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The Nitrogen Cycle and Importance of Oxygen


Nitrogen is a vital element of protein and is absorbed by green plants in the form of nitrate. Together with ammonia, ammonium and nitrite, it is found naturally in rivers, lakes and streams in very small quantities. In a pond environment, nitrogen compounds (nutrients) can be created quickly by faeces,
urine and other excreta, plant remains and decaying food When concentrated these nutrients can have a harmful effect on a ponds inhabitants. Organic nitrogenous substances decay in stages in the presence of oxygen, a process called ‘oxidative breakdown’. It produces various nitrogen compounds (nutrients) as follows…
Toxic ammonia and non-toxic ammonium are produced in the first stage of the nitrogen cycle.
The pH value determines which of the two will predominate.
Ammonia occurs at a pH of 7.0 and over.
The second stage of the nitrogen cycle is nitrite which is the result of the bacterial oxidation,
or combustion, of ammonia/ammonium.
Nitrite is also toxic to aquatic life, but not as toxic as ammonia.
In the third and final stage nitrite is converted to nitrate. Nitrate is harmful only in very high concentrations. The key element and most important factor to get all of the above to work is the availability of free oxygen.

List of pond water treatments


pond nitrogen cycle