Subject: The process
by myethan on 17/12/2012 22:32:31
A well-balanced tank contains organisms that metabolize the waste products of other inhabitants. Nitrogen waste is metabolized in aquaria by a type of bacteria known as nitrifiers (genus Nitrosomonas). Nitrifying bacteria metabolize ammonia into nitrite. Nitrite is also highly toxic to fish in high concentrations. Another type of bacteria, genus Nitrospira, on?converts nitrite into less?toxic nitrate. (Nitrobacter bacteria were previously believed to fill this role, and appear in "jump start" kits. While biologically they could theoretically fill the same niche as Nitrospira, it has recently been found that Nitrobacter are not present in detectable levels in established aquaria, while Nitrospira are plentiful.) This process is known in the aquarium hobby as the nitrogen cycle.