Starting a new aquarium is a challenge because it has not cycled yet to promote fish life in a tank. If you haven't cycled your fish tank, your pet fish will probably not survive because of ammonia and nitrite.

What is an Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?

The nitrogen cycle relates to a process when beneficial bacteria get established in an aquarium to convert toxic elements ammonia and nitrite into much less-toxic element nitrate. 

Ammonia is a toxic nitrogen compound produced by breaking down fish waste and increase at a deadly level. Then beneficial bacteria are developed and begin consuming ammonia as quickly as possible. The consumption of ammonia by bacteria gives a high rise of nitrite that is too toxic for a fish. At this level, secondary bacteria emerge started consuming nitrite, and gives out nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite are extremely toxic whereas, nitrate in a small amount is not harmful to aquarium fishes. When the volume of nitrate increases, it could settle down by doing water changes in an aquarium.

What Happened when you don't Cycle your Fish- Tank

The toxic elements ammonia and nitrite produced by your pet fish are dangerous and severe on your fish. If you already have bought fish, this may be your only option to cycle your aquarium. Without cycling your aquarium, your fish will not survive and, the ones that do are sensitive to disease.

How long does it take to Cycle a Fish tank?

Cycling your fish tank is going to take a little bit longer. If you are fortunate, your tank cycling might be short. The problem is that the bacteria that consume ammonia and nitrite grow very slowly. So it can take two weeks to 2 months, depending on the cycling process you choose. If you desire to have a happy and healthy fish, you have to cycle your fish tank.

Test Water PH Level 

It is maybe among the usually missed steps when cycling your aquarium and a cause of failed cycling. If the ph water level drops below 7, your cycling process can even slow down or stops. Appropriately raise the ph level as the beneficial bacteria in your fish tank build up acid that lowers the water ph over time.

An Aquarium Water Test Kit

 The nitrogen cycle is invisible. With a water test kit, you can monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH range to ensure your fish health and safety.

How to Cycle an Aquarium?

There are some ways to cycle an aquarium that are different from each other.

The Fish in- cycling process

Many people don't prefer to wait for some weeks waiting whether bacteria are growing or not in their fish tank so, introducing fewer fishes can serve them better. Since here are some tips for helping you to get started well.

  • -At the start, instead of too many fishes, add some fish 2-3 in an aquarium. It is better to choose hardy fishes that can tolerate severe water conditions. Most people prefer guppies or zebras danios as a starting fish to introduce first because of their hardness and consider them easier
  • Begin feeding sparingly with a small amount of food. Watch for a month the beneficial bacteria will consume fish waste (ammonia), turns it into nitrite, and then finally into nitrate.
  • This process completes when the amount of ammonia and nitrite remains at 0 ppm, and the nitrate remains below 40ppm. The range of nitrate can settle by appropriate water changes.
  • -The fish in the cycling process could be stressful for fish as the amount of ammonia and nitrite spikes can cause fish death. However, some of them will survive the severe welcome but not with their full potential. This process takes thirty to forty days to cycle a fish tank.
  • If you already have some running aquarium then, use the filter media from one of them to build up the colonies of beneficial bacteria in your newly established tank.
  • If you have a friend having an aquarium, ask for used filter media and transfer that filter media or substrate to your new one.
  • You can also add live nitrifying bacteria from a fish store to speed up the cycle.

Fishless Cycle

A fishless cycle is a term that refers to introducing nitrifying bacteria without introducing fish to the tank. By adding pure ammonia, the growth of nitrifying bacteria helps in cycling a fish tank. After your tank has set, add five drops of ammonia in a per ten-gallon tank daily. The ammonia will increase to more than 5ppm higher. When the nitrite is measurable, reduce ammonia to two to three drops until the ammonia and nitrite come out to zero ppm. Seeding the tank with supplies from an established tank like gravel, filter cartridges, driftwood, and rocks speed up the cycle. This method takes two to three weeks and, with seeding, it is possible to complete the nitrogen cycle in a week. This method helps in cycling all types of aquariums in a short time.

Using Fish Food for cycling a Fish Aquarium

Another way of cycling a fish tank is using fish food. Set up the fish tank with all essentials such as filter, heater, and lighting, etc.Set the water temperature between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit and drop the fish food in your fish tank. Decaying food will create ammonia and, the cycling process will begin. The tank can be equipped with filter media from an established tank to speed up the process. Seeding provides existing colonies of bacteria and, rotten fish food releases ammonia to these bacterial colonies to establish and grow in a new tank. This method needs the same amount of time as required by fish in cycling process. A tank has cycled when the ammonia and nitrite will remain at zero ppm. Now it is safe to introduce a stock of fish to your tank.

Final Thoughts

Aquarium cycling needs a little effort and, the results are notable. By making a greeting ecosystem for your new aquarium fish, you minimize their chances of death and provide easier maintenance.

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