03-26-2013, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by makoy1995
oh i see, so ammonia could be a good source of N for the plants? but ammonia could burn our fish, right?
I don't know your level of knowledge obviously, so bear with me. Nitrogen occurs in 3 forms in the aquarium, as ammonia/ammonium, nitrite and nitrate. A fourth, nitrogen gas, dissipates into the atmosphere and rarely remains in the tank. Aquatic plants use the ammonium as their nitrogen.
Ammonia/ammonium comes from fish respiration and the breakdown of organics in the substrate. It is highly toxic, and can harm fish at very low levels, and will kill them if too high. We obviously do not want to be adding ammonia to a fish tank, there is more than enough naturally. But the plants grab this fast, faster than bacteria in fact. There will usually be sufficient ammonium in a fish tank.