1.) FISH WASTE: Fish excrete waste, but waste is also present in uneaten food and pieces of decaying plant fragments. Things like leaves, grass clippings, molds, and pollens may be present. Animal matter may exist from dead insects to bird droppings. Make sure to check your pond frequently for anything that has fallen into the water and remove it quickly so it does not overwhelm the pond filter and produce ammonia. Also, if you see a dead frog in your pond, take it out.
2.) DECOMPOSED WASTE: Heterotrophic bacteria transfer this matter into ammonia.
3.) AMMONIA: This is very deadly to fish. It is present when you first start a pond because new ponds go through a rising ammonia cycle. This can be shortened via seeding with commercial bacteria. Also, new ponds should be planted with fish that are not valuable until you manage the cycle properly.
4.) NITRITES: Nitrifying bacteria transfer ammonia into NITRITES.
5.) NITRATES: Nitrate bacteria transfer the nitrites into less harmful NITRATES.
6.) PLANTS: Pond plants act as a buffer zone for your pond to fight off ammonia spikes. Alone, they do very little. They absorb and metabolize nitrates as a food source. Plants also clean and pump oxygen into the water.
7.) PARTIAL OXYGEN RETURN: Pond plants return oxygen to the water. The amount of oxygen is actually not enough to depend on as a viable source. Plants make oxygen in the daylight hours and consume oxygen in darkness. Plants control algae outbreaks by using the excess nutrients in the water.
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