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New Tank Syndrome

New Tank Syndrome occurs in an aquarium where there is excess fish waste and not enough bacteria to break it down. A new tank is essentially sterile. Fish waste creates ammonia, which is poisonous to fish and other life within the aquarium. Nitrosomas, a bacterium, is used to control ammonia; it turns ammonia into nitrite. A second bacterium, Nitrobactor, converts the nitrite into nitrate.

On average, it takes four to six weeks for these bacteria to become well-established in a new tank. Once this takes place, the tank is considered "cycled". Therefore, the introduction of Nitrosomas and Nitrobactor bacteria is the solution to New Tank Syndrome. A commercially available bottled product is the easiest and safest method of doing so.

During a tank swap the bacterial balance of the tank is also disturbed. There are a few different ways to maintain cycled water when moving an established tank. Bottled cycling agents can again be utilized, or other options are to reuse the old gravel and/or the old filter pad or sponge. However, if you choose to reuse old tank elements, you will not only be introducing the established bacterial balance, but also any problems your last tank had.

No matter what method you choose to maintain proper bacteria within your aquarium, certain elements remain the same: The pH must be 5.5 or higher The temperature must be between 75 & 80 degrees Aeration speeds up the cycling process - adding an air pump and/or stone will help.

Following these guidelines will help any new or relocated tank achieve the necessary level of bacterial growth.

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