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Fishless cycling is a form of "maturing" an aquarium with out fish.
Traditionally fish are added to an aquarium slow rate to minimise new tank syndrome and therefore reduce the stress on the fish; this is still the prefered method favoured by most aquarists. It is recomended that during this time NH3 levels are monitored to minimise potential injury to any fish. Often the temptation to add to many fish, food and not test for NH3 proves too much resulting in the loss of fish.
In fishless cycling the process of adding fish slowly is replaced by dosing ammonia directly in the aquarium it is provided as a food source to allow beneficial bacteria to colonize the filter systems and start the nitrogen cycle.
Fishless cycling can reduce the chance of fish loss resulting from insufficient populations of these beneficial bacteria.
Please note that fishless cycling should not be undertaken lightly as you will need to understand and monitor your levels of NH3 throughout the cycling process.