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The Bacteria You Want To Keep

by Joe Turner July 20, 2015

The Bacteria You Want To Keep


Nitrobacter species: a good bacteria that converts toxic nitrite into less toxic nitrate. Image credit: Alfred Pasieka

Have you ever wondered what the rocks at the bottom of your Jellyfish Art aquarium are for?  Well allow us to enlighten you! Welcome to the wonderful world of aquarium “cycling”!  We are not referring to the strange sight of your aquarium riding down the street on a bicycle…FishOnBicyclebut rather to the process known as the nitrogen cycle.  You may have also heard this process referred to as nitrificationseeding, or establishing, your aquarium.  The nitrogen cycle is the biological process of converting toxic ammonia to nitrite and then to less toxic nitrate.  Every aquarium goes through this process while establishing a colony of beneficial bacteria.  Understanding how this process works and how to manage ammonia levels in your aquarium is going to save you from having a smelly tank with gooey, unhealthy jellies! Unlike fish, jellies do not excrete a lot of waste.  However, waste produced by the jellies and from uneaten food remains in the aquarium.  As it decomposes, highly toxic ammonia (NH3) is produced.  If not dealt with, ammonia levels higher than 1.5ppm can become very harmful to your jellies. Fortunately, there are strains of bacteria (Nitrosomonas species) that love consuming ammonia!  They live on the substrate (rocks) in your Jellyfish Art aquarium and eat the ammonia converting it into nitrite (NO2); another toxic chemical compound.  Nitrite is then consumed by Nitrobacter species bacteria inside your aquarium and convert it into less toxic nitrate (NO3).  Routine partial water changes keep nitrate levels at a safe level (less than 40 ppm) within your system.  We recommend changing out 1 gallon of tank water every week and 2.5 gallons once a month.Nitrogen Cycle_logoThis cycling process naturally occurs inside your aquarium within 3 to 5 weeks.  We have shortened this time frame by including, JellyBio Starter with your tank shipment!  The 2 oz bottle contains both strains of beneficial bacteria allowing you to skip the wait and quickly establish the biological filtration (aka bacteria) in your aquarium.  Adding half of the JellyBio Starter will provide an initial stock of bacteria.  The “live rock” we send with our live jellyfish orders also contain beneficial bacteria from our aquaculture facility so you have plenty of biological filtration to keep your jellies healthy! Just remember, any time you do a large (50%) water change, be sure to repopulate your bacterial population with JellyBio Maintain.  And NEVER do a 100% water change or scrub your substrate (white balls and live rock) clean as this will kill all of the beneficial nitrifying bacteria inside your aquarium and you will have to start the process all over again. Hooray to helpful healthy bacteria!Bacteria_Cartoon




Joe Turner
Joe Turner

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