Question Do Many People Not Know About The Nitrogen Cycle?

xtigerx

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I'm currently doing a fishless cycle, in my first ever tank, using pure ammonia. I've looked at hundreds of things online about fish keeping, cuz I wanna be a good owner. Cuz ofc I wanna make sure my future fish are healthy and happy in my tank.

I asked my friends, who have fish themselves. They've never heard of the nitrogen cycle, ever.
They said all they ever did was add tap safe to the water, use a filter, and only clean the tank and water every 6 months. They've never checked the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate etc. Levels.

I was speechless, considering I've looked at so many things online, so I'm surprised that their fish have lived for up to 10 years.

I must be missing out on something? I'm not looking too much into it, am I?
 

AquaticJ

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Pure luck, their fish happened to live through the cycle, even if they didn’t try to cycle their tank it still did.

To answer your question, a lot of people who have fish tanks don’t understand the ecosystem at all and just like the pretty fish colors. These people are not to be confused with hobbyists, who are in it not only for the fish, but the entire ecosystem and beauty you can create in your home. I think the science behind an aquarium is fascinating.

I’d also like to add that before the internet, people relied on books or their local stores for information, so it wasn’t as easy to do research. Now I think people that are unaware are either just ignorant, or they made an impulse decision while at the pet store.

No, you’re just being responsible!
 

AJE

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I'm currently doing a fishless cycle, in my first ever tank, using pure ammonia. I've looked at hundreds of things online about fish keeping, cuz I wanna be a good owner. Cuz ofc I wanna make sure my future fish are healthy and happy in my tank.

I asked my friends, who have fish themselves. They've never heard of the nitrogen cycle, ever.
They said all they ever did was add tap safe to the water, use a filter, and only clean the tank and water every 6 months. They've never checked the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate etc. Levels.

I was speechless, considering I've looked at so many things online, so I'm surprised that their fish have lived for up to 10 years.

I must be missing out on something? I'm not looking too much into it, am I?
Most people have never heard of it. That doesn’t mean it’s not important
 

Platylover

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I don’t believe many do... This is something that has always baffled me a bit.

Why would you not know about the nitrogen cycle?It is taught in school from an early age... It’s illogical to assume that just putting fish in a tank, with water running through a sponge, is going to provide long term care. There has to be something in the middle there.
 

david1978

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I didn't really know about it for years. All I knew was you put only a few fish in the tank for a couple months. Did your partial water changes then you could add more. When I started I don't even remember test kits being a thing.
 

Skavatar

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most don't unless they research fish keeping. many just jump into the hobby and don't research until their fish start dying; like me when I first started last year even though about 15yrs ago I had 2 Betta fish (i only knew about removing chlorine, and doing water changes to remove poop).
 

Oarngesi

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A lot of people I know believe you buy 2 tanks and move them over once a month while you scrub the old tank with bleach. These people also successfully kept there Oscar in 20g tanks. When I started I had no idea I bought 1 tiger barb and a .5 gallon bowl designed for Bettas. By the end of the night I had spent close to $250 in a effort to keep my $3 fish alive. A lot in this hobby is simple just most are ignorant.
 

mattgirl

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When I got into this hobby many many years ago I had a little leaflet that gave me the basics. I didn't test my water. I just knew I had to keep the water fresh and clean so for the first few month I was doing water changes a couple of times a week. I started with a 10 gallon tank and changed half the water twice a week. After a while I went to once a week and that is what I still do today.

And horrors of horrors, I rinsed out my filter cartridges in hot running water. Back then I was on well water though so there is that.

My tanks back then did cycle but I wasn't well versed on what was going on so didn't stress over perfect numbers. I got my first test kit 3 1/2 years ago when I set my 55 gallon tank back up after it setting empty for 6 years.
 

david1978

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But to answer your question. No they don't. We see what 10 people a week that don't know.
 

86 ssinit

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It’s easy for me to see why so many don’t know of the nitrogen cycle. Lots of people come here with no knowledge of it. I only found out it’s name when I came here. Been keeping fish since I was 12. When I first started my uncle gave me a 10g tank and removed one of his box filter from his tank and added it to mine. Told me that would keep my fish alive. Just change the water weekly. Than upon buying a 20g tank the owner of the pet store gave me some dirty media out of one of his filters. Told me to put it in the back of my first hob filter add water and come back tomorrow for fish. So from those 2 things I knew the media in the filter was needed to start a new tank. Had lots of books on fish keeping but allways passed the sections on starting a tank. Mine were all started already .
Got my first test kit in around 2000. Still have it . Though I bought a new one last year. People on here said it expired but it tests the same as the new one. But I rarely ever test. When I was young ph was all that mattered. Not so much anymore.
What really matters is clean water. Regular water changes will keep everything good. What’s amazing is how fish will adjust to water conditions. People who change there water once a month also do small changes and there fish live because there water pretty much stays the same. But they all have problems adding new fish. New fish just can’t adapt that fast.
Got to say to me the fishless cycle is crazy but it will teach you the first basic thing about fish keeping. Patience. This hobby is all about patience.
And welcome to fishlore! Lots of knowledgeable people here willing to help. My best advice is once you get started and your tank is up and running get a qt tank. Most people’s problems come from adding a sick fish or a plant from a sick tank to a healthy tank. Put new fish and plants into qt tank for about a month to make sure they are heathy. Good luck and enjoy.
 

Awaken_Riceball_

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In simple terms, water is water or the thought pattern is similar to fish need water to survive. In reality, those people are only processing information through what they can see through the naked eye rather than diving deeper into the complex ecosystem of the aquarium at the microscopic level. It is the difference in knowledge to being a successful pet owner or hobbyist and it applies to many things beyond the scope of being an aquarium hobbyist.
 

Coptapia

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Fortunately I learned about it very early because of two ‘new tank syndrome’ wipeouts right at the start. And in a way that I understood (It’s more about understanding than learning. Find someone who can explain it in a way that you understand and it’s simple).

I know a shopkeeper who has kept fish even longer than me. He’s had his shop since the 1980s and he still doesn’t know the nitrogen cycle. Can’t be bothered with it. He managed to force some fish to survive for a few years so in his eyes he’s a successful aquarist. So he opened a shop, and now many others are doing the same. A lot of people are happier not knowing. The ones that see fish as cheap and expendable.
 

bizaliz3

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As has already been mentioned....a huge majority of people who enter this hobby do not learn about the nitrogen cycle until they start having fish die. And if they are lucky enough to not lose any fish during the cycling process, they may NEVER Learn about the cycle.

As also mentioned....we have so much info available at our fingertips thanks to the internet...so new hobbyists from the last 10 years have no good excuse to not know about it.

Granted you kind of have to be intentionally looking for info about the cycle and if you are unfamiliar with it, you wouldn't search for it. People might be good enough to research the fish they want....and their requirements like temperature and food and stuff....but they still may not see a thing about cycling a tank for said fish!!!

With that being said...I firmly believe that a majority of fish keepers will never ever learn about the nitrogen cycle unless they have fish that die as a result and try and figure out why they died... or start inquiring on forums about cloudy water or something. And I also believe that a majority of fish keepers don't join forums like this. So with that being said....I don't think many fish keepers know about the cycle.

Fish HOBBYISTS....that's another story. For those who get deep into the hobby, I can't imagine them not knowing about the cycle. When you really take this hobby seriously, you will make an effort to learn as much as you can. I just think that honestly.....the hobbyists do not represent the majority. But they do represent the majority of people who STAY in the hobby and don't get bored with it and get rid of everything or neglect their fish.
 

AquaticJ

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When I worked at a fish store, the reality was that a majority of customers couldn’t explain the nitrogen cycle to you. Some people will say “when I was kid we just through fish in a tank, we never cycled” so I usually respond with “yes and the average adult also chain smoked cigarettes without a second thought”. So again, ignorance comes into play a lot. We fear what we don’t know sometimes. Not saying that people who smoke are ignorant, this was just an example.
 

Dinoknight

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In my case, It was 3 years before I found out about cycling, as incredibly, my sad little 10g with a few congo tetras and zebra danios somehow stayed functional for several years. Eventually though, it did catch up, and in late 2016, after an outbreak of fin rot, the medication killed the cycle, and I think you can figure out the rest. But @AquaticJ has a point, many people never find out about the cycle, and as @david1978 said, many more veteran keepers remember a time when standard practice was just leave the water there for a bit before plopping your fish in, I think David Boruchowitz said something in one of his books or articles about how it used to be seen as a bad thing to change water, as "Old" water seemed to be better for the fish.

- Dino
 

RSababady

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My first fish tank ...many, many, many years ago had an under-gravel filter. Initially, I thought it was just a mechanical filter (sand filters are common in water purification plants). When I started reading up about how they work, I learn't that it was bacteria in the water that was "purifying" the water........It took me another 20 years to find out that the process is called the Nitrogen cycle......in spite of understanding the Nitrogen cycle, I never, like never associated the Nitrogen cycle with the bacteria in my filter that were purifying my water
Is ignorance bliss? Yes, but in my case, I just couldn't associate the two until someone specifically pointed out that the bacteria in my filter are purifying the water by going through the Nitrogeon cycle !

I do however on this and other aquarium forums come across people who don't understand much about nature - they think that nature exists because we "people" use the chemicals we produce to assist nature ........ so sad.
 

johnbirg

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Hi, NITROGEN CYCLE, NITROGEN CYCLE.
AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE.
Stage 1. Fish poo, uneaten food ,rotting plant material or organic matter breaking
down in water produces ammonia which is toxic to fish
Stage 2. Bacteria break down the ammonia to form nitrite - also toxic.
Stage 3. Still more bacteria break nitrite down into nitrates - not toxic in small quantities. ~40 ppm and can be tolerated by most fish but about 10-20 ppm is fine.
Stage 4. In certain situations still more bacteria (anaerobic ) break nitrates down into nitrogen. As in septic tanks.

It is possible to achieve all the above in a properly set up external canister filter over a period of about 3-6 months. My canister achieved this in just over 3 months. I now have to feed my plants due to a lack of nitrate in the water.
Google the pond guru's videos on YouTube to see how to properly set up a canister filter to get these results.
Thanks for reading,
John
 

sixtyfour

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I kept assorted fish, and crawfish all through my childhood 35ish years ago. My mom, and grandfather kept fish before that. The things we did back then seem insane by today's standards. There was no testing of water quality. Water changes happen occasionally, normally because the water looked or smelled bad. Fish that had no business together were in the same tanks. For the most part they did OK. The biggest difference I notice is lifespan. Today's aquarium fish are living way longer. When I was a kid, fish died often, we didn't even think much of it. Gave us a reason to go buy more fish. The whole philosophy of fish keeping has changed. I like the way we do it now, but I also love chemistry.

One that is still strange to me is how much care goldfish are getting now. I've seen some pretty fancy setups for gold fish. I knew people that keep goldfish in large wine glasses for months.
 
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