HOW CYCLING THE TANK CAN STRESS YOUR FISH

How Cycling the Tank Can Stress Your Fish
The nitrogen cycle is essential for keeping your tank healthy but it can also be very stressful for your fish!
If you have ever heard of the term “cycling” or “new tank syndrome,” you have heard of the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle is the cycle through which beneficial bacteria in the aquarium convert harmful substances and toxins like ammonia into less harmful substances so the tank is safe for your fish. The nitrogen cycle is a natural, biological process but it is incredibly important. Unfortunately, while your tank is cycling it can become a stressful environment. Read on to learn more about how to reduce the stress your fish experience while you cycle your tank.
 
Cycling a Tank for the First Time
 
When you first set up your home aquarium – it doesn’t matter if it is a freshwater or a saltwater tank – it will go through the process of cycling. For a new aquarium, this process can take two weeks or longer to complete, depending what you do (if anything) to speed the process along. Ideally, you shouldn’t put any fish in your tank until it has completely cycled because not only could it interrupt the cycling process, but it can also be dangerous for your fish. There are times, however, when a large-scale cleaning or some mistake on your part results in the tank re-cycling itself. In this case, you may not be able to let the tank cycle apart from your fish.
 
Tips for Reducing Stress
 
The reason fish become stressed during cycling is because the water quality and parameters in your tank are constantly changing. As your population of beneficial bacteria grows, ammonia levels are likely to increase – uneaten fish food and excrement is also likely to accumulate in the substrate of the tank which will have an effect on water quality. Ammonia, however, is the more serious danger because it is toxic for fish – exposure to high ammonia levels can kill a fish in a matter of days. If the number of fish in your tank changes during the cycling process, the beneficial bacteria population will have to accommodate for those changes and for the increased biological load – this, too, may result in a change of water parameters.
 
Because water quality is so important for the health of your fish, it is essential that you monitor your tank water to keep an eye on chemistry levels. During cycling you should test your tank water every few days to make sure the ammonia levels are not getting out of hand – this is also a good way to monitor the progress of your tank as it cycles. During the initial phase of the nitrogen cycle you should see a spike in ammonia and nitrate levels – as the cycle continues, those levels should approach zero and you should start to get a nitrate reading on the water test. If, at any point, the ammonia levels in your tank exceed 1ppm you should remove the fish from the tank to a quarantine tank until the water chemistry stabilizes.
 
Another way to reduce the stress your fish experience during cycling is to ensure that your tank cycles as quickly as possible. There are several ways you can jumpstart the nitrogen cycle in your tank and many of them are very easy to implement. One method is to purchase live nitrifying bacteria and to following the dosing instructions for your tank. Infusing your tank water with live beneficial bacteria will help to establish an initial colony which will then multiply in your tank. If you or a friend have an aquarium already established, you put this method into place by using some of the substrate or filter media from the established tank in your new aquarium. Substrate and filter media are two of the most common places for beneficial bacteria to multiply so by using these items in your new tank, you can effectively transplant a population of beneficial bacteria.
 
Understanding the Signs
 
No matter what you do, your fish are likely to experience some stress during the cycling process. In order to make sure your fish do not become sick, you should take the time to learn the signs of stress in fish. In many cases, stress is not obvious – you have to look for changes in behavior such as erratic swimming, hiding from view, gasping for breath or loss of appetite. Other signs may include listlessness, change in color, or the development of a fungal or parasitic infection. If your fish does fall ill you will need to identify the symptoms in order to make a diagnosis and start the proper treatment.
 
Hopefully by now you feel equipped with the information you need to cycle your tank properly and to ensure that your fish do not become overly stressed. With this information in hand you can quickly cycle your tank and create a clean and healthy environment for your fish.

comments powered by Disqus
Why Keep Aquarium Fish?
Why Keep Aquarium Fish?
Benefits of Fish Keeping.
History Of Fish Keeping As A Hobby
History Of Fish Keeping As A Hobby
Focuse on fish keeping for pleasure as opposed to keeping fish around as a food source.

Most Recent Forum Discussions

  • setting up tank - By vostric, (0 replies)

    I have a 20G tank, with a nice open space in the middle of my Eco-Complete substrate, I have my heater and filtration in, I ...

  • Brown algae on plants - By billy_corycat, (1 replies)

    What can I do about brown algae on my plants? What causes this? And will it kill my plants?

  • Black friday sales? - By billy_corycat, (0 replies)

    Is there anything aquarium related that usually goes on sale for Black Friday? I'm wondering if there's anything I could save money on - this ...

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

The Top 5 Tetras for Breeding in the Home Aquarium
THE TOP 5 TETRAS FOR BREEDING IN THE HOME AQUARIUM
Breeding aquarium fish can be tricky, but with the right tank setup and preparation it can be done.
Aquarium Decorations
AQUARIUM DECORATIONS
Types of decorations.
All About Tropical Fish Tanks
ALL ABOUT TROPICAL FISH TANKS
An overview of tropical fish tanks, what they are, and the pros/cons of keeping one.

GENERAL AQUARIUM ARTICLES

3 Problems Every Aquarist Can Avoid
3 Problems Every Aquarist Can Avoid
Learn three common problems every aquarist can avoid.
How Cycling the Tank Can Stress Your Fish
How Cycling the Tank Can Stress Your Fish
The nitrogen cycle is essential for keeping your tank healthy but it can also be very stressful for your fish!
How to Keep Your Tank Safe During a Power Outage
How to Keep Your Tank Safe During a Power Outage
A power outage may only be a minor inconvenience for you but, for your aquarium fish, it can be deadly.
How to Build an Automatic Fish Feeder
How to Build an Automatic Fish Feeder
An automatic fish feeder can be a great tool if you have to go out of town or want to regulate your feeding schedule for fish.
Aquarium Fish Medications - Do or Don't?
Aquarium Fish Medications - Do or Don't?
Learn about how aquarium fish medications work and what diseases they may be used for.
The Right and Wrong Way to Catch Fish
The Right and Wrong Way to Catch Fish
Stop chasing your fish around the tank with a net and learn the right and wrong way to catch aquarium fish!
Aquascaping Tips to Reduce Aggression in Fish
Aquascaping Tips to Reduce Aggression in Fish
Keeping the peace in a tank full of aggressive fish can be tricky but smart aquascaping can help to diffuse the tension.
Simple Tips for Building a Saltwater Tank Without Breaking the Bank
Simple Tips for Building a Saltwater Tank Without Breaking the Bank
There is nothing more beautiful than a thriving saltwater tank, but these tanks can be expensive to set up and maintain.
What You Need to Know About All-in-One Aquariums
What You Need to Know About All-in-One Aquariums
Starting a new tank can be time-consuming, especially if you have to choose all of your own equipment.
Do You Know What You Are Feeding Your Fish?
Do You Know What You Are Feeding Your Fish?
Not all aquarium fish food is created equal.
Tips for Spotting Signs of Distress in Your Fish Before It's Too Late
Tips for Spotting Signs of Distress in Your Fish Before It's Too Late
When you see signs of stress in your fish, you can then take steps to identify the source of that stress and then to resolve it before it becomes a major issue.
Spring Cleaning: How to Clean and Give Your Old Tank New Life
Spring Cleaning: How to Clean and Give Your Old Tank New Life
Keeping your tank clean is about more than just aesthetics - it also affects your fish.
Creative "Hacks" to Keep Your Aquarium Clean
Creative "Hacks" to Keep Your Aquarium Clean
Keeping your aquarium clean doesn't have to be a chore with these simple aquarium cleaning "hacks".
Why Keep Aquarium Fish?
Why Keep Aquarium Fish?
Benefits of Fish Keeping.
How to Buy Aquarium Supplies Online
How to Buy Aquarium Supplies Online
Why buy Aquarium Supplies online?
History Of Fish Keeping As A Hobby
History Of Fish Keeping As A Hobby
Focuse on fish keeping for pleasure as opposed to keeping fish around as a food source.
Read more articles (16)

READ AQUARIUM ARTICLES