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The Battle of Balance: New Tank Problems & Old Tank Syndrome

Whether your aquarium is a few weeks or a few years old, similar unwanted issues can still pop up.

Before we can get into solving the problems (fish loss, coral recession, problematic algae growth, etc.), we need to take a macro look at your aquarium.

Most new aquarists come into the store and ask the same question:

“How long do I need to wait before adding fish/corals?”

While it depends on the type of aquarium you ultimately desire (freshwater, saltwater or reef), basic water chemistry knowledge is ALWAYS the first step towards answering that age-old question. 

Step 1: Welcome to the World of the Nitrogen Cycle


Pictured is a basic graph of the “typical” aquarium nitrogen cycle. While there are many ways to jumpstart your aquarium cycle, besides the traditional addition of a “hardy, trial fish,” we will focus on 4 effective and safe options.

*Most presented below are for saltwater aquariums.

4 Simple Ways to Jumpstart Your Aquarium Cycle

1. Add Live Rock:
The addition of “cured” live rock is beneficial in several ways. Live Rock hosts copious amounts of both nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria which can cut down the cycle time dramatically.

2. Add Live Sand:
Adding live sand as a substrate has similar benefits of adding live rock. The sand itself is NOT alive, instead, it houses live bacteria and microorganisms needed to speed up the nitrogen cycle. 

3. Add Seeded Filter Media and Water:
This is what New Wave Aquaria trademarked as the “InstAquarium.”

4. Add Bacteria:
There are numerous “jumpstart” products on the market today. Adding beneficial bacteria directly to your aquarium can help stabilize your system. 

Step 2: Understanding Parameters


No matter what direction you choose to go or how mature your aquarium is, you will need to monitor your water parameters to ensure fish and coral health. To do this, a trusty set of test kits are A MUST!

As a basic “Cheat Sheet,” here are the “ideal” parameters to aim for before adding fish/corals to your aquarium.

For mature aquariums, unwanted algae blooms can become a frustrating and expensive problem. Generally speaking, high nitrates and phosphates are common culprits. Routine water testing and maintenance will help in the diagnosis and solution to the constant battle of balance.

New or old, your tank needs some love

With such dynamic conditions, aquariums must be monitored and maintained. And you can do this at an affordable price. Check out these amazing products that level your tank for an even healthier aquarium




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