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New Tank Syndrom No Big Deal




Beginners or even experienced aquarium keepers can get wedged with a common problem within a few months of setting up a new tank. The word new tank syndrome is not necessarily a problem that is associated with new tanks only. Even older tanks can face this issue sometime. To learn about cautions to be taken for preventing new tank syndrome, it is important to understand the term first. New tank syndrome is the term used when ammonia produced from the fishes placed on a tank begins to accrue in an amount that is too large for the nitrifying bacteria populace established in the tank to consume, and if the build-up of ammonia is extensive enough, nitrite will most likely begin to show up as well. Even an old established can come across this issue sometime or the other.

Ammonia as we know is fatal to fish and other marine lives. If it grows in substantial amount, most probably your live stock will start to die one after the other. Usually beginners who have no pre experience with aquarium keeping come across new tank syndrome in the initial months and most of them are seen to lose interest very quickly. Aquarium keeping needs a lot of patience especially in the initial few months when new problems seem to bug your tank every next month. In the process of nitrogen cycle the nitrite which is still harmful to marine creatures is consumed by the bacteria and is converted in nitrate. However, for the bacteria to grow and develop enough to consume the nitrates, it takes around 4 to 6 weeks. It is after this period that the bacteria starts to feed on the nitrites. New tank syndrome is mostly a result of increase in nitrite within this period.

This can take place in both saltwater tank as well as freshwater tank. In the initial few days it is quite obvious that you are going to lose a few fish until the nitrite consuming bacteria are ready to handle the problem. The reason is that the good bacteria are threatened by ammonia so it multiplies only after ammonia has been converted into nitrite. It might be difficult to avoid this syndrome but there are cure to it.

  1. Add some bacteria to the tank that has already been stuck with new tank syndrome. There are many sources of getting these good bacteria but the best one is bottled sources. There are many bottled source bacteria available. Add them only when there are fishes in the tank and you have checked for the presence of ammonia and nitrites in water. The bacteria will grow only if their food is available else they will remain dormant and wither.
  2. Using dirty or used filter pad or sponge in your filter from an aquarium that has already cycled is also a good way of adding bacteria. Make sure you keep the filter pad wet in aquarium water else the bacteria will die. Do not rinse the filter pad in chlorinated tap water as that will also kill the good bacteria in them. Adding used filter pads will ensure that the bacteria spread well in the new tank.
  3. To speed up the cycle you must heavily aerate your tank. Bacteria need oxygen to convert ammonia to nitrite and then nitrate. Adding additional air pump or aerating devise will definitely speed up nitrogen cycle.
  4. Maintain a constant ph of 5.5 or higher in tank going through new tank syndrome. Bacteria need this much of ph minimum to grow. Lesser ph will not allow bacteria to consume the ammonia and nitrites.
  5. Keep the temperature optimal to about 75°F and 84°F. This will ensure good growth of bacteria and will aid in nitrogen cycle.

The best way is some preventive measures to be taken while establishing a new tank. Remember your tank is still going to experience new tank syndrome no matter what so start slow and instead of adding a huge family of expensive fishes, start with a few easy breezy ones. And for heaven’s sake do not wash the gravel if your fishes are dying! Gravel is where the good bacteria live. Just vacuum them during a water change. New tank syndrome is no big deal and can be tackled very easily only if you can keep patience.