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Re: Natural Waters vs Aquariums

     >We look to Nature for guidance and understanding in the management of 
     >our aquariums. There are numerous interconnected nutrient cycles 
     >which exist in natural waters which we attempt to duplicate in our 
     >aquaria. Most of these nutrient cycles are only imperfectly 
     >understood by Ecologists (regardless of the pontification which 
     >sometimes takes place here and elsewhere regarding them) and rarely 
     >are we able to establish a complete and self-sustaining cycle in a 
     >small artifical system. Witness the Nitrogen Cycle which in our 
     >aquariums usually ends in the accumulation of Nitrate in the water. 
     >The only "practical" method to rid our artifical systems of this 
     >excess is to regularly change a portion of the water.
     The reason our aquaria typically accumulate nitrate is the fish load 
     is artifically high.  You would NEVER see a 30 gallon pool in nature 
     supporting 20 or so fish.  We can reduce the nitrates by doing regular 
     water changes or growing lots of plants, but, like you said, our 
     aquaria are highly artificial environments and bear little resemblance 
     to a natural system.