Nutrafin Cycle

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Nutrafin cycle-old-new.jpg

Also known as just 'Cycle', this product (new version circ. 2009) is one of the most common bacteria seeding products in the hobby. Licensed by Nutrafin to other manufacturers, it is often sold in parts of the world to other companies as well. But usually with the word Cycle in the title.

What is it?[edit]

This product is sold as a liquid nitrifying bacteria seed. By providing millions of inert bacteria in a bottle you can quickly seed your new aquarium with the right kind of bacteria to ensure your filter gets a good colony of ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. When the 'sleeping' bacteria is added to the tank, they become active.

  • Nutrafin also claim it has 5 species of nitrifying bacteria so it can be used in salt water or freshwater aquariums and it also contains a 6th waste control bacteria.[1]
Nutrafin Cycle bottle 2010.png


Nutrafin switched their recipe of bacteria in 2009 after new research came to light that perhaps their previous species of bacteria wasn't the right kind to survive in an aquarium. See Bacteria Bottles, do they work?. Their new bottle, with a T-shaped top and new claims of virtually instant cycling of the new aquarium within a few days (previous claims on old bottles on the speed of cycling were missing).


This product claims it has a shelf life of 2 years at room temperature. But exposure to heat above 30°C (86°F) will significantly reduce the number of bacteria in the bottle during that time. But if you keep it in a fridge at 1-10°C (33.8-50°F) then you can hopefully keep it intact for the entire 2 years.

Using Cycle[edit]

Like all bacteria, Cycle bacteria have specific needs to grow and multiply. They need oxygen, nitrogen to eat (ammonia, nitrite), various trace chemicals like calcium and a pH above 7 and a GH/KH above 4d to flourish.[2] Of course they also need to be placed in an aquarium that has had a chlorine/chloramine remover added 15 minutes before hand otherwise these chemicals will simply destroy the bacteria. Turning off the aquarium lights is also advised for the first 24 hours as nitrifying bacteria growth is slowed when exposed to light.


New Aquariums[edit]

Shake bottle before use.
Use over three days, using 25ml per 38 Litres (10US G.) on the first day and thereafter on day two and three add 10ml per 38 Litres (10US G.).

Regular Maintenance[edit]

After water changes, filter maintenance or weekly dose - 5ml per 38 Litres (10US G.).

Adding new animals or after finished medicating[edit]

Add 10ml per 38 Litres (10US G.) to replenish and boost the filter colony.