Ammoniacal nitrogen

Ammonia nitrogen in sediments typically results from the bacterial decomposition of organic matter that accumulates. The accumulation comes from various sources, both natural, such as animal and tree wastes, and anthropogenic, such as heavy fertiliser use, landfill leachate, aquaculture and industrial effluents. Sediment bacteria mineralise organic nitrogen by producing ammoniacal nitrogen through nitrate reduction.

Ammonia nitrogen includes both the ionised form (ammonium, NH4+) and the non-ionised form (ammonia, NH3). An increase in pH favours the formation of the non-ionised form NH3, while a decrease favours the ionised form NH4+. Another parameter to consider is the high temperature, which affects the toxicity of ammonia to aquatic life.

Ammonia nitrogen is in fact a common cause of fish death as it affects their growth and gill condition. The duration and frequency of exposure strongly influence the severity of the effects.

On the other hand, the progressive increase in ammonia concentration in the aquatic environment is one of the main causes of eutrophication. The presence of ammonia nitrogen causes an increase in phytoplankton. Bacteria feeding on phytoplankton consume oxygen, reducing its availability to fish.


How to remove it?

Literature studies show that clinoptilolite zeolite has high efficacy in ammonia nitrogen removal with excellent NH4+ adsorption performance even under aquaculture conditions.

Zeolite is a natural mineral of volcanic origin that possesses high porosity, high adsorptive capacity and is a natural cation exchanger: these characteristics make it an excellent medium for water filtration!

We at Zeocel Italia tested our clinoptilolite-based Zeowater ZN as a filter medium for ammonium removal. The result was that Zeowater ZN can absorb up to 30 grams of ammonium per kg of zeolite, removing > 98% ammonium from water!


For more information, please contact us!