Nitrite and nitrate - the nitrogen compounds from organic waste
The docomposition of organic nitrogen compounds consisting of excrement, dead parts of plants, rests of food etc. is divided in several stages.
- Ammonia (NH4) and ammonium (NH3) develop from organic waste. The water plants absorb ammonium as a nitrogen fertilizer. Ammonia is highly toxic. The transformation of ammonia and ammonium is dependent on the pH. Ammonium develops with low pH, ammonia with high pH. In view of this, there is no possibility of ammonia poisoning in aquariums with a low pH.
- Nitrite (NO2), which is toxic for fish, develops from ammonium/ammonia.
- Nitrite (NO2)is converted into nitrate (NO3), which is only toxic in high concentrations. The water plants absorb the nitrate as a nutrient.
These decomposition stages are carried out by micro-organisms, which form a complex unity of life with other micro-organisms in the filter and base of the aquarium. Increased nitrite or nitrate indicate that the biological balance in the aquarium or pond has been disturbed. In this case part of the water should be replaced and the reason for the disturbance identified. To create and keep an effective cullture of micro-organisms we recommend using AQUAVITAL BACTOSPRINT.
Nitrite, even in low concentrations, is toxic for ornamental fish. There should be no nitrite in the water. If you determine nitrite, adjustments will have to be carried out immediately. Part of the water must be changed and aquavital bactosprint should be added to the water.
The content of nitrate should not be over 25 mg/l. A content of more than 100 mg/l requires replacing a part of the water immediately with nitrate free water. Water plants absorb nitrate as nutrient. Therefore lush vegetation prevents high polution of nitrate.