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 Guidelines for Ornamental Aquaculture

Nitrogen Cycle
The following link will take you to more detailed information about the nitrogen cycle. It will make frequent reference to aquarium systems. The bacteria and biological relationships with the fish are the same. http://fins.actwin.com/mirror/begin-cycling.html

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Basic nitrogen cycle information written by Aqua Art

The purpose of a filtration system in a closed system such as a pond is to emulate as closely as possible the natural nitrogen cycle of nature.

Successful ornamental aqua culture in a closed system condition requires constant biological filtration adequate to support the biomass it has contained within it.

  Fish eat food and create waste. Debris falls into the pond and decomposes. In decorative ponds, a “closed system” generally refers to a man made membrane liner placed in the excavation. Ideally, bottom filter intake systems, drains are employed to actively remove organic solid waste on an ongoing basis.
  These dissolved waste products, primarily ammonia , meet nitrifying bacteria in the biofilter and are digested, creating their own waste products.

  This waste product is then digested by a secondary bacteria and in turn they produce a waste product: nitrates .

Nitrates are far less toxic to the fish population than the original ammonia waste product. Water changes are needed at regular time intervals for ridding the closed system of end waste products of biological filtration, primarily nitrates.

Filter sizing varies depending on species of pond inhabitants, population sizes, pond profile shape designs, type of filter and media used.

  In the natural world, a myriad of other bacteria and countless other microbes would digest this nitrate waste product and therefore consume this nitrogenous waste. Plants, also use nitrates as a nutrient source.
  In a closed system, such as a fish pond the most typical method of removing this final waste product is by doing 20% water changes each month. (This 20% water change water is great for your garden or house plants as it is rich in nitrates, a basic plant nutrient.)