The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

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Aquarium Nitrogen CycleBuilding new aquariums and setting up all the equipment to run the aquarium effectively can be alot of fun and once all the work has been completed the aquarium needs to be run through a Nitrogen cycle before any fish or plants can be added to the tank.

Purpose of the Nitrogen cycle is to condition the aquarium environment for the survival of new fish species and plant species within the aquarium with out this cycle your plants and fish may not survive.

When your aquarium is fully stocked with fish and plants there is a massive amount of waste that is produced by dead plants uneaten and discarded fish food and waste produced from the fish in the aquarium environment.

This waste that is produced from living fish and plants in the tank turns into deadly ammonia which is very toxic the bacteria produced from nitrogen cycling the environment feeds on the ammonia turning it into nitrites which in turn gets turned into nitrate which is relatively harmless to the environment.

There are two effective methods to start the nitrogen cycle within the aquarium the first uses an ammonia source purchased from a store along with a bacteria culture that pre populates the aquarium with ammonia and the bacteria that consumes the ammonia.

Cycling the tank takes around thirty days to complete, the water needs to be tested regularly to monitor the nitrogen levels before any plants or fish are added to the aquarium.

The second method to cycle the aquarium uses hardy fish species like Gouramis, Catfish, Cichids and Danios, only one or two fish are used with this method to keep the ammonia levels low until the bacteria populate the tank, once the tank has fully cycled and has been tested for nitrogen levels then you can fully stock the aquarium with fish and plant species. 

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