you are not already familiar with the CYCLE, this is the process by which fish wastes and other debris are broken down by bacteria in an aquatic system. Let’s trace it here. Ammonia is produced by the fish, from gills and vent. *Nitrosomonas* bacteria in the gravel break the Ammonia down, *before* it has a chance to accumulate and harm the fish. This results in the production of Nitrites. *Nitrobacter*, a second cousin bacteria, breaks down Nitrites into harmless NitrAtes before the Nitrites can accumulate and harm the fish. The Nitrates are simply plant and algae food. In the presence of phosphates, plants use Nitrates to grow, but without the plants, Nitrates could accumulate and cause sickness (Bloody fins and weakness) in the fish.

That can be accomplished overnight by bioseeding, which is easy.

After the tank has bubbled and circulated for a day or two, you will notice that it goes from cloudy to clear.
At this point, you must check the Ammonia and pH of the system. If these parameters indicate that the cycle has completed, (for example, pH @7.4 and Ammonia <0.15 ppm) please execute a 75% water change. Add back the buffers, and dechlorinate the fresh water. The next day, you will be ready for some fish. In the next section, I will detail the selection of the right fish for community tanks as well as some special characters you might consider, and the quarantine suggestion for healthy additions to the tank.

Bioseeding

 

Indoor Koi Pond – Trouble With Nitrates

Indoor Pond Nitrates Problem – by Doc Johnson

fish and nitrates

It’s hard to have enough artificial lighting to grow healthy algae and plants.
Without this, you can suffer an accumulation of nitrate.
In studies, high nitrate levels aren’t toxic on an acute level. Chronically, your fish will always do crappy in high nitrates. Studies on reptiles show an effect on thrift and fecundity so severe that reproduction is impaired and sometimes; prevented. High nitrate levels correlate well (and in direct proportion to) background pollution. Controlling nitrates controls background pollution.

Indoor pond nitrates problem
Indoor pond nitrates problem

This is a pan shot of the indoor pond, It was 2800 gallons in the basement of our Marietta house. It’s sixteen feet long and eight feet wide.
The fish really loved being warm all winter, but the nitrates were unreasonably high. Note the AquaDyne in the foreground. This was before they had blowers on them. That filter was completely awesome.

The overflow system I worked out: I just opened my AquaDyne sludge drain a little, allowing a small amount of water to be exiting the pond at all times. The ball valve you see in the picture replaces water all the time. I was turning over half the pond each week and still had nitrate troubles. I am a pathological overfeeder.

Indoor pond with nitrates problem – by Doc Johnson

Here are some of the fish I had at the time. By Spring, quite a number of these fish were dead due to nitrate problems which I had underestimated. Correction of the Nitrate troubles, especially via the flow through system described above, solved and stopped most of my losses.

symptoms of nitrate poisoning
The bigger ki utsuri in the picture was the first fish “spay” I ever did, and she grew twice as fast as her companions after the spay.

By concentrating light intensely on them, I was able to support some plants. However, there was no way to propagate sufficient plant growth to reduce my nitrates alone.

Indoor Koi Pond - Trouble With Nitrates

Even the prolific Duck weed was insufficient to minimize the Nitrate problems. I grew it as fast as I could, and would dip a few cups of the stuff out to feed the fish every day. Still, nitrate levels were unreasonably and unsafely high. I recommend you keep your levels under 120ppm for best results. Under 60ppm would be considered close to perfect.

This is a big problem in crowded systems but trickle water replacement, I figured out AFTER the above issue was done.

Indoor pond nitrates problem

 

Ammonia As an Aquatic Toxin – Important

Ammonia – The Essentials

Knowing about water quality
Knowing about water quality is the single most important thing a beginner will do.

Ammonia – Understand this! – by Doc Johnson
Ammonia is the first waste product of your fish. It is often the cause of your first mortalities in new facilities and new ponds. There is a simple test to measure the levels. I am a big fan of Kent’s Ammonia Detox to reduce the toxicity of ammonia, and of BIOSEEDING

  • Made from rotting fish wastes/urine/food
  • Tested with Nessler’s Drop Type tests
  • After (the regrettable) addition of aldehydes such as Formalin or Ammonia-binder agents, test with Salicylate reagent tests.
  • Ammonia causes redness of fins, general poor health, excess mucus production, flashing, and by chronic auto-intoxication: Pinecone disease.
  • Ammonia is more toxic at pH above 8.0
  • Ammonia is directly irritating to fish gills and tissues
  • Ammonia is removed from the environment by beneficial bacteria called “Nitrosomonas”.
  • You can control Ammonia with partial water changes or addition of Zeolites.

I discourage the use of chemicals for Ammonia binding. All but a few of them contain aldehydes (glutaraldehyde) which are guilty of binding oxygen and irritating the fish.
Wet dry filtration (versus submerged media) is very superior for supporting nitrifying bacteria.
Additional notes:
“First of all, because the test is foiled by fewer organic molecules, let’s establish that Salicylate test kits are superior to Nessler’s tests*. Still, Ammonia testing can present a problem. You may not know that dechlorinator can zero-out your ammonia test. The reason is that in the salicylate test kit, chloride ions provide a reagent. Ample dechlorinator and other ammonia binders will zero out this free chlorine reagent and show you a zero test. The only way to be sure that the Ammonia is truly bound up is by “live-tissue cell culture histopathology”. Cells are bathed in test-water and then examined for tell-tale signs of Ammonia damage. The only company that has done this so far is Aquarium Pharmaceuticals who used Drs Lukert and Gratzek at UGA. This Ammonia binder does not contain any aldehydes. Even the so-called “Sulfide Ion” binders are often nothing but Formaldehyde-bi-sulfite (rongalite) which is  unstable.” Doc Johnson

*Nessler’s may be off the market now due to Mercury.

The Cycle and Why You Gotta Know It

The Cycle is the natural process in which the fish excrete wastes (fish poop and pee) into the pond water and Mother Nature has to deal with these wastes before these compounds pollute the water and make the fish sick.

The process is conducted by two major classes of bacteria. Nitrosomonas takes the Ammonia and breaks it down into Nitrite. Nitrite is broken down into Nitrate by Nitrobacteria. It’s not very complicated when you think about it.

A three step process with two bacteria who do the whole job. Now, these bacteria live in a film on the sides of your pond, on plant surfaces, and especially in the filter on the media inside. If you have a filter with a sponge in it, the beneficial bacteria which complete the cycle will live on the sponge. If you have a bead filter, these bacteria live as happily on the beads.

With filters, the whole focus is centered around getting beneficial bacteria to grow and live in your filter media. If your filter gets clogged with solid wastes, the bacteria are “choked out” and the filter becomes ineffective.

Filters should be cleaned outside the main pond in a bucket with pond water to avoid killing the beneficial bacteria with the chlorine which occurs in municipal water supplies.

SHORT AND SWEET: When you initially set up a new fish pond, there will be Ammonia and Nitrite accumulations which will threaten your fish unless you’re prepared. Bioseeding corrects that problem fast.

 

Ammonia Toxicity in Aquatic Environments

Where Are Ammonia Levels From?

Recall from the “cycle” discussion that Ammonia is the primary waste product of the fish. It’s mostly excreted through the gills by osmosis*, and some is excreted through the kidneys. This is important because you have to bear in mind that anything which hurts the gills can also damage the fishes’ ability to flush out Ammonia and therefore, many times, damage to the gills causes ammonia accumulation in the fish, and death. Be good to the fishes’ gills!

Ammonia is measured in the water with a simple test. When a pond is new, you should test water for Ammonia every day. During the first part of the cycle, Ammonia will begin to accumulate. Bioseeding from a healthy established aquatic environment will speed the cycle, creating a viable culture overnight in many instances. Partial water changes also help to reduce the Ammonia levels.

If you give the fish less food, they will produce less wastes, and less Ammonia. Live plants also seem to have the ability to reduce the severity of Ammonia accumulations.

Ammonia binders can be used for a short term fix.

Never use an ammonia remover without the presence of Ammonia in the water.

There are two kinds of test for Ammonia. The best is the Nessler’s test. It’s a liquid test which uses a test-tube and a single liquid reagent which is added to the water sample. A more accurate but more difficult-to-run test is the Salicylate type test, which has more reagents and is more complicated.

People ask me quite a lot about how often they should be testing their water… After the cycle is well established, I’d recommend you test your ammonia using the following guidelines:

  • Whenever fish are acting funny
  • Every five days If you’re lazy like me; at
  • LEAST Every three weeks.

If you’re still in the process of breaking in or “cycling” the pond, you should be recording the nitrogen numbers every single day.

SHORT AND SWEET: Ammonia control is best accomplished through the balanced employment of Ammonia binders, water changes, bacterial adjuvants of known efficacy and reduced feedings while the bio-filter “catches up”.

 

BIOSEEDING