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Nitrogen Cycle Overview

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  • Nitrogen Cycle Overview

    by Pirahnah3
    1. An ammonia source, which can be either fish waste or store bought
    2. A media growth area, usually the filter
    3. Appropriate water conditions
    4. pH above 6.0 and ideally 6.5-8.0 s.u.
    5. Some measure of alkalinity in the water. Above 20 mg/l or PPM
    6. Temperature ideally 82-88F (28-31C)


    If the above conditions are met the cycle will begin.

    The basics having been met will cause the biological mass (aka the Bio Mass) to start growing. Once the bacteria begins to grow a brown coating will begin to form in the filter media. Once this happens, the process of converting Ammonia (NH3) into Nitrite (NO2) is initiated. The Nitrite will then be rather quickly converted into Nitrate (NO3).

    The initial process of converting ammonia into nitrite can take as little as a week in some cases, but will most likely take 10-14 days. After the ammonia has begun to be converted into nitrite the tank water will turn a milky white color. Do not worry, this is completely NORMAL. What is happening is known as a bacterial bloom and causes the water to appear cloudy. This cloudy water will go away on its own usually within a few days but can take up to a week. The use of special chemicals is NOT required.

    About the same time as the water clears the nitrites will have also all but disappeared. This is when measurable nitrates occur. Nitrates are the end result of the cycle we are performing. In large amounts, usually over 40 PPM, nitrates can become harmful to the aquatic life. Performing regular water changes by removing some of the water and detritus material from the gravel, will keep this number to a manageable level.
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      by Pirahnah3
      1. An ammonia source, which can be either fish waste or store bought
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      3. Appropriate water conditions
      4. pH above 6.0 and ideally 6.5-8.0
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