I have been trying to get an aquarium up and running in my classroom. I had the longest delay because my water-filler-and-empty-er tube wouldn’t connect to the faucet in my room. I got that figured out, and then there was a leak.
The leak is patched, so I’m starting the nitrogen cycle. When biological material breaks down in the water, it produces ammonia. There is good bacteria that eat the ammonia and release nitrates. Then living plants in the tank take in the nitrates and produce nitrites. Nitrites are mostly harmless, but regular water changes remove them and keep the tank fresh and the fish happy.
I haven’t gotten fish yet, but I did get some wood and plants for aquascaping. The plants I bought will help seed the aquarium with the good bacteria, because they were in a mature tank at the pet store. I also got some fish food and sprinkled a little in the tank so some there could be some decaying biological material to produce ammonia for the bacteria.
I still want to get a light, and cut some fiberglass to cover the water. Then I’ll be ready for fish.