IN THE NEWLY INSTALLED AQUARIUMBy Jim E. Quarles
STRANGE BUT TRUE.
Until recently, most of the information about Nitrosomonas has remained
hidden in the more professional published data. And the hobbyists has not
been exposed to any real detailed information to any extent. The intent of
this article is to help disseminate what has been learned about these
vital aquarium Inhabitants.
Hobbyists spend millions of dollars annually on bacterial products for
establishing and maintaining a healthy biological filter in their
aquariums. There isn't a healthy aquarium in existence that does not
support billions of these organisms. Most successful hobbyists are avid
readers of information on the latest developments in aquarium science and
the environmental requirements of the specimens they choose to keep. Very
little is written, read, or generally known about these critically
important bacterial members of our aquarium communities.
For those new to the ( NTS) problem here are the three bacteria that
are of importance to the aquarist. The rest of you can review these and it
won't hurt a thing.
Heterotrioguc - the most common type of
bacteria which consume complex hydrocarbons ( organic waste) and produce
very toxic ammonia.
Nitrosomonas - Bacteria which consume
ammonia as their sole energy source and produce toxic nitrite.
Nitrobacter - Bacteria which consume
nitrite and produce relatively harmless nitrate.
The most common form of bacteria in the aquarium is called heterotrophic
bacteria these bacteria like fish and invertebrates eat complex
organic compounds (called Organics). Complex organic compounds enter the
aquarium in the form of fish food and later in the form of fish waste.
Fish, invertebrates and heterotrophic bacteria all produce ammonia, the
principle end product of their metabolism, as waste. Heterotrophic
bacteria are ubiquitous to the environment. They are everywhere and
reproduce at astonishing rates. Many heterotrophic bacteria can double
their population every 20 minutes.
There are two types of nitrifying bacteria of importance in aquarium
maintenance. The first group, called Nitrosomonas (also referred to
as ammonia oxidizers) convert the extremely toxic ammonia into nitrite.
The second group, called Nitrobacter (also referred to as nitrate
oxidizers) convert the toxic nitrite molecules into much less toxic
Over the years many different approaches have been used to establish
the required populations of beneficial bacteria in new aquariums. The
simplest approach is to just let the aquarium cycle itself over time on
its own without the use of any special products or procedures. The major
drawbacks to this procedure are the large number of fish, which are
literally sacrificed during this process, and the seemly endless period of
time required. Using the approach, several months may be required before
ammonia and nitrite levels fall to safe levels. To expedite this process,
numerous chemical and biological products and procedures have been use
with varying degrees of success. Not all work well, some not at all.
To keep your fish alive and healthy you must learn to keep your filter
alive and healthy.
continued in part 3