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In all aquarium systems, biological activity develops in your filter, and on the surface of gravels and decorations etc. These bacteria are essential to achieve a balance in your aquarium and different types of bacteria need to be present in the right proportions to break down waste and deal with ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, which can all be harmful to your fish.
Every time you change or add something in your tank, or you clean it, you potentially upset the balance because you are effectively removing some of these bacteria.
Derivation of Ammonia
Ammonia occurs in water from two commons origins:
Toxicity and the Effects of Ammonia
Ammonia concentrations of more than 0.1ppm can affect fish and marine fish are more sensitive than freshwater fish. Levels of less than 0.1ppm as a rule are harmless. However, when levels occur at 1ppm or greater, immediate action should be taken to alleviate the problem.
Dealing with Ammonia
Ammonia that occurs as a result of fish waste is best dealt with on a constant basis by biological filtration, which, once established in an aquarium, will convert the ammonia to nitrate. Remove any uneaten food or dead fish before decomposition to minimise the source of ammonia.
Ammonia may be neutralised in aquaria or shipment water by using Aquasonic Ammo-gone. Chloramines in tap water may be neutralised by Aquasonic Ammo-gone or Aquasonic Power Water Conditioner.
In situations where there is a high number of fish and little or no filtration, e.g., fish holding ponds or shipment bags, some relief can be obtained with pH control. In such situations for freshwater, keep the pH below 7.0 and in saltwater 7.3.
Ammonia creates stress and can cause fish deaths by lowering fish resistance to disease. Diligent testing of your water for ammonia is the best defence for the health of your fish.
To Break the Ammonia - Nitrite - Nitrate Cycle
The manual addition of live strains of nitrifying bacteria can also aid in kick starting the biological activity in the filter system.
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