How to Cycle Your Fish Tank 

cycle your aquarium


Every aquarium enthusiast knows that before you add your fish to your tank, it needs to be fully “cycled”. Cycling refers to the farming of bacterial colonies that regulate the nitrogen cycle in your tank. The conversion of ammonia to nitrite then to nitrate is vital to the health of your tank. Unfortunately, there is no way to instantly create a strong and stable nitrogen cycle in a new aquarium. There are many different ways you can build up this necessary bacteria that it’ll take for your fish to thrive. Cycling you aquarium is your first step to creating a eco friendly or sustainable aquarium. 

Raise the Ammonia in Your Tank 

fish tank, cycle your fish tank, the cycling process

There are a few ways you can raise the ammonia in your tank. After you’ve completely set up your tank and added your eco friendly decorations and your DIY decorations you can make from household items you’re ready to raise the ammonia. Be sure to have your filter running and your plants set in place before you start your cycle. Each method takes about 2-4 weeks and should be tested with a kit before adding fish. Here are a few popular ways for you to get started: 

Household Ammonia. This can be purchased at the grocery store but must be clean, unscented, and 100% pure ammonia. Add a few drops until the ammonia levels get high then wait a few days until they dropdown. Then do the process all over again. Continue this until the tank reads “safe” after 8-10 hours. 


Cocktail Shrimp Method. An older method used to cycle a fish tank is using a cocktail shrimp. Generally, you want to use one shrimp per 10 gallons and allow it to rot in the tank. Allow the shrimp to disintegrate and test the water when complete. 


Transferring From Another Tank. Transferring gravel, rocks, and filters from a mother tank is another method at getting the bacteria in your new tank jump-started. The only risk with this, however, is that if you have a sick tank you risk transferring the sickness over to your new tank.  



Store-Bought Cycle. Although some studies disagree, there are over the counter “cycle in a bottle” products that you can purchase that promise to cycle your entire tank. 

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