dr. johnson
Dr. Erik Johnson, DVM
Veterinarian, author and fish health specialist.
Visit his site at www.koivet.com
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11. Glossary

Nitrogen accumulation:
Nitrogen can accumulate in several forms in water; in the form of Ammonia and Nitrite and Nitrate and these compounds are quickly or eventually hazardous to fish health. Naturally occurring bacteria reduce these compounds.

Strip the beads:
Excessive backwashing can strip the mucopolysaccharide coating from the beads, removing the resident bacteria in large numbers. Obviously the beads don't become "sterile" but the coating of bacteria is reduced and this can permit nitrogen accumulations.

Bio Film:
Beneficial bacteria can (and do) grow on any submerged surface, not just inside your filter. The thin layer of beneficial bacteria which grows on the sides and bottom of the pond is called the "biofilm" and it's importance to proper and complete reduction of nitrogen should not be underestimated. This "biofilm" often compliments and sometimes compensates your bio filter.

The Cycle:
The natural process by which helpful and necessary bacteria grow in both your filter and in the "biofilm" of your pond's submerged surfaces. These bacteria reduce nitrogen, thereby removing these compounds and preventing them from harming the fish. A system which completes the Cycle and in which the population and it's feeding rate are balanced by the function of the beneficial bacteria; achieves what is called "Equillibrium".

Break In:
The period of time for the Cycle to complete, and for Equillibrium to be achieved.

Intervals of peak nitrogen accumulation are tabulated on a graph and appear as "spikes" as the Ammonia and Nitrite levels reach their peaks.

Dr. Erik L. Johnson is a veterinarian, author and fish health specialist. Dr. Johnson has been practicing fish mecicine since graduation in 1991 from The University of Georgia. He speaks on a national level on Koi health subjects to groups as large as the Associated Koi Clubs of America, the Mid Atlantic Koi Club, and numerous smaller wholsale and retail operations have hosted him to speak to concerned retailers and hobbyisits on this detailed subject. Dr. Johnson has been published in Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine, The Mid Atlantic Koi Club Newsletter, KOI USA, The LilyPad and Koi Health Quarterly.

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