New tank syndrome

All new aquariums will go through this inevitable cycle, which sees ammonium, created by the fish’s waste and excess food turn into nitrites and then nitrates.

How does the nitrogen cycle work?

  • Ammonia is introduced into the aquarium via the fish’s waste and excess food. Waste and food will break down into ionised ammonium (NH4) or unionised ammonia (NH3). If the pH is above 7, then there will be an abundance of harmful ammonia.
  • Bacteria called nitrosomonas will then develop and it will oxidise the ammonia, a by product of which is nitrites (NO2+). This, in high levels, is just as harmful for your fish.
  • Nitrobacter, a type of bacteria, will then convert the nitrites into nitrates, which can also be harmful in large amounts.
  • The best and quickest way to rid your tank of these harmful substances is to do regular water changes. The addition of live plants may also help to reduce nitrates.

Whilst it is inevitable that your tank will go through this cycle, we are here to help as much as possible. We provide free reverse osmosis water to all our customers, so you are able to set up your aquarium with water that is purer than tap water.

We also offer a free water testing service so we can help you guide you and your aquarium through the cycle.

We also stock a number of products which can help speed up this natural process. We recommend Quick Start, which is scientifically proven to increase the levels of good bacteria in the filter. Prime helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.