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How to Create Beneficial Bacteria in a Fish Tank (5 Simple Ways)

Beneficial bacteria are one of the vital elements that keep fish stay healthy and alive. A newly established aquarium may lack this important element and some old aquariums also need more beneficial bacteria to help with the nitrogen cycle.

So how to create beneficial bacteria for your aquarium? This article will give you the answer, keep reading and get some tips about how to add them to your aquarium.


The importance of beneficial bacteria

First, let’s start with the importance of beneficial bacteria. There are two types of beneficial bacteria in fish-keeping, which are Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter.

I think you’ve already known that ammonia and nitrates are toxins in your fish tank, these two types of beneficial bacteria will help you break down them and keep the water safe for your fish to live with the help of filters and water changing.

  • Nitrosomonas

Nitrosomonas are beneficial bacteria that can break down ammonia into nitrites.

The decomposition of the waste, which includes fish waste, dead bodies and uneaten food, will produce ammonia. The accumulation of ammonia will bring death to your fish, and you can not even notice the accumulation with your eyes since it is invisible to human eyes. The only way to test the ammonia level is to use a test kit.

  • Nitrobacter

Nitrobacter is another beneficial bacteria that can break down the toxic nitrites into nitrates, which are less harmful to your fish.

As we mentioned before, the Nitrosomonas will break down the ammonia into nitrites, but it’s not the end because nitrites are also fatal to your fish, and that’s why you need Nitrobacter.


How to create beneficial bacteria in a fish tank?

Now let’s get to the point—5 simple ways to create beneficial bacteria in a fish tank. This article lists helpful ways for you, you can follow them and if you have any questions, feel free to discuss them with us!


1. Raise the water temperature to a suitable level

Most creatures will thrive in a warmer environment, and so do beneficial bacteria. Before raising the temperature of the water, you should know the temperature range that your fish can bear, or the sudden temperature change will stress them out and affect their daily life.

It’s better to buy an aquarium heater to increase the water temperature quickly and maintain it to a certain level to help beneficial bacteria’s growth.

Aquarium heater

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2. Turn on your filter

Do you remember I recommended you not clean the filter and your fish tank on the same day because there are many beneficial bacteria in your filter? If you didn’t read this article before, you can go to our homepage and read “How to Clean A Fish Tank”.

I’m talking about this because the filter provides an ideal place for beneficial bacteria to grow while keeping your water clean. It removes the waste in your fish tank by filtering them out, so there will be much ammonia and nitrites in it, which are the “food” of beneficial bacteria.

In general, by turning on your filter, you will get many beneficial bacteria and find a decrease in the ammonia and nitrites level in your fish tank.

Aquarium filter

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3. Add filter media to your filtration system

Filters can provide places for beneficial bacteria to reproduce since they have filter media in them. If you want more beneficial bacteria, you can try to add filter media from a well-established fish tank since they are stable and can reproduce faster.

The only thing you should keep in mind is that the fish tank that you get the filter media from is well-established, not the one that has ill or dead fish in it.

Filter media

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4. Do not keep the light on all the day

Do you know that beneficial bacteria thrive in a dark environment? Yes, they are different from the plants in your aquarium, which require light to grow. So it’s better to turn off your light at night and keep it dark for some hours.

This method can boost the reproduction of the beneficial bacteria you want while providing some time for your fish to rest. Before you turn off the light, you should know how long can you keep it off since some fish have a high demand for light while some are not.

Aquarium light

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5. Generate oxygen to your fish tank

The oxygen is necessary for the survival of the beneficial bacteria. If you want to create more beneficial bacteria for your aquarium, try to generate more oxygen for it. There are various methods you can take to add oxygen to your fish tank:
  • Add air stones
  • Add aquarium pumps
  • Add power filters
  • Add wave makers
  • Pour water from a certain height
  • Add a fan
  • Add ice cubes
  • Add spray bars

Air pump

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How often should you add beneficial bacteria to your aquarium?

Generally speaking, you do not need to add beneficial bacteria to a well-established aquarium. It is only needed when you are preparing to add more fish or after you change the tank water.

When you add more fish to your fish tank, the amount of waste will increase. If you don’t add more beneficial bacteria to your aquarium, the ammonia and nitrites can not be broken down efficiently.

After you change the water in your fish tank, there will be a loss of some beneficial bacteria, so you need to add some to make up for the loss.



After reading this article, I think you can have a better knowledge about the importance of the beneficial bacteria in a fish tank and some useful methods to create more of them in your fish tank.

If you want to know more information about fish-keeping, our website is always here for you!

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