Filtered matter can be converted to nitrate NO3 or free atmospheric nitrogen N2. The converted NO3 goes to water. The converted N2 escapes to the atmosphere and by doing so it removes NO3 out of aquarium. The ratio between these two processes can be selected by the shape of the bio-media elements. Thinner walled elements like plastic sponges, plastic bio-balls and rings convert matter to NO3. Average size elements such as ceramic rings and small pumice convert to NO3 and little to N2. The third bio-media category are larger size porous ceramics, pumice and lava rock shapes over 1.5Ē large capable of converting matter mostly to N2.
When it comes to the actual application we need to balance fish producing nitrogen with plant mass nitrogen uptake. There are situations where high doses of NO3 are considered necessary for plants while not realizing that the doses are consumed by filtration and not by the plants. On the other hand, too much conversion to N2 can keep plants nitrogen deficient.
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