TL;DR Avoid overfeeding your fish because it creates an unhealthy environment and promotes algae growth. Feed your fish only what it can eat in 10 seconds 1-2 times a day. We recommend high quality density fish food that’s nutrient rich and breaks down easily.
This blog post is a long one full of important information, so get ready.
Fish food is delicious. For fish. But before we get to that it’s important to know the nitrogen cycle for successful fish keeping.
Get ready for some chemistry.
The nitrogen cycle is important for the establishment of beneficial bacteria that helps in the conversion of ammonia to nitrite and then the conversion of nitrite to nitrate. This process can take from 2 weeks to 2 months or longer to complete. The best way to monitor the nitrogen cycle is to purchase an aquarium test kit that tests for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH levels. Aquarium test kits are great but that’s a blog for another day. For now, here’s the nitrogen cycle.
Ammonia is introduced into the aquarium through fish waste and uneaten food. The waste and excess food will break down into either ionized ammonium or un-ionized ammonia. Ammonium is not harmful to fish, but ammonia is. Whether the material turns into ammonium or ammonia depends on the pH level of the water. If the pH is under 7, you will have ammonium. If the pH is 7 or higher, you will have ammonia.
Bacteria called nitrosomonas will develop and oxidize the ammonia in the water, essentially eliminating it. The byproduct of this chemical reaction is nitrites. While we no longer have to worry about ammonia anymore, we have to worry about nitrites because they are just as toxic to fish.
Bacteria called nitrobacter will develop and convert the nitrites to nitrates. Luckily, nitrates are not as harmful to fish as nitrites and ammonia, but nitrates are still harmful in large amounts.
Step 3 and Step 4
This is where the plant in the EcoQube is crucial. Water gets filtered through the plant medium and the plant absorbs the nitrates as nutrients for growth. In a conventional aquarium, the nitrates get returned to the water, causing algae growth, and the pH level increases, creating a harmful environment for the fish.
Clean, ammonia-free water gets transferred back to the aquarium and the cycle repeats!
The nitrogen cycle is important to know because it plays a core role in what you feed your fish and how you feed them. Feed them low nutrient, fish meal-based and there will be excess ammonia. Feed them too often and there will be excess ammonia in the aquarium again. High nutrient food generally produces less waste, hence less pollution. Excess undigested protein, fiber, and minerals gets expelled through the gills and feces, creating more ammonia.
Fish owners through generations have often asked how often should they feed their fish. The answer: feed only what the fish can eat in 10 seconds 1-2 times a day. It’s as simple as that! So remember to feed, but not overfeed your fishies. And feed them well.