Understanding the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
The life of ornamental fish in our home aquarium is dependent on how well the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle works. A perfect cycle process is essential in an ecosystem that is simple but very difficult for young aquarists to implement.
A thorough understanding of the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle is a key pre-requisite before you decide to keep ornamental fish.
Understanding the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Summary
- Activity Name: Understanding the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
- Type of Activity: Ornamental Fish
- Category: Indoor Activity
- Difficulty Level: 5 (where 1 is very less and 5 is very difficult)
- Equipment Cost: $$ (where $ is cheapest and $$$$$ is most expensive)
Tell us about Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
The aquarium nitrogen cycle refers to the cycle of processes in which nitrogen is cycled through the different forms within an aquarium, ultimately returning it to a harmless nitrogen gas form (N2). This cycle involves complex interactions between different organisms working together to keep the water clean and suitable for aquatic life. The cycle is an essential piece of a healthy marine ecosystem and plays an important role in nitrogen management.
The cycle starts with nitrogen entering the tank in its dissolved inorganic form, either from decaying material, or from water changes or additions of water or food containing ammonia or nitrates. This dissolved nitrogen is then taken up and converted to other forms of nitrogen, including nitrite, nitrate and nitrogen gas, by bacteria. These bacteria are either present naturally in the aquatic environment, or can be added in the form of bacteria-infused substrates or aquarium additives.
Nitrogen gas is then released back into the aquarium water, where it can be re-circulated over again.
This cycle is important as it helps to keep ammonia and nitrite levels in check, as well as providing plants and bacteria with a source of nitrogen for growth and development. Nitrogen gas is also an important element in the nitrogen cycle, as it helps to oxygenate the water, while also ensuring that water pH levels stay balanced. The aquarium nitrogen cycle is a complex process, however the understanding of this cycle is essential to establishing a healthy aquarium environment.
What is the Role of Beneficial Bacteria in the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
The main role of beneficial bacteria is to convert ammonia into harmless substances. How does this process work? Beneficial bacteria will detect ammonia in your aquarium water and quickly shut down feces that contain ammonia to be converted to a harmless form.
Having many beneficial bacteria is very good for speeding up the ammonia detox process.
What are the advantages of Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Some of the advantages of Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle include:
- Establishes and Maintains Healthy Water Conditions: The nitrogen cycle helps to establish and maintain healthy water conditions in an aquarium by removing toxins such as ammonia and nitrite, which can be harmful to fish in high concentrations.
- Supplies Beneficial Bacteria: Beneficial bacteria are produced during the nitrogen cycle which help to break down uneaten fish food, fish waste and other organic matter. This helps to keep the aquarium water clean and free of dangerous pollutants.
- Reduces Water Changes: The nitrogen cycle helps to break down toxins and pollutants, thus reducing the need for large, frequent water changes. A tank that is properly cycled requires fewer water changes as the bacteria will reduce toxin and pollutant levels.
- Creates a Balanced System: The nitrogen cycle helps to create a balanced aquarium that is stable and less likely to suffer from swings in water chemistry. By establishing an efficient cycle, an aquarium can remain healthy for a long time with minimal maintenance.
What are the challenges to maintain Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle?
Some of the challenges to maintain Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle are:
- Cycling the Aquarium: Establishing a nitrogen cycle in an aquarium takes time and patience, as it requires bacteria to break down waste materials in the water. This process can be delayed or impaired by lack of filtration, overstocking, or water changes.
- Overfeeding: If too much food is added to the aquarium, it can cause an increase in ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. This can cause a disruption in the nitrogen cycle process and lead to illness or death in the fish.
- High pH levels: Maintaining proper pH levels in aquarium water is important for regulating the nitrogen cycle. Fish and other organisms in the aquarium may suffer from high pH levels, which can lead to health issues that disrupt the nitrogen cycle.
- Accumulation of Organic Waste: Without regular water changes and waste removal from the aquarium environment, organic waste can accumulate and cause an ammonia spike. This can stress out fish and can damage the nitrogen cycle.
Do We Need Ammonia?
Ammonia is something we most want to avoid in our aquarium. Without ammonia, our fish life will be guaranteed safe. But did you know that how the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle can be done without ammonia? The ammonia content in the aquarium is the first process before the subsequent Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle processes can be performed.
The absence of ammonia in an aquarium is like an aquarium water without ornamental fish. Strange? But there is logic. Ammonia is produced when our ornamental fish excrete fish waste such as feces. Fish droppings when falling to the bottom of the aquarium will produce very dangerous ammonia. If not controlled, in the blink of an eye the aquarium water is poisonous and endangers the life of your ornamental fish.
High ammonia levels can be treated by removing fish waste and changing aquarium water. But are you willing to change the water every day? That’s why this Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle is so useful! Cycle everything to become a harmless material.
The aquarium nitrogen cycle is particularly important as if we mimic the natural state of fish in the Amazon River. In the Amazon River, the nitrogen cycle can be done naturally but what about in a fish aquarium?
We have to make sure the aquarium ecosystem works well. A good aquarium ecosystem is known as the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle. The Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Process can be described as follows: –
- Process 1: Fish waste will turn into ammonia.
- Process 2: Beneficial Bacteria will convert ammonia to nitrite.
- Process 3: Beneficial Bacteria will convert nitrite to nitrate.
- Process 4: The nitrate formed will be removed by being sucked out by a filtration system or changing the aquarium water.
All four of these processes must occur in aquatic life. And the first condition is the presence of ammonia in the fish tank water. Do we really need ammonia?
There are several ways to create an Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle as follows: –
- Using beneficial bacterial medicine: Beneficial bacterial medicine such as Seachem Stability, API Stress Zyme, Big Fish Nitrifying Bacteria, PSB Bacteria and other products. Place daily according to the recommendations on the bottle label. This method is very simple and effective.
- Breeding beneficial bacteria: This method takes a long time. Depending on the aquarium, some require up to 2 months. After 2 months your aquarium is known as an ‘established aquarium’.
After you put the beneficial bacteria medicine into the aquarium, now it’s time to breed as many beneficial bacteria as possible. Aside from playing a role in the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, beneficial bacteria can fight the bad bacteria that get into the aquarium water.
There are many ways to breed beneficial bacteria in the aquarium as follows: –
- Using bio foam: Buy stone water that comes with Bio Foam Filter.
- Spreading gravel: Gravel will act like an aquarium water buffer.
- Using Bio Ring: Bio Ring can be placed in filter canister, sump filter, hang-on filter and submersible water pump.
Lots of side effects if there is no Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle or unstable. Among them: –
- Fish become stressful.
- Fish get sick easily.
- Fish easily quarrel with other fish.
- Large -sized fish will injure other small -sized fish. For example, Angel Fish will bite the tail of a tetra fish until it breaks.
- Creating an unhappy and depressed atmosphere.
- Fish will die.
Death due to high ammonia levels can be evidenced by almost all fish dying at one time.
There are several ways to overcome high ammonia levels in the aquarium as follows: –
- Use detox products such as API Ammo Lock, Seachem Prime, PSB Bacteria etc.
- Change the aquarium water quickly.
- Create an Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle.
- Ammonia Test Kit Products: There are many ammonia test kit products on the market. API Test Kit is the most popular product followed by Seachem Ammonia Alert.
Aquarium Tips: Keeping trees alive in the aquarium is a solution to overcome the problem of high ammonia levels in the aquarium. This is due to the nature of the soil which absorbs harmful toxins including ammonia from free in the fish tank water.
Aquarium Tips: Did you know breeding beneficial bacteria can detox ammonia to a harmless form?
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle is a process to convert dangerous ammonia from fish waste to less dangerous form and detox the ammonia in aquarium. This cycle is a must have for every fish aquarium.
In the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, we need to know the processes of NH3, NO2 and NO3. The process of fish waste converting to ammonia is known as NH3. The process of harmful ammonia being converted to nitrite (less dangerous) is known as NO2. From nitrite to nitrate (harmless) is known as NO3.
This Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle will occur whenever there is ammonia in the aquarium. So, you need an Ammonia Test Kit to test the level of ammonia in your aquarium water tank.