It is essential that a saltwater aquarium is recycled before your prized fish are added. Nitrogen cycling refers to a process by which water is taken through various biological changes thus resulting in the water being balanced chemically and making it able to sustain life. The cycle is food and waste is broken down to ammonia, than bacteria break the ammonia down to nitrite, another bacteria break down the nitrite to nitrate and finally we do water changes to reduce the nitrate level. Nitrate is not harmful to most fish in low levels as it gets higher it is harmful and puts stress on the fish. The process is quite tedious and sometimes takes two months to complete. The process is however very important as it helps ensure that your aquatic life stay healthy and alive.
A saltwater aquarium can be recycled in many different ways. However, the bottom line in everything you do is whether to do the cycling with fish or without fish. In the long run, all the methods have the same results but the fastness of the processes does vary. Since all the methods will work, the one you choose all depends with your personal preference. The first option is cycling the saltwater aquarium with fish such as damsels which is quite a traditional way. The drawbacks of this method are that the ammonia and nitrite reach high toxicity levels and your fish can die.
An aquarium can also be cycled with fish food as well. This is whereby food is added into the tank on a daily basis just like feeding the fish. This helps in creating a constant decomposition process which produces ammonia. The cycling can be complicated in about 6 weeks and even though this might prove a little longer, it is nevertheless very effective. You will however need to be a little careful since decaying food might end up producing chemicals like phosphates and this might not create a so good environment in the aquarium.
A saltwater aquarium can also be cycled using ammonia and pure ammonia is literary added into the water. It is advisable that you buy unscented ammonia which is free of additives. Another alternative for cycling an aquarium is by use of established bacteria. The process is quite simple and involves just introduction of bacteria into your tank. Finally, you can cycle your aquarium using live sand or live rock and this is in fact one of the best and highly recommended ways of doing it.