Cycling with Thanksgiving leftovers

Essjay

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You don't need to add ammonia for a silent cycle. Just feed the plants with root tabs/liquid fertiliser and wait till you see signs of active growth. Then get your fish a few at a time - check ammonia and nitrite daily for a few days after each fish batch to make sure the plants are taking up all the ammonia.
 
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mcordelia

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At some point, you add enough fish that you do end up with a cycle, or is there a magic ratio of what volume of the tank should be plants to avoid that? (I've heard 30%, is that volume or surface area or what?) Also, what happens if the plants suddenly die in a heavily planted tank? You then end up with a massive cycle and everything hits the fan right?
 

eatyourpeas

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At some point, you add enough fish that you do end up with a cycle, or is there a magic ratio of what volume of the tank should be plants to avoid that? (I've heard 30%, is that volume or surface area or what?) Also, what happens if the plants suddenly die in a heavily planted tank? You then end up with a massive cycle and everything hits the fan right?
Keep an eye on them, and baby them as you would fish. Worth investing in a set of aquascaping tools since they will help with arranging, trimming, removing dead ends, etc. Also, they will fill in, so be open to moving things around as the plants tell you where they want to be.
 

Essjay

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Also, what happens if the plants suddenly die in a heavily planted tank?
Provided you look after them they shouldn't die. This is the reason you wait until you see signs that the plants are actively growing before getting fish - once they are growing, they shouldn't suddenly just die. Some plants do 'melt' when they are first added to a tank, then they start to grow new leaves, for example, so with this type I would wait until the new leaves start to grow. With floating plants, wait until you see new baby plants appearing and more of the surface being covered.
 
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