All organisms, whether animal, plant, or fungus, produce organic wastes, either during their lives as products of their metabolic activity (excreta, carbon dioxide, etc.) and the shedding of dead tissue (skin cells, leaves, etc.) or through the decay of the entire life form after death. These residues are recycled in nature via biogeochemical processes, one of which is the nitrogen cycle, which also takes place within the aquarium. The successful establishment of this cycle is fundamental for the long-term health of the aquarium and its inhabitants.
Fortunately, there are bacterial strains that metabolize the waste products of aquarium life into relatively harmless gases, thereby allowing the aquarium to sustain life. It can take anywhere from thirty to forty-five days for sufficient amounts of bacteria to grow to maintain the cycle. The first of these bacteria .. . . Read more here.