Ammonia Control Part 2 - Great Lakes Bio Systems, Inc. Aquatic Fish Database est. 1991

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Great Lakes Bio Systems, Inc.

Ammonia Control Part 2

Control of "ammonia" is a rather delicate matter in aquaculture situations. Treatments that may work in other circumstances can be toxic to fish life. Fish are very sensitive to sudden changes in water chemistry. Removing ammonia must be done without dramatically altering pH and is best done without the use of harsh chemical additives.

Ammonia levels in aquaculture ponds can be effectively controlled through the use of enzymes and bacteria.

"Enzymes" are complex protein chains. Like regular proteins, they are constructed in chainlike arrangements of amino acids. What distinguishes enzymes from regular proteins is that they catalyze certain reactions. An enzyme will react with a substrate on a molecular level and form a new product.

Ammonia levels can be controlled through a combination of enzymes and bacteria.The other distinguishing factor which makes enzymes so suitable for aquaculture is that each type of enzyme will only react with one type of substrate. This makes it possible to target specific water problems through the use of enzymes - simply select the substrate that you want to remove and bring it into contact with the appropriate enzyme.

Different enzymes can be used in combination with each other. They will only react to their respective substrates and therefore are perfectly stable in solutions or powders. This makes it possible to treat a host of water problems with one application of product.

Using Bacteria and Enzymes Together

The one drawback to the approach of using enzymes is that they will not renew themselves. Enzymes are chemical in nature so they are not able to reproduce. 

This drawback can, however, be overcome by pairing enzyme-based treatments with useful bacteria. Bacteria are able to reproduce and can actively consume a number of different nutrient based contaminants including ammonia.

Bacteria are not as fast-acting as enzymes. They will take time to become established in the water table and do encounter some problems as they come into competition with native bacteria. Because enzymes act faster, using bacteria in combination with enzymes gives the bacteria a much needed boost, and allows farmers to combine the immediate and long-term benefits of both products.

Bacterial treatments benefit substantially from elevated Dissolved Oxygen usually supplied from mechanical aeration. Optimum Dissolved Oxygen content is oftentimes difficult to achieve since pond water typical exhibit low levels of oxygen when ammonia levels are high. Efficient mechanical aeration can help by achieving saturated levels of oxygen and may also assist in dispersing free ammonia gas into the atmosphere.

Bacteria have either aerobic or anaerobic functions. When treating wastes in pond water, it is preferable to have them acting aerobically. To ensure bacteria functions aerobically, aeration is recommended. Aeration also has the effect of carrying the bacteria and enzymes throughout the water column bringing them into contact with the nutrient contaminants they are expected to treat.

ez Aquaculture Products

The ez Aquaculture Product line includes a range of broad spectrum solutions for dealing with different nutrient problems that are commonly encountered in aquaculture ponds, including ammonia. They are safe products that are easy to apply.

Not only are these treatments highly effective, they are environmentally sustainable. Through enzyme and bacteria based treatments, many aquaculture ponds require little to no applications of harsh chemicals. Neither bacteria nor enzymes will cause significant alterations in pH and thus ponds will not require pH balancing following treatment. In combination, bacteria and enzymes are a powerful, robust solution to ammonia and other nutrient problems.

Back to Part 1 >>

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