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Re: What is "tank cycling"
John Guild asks:
> what exactly is "TANK CYCLING"?
John, it's a biological process where bacteria convert fish waste (ammonia)
into less harmful substances. Certain bacteria commonly referred to as
Nitrosomonas species convert ammonia to nitrite. Another category of
bacteria commonly referred to as Nitrobacter convert nitrites into nitrates.
(I'm being cagey about the names of these bacteria because there is some
controversy over their scientific names.) The bacteria reside in the tank on
smooth surfaces such as the glass walls, the ornaments, the thermometer, the
heater, and also on the inside walls of the filter box. It takes about 3-6
weeks (depending on temperature and the availability of oxygen) for the
beneficial bacteria to establish themselves. You can introduce these
bacteria to the tank via a scoop of gravel from an established tank, or a few
ornaments or plants from an older tank. You can also establish the "cycle"
by using the fishless cycle method, where drops of ammonia are used to
replace living fish to provide the ammonia waste. IMHO, the fishless cycle
method is superior because it does not risk any fish's lives. There are
numerous websites that go into great detail about defining the cycle and how
to do fishless cycling. Here's just one of several of those sites: