This is a big subject for a single article! We well break it into four articles starting with this one. At the end of each article you will find the links for the following ones!
The Nitrification cycle is the process that brings a non-functional biological filter into a biologically established filter. New ponds and ponds that have been completely cleanout, as well as for ponds that are coming out of winter dormancy are all ready to take on the challenge of becoming biologically established ecosystems… healthy, balanced, ‘living’ ecosystems.
The normal cycle takes approximately 6 weeks. Ammonia spikes, nitrite spikes and pH move all over the range and can lead to poor health of the fish as well as poor water quality. Actual toxicity levels and the number of days required for completion of the cycle depends on several factors. Pond Size, Size and amount of Fish, Amount of Dissolved oxygen as well as the quality and efficiency of your biological filtration unit. In any case, sometimes we need to help the cycle along, but for starts, let’s understand how the cycle works.
For any cycle to function fish must be introduced into the pond. In these new pond habitats, we recommend starting with inexpensive, hearty fish like goldfish, not feeder fish as they can not adapt well to the fluctuations in the cycle.
Now you are starting to “seed” your pond by adding your Beneficial Bacteria to the pond. One strain of Bacteria that is in these products is called Nitrifying Nitrosomonas.
These “good bacteria” utilize Nitrogen that is that is given off from the decayed matter, fish food etc. for energy. Note: It can take from 3-6 weeks for these “nitrogen reducing bacteria” or Nitrosomonas to proliferate to a number sufficient to reduce and convert all the Ammonia to Nitrite in the environment.
“Let’s stop here, back up, and take a look at where we are in the Cycle. We have a pond, we added some fish, added Beneficial Bacteria to seed the biofilter, you are feeding the fish, and before the Nitrosomonas, “good bacteria” has established itself to, again, convert toxic ammonia to toxic nitrite, along comes a test reading that there is Ammonia in your pond!”
Check out the all the articles from this series: