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Re: Tank cycling
Tank cycling is a process where ammonia from fish metabolism initially builds
up in the tank due to deficiency of certain ammonia metabolizing bacteria.
Over time these bacteria establish themselves and convert ammonia into
nitrite. Both ammonia and nitirite are quite toxic to fish. Testing for
these toxins is recommended and if too high, water changes should be
performed to reduce them. Later other bacteria will convert nitrite into
nitrate which is pretty harmless to fish but over time can lead to algae if
too high. Water changes are generally recommended to keep nitrates in check.
The time it takes to "cycle" a tank varies depending on fish load and number
of plants. Adding a handful of gravel from someone elses tank may help to
cycle quicker and prevent very high levels of ammonia and nitirite. Keeping
fish load low when first setting up a tank also helps keep ammonia from
rising too rapidly. Hope this helps, but read and surf to learn more.