Hikari Sales USA fish and reptile foods showing a puffer fish

Getting Good Bacteria

There’s a public misconception that the cleaner an aquarium is, the better it is for the inhabitants of the tank. This is simply untrue. Simply put, fish require good bacteria.

Biological Filtration
All tanks need the right-sized filter to help maintain water health and promote beneficial bacteria development. While there are a number of bacteria one can find in an aquarium, the two key species of beneficial bacteria any tank needs are:

  • Nitrosomonas
  • Nitrobacter

Both of these bacteria perform critical functions as a key part of the nitrogen cycle, including processing fish excrement or dead scales, excess food, decaying greenery, or even lost fish.

Whenever your tank has material decaying in it, the decaying matter produces ammonia, a highly toxic substance for fish. Even small amounts of it can cause swollen eyes, algae blooms, inflamed gills, and sometimes health issues that can cause your fish to perish. There are several ways to jumpstart good bacteria to combat nitrogen and ammonia cycle issues, they include:

  • Employing starter fish – These species are able to withstand higher ammonia and nitrate levels and tend to survive the “new tank” scenarios that enable your filtration and bacteria levels to reach peak performance.
  • Addition of gravel – Adding several cups of gravel from a healthy, balanced tank can speed the good bacteria population.
  • Use of foam filters – Taking a foam filter from a fully cycled aquarium can also speed the good bacteria population growth. If you don’t have one, you can buy a new one and ask one of your aquatic buddies to run it in their cycled tank for a few weeks to get a good bacteria population rolling.
  • Cycle speeding additives- At any professional fish store, you can find pre-made mixes of suitable bacteria that you can add to the water to promote a good beneficial bacteria bed. These products vary in quality, so ask for a recommendation before buying to get the most effective option offered. Saving money in this area is not the best course of action because it can result in lots of issues, including fish loss.