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    Thread: How much ammonia do fish produce without food?

    1. #21
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      The bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrogen gas are anaerobic bacteria that rob the oxygen from the nitrate to convert it to nitrogen. Anaerobic digestion is not a desired bacterial process in the ponds and tanks as it is also responsible for the production of hydrogen sulfide gas which is highly toxic and the production of methane. Some media that is highly porous allows water with nitrates to pass through and bacteria near the surface use the available oxygen while bacteria deeper inside need the oxygen from the nitrates to survive, these are best installed in a shower type filter.

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    2. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by SimonW View Post
      I have just read somewhere here that there is a kind of bacteria that make nitrite and ammonia react with one another, and the products are nitrogen gas and water. But I just cannot find it again. Could some knowledgeable give me a link here?

      When I calculated the amount of food I give to my koi and the amount of nitrate in the water I found that some 40% of the total ammonia-nitrite-nitrate nitrogen is missing. With other words there is 40% less nitrate in the water than I have calculated to.

      Since I constantly have nitrite present in the water (0.2 - 0.8 ppm) I wonder if such reaction has been going on here. If it is true then I may just let nitrite be while protecting the fish with table salt. Table salt has worked well during the last 1.5-2 months and the fish are happy and healthy, and I feel confident when Richard thinks that my fish are safe.

      What do you think?


      Common mistake pond keepers make is over cleaning their filters or cleaning their filters too frequently. This is understandable because many don't have a very good mechanical filtration so the filters get clogged up. That or their filters are too small. When this happens it is like throwing the baby baby out with the bathwater. SALT is a short term solution. You will not get any pond to mature with salt in it.
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    3. #23
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      Quote Originally Posted by KoiRun View Post


      Common mistake pond keepers make is over cleaning their filters or cleaning their filters too frequently. This is understandable because many don't have a very good mechanical filtration so the filters get clogged up. That or their filters are too small. When this happens it is like throwing the baby baby out with the bathwater. SALT is a short term solution. You will not get any pond to mature with salt in it.
      Really? Tell me more about that.

    4. #24
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      Quote Originally Posted by mplskoi View Post
      Really? Tell me more about that.
      Put simply, salt limits microbial diversity in pond filters (ie causes death to some microbes). The right mix of microbial players create a food chain, that and along with their maintenance should provide clean clear water without so much water changes, chemical addition, and even the need for UV sterilization.

      Here is a movie which shows some of the types of microbial players that are work in wastewater and pond filters (seen under a microscope):

      Last edited by KoiRun; 1 Week Ago at 02:39 AM.
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    5. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by RichToyBox View Post
      The bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrogen gas are anaerobic bacteria that rob the oxygen from the nitrate to convert it to nitrogen. Anaerobic digestion is not a desired bacterial process in the ponds and tanks as it is also responsible for the production of hydrogen sulfide gas which is highly toxic and the production of methane. Some media that is highly porous allows water with nitrates to pass through and bacteria near the surface use the available oxygen while bacteria deeper inside need the oxygen from the nitrates to survive, these are best installed in a shower type filter.
      Hello Richard:

      Thanks for your explanation. The manual to my pressure filter states that it also does denitrification, and I have been suspicious, as I donīt know how it can obtain anaerobic condition for the denitrification bacteria meanwhile the aerobic nitrification going on. Now with your explanation I think that the manual must be correct.

      By the way, I wonder if the intermediate product of denitrification - nitrite produced by the denitrification bacteria is released into the water or the bacteria keep it internal and continue to reduce it to nitrogen gas? If it is released into the water then the denitrification bacteria are pollutants!

      What I am wondering about is an other kind of reaction:

      Ammonia + nitrite -> Nitrogen gas + water

      Thanks to the following input I have now found the source!

      Best regards,

      Simon
      Last edited by SimonW; 1 Week Ago at 08:25 AM.

    6. #26
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      Quote Originally Posted by KoiRun View Post


      Common mistake pond keepers make is over cleaning their filters or cleaning their filters too frequently. This is understandable because many don't have a very good mechanical filtration so the filters get clogged up. That or their filters are too small. When this happens it is like throwing the baby baby out with the bathwater. SALT is a short term solution. You will not get any pond to mature with salt in it.
      Thanks a lot!

      Now the question is: Whether the anammox-bacteria are obligate anaerobic or not, which means whether they will be killed or inhibited by dissolved O2 in the water. If they are not obligate anaerobic and function well in the presence of O2 then they must love to populate every biofilter, though they must compete with the nitrification bacteria on ammonia and nitrite.

      As I understand it the denitrification bacteria are obligate anaerobic, right?
      Last edited by SimonW; 1 Week Ago at 08:15 AM.

    7. #27
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      What kind of pressure filter are you using that provides denitrification?

      Many believe in the Anoxic Filtration system and the ability of denitrification in low oxygen (not full anaerobic) conditions.
      http://www.mankysanke.co.uk/html/anoxic_filtration.html
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    8. #28
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      As I understand it facultative anaerobic bacteria make-up approximately 80% of bacteria within a filter. Groups and genera of bacteria that have large numbers of denitrifying bacteria are Alcaligens, Bacillus, and Pseudomonas. Denitrifying bacteria are capable of using dissolved oxygen or free molecular oxygen (O2), if it is available, and NO3- or NO2-, if free molecular oxygen is not available or an oxygen gradient is established across a biofilm.

      An oxygen gradient across a biofilm occurs when dissolved oxygen cannot penetrate to the core of the biofilm. This can occur when the the biofilm is greater than 50 microns thick and dissolved oxygen concentration outside the biofilm is less than or equal to 1.0 mg/l.

      In hobbyists ponds, therefore imo , this oxygen gradient happens not in the typical biofilm attached to media, but in
      (1) 'caked-on biofilm' commonly called sludge, muck etc.
      (2) in areas around the pond commonly known as 'dead-zones'
      (3) in filters that are known to be 'channeling'
      (4) within a filter media known to 'clog' such as feather rock
      (5) planted pots and bog filters
      Last edited by KoiRun; 6 Days Ago at 12:35 PM.
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    9. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by KoiRun View Post
      As I understand it facultative anaerobic bacteria make-up approximately 80% of bacteria within a filter. Groups and genera of bacteria that have large numbers of denitrifying bacteria are Alcaligens, Bacillus, and Pseudomonas. Denitrifying bacteria are capable of using dissolved oxygen or free molecular oxygen (O2), if it is available, and NO3- or NO2-, if free molecular oxygen is not available or an oxygen gradient is established across a biofilm.

      An oxygen gradient across a biofilm occurs when dissolved oxygen cannot penetrate to the core of the biofilm. This can occur when the the biofilm is greater than 50 microns thick and dissolved oxygen concentration outside the biofilm is less than or equal to 1.0 mg/l.

      In hobbyists ponds, therefore imo , this oxygen gradient happens not in the typical biofilm attached to media, but in
      (1) 'caked-on biofilm' commonly called sludge, muck etc.
      (2) in areas around the pond commonly known as 'dead-zones'
      (3) in filters that are known to be 'channeling'
      (4) within a filter media known to 'clog' such as feather rock
      (5) planted pots and bog filters
      Have you ever personally used feather rock and had it "clog"? If not where do you get
      the opinion that it "clogs"?
      Sorry but I think that's a poor example.
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    10. #30
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Have you ever personally used feather rock and had it "clog"? If not where do you get
      the opinion that it "clogs"?
      Sorry but I think that's a poor example.
      I recall Zacc and among others (?), by popular belief, believe certain media such as these 'clog.' I did say, actually, no they don't! And, possibly a major factor why you have low nitrates in your pond.
      Last edited by KoiRun; 6 Days Ago at 02:08 PM.
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    11. #31
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      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think putting feather rock in a
      list with sludge and bog filters is imo misleading. It's worked very well for me
      for many years.

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    12. #32
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      Quote Originally Posted by icu2 View Post
      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but I think putting feather rock in a
      list with sludge and bog filters is imo misleading. It's worked very well for me
      for many years.

      Nothing to be ashamed of really and it's not my own opinion. It's a fact. Feather rock is chalk full of what is considered here as the 'bad' anaerobic (mostly facultative) bacteria.

      Using feather in a shower = bog filter in a shower

      lol
      Last edited by KoiRun; 6 Days Ago at 03:07 PM.
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    13. #33
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      The majority of pores or holes in feather rock typically are closed end. The hole does not go completely through the rock. It should also be noted that it is a natural product that can vary greatly in the pore length and depth. It's been a long running theory (but never proven) that the deep pores fill up (clog) and this is what provides the denitrification ability. Seems to me it should be easy to prove by measuring water in and out, but no evidence yet. Personally I don't know and also don't think it's a general statement of the entire media clogging.

      If this process is true there would be lab evidence and large scale commercial adoption by now.
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    14. #34
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      I think this conversation is skimming over the salient point. Ammonia is NOT produced by breathing or the vent. It's released through the gills and the vent. It is produced by PROTEIN CATABOLISM. This means that if you are not feeding, the entirety of protien catabolism from food, which is the vast majority of protien catabolism in the warm season, is reduced to zero. Now that fish are dormant/in torpor, the ammonia they produce is only from the utilization and digestion of body stores of protien. Now, im sure we all have a small idea of how much body mass is lost in winter (not much). Most of that loss is FAT. Fat catabolism produces no ammonia. So a small part of that weight loss per each fish would result in the production of ammonia. I do not know what the ratio is of ammonia produced during feeding vs ammonia produced in torpor but 60-70% sounds astronomically high. Physiologically, it makes no sense.

    15. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by KoiRun View Post
      Using feather in a shower = bog filter in a shower

      lol
      In your opinion... not from experience.

      lol

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      Quote Originally Posted by inazuma28 View Post
      I think this conversation is skimming over the salient point. Ammonia is NOT produced by breathing or the vent. It's released through the gills and the vent. It is produced by PROTEIN CATABOLISM. This means that if you are not feeding, the entirety of protien catabolism from food, which is the vast majority of protien catabolism in the warm season, is reduced to zero. Now that fish are dormant/in torpor, the ammonia they produce is only from the utilization and digestion of body stores of protien. Now, im sure we all have a small idea of how much body mass is lost in winter (not much). Most of that loss is FAT. Fat catabolism produces no ammonia. So a small part of that weight loss per each fish would result in the production of ammonia. I do not know what the ratio is of ammonia produced during feeding vs ammonia produced in torpor but 60-70% sounds astronomically high. Physiologically, it makes no sense.
      Thank you for much more eloquently describing the point I have been trying to make.

    17. #37
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      I know someone that put a single Koi in a QT system with aeration, no filtration, and was not feeding anything. Within days the Koi looked terrible, as if the scales were bleeding, and, when the ammonia was checked, it was high. Once that was taken care of the Koi recovered fully. So, here is a situation where a Koi could have died from ammonia even though it wasn’t being fed. It was a single 8” Koi. Somehow it was still producing ammonia without eating.
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    18. #38
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      Quote Originally Posted by inazuma28 View Post
      I think this conversation is skimming over the salient point. Ammonia is NOT produced by breathing or the vent. It's released through the gills and the vent. It is produced by PROTEIN CATABOLISM. This means that if you are not feeding, the entirety of protien catabolism from food, which is the vast majority of protien catabolism in the warm season, is reduced to zero. Now that fish are dormant/in torpor, the ammonia they produce is only from the utilization and digestion of body stores of protien. Now, im sure we all have a small idea of how much body mass is lost in winter (not much). Most of that loss is FAT. Fat catabolism produces no ammonia. So a small part of that weight loss per each fish would result in the production of ammonia. I do not know what the ratio is of ammonia produced during feeding vs ammonia produced in torpor but 60-70% sounds astronomically high. Physiologically, it makes no sense.
      I am under the impression that 60-70% ammonia being released from the gills is what that percentage is for whether they are feeding or in torpor. That means the other 30-40% is released from the vent. Obviously, when Koi are eating, they are producing a larger volume of ammonia than when they are not eating. I do not find it hard to believe at all that, even if they are not eating, that 60-70% of the ammonia is still released through the gills, even though the total amount of ammonia is much less. 60-70% of almost nothing is still 60-70% isnít it.

      I have seen Koi lose 40% of their mass over the winter and that is a lot.
      Last edited by Russell Peters; 5 Days Ago at 11:46 AM.
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    19. #39
      ricshaw is offline Supporting Member
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      Part of the equation is the pond water temperature. A Koi that is not being fed in warm pond water releases more Ammonia than a Koi not being fed in cold (almost dormant) pond water. Trust me... Koi that are not being fed waiting for shipping or entry into a Koi show produce Ammonia.

    20. #40
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      Quote Originally Posted by Russell Peters View Post
      I am under the impression that 60-70% ammonia being released from the gills is what that percentage is for whether they are feeding or in torpor. That means the other 30-40% is released from the vent. Obviously, when Koi are eating, they are producing a larger volume of ammonia than when they are not eating. I do not find it hard to believe at all that, even if they are not eating, that 60-70% of the ammonia is still released through the gills, even though the total amount of ammonia is much less. 60-70% of almost nothing is still 60-70% isnít it.

      I have seen Koi lose 40% of their mass over the winter and that is a lot.


      North Pole?
      Last edited by kdh; 5 Days Ago at 01:30 PM.

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