Ammonia is needed for the cycling process to succeed. It can be produced in several ways, but usually it comes from dead decomposing matter or fish waste. During the process bacteria converts the ammonia into nitrite and at various levels of the process these two chemicals reach toxic levels. If you have fish in the water during this time the levels could be lethal. For this reason many aquarists prefer to not cycle a tank using fish.
How To Get Rid of Ammonia In Your Aquarium - YouTube
Your tank is fully cycled once nitrates are being produced (andammonia and nitrite levels are zero). To determine when the cycle hascompleted, buy appropriate test kits (see ) and measure the levelsyourself, or bring water samples to your fish store and let themperform the test for you (perhaps for a small fee). This processnormally takes anywhere from 2-6 weeks. At temperatures below 70F, ittakes even longer to cycle a tank. In comparison to other types ofbacteria, Nitrifying bacteria grow slowly. Under optimal conditions,it takes fully 15 hours for a colony to double in size!
Fishless cycling is a form of "maturing" an aquarium
Put the same amount of fresh water in a bucket with some dechlorinating agents, let it sit for a few hours, make sure the temperature is roughly the same as the current tank water, and slowly pour it back in. In terms of numbers, this process should realistically take drop ammonia levels by 30%, or even more if you change more water. Keep in mind, it is not recommended that you ever change more than 30% of the water at once, or else you are putting the health of your fish at serious risk.
Aquarium cycling without fish | Algone
The desired species of nitrifying bacteria are present everywhere(e.g., in the air). Therefore, once you have an ammonia source in yourtank, it's only a matter of time before the desired bacteria establisha colony in your filter bed. The most common way to do this is toplace one or two (emphasis on one or two) hardy andinexpensive fish in your aquarium. The fish waste contains theammonia on which the bacteria live. Don't overfeed them! More foodmeans more ammonia! Some suggested species include: common goldfish(for cold water tanks), zebra danios and barbs for warmer tanks, anddamselfishes in marine systems. Note: Do not use ``toughies'' or otherfeeder fishes. Although cheap, they are extremely unhealthy and usingthem may introduce unwanted diseases to your tank.Standard test kits measure total ammonia (ammonia plus ammonium)without distinguishing between the two forms. The following chartgives the maximum long-term level of ammonia-N in mg/L (ppm) that can beconsidered safe at a given temperature and pH. Again, note that a tankwith an established biological filter will have no detectable ammonia;this chart is provided only for emergency purposes. If your levelsapproach or exceed the levels shown, take emergency action IMMEDIATELY.Should ammonia levels become high during the cycling process,corrective measures will need to be taken to prevent fish deaths. Most likely, you will simplyperform a sequence of partial water changes, thereby diluting ammoniato safer concentrations.