Cycling Your Aquarium

Cycling Your Aquarium

What is Cycling and How Do You Do It?
Cycling is the process of creating a balance of bacteria in your filter system by letting nature take its course. Cycling is basically adding beneficial bacteria to your newly established aquarium and letting the nitrogen cycle do its thing.

  1. ​Waste gets turned into Ammonia and then to Nitrite and then to Nitrate Beneficial Bacteria is what sets this cycle in motion. So for all you beginners out there…don’t just throw fish in your tank and think you’re all good to go. It’s a process.
  2. Aquarium starts out with no bacteria. Bacteria like to eat waste which is basically what your fish create.
  3. To create waste you can add a few starter fish like Zebra Danios for a freshwater tank or some uncured live rock if you are starting a saltwater tank.
  4. Ammonia is a byproduct of waste which your fish or live rock will create.
  5. High amounts of ammonia is deadly to all living things.
  6. The bacteria will build up in your filter system and as they do they will convert the ammonia to nitrite.
  7. Nitrite is also toxic to living things, but not as deadly as ammonia.
  8. The bacteria then convert the nitrite to nitrate.
  9. Nitrate is the least toxic.
  10.  To get rid of the nitrate you need to do a water change. Usually 20-30% of the water is siphoned off (vacuuming the gravel or sand with a siphon)
  11. The goal you want to achieve is a pH reading of 7.8-8.0 for freshwater tanks and 8.0-8.2 for saltwater tanks.
  12.  After the cycling has completed (your readings are all normal) you can now add more fish and other organisms to your tank. Make sure you add the fish and other living organisms slowly as the more you add the more ammonia will be produced. You need to allow the bacteria to catch up and multiply to keep your tank balanced.

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