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Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle & Keeping Your Aquarium Healthy

So what is the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle & how does it work? Why is it important to keeping your aquarium and your fish healthy?
The Nitrogen Cycle is responsible for the biological filtration within any system. It keeps the water free of harmful toxic compounds.
The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
  1. The Nitrogen Cycle starts with D.O.C (Dissolved Organic Compounds) that come from uneaten food, decay of any matter & waste products.
  2. This is broken down by bacteria & fungi into Ammonia (NH3). Ammonia is very toxic & harmful to any animal.
  3. The Ammonia is then broken down by an Oxygen loving bacteria called Nitrosomonas. This feeds on the Ammonia & Oxygen, as a result is excretes a chemical called Nitrite (NO2). Nitrite is not as toxic as Ammonia but it can still be dangerous.
  4. This is then broken down by another bacteria called Nitrobacter witch also utilizes Oxygen turning it into a relatively harmless chemical called Nitrate (NO3). The bacteria that feeds on the Nitrate are anaerobic, meaning they live in little to no Oxygen. Here the Nitrates are broken down into free Nitrogen. Nitrates are also absorbed by algae and/or reduced by water changes.

Other factors involved in balancing a healthy ecosystem are

  1. Evaporation
  2. Sunlight
  3. Other algae and bacteria
  4. The Oxygen Cycle, which is the exchange of Oxygen (O2) produced by plants
  5. Carbon Dioxcide (CO2) produced by the respiration (breathing) of fish and animals.
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