If you’re wondering why your fishes keep dying within a couple of days, well it means your tank is not cycled yet and it isn’t prepared to handle fish waste to provide a clean and stable environment for your fish! Cycling a tank means getting the parameters stable with the help of the nitrogen cycle. Let’s go through a few methods on how to get your tank cycled in no time.
CYCLING WITH FISH
Start with hardy fishes such as guppies and corys and only add a few fishes at the start as your new tank is still adjusting to new growth and there is little or no beneficial bacterial to handle fish waste. Keep feedings at a minimum, about 3-4 times a week, as overfeeding will only create more fish waste. Your tank is fully cycled once you are able to feed normal amounts of food to your fish for a week and ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0ppm and nitrate levels are less than 20ppm. I recommend API’s range of test kits for accurate and swift readings.
CYCLING WITHOUT TEST KITS
If you are in a pinch, or just don’t have any test kits lying around, you will still be able to cycle your aquarium by putting in a small amount of fish food and removing it with half of the water every few days. Once algae start forming on the glass and decor, its a good indicator that your tank is beginning the cycling process. A cycled aquarium that’s ready for fish to be added might not be the one you have in mind. While most people dread algae as it is tough to remove, its one of the first few indicators that your aquarium is progressing during the cycling process! However, make sure to feed sparingly and add in fish slowly so that your aquarium have time to adjust.
BONUS: Adding in live plants and ensuring they are growing with good lighting, substrate and fertilizers will speed up the process! Aquatic plants are more effective at consuming nitrogen as compared to beneficial bacteria!
It is common to be excited and add in a ton of fish in your newly set-up aquarium, but with patience, creating a better environment before adding fish will greatly reduce losses and make your fish-keeping experience a much better one.