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How to Cycle Your Aquarium- Nitrogen Cycle in an Aquarium. Bacteria for the Nitrogen Cycle

Knowing how to fully cycle an aquarium and allowing time for the nitrogen cycle are key - folks who don't know about cycling a tank and the nitrogen cycle end up killing a lot of fish and giving up on the hobby.


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The Nitrogen Cycle- The Nitrogen Cycle is one of the most over looked, skipped and quick hit parts of your aquarium, so I want to talk about bacteria today. Last week we talked about balance.

As we know Fish poop and un eaten food is waste or ammonia Ammonia Or NH3 which is highly toxic. (This is why we get fish out of the bags quickly because if they sit in their own waste in a small container they will die) Don't feed your fish before you take them somewhere you put them in a bag, their poop will ultimately kill them if there is too much of it in the bag. (also- Fish can go hungry a minute) So Ammonia is in the fish poop-Next the Nitrosomas break down the Ammonia using Oxygen to Make Nitrite Or NO2 which is slightly less toxic to fish.Next Nitrobacteria break down the Nitrate or NO3. Nitrates are toxic only at high levels.

Anaerobic Bacteria (Anaerobic- NO OXYGEN) break down Nitrates to obtain oxygen and release Nitrogen which PLANTS USE! So We have to back up and look at all of this We don't go directly from Fish poop to plant food. It has to be broke down by Nitrosomas and Nitrobacteria. SO WE WANT A BUNCH OF THIS BACTERIA. How do we get this? Large Filter pads yes-but more importantly- Your substrate. Think about it. You have a significantly larger surface area to maintain this beneficial bacterial that keeps your aquarium healthy.
Since NH4 can bind well to clays and is toxic at high levels in the water it binds in the substrate. (To site the mighty Tom Barr.)

You'll note, I was over at Bryans a few weeks back, he runs an airstone in every one of his tanks.. This is not an accident.
You need all of that readily available oxygen for both your fish, and the bacteria that break down your fish poop.
So to wrap this up. You want to consider the bioload of your tank and not adding fish too quickly. If you want add anything quickly- Make it the plants. You want your bacteria thriving and growing at a rate that can take up your fish waste at a higher rate than it is produced. ALA- Balanced tank
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