Preventing Aquarium Nitrate

Nitrates are the end result of the nitrogen cycle – or oxidation process – that begins with ammonia. One step ahead and the main source of ammonia of course, is organic matter, which is anything organic in nature that decomposes.

Organic matter largely consists of fish waste, uneaten fish food, dead plant matter & algae, and all other decaying organic compounds. Organic matter is either solid or dissolved.

Heterotrophic bacteria break down solid organic waste. This bacteria is what causes a bacteria bloom (white cloudy water) when overabundant in the aquarium.

The result of the breakdown of solid organic waste is ammonia which fuels the beneficial bacteria that convert ammonia into the less toxic nitrates.

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Organic compounds are needed and play a vital role in the aquarium, i.e. as a needed food source for beneficial bacteria. But it is the quantity – the excess – that causes severe problems.

An abundance in organic waste creates an abundance of heterotrophic bacteria. So much in fact that it can cause cloudy water.

Bacteria also use up enormous amounts of oxygen. This can suffocate fish and deplete the oxygen needed by the beneficial bacteria. Without oxygen the beneficial bacteria cannot oxidize waste. As a result the processing of waste is disrupted, leading to ammonia spikes.

It is therefore advisable to reduce and limit excess organic matter in the fish tank.

Algone reduces excess organic waste. This excess waste is removed instead of being oxidized into nitrates.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

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