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How to Establish an Aquarium without Chemicals

Waiting periods on adding new fish to your aquarium will vary by opinion, and the length is dependent on a number of different aspects. Some owners rely on "cycling," which is the period of time a tank remains without fish, allowing beneficial bacteria to be established; this cycling period usually lasts approximately 6 weeks.

Ammonia should be added to establish the colony of good bacteria, start the nitrogen cycle and biological filtration; it needs to be added manually, without fish, but once fish are included they will produce ammonia naturally. Before the time of chemicals and additives, preparation was key. Rainwater was collected in containers, and then cleaned through straining.

Setups included a large container and fitted u/g filter; both washed and unwashed gravel was added. Once the water was aged and cleaned it was then transferred to the actual tank and brought to the desired temperature; three days was usually enough to sure there would be no problems. During the time that the temperature stabilizing, rocks and plants could be added and arranged.

pH could be adjusted by adding peat if the water was too alkaline, or limestone and coral chips if it was too acidic. This process was effective and could be done with little or no stress to the fish. Water was never added unless it was properly acclimated, and newcomers were never added until they were quarantined for ten days. Plants were thoroughly examined for any undesirable contents and rinsed in a mild sterilizing solution before adding to the tank.

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