Originally Posted by kathstew
I have a 5.5 gallon tank, that is divided into two, for two females. I do not use real plants, only fake. Both of my girls are happy and healthy.
I just got a mini elite filter. I was wondering if someone could explain to me the freshwater cycle, and what exactly a filter does.
I understand that fish release ammonia into the water, and that they need oxygen to survive. I understand we clean the tank to get rid of the ammonia. But could you help me understand a little more in depth this cycle?
I want to understand what my filter is doing, and what is going on in the tank. :D
I have read the sticky about the freshwater cycle, but didn't understand it very much. I appreciate the answers!
I haven't long grasped the whole concept of cycling so Let me try to explain this, in a none confusing way for you lol :)
Basically when you cycle a tank, you are creating good bacteria for your fishes to survive and live in. This is done by adding Ammonia
Ammonia comes from loads of different sources; fish waste, decaying plants, rotten food. These waste materials all convert to ammonia
which, when found in large amounts is toxic to fish. The creation of ammonia and its growth in your fish tank is what is called, the nitrogen cycle
; a good thing :)
If you decide to do a fish in cycle, they will instantly start producing ammonia
for you and by the 3rd week the ammonia
may well be toxic already, this is where you come in and immediately do a 50% water change. When the good bacteria starts growing in your fish tank, it will start to reduce the levels of ammonia
in your tank, which will take weeks if not months to properly establish in your aquarium. When the bacteria starts to break down the ammonia it then converts in to Nitrites
which is also harmful to your fish. However, the aquarium needs another type of bacteria to take care of this problem.
So now that you have nitrites
in your tank because of the action of Nitrosomonas bacteria
. To finish the cycle, your tank needs another type of bacteria; the nitrobacter bacteria
. This type of bacteria will then convert Nitrites
harmful to your fish. That type of bacteria doesn't develop until there are plenty of Nitrites
, this is why the nitrogen cycle takes forever before its properly established. Adding plants to your tank will help the nitrogen produce quicker, which will complete the cycle faster. :) Also it is best to only add a few fish to your tank at first, this will stop the quick accumulation of waste materials which remember...convert to ammonia
To summarize the whole process.... There are 3 stages to the nitrogen cycle
- Ammonia - This is produced by fish waste, decaying plants and rotten excess food.
- Nitrites - This is produced by a certain type of bacteria, which absorbs the ammonia and makes nitrites, which are harmful
- Another type of bacteria absorbs the nitrites and produce Nitrates, which are not harmful.
The nitrogen cycle may take some time, so remember to keep doing small water changes of about 50% every other day,this will keep the ammonia under control and won't kill your fish :)
Hope this helps and that I have patronised you, in any way :)
Good Luck :)