Re: Ammonia removal

> From: HNH2Ogar at aol_com
> Date: Mon, 16 Oct 1995 09:48:12 -0400
> Subject: ammonia
> I'm about ready to re-enroll in college to find the answer to this one.
>  There's a young pond-builder-nursery owner on the water garden message board
> of AOL who claims that aeration breaks the bond of ammonia.  He says that
> "water in its entirety has more affinity to oxygen than it does to ammonia.
>  Ammonia is pushed out with the introduction of oxygen, with the water being
> cold during the winter the chain reaction from cracking the ammonia loose is
> one benefit, the other is the actual cracking of the ammonia molecule itself
> into the two gasses that it is made up of.  The byproduct of this is plain
> old nigrogen which is gobbled up by the first algae bloom in the spring,
> before the bio-filter kicks in.  Cold water holds more air and less ammonia
> by nature.  The introduction of the air forces out the ammonia, the
> instability of the ammonia from the separation causes it to crack again into
> the two gasses which are carried out by the water bubbles to the outside."

	This is about 95% rubbish.  The only thing close to a good point
is that if you aerate water that has ammonia in it, the ammonia will tend
to be removed.  However, this is not likely to be fast, since ammonia is
_very_ soluble in water, and the ammonia molecules will not be broken up into
hydrogen and nitrogen.  They will just leave as gaseous ammonia in the

>  He has stated that he has smelled ammonia in the water, tested positive for
> ammonia, heavily aerated, then retested negatively.  What is the scientific
> explanation of why or why not aeration breaks the bond of the ammonia
> molecule and allows its removal from the water naturally?
	If you can _smell_ ammonia in water there is a _lot_ there, a
lot more than fish will stand!
Paul Sears,   Ottawa, Canada