How to Cycle an Aquarium

How to Cycle an Aquarium a Beginners Guide

Firstly your aquarium is one of the most important parts of keeping fish and one of the most common questions is “How to cycle an Aquarium so it is safe for my fish”

The cycling process will ensure that the water in your fish tank is a perfect environment for your fish. Why do I need to Cycle an Aquarium?

It is important to cycle your aquarium to obtain the correct level of bacteria in your fish tank.

Some images and products shown in this article include affiliate links, we may earn a small commission, and we hope you find the information useful for completing a cycle before adding fish to your aquarium.

What is a Nitrogen Cycle?

To put it simply the nitrogen cycle is to create a process where good bacteria controls the toxic levels within your aquarium.

This is achieved by eliminating bad bacteria such as fish waste and rotting food.

The Nitrogen Cycle is a biological process that involves the continual circulation of nitrogenous compounds, such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to process waste in a natural water environment.

In a closed aquarium, this cycle must be created by your setup in what is commonly called the Nitrogen Cycle.

This cycle is established over time, it can take up to 3 months before a brand new aquarium is fully cycled. There are certain tricks that can considerably reduce that time.

To create a good aquarium cycle you will need.

  • a water filter large enough to cope with the size of your fish tank and the amount of fish you keep.
  • A substrate in the bottom of your aquarium (gravel, plant substrate, etc.)
  • An oxygen supply (bubble blower) for oxygenating the water.
  • Heater to maintain a constant temperature.
  • Live Plants are a great choice for an aquarium as they will feed on the waste in the tank reducing bad bacteria.
  • Lighting to replicate night and day for your fish.
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Interpet Internal Aquarium Fish Tank PF2 Power Filter, Cleans Water, for Coldwater & Tropical Aquariums Up to 81 Litre
Tetra Complete Substrate, Activates Strong and Healthy Plant Growth in an Aquarium, 5 kg
hygger Aquarium Air Pump, Ultra Silent <33dB Fish Tank Air Pump, 1.5W 420 ml/min High Energy Saving Air Pump with Air...
HITOP Adjustable Aquarium Heater with Protective Cover, 25W 30W 50W 100W 120W Fish and Turtle Tank Heater for 5L to 120L...
Description
Interpet Internal Aquarium Fish Tank PF2 Power Filter, Cleans Water, for Coldwater & Tropical Aquariums Up to 81 Litre
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Tetra Complete Substrate, Activates Strong and Healthy Plant Growth in an Aquarium, 5 kg
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hygger Aquarium Air Pump, Ultra Silent <33dB Fish Tank Air Pump, 1.5W 420 ml/min High Energy Saving Air Pump with Air...
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hygger Aquarium Air Pump, Ultra Silent <33dB Fish Tank Air Pump, 1.5W 420 ml/min High Energy Saving Air Pump with Air...
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Description
HITOP Adjustable Aquarium Heater with Protective Cover, 25W 30W 50W 100W 120W Fish and Turtle Tank Heater for 5L to 120L...
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Last update on 2022-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Setting up the Fish Tank Cycle

  • Rinse your new aquarium with freshwater do not use any detergents as this can harm your fish.
  • Place your aquarium in your chosen position making sure it is not in direct sunlight.
  • Add your substrate to the bottom of your aquarium making sure it is at least 2 inches deep.
  • Start to fill the tank with water by pouring the water onto a plate so as not to disturb the substrate you can fill to about 6 inches deep.
  • Position any tank decorations and plant live plants into your substrate if you choose to grow plants in your aquarium, also position any bubble-blowing ornaments at this point but do not plug them in at this stage.
  • Continue to fill the aquarium to about three-quarters full.
  • Position your tank heater and water filter but do not plug them in just yet.
  • Fill aquarium to full usually just below the top band or 3 inches from the top.
  • Add your lighting to the aquarium if you are using underwater lighting for effect do this at step five.
  • Switch on your heater, filter, bubble blower, and lighting.
  • Make sure everything is working and positioned correctly.
  • Do not add fish at this stage, add some de-chlorinator to the water and fish food roughly the amount you would feed your fish this is called ghost feeding, the reason for feeding an empty tank is to start the cycle of waste, filtration, and bacteria, continue feeding as if fish were in the tank for at least 4 to 5 days, test the water with a testing kit to see the results.
  • Once you are happy with the water test you can slowly introduce fish to the tank, keep testing the water regularly to see if the readings are ok, if not do a partial water change of about 20% to try and neutralize any bad results.
  • When you are happy that the cycle is working increase your fish stock but always check the water regularly and maintain regular 20% water changes.

What to look out for when testing the water

Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are the main biological toxins found in a fish tank aquarium, so it is important that the nitrogen cycle works effectively to remove any unwanted waste.

High levels of bad bacteria can be created by overfeeding your fish or by overstocking your aquarium, ensure you have a large enough fish tank for the amount of fish you want to keep.

Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are the main biological toxins found in the aquarium, so it is important that the nitrogen cycle works effectively to remove these pollutants.

Adding Fish

It is important to stock a new aquarium slowly over time and with younger smaller fish to allow the nitrogen cycle to develop and keep pace with the gradual increase of waste.

It is natural to want to stock a new aquarium with the prettiest fish and feed them regularly. Fish will always look hungry when you approach a fish tank so you need to monitor feeding carefully.

Without the good bacteria that builds up in an aquarium over time, your fish could become ill and even die, so ensure your aquarium is properly cycled and a good feeding regime and regular partial water changes are maintained.

Testing your water Testing Kits

Water testing kits are important aid for you to monitor your levels they are easy to use and give you peace of mind that your fish tank water is at a safe level.

Regular part water changes of about 20% will also help you maintain good bacteria levels, don’t do full water changes as this will only mean the process has to start all over again.

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Tetra Test 6-in-1 Strips Aquarium to Test 6 Essential Water Quality Parameters in Less Than 60 Seconds, Pack of 25
API 5-IN-1 TEST STRIPS Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Test Strips 25-Count Box
Milliard Aquarium 7 in 1 Test Strips (100 Count) for Fresh Water and Salt Water Tanks
Tetra Test 6-in-1 Strips Aquarium to Test 6 Essential Water Quality Parameters in Less Than 60 Seconds, Pack of 25
Tetra Test 6-in-1 Strips Aquarium to Test 6 Essential Water Quality Parameters in Less Than 60 Seconds, Pack of 25
API 5-IN-1 TEST STRIPS Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Test Strips 25-Count Box
API 5-IN-1 TEST STRIPS Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Test Strips 25-Count Box
Milliard Aquarium 7 in 1 Test Strips (100 Count) for Fresh Water and Salt Water Tanks
Milliard Aquarium 7 in 1 Test Strips (100 Count) for Fresh Water and Salt Water Tanks

Last update on 2022-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aquarium Lights

Lighting your tank is important too much light constantly will create algae, an aquarium light with white light during the day and blue light at night is the best option for your fish.

Aquarium Lighting substitutes the fish’s natural environment lighting out in the wild, a controlled day and night light of white and blue light will replicate the sun during daytime and the moon during the night.

Keeping fish as pets can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it’s important to create a comfortable environment for your fish if you want them to thrive.

One of the most important aspects of fish care is lighting.

The right lighting can help to bring out the natural colors of your fish, and it also provides essential heat and energy.

In addition, proper lighting is necessary for the growth of aquatic plants.

Without adequate light, algae can quickly take over an aquarium. As a result, it’s important to choose the right lighting for your home aquarium in order to create a healthy and attractive environment for your fish.

Live Plants

Live plants in an aquarium planted in a good quality substrate will grow very similar to plants you may grow in your garden, Live planting a section of your fish tank will have great benefits.

A home aquarium can be a beautiful addition to any home, and adding live plants can create an even more stunning display.

Not only do live plants add color and Interest to an aquarium, but they also provide a number of benefits for the fish.

Plants help to oxygenate the water, providing a healthier environment for the fish.

They also help to remove toxins from the water, making it cleaner and clearer. In addition, plants offer a place for fish to hide and feel secure, reducing stress levels.

As a result, live plants can provide a more comfortable and healthy environment for fish, as well as enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the aquarium.

I hope you have found this article How to cycle an aquarium useful if you would like to leave a comment below about your techniques or thoughts it would be great to hear from you.

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