Nitrite and Nitrate

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The nitrogen compounds from organic waste

The decomposition of organic nitrogen compounds found in fish excrement, dead parts of plants, excess food, etc. is divided into several stages.

  1. Ammonia (NH3) and ammonium (NH4) develop from organic waste. The water plants absorb ammonium as a nitrogen fertilizer. Ammonia is highly toxic. The transformation of ammonia to 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.
  2. Nitrite (NO2), which is toxic for fish, develops from ammonium/ammonia.
  3. 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 substrate of the aquarium. Increased ammonia/ammonium or nitrite indicates 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 test a high nitrite level, 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 a nutrient. Therefore, lush vegetation prevents high nitrate level.

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