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Tricks for the aquarist – nitrogen cycle in the aquarium

Most novice aquarists ask the same question: “How to make sure that the water in the aquarium does not grow turbid, does not turn yellow and does not fade?” Avid aquarists will immediately say that you need to start the aquarium correctly and create and maintain conditions for the nitrogen cycle in it. In a well-established and well-maintained healthy aquarium, the nitrogen cycle waste, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are maintained at a safe minimum.

And you need to do everything necessary for the aquarium, so that the nitrogen cycle functions smoothly. In a closed aquarium environment, this process is occasionally helped by a partial replacement of water and the direct removal of any unnecessary substances, be it a dead fish, a plant, or excess food particles.

This is what experienced aquarists advise to maintain a healthy nitrogen cycle both in a new aquarium and to maintain a healthy environment in it for many years.

A healthy cycle of the nitrogen cycle implies a healthy bacterial environment within the aquarium ecosystem. These beneficial bacteria are what transform bad nitrites into more controlled nitrates.

They also contribute to a process called denitrification.

In deep compacted substrates and in other areas of zero oxygen content (for example, in a filter or at least a few centimeters of good aquarium gravel), anaerobic bacteria release nitrates from their oxygen atoms, and in the process, nitrogen (N2) is produced. Nitrogen is consumed by live plants.

When you install a new aquarium, ask your friend, an aquarist who has a healthy, well-established aquarium, a cup of gravel from the bottom of the aquarium. Yes, this gravel will not look very nice, but it will be full of anaerobic bacteria, the very ones that we talked about above.

One small cup of such (not washed!) Gravel pour onto the bottom of your new aquarium, and fill the top with a layer of new gravel at least 5 cm thick. After that, fill the aquarium with aged (tip 3) water and in this aquarium the nitrogen cycle will end less than three weeks as opposed to 3 or 4 months with the traditional approach.

Living plants make aquariums healthier, allowing them to contain more numerous populations of aquarium fish, give the fish a snack nutrients, provide them with shelter and improve the aesthetics of any aquarium. More importantly, they consume nitrogen and exhale oxygen!

One of the key roles that algae play in nature as well as in your tank is to support the nitrogen cycle. Fish waste, predominantly in the form of ammonia, is first processed by useful bacteria into less toxic nitrites and then into nitrates.

High levels of nitrates are not recommended, but they occur even with a well-established cycle of the nitrogen cycle.

In order to reduce the number and frequency of water changes, nature has provided us with living plants. Not only do plants “inhale” nitrogen and “exhale” oxygen, aquarium plants also consume nitrates as fertilizer.

This contributes to their growth, making them even larger, “inhale” more nitrogen, exhale even more oxygen and consume even more nitrates!

Adding live plants to an already established aquarium will also reduce the amount of algae (usually growing on glasses and décor), since live plants eat the same food as algae much more efficiently. In many cases, in aquariums with properly organized aquatic flora there are no problems with uncontrolled growth of algae.

This is the simplest advice, since water usually does not require chemicals or special equipment, except for cases when water is prepared for discus fish or other fish that need special conditions. In the general case, it is necessary to do the following:

  • Take one – two empty containers of 15-20 liters.
  • Fill containers with clean water and place somewhere in a corner, away from direct sunlight. Do not close containers. Do not install containers in a garage in which harmful gases may dissolve in water.
  • The containers should be in this place for at least 48 hours, but not more than 2 weeks. Over two weeks the water will become stagnant, not fresh.
  • Replace no more than 25% of the water in the aquarium with water that has stood for quite a while (that is, more than 48 hours, but less than 2 weeks).
  • I hope these simple tips will help you run your first aquarium without any problems.

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