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Product Review – Nutrafin Cycle

Nutrafin Cycle is used to help establish high populations of nitrifying bacteria (the species that convert ammonia to nitrites and nitrates) in aquariums.  At a recent seminar sponsored by Hagen, the manufacturer, I learned that the product has been modified in several important ways. 


Cycle contains 5 strains of bacteria, in correct proportion of lithotrophic to heterotrophic types, and these activate almost immediately upon exposure to salt or fresh water.  This ability results from a unique fermentation process that, by joining the bacteria into naturally occurring units, or “flocs”, prepares them for immediate action.  So Cycle effective is the process that fish can now be added to an aquarium on the day it is set up – the nitrogen cycle is in full swing that quickly!


Nitrifying bacteria are also necessary in amphibian aquariums, as aquatic species in particular absorb toxins over an even greater surface area than do fish, and so succumb to ammonia poisoning quickly.  Some years ago I learned that the country’s largest African Clawed Frog laboratory (breeders for research) was suggesting that the bacteria might even be useful in amphibian water bowls, as a safety measure.  While I have no direct evidence of such, I have had very good results using bacteria in this way.


The main drawback concerning water bowls is the fact that oxygen levels are low (nitrifying bacteria require a high oxygen environment) and the bacteria used in products other than Cycle take 3-4 days to activate.   Given Cycle’s immediate activation and the fact that the bacteria used have fairly low oxygen requirements, I am recommending the product’s use in amphibian water bowls (and aquariums). 


Even a single day’s delay in cleaning a water bowl can result in an amphibian’s death – in fact, such is a common occurrence among otherwise long-lived frogs that produce a large volume of waste, such a Horned and African Bullfrogs.  Cycle should prove a very effective form of insurance (not, of course, a replacement for water changes) and, happily enough, it is not possible to overdose the animal.


In amphibian aquariums, Cycle used on a weekly basis will also inhibit, via competition, undesirable species of bacteria.  Furthermore, the bacteria in Cycle utilize phosphates as a food source, thereby eliminating a nutrient required by algae and limiting its growth.


About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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