Cycling your saltwater tank can be deemed the most demanding task of setting up a new saltwater tank. This isn’t because the task itself is difficult.
Instead, cycling a saltwater tank usually takes an absurd amount of time.
Time that could be much better spent buying and adding fish to the tank!
How amazing would it be to have your tank set up, cycling, and filled with fish in under 24 hours?
Today, I’m going to show you how.
Whilst I am going to show you how to cycle your saltwater tank safely in less than a day, it’s also important to note to put careful work into the cycling process as well.
Making the cycling process as speedy as can be may seem like a dream come true, however, if too quick to the punch, you can severely compromise the PH level of the tank, causing serious harm to the environment within.
You likely won’t notice any visible disruptions, slight variations are unlikely to cause fish detectable distress, however, with the use of a tank testing kit, you may find that you are putting your fish at risk.
The following methods have been proven tried-and-true by experienced tank owners.
The cycling process removes harmful nitrites and ammonia from the water filter.
This means when your fish make waste, it isn’t upcycled into the filter, and create a clog in the system or a poisonous environment for them.
In addition, with a neutral PH, you’re keeping small amounts of these compounds for healthy bacteria to feed on, and not become a toxic environment to your fish.
This process also regulates the systems nitrogen cycle: the conversion of nitrites to nitrates, giving your fish a happy and healthy home.
If you’re uninterested in the method below of using an old filter, make sure that you are investing your money into a high-quality filter.
Now that you understand how harmful an unhealthy PH level for your tank is, let’s break it down to a simple science what the ideal environment should look like for your tank.
A healthy PH is a PH of 7. Get yourself a PH testing kit to see where you’re at. And remember, a bit of bacteria is needed for the right environment, so don’t be too worried about dipping a bit below. Always remember too, that the water filter should always be kept on and running.
Switching the filter off deprives the healthy bacteria in the tank the essential oxygen that it needs to survive. At this point, it will take the oxygen from the water, as well as the fish.
It’s also important to note that you should be “micro-cleaning” your tank daily. This means removing any uneaten foods, visible waste, and overgrowth.
Balancing the PH to a healthy level doesn’t take rocket science, either. If your test reads that the environment is too acidic, try adding a bit of baking soda to your tank to raise PH levels.
If your test results deem the water to be too basic, the addition of some vinegar or lemon juice will stabilize PH again.
Hang-On Protein Skimmer
Levels of ammonia in your tank must be kept maintained to minimize risk to your fish. Products such as Amquel can help keep ammonia contained in your tank. You could also do partial water changes periodically to achieve this as well.
You could also cycle your tank without the addition of fish at any point. The role that the fish play is by their own slow production of ammonia.
If having the fish in the tank isn’t of interest to you, chemical agents such as ammonium chloride can be used in supplement. Please note however, the use of chemical ammonia complicates the process a bit further because of the need to monitor water chemistry daily.
Since it is possible, if you are worried about the risk you may impose with having fish in your tank during cycle, consider the fishless cycle option.
Add 2-4ppm of ammonia to your tank for the first few days, and tiny amounts every 4-6 days to follow.
Though this method takes a bit more time and effort, you’ll rest assured that you’re not causing your fish any harm or distress, some being necessary to the initial stage of cycling.
It’s certainly safe to say you can’t put any fish into an unsafe tank. Any of the methods listed above would provide ample certainty that you’re providing the proper PH to the environment, however, it is still highly recommended that you utilize a testing kit to be sure here.
Being sure that your tank has a good amount of healthy, live bacteria also provides for healthy reefing. It keeps unwanted pests at bay (quite literally) and prevents possible diseases that would pose threat to the health of your fish.
Enjoy the health of your new tank, and happy reefing!
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