• Looking to buy a cephalopod? Check out Tomh's Cephs Forum, and this post in particular shares important info about our policies as it relates to responsible ceph-keeping.

What are the steps of cycling?

When your octopus (or any other critters in the water) go to the bathroom, they release loads of ammonia into the water. Ammonia is poisonous to them. Luckily, there is a type of algae that eats ammonia and turns produces a substance called nitrite. Nitrite is dangerous too, but we're rescued by another algae that eats the nitrites and produces nitrates, which aren't very harmful.

If you have a big tank of saltwater and you put an octopus in, it will die pretty quickly because of its own waste. If you put a bunch of live rock and a couple little fish in, these helpful algaes will start to grow. This process takes a few months and is known as the nitrogen cycle.

There are a lot of good resources on the internet about the nitrogen cycle. Try saltaquarium.about.com or do a google search. You might also want to pick up some books about keeping a saltwater aquarium.

I, too, am learning that the octopus is not an instant-gratification pet!


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