Enzymes the building blocks of life

Enzymes the building blocks of life initiate change

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Complex, enzymes are proteins that act as a catalyze, initiating change due to a biochemical response. Enzymes are made up of proteins that are basically made up of amino acids. The elements in amino acids are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur

Enzymes give food the ability to break down so nutrition can be absorbed from it, and then processed by the body. At the same time, enzymes give beneficial bacteria the ability to change the ammonia they consume into nitrite, and then into nitrates. Enzymes may very well be considered as the building blocks of life

Enzymes the building blocks of life

No matter what method is used to create the nitrogen cycle in our goldfish houses, a fish free cycle, a live fish cycle, or our favorite, the semi cycle, there is always some measure of success, and most of this success depends on the quality of the water during the cycling event as well as how consistent the maintenance, but just as important is the food source being offered to the beneficial bacteria that perform the cycle; ammonia

  • Where does ammonia come from?

If the water quality is right for the goldfish, it’s right for beneficial bacteria, and when conditions are right, the good bugs are easily encouraged to form, but only if their food source is present, and that food source is ammonia. We often say our friendly little bugs feed on waste, and to a certain extent, it’s true, but what they’re really feeding on is the ammonia created from their waste

When ammonia forms in water that is alkaline and heavily oxygenated, the end result is ionized ammonia. When ammonia forms in water that is acidic and low in oxygen, the end result is unionized ammonia. In water that is teetering on the edge of the neutral zone of alkalinity and acidic value, an equal balance of the two types may be present, the unionized being made up of large molecules too large for the beneficial bacteria to consume; nonconvertible; ever present in the environment

All ammonia is not created equal

Some fish keepers have no option than other to perform the live fish cycle; the fish brought home before the lesson learned. This method by far is the most dangerous of the many ways we cycle our fish house. We stock up on water treatment, exchange a lot of water on a daily basis, slowing the cycle to keep our fish safe, and in the process we expose them for a greater length of time

Most healthy fish will survive a fast cycle in a healthy environment, wearing a good coat of slime, but even so, in most cases the damage is long term, shortening their life spans

Although the fish free cycle isn’t all that’s it’s cracked up to be, it poses less risk. Even though the cycle may go smoothly, such may not be the case once the fish are introduced on to the scene. In most cases the colony is over sized for the amount of waste the fish will produce compared to the amount they were receiving. The friendly bugs will die off in large numbers; the entire colony weakened; their food source suddenly changed in quantity and quality. The result is an unstable and unpredictable cycle. The only safe cycle is the live fish free cycle

Adding bottled ammonia to water does not a cycle make

The most sensible method being the semi live fish cycle, where the waste of the goldfish is removed from its house, reducing toxins levels, and then placed in a small, fish free container with a pond pump. The cycle completes quickly with the colony raised on the same quality and quantity of waste their host produce. With this method the established pump can be added to their house with no spike, with no risk to the fish

  • What are Enzymes?

Bottled bacterium is another method of creating a cycle, or so the label says, but how is it possible for such delicate life forms to survive a bottle, sitting on a shelf, for who knows how long. Unless you have a microscope, how will you know if the bugs are alive and well or sick and dying or dead?

Bottled Probiotics with enzymes promise to encourage a faster cycle, and it may very well, but these very enzymes are present in the waste our healthy goldfish produce, and much greater in value than the bottled kind. If the bottled bacteria are living, they will have to added to the environment regularly to avoid the dreaded spike. This may be due to the lack of food source present, but more than likely it’s due to the fragile condition they are in

All waste is not created equal

The quality of waste our fish produce is vital to a healthy ecosystem. If the tract of the fish is not healthy, the ecosystem is not healthy and vice versa. In the wild, goldfish feed constantly throughout the day on vegetation rich in nutrition and high in roughage, and in between they find small bits of protein in a few fish eggs and very few smaller fish. Their digestive systems are compromised by a slow moving tract or bacteria infection. The waste they produce is rich in enzymes and healthy organisms

Fewer enzymes and friendly bacteria are found in waste produced by unhealthy goldfish with slow moving tracts

Adding bottled (unionized) ammonia to water without waste, but high in pH, changes the ammonia to ionized, making it an available food source for beneficial bacteria, but enzymes must be present in order for the friendly bugs to become established and form colonies. If we want a healthy ecosystem in our goldfish tank, understanding these micro organisms is first and foremost

Enzymes the building blocks of life

Even though we’re not aware of their presence until ammonia levels begin to peak, this doesn’t mean they’re not there, feeding and reproducing in very small numbers, growing in size. It takes approximately 20 hours to reach maturity and duplicate, and for this very reason the cycle can’t be rushed, no matter how you go about it

The picture of good health

Enzymes the building blocks of life

Enzymes the building blocks of life

How healthy our cycle is has a great deal to do with how healthy our goldfish waste is. If a fish has a slow moving tract, and is infected with bad bacteria, the friendly bug colony could become sick as well. If this same fish is in unhealthy water, you can bet the cycle will be a weak one, and may break completely

Beneficial bacteria need water that is rich in value, ammonia and healthy enzymes in order to become established, and build a healthy colony

Healthy water and healthy fish make for a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria

About Ammonia
Spike in the cycle

Goldfish Care

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Author: Brenda Rand