Where Do They Come From?
Nitrifying bacteria don’t just “happen” in the aquarium, or in other words, just appear immaculately. Like everything else in your aquarium they must be imported from somewhere else into a new aquarium, even if it’s just a handful. They can be imported from media or objects from another system but most often they arrive in or on the fish themselves if media isn’t used. In order to start this colony of livestock, only one of each strain is required: One ammonia converter and one nitrite converter.
Let’s just say that in a system cycled only by introducing starter fish, one of each bacteria fall off and stick on some new media in the system. Starting with a population of 2 and with a division rate of once every 24 hours, with proper conditions and adequate food, nitrifying bacteria will grow to a population of 549,755,813,888 by the end of 40 days! With a flourishing colony your ammonia and nitrite will be at or around 0ppm with present nitrates and your aquarium is cycled.
The faster, and no less effective cycle, is to directly import nitrifying bacteria with a product such as Blue Shark Colony. While importing media from another system can establish biofiltration, using a biological proudct such as Colony works just as good and usually better because you know you have the amount of nitrifying bacteria needed in every bottle. Such information isn’t provided on a chunk of live rock. Colony also carries zero risk of transmitting any harmful viruses or pathogens that could be residing in other systems. Colony introduces millions of real, living nitrifying bacteria that gets the cycle done fast. The other benefit of this method is that you become aware of any possible water chemistry issues that could be hampering the performance and growth of nitrifying bacteria. It’s better to find this out in the first few days than 4-5 weeks later!