Establishing Beneficial Bacteria

Establishing Beneficial Bacteria in our fish houses

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Establishing beneficial bacteria is no easy task. When we say our goldfish houses are being established with beneficial bacteria, we’re actually mean they are cycled. When we say our fish house is established, we are referring to our pumps and filters. This is because friendly bacteria prefer heavily oxygenated water and require complete darkness for reproducing, however, this doesn’t mean a goldfish house without a pump won’t become established under the right circumstances

Friendly bugs

Establishing beneficial bacteria is easy if you know what they need to thrive; water that is rich in value and rich in oxygen. Even a bird bath filled with rain water can support beneficial bacteria; watch the algae grow, but fill it with chlorinated tap water and watch the algae slowly disappear. Chlorine kills bacteria; good and bad

Inactive during the light of day, the beneficial bacteria will become active in the dark of night. In a pond pump, they are active night and day, with no light to slow them down. When you remove a pond pump from a cycled tank, you’re removing beneficial bacteria

Cycled tank or ponds

Knowing and understanding beneficial bacteria gives us an edge on goldfish keeping, because a natural ecosystem depends on these friendly bugs to create a safe environment for goldfish. They prefer the very same conditions as goldfish, making them a perfect match. The goldfish offer a constant food source; the waste they produce, or the toxin created from waste; ammonia

The nitrogen cycle

When ammonia is present in a healthy body of water, beneficial bacteria form to feed on it, converting it to nitrite, or friendly bug pooh. As the nitrite levels build, another form of beneficial bacteria forms to feed on this second toxin to be produced, converting it into nitrates, the third and final toxin in the nitrogen cycle. When a healthy level of nitrates are present, algae forms, providing a food source for the goldfish to feed on, converting it to waste, and the cycle begins again

Establishing beneficial bacteria

The colony size of the beneficial bacteria solely depends on the amount of waste being produced. One pond pump in a tank or pond supports one colony, but if another pump is added, it too will become established, with each pump supporting two smaller colonies

Removing one pump from a tank or pond with three, can create a spike in the cycle, but this could be avoided if less food is given to the fish, in order to create less waste. The size of the colony and how many colonies there are depends on the how many pond pumps in an environment and how much waste is being produced

How to cycle a tank or pond

Gradually increase the amount of food being fed in order to increase the amount of waste being produced to increase the colony size

Gradually reduce the amount of food being fed in order to decrease the amount of waste being produced to decrease colony size

This feeding up or down method offers a means of adding new fish without creating a spike, or starting up a second tank or pond with cycled pumps be it for yourself or for a friend without risking a spike

Establishing beneficial bacteria
Established pond pump

Goldfish Care

Author: Brenda Rand