Never done this with a planted tank

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The Big Figfetti

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Is the cycle process different with a planted tank, as opposed to just a tank with substrate?

I’m coming on 3 weeks now with a fish in cycle 10 gallon tank. 1 betta, and eventually added 2 otos.

My daily readings have been 0 nitrate and nitrite, but my ammonia is fluctuating between .25 and .50 on a daily basis.

I’m doing daily water changes.
This seems like a long time to do this with a fish in cycle. Are the plants making this process longer? I’ve never waited this long for my saltwater tanks to stabilize.

My water source has 0 ammonia to start with.
 

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May be a bit of misunderstanding here. The plants appear to be growing, so you will or should never see nitrite (unless something goes terribly wrong). Nitrate may remain zero or may eventually show up but low, depending upon the fish. The ammonia is being used by these plants as their nitrogen source, and they do not produce nitrite or nitrate like the nitrifying bacteria do. The bacteria will still establish themselves, but the benefit of live plants is that you (and the fish) will not see it.

On the ammonia...are you adding any artificially? I would hope you are not, but please confirm.

Second on the ammonia, is chloramine added to your tap water (by the water folks)?
 
May be a bit of misunderstanding here. The plants appear to be growing, so you will or should never see nitrite (unless something goes terribly wrong). Nitrate may remain zero or may eventually show up but low, depending upon the fish. The ammonia is being used by these plants as their nitrogen source, and they do not produce nitrite or nitrate like the nitrifying bacteria do. The bacteria will still establish themselves, but the benefit of live plants is that you (and the fish) will not see it.

On the ammonia...are you adding any artificially? I would hope you are not, but please confirm.

Second on the ammonia, is chloramine added to your tap water (by the water folks)?
I am baffled that there is still ammonia in the tank, with all the plants. I assumed they would zero out fairly quickly. I’ve added more plants, because some died back and I removed those. I’m honestly not sure how much actual growth the tank has had, but I feel like it’s minimal. So I’m not sure that they’re working in harmony with the water parameters quite yet.

I am not adding in ammonia. I do add in Prime and Stability with each daily water change. It’s such a minuscule amount, imo. I only do up to a 50% water change at a time, usually it’s 25%. So I’m adding very little each time. Up to the first cap thread most days.

My city does not add chloramine.
 
Is the cycle process different with a planted tank, as opposed to just a tank with substrate?

I’m coming on 3 weeks now with a fish in cycle 10 gallon tank. 1 betta, and eventually added 2 otos.

My daily readings have been 0 nitrate and nitrite, but my ammonia is fluctuating between .25 and .50 on a daily basis.

I’m doing daily water changes.
This seems like a long time to do this with a fish in cycle. Are the plants making this process longer? I’ve never waited this long for my saltwater tanks to stabilize.

My water source has 0 ammonia to start with.
The main difference is that there's potential for more Amonia initially as you get wilting or leaves dying off as the plants acclimatise.
Plants mostly feed off Nitrate which is the last part of the process (Amonia to Nitrite to Nitrate). Plants will need to establish before you really notice though. The cycle can take several weeks to complete, and you'll see spikes quicker the smaller the tank.
Be patient, keep testing the water and doing water changes, ensuring you're registering no amonia or nitrite after each water change. You could also try adding beneficial baacteria like Api quick start which helps speed up the process.
Also Api Aqua essential removes chloramine and also amonia and nitrite, might help you along without having to do daily water changes.
No, I'm not Api salesman, but have used those products and they've worked for me. Other produ ts may be available!
 
The main difference is that there's potential for more Amonia initially as you get wilting or leaves dying off as the plants acclimatise.
Plants mostly feed off Nitrate which is the last part of the process (Amonia to Nitrite to Nitrate). Plants will need to establish before you really notice though. The cycle can take several weeks to complete, and you'll see spikes quicker the smaller the tank.
Be patient, keep testing the water and doing water changes, ensuring you're registering no amonia or nitrite after each water change. You could also try adding beneficial baacteria like Api quick start which helps speed up the process.
Also Api Aqua essential removes chloramine and also amonia and nitrite, might help you along without having to do daily water changes.
No, I'm not Api salesman, but have used those products and they've worked for me. Other produ ts may be available!
I have been removing dying leaves and plants. It seems like they are doing ok, but I’m sure I can’t tell what’s actually happening and if they are leaching more ammonia than I’m thinking they should.

I’m using prime and stability. I guess I could try API instead.
 
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Based on your photo I would not be concerned. It is unlikely that the filter is cycled (in the sense that there is sufficient bacteria to cope in the absence of plants), but it does not matter with the plants. You could confirm this by skipping a day's water change - but of course test to verify that ammonia is not rising too much.

Slightly unrelated but otos need to eat constantly and the new tank may not produce enough food for them yet. You may want to consider running the lights longer to encourage algae growth, or keep some stones in a little water on a sunny window ledge to use for "feeding" them.
 
I have been removing doing leaves and plants. It seems like they are doing ok, but I’m sure I can’t tell what’s actually happening and if they are leaching more ammonia than I’m thinking they should.

I’m using prime and stability. I guess I could try API instead
 
Based on your photo I would not be concerned. It is unlikely that the filter is cycled (in the sense that there is sufficient bacteria to cope in the absence of plants), but it does not matter with the plants. You could confirm this by skipping a day's water change - but of course test to verify that ammonia is not rising too much.

Slightly unrelated but otos need to eat constantly and the new tank may not produce enough food for them yet. You may want to consider running the lights longer to encourage algae growth, or keep some stones in a little water on a sunny window ledge to use for "feeding" them.
Thank you! I had a diatom outbreak and they have done a great job with it! I was worried about them not having anything to eat, so I bought some waters. But I don’t see them touch it.

I got a stronger light, and I’m hoping to have a little bit of algae from the intensity. But hope it doesn’t go crazy. I’m also hoping I can keep the plants alive with the new lighting. 🤞🏼
 
Thank you! I had a diatom outbreak and they have done a great job with it! I was worried about them not having anything to eat, so I bought some waters. But I don’t see them touch it.

I got a stronger light, and I’m hoping to have a little bit of algae from the intensity. But hope it doesn’t go crazy. I’m also hoping I can keep the plants alive with the new lighting. 🤞🏼
Assume you meant wafers. In my experience they won't initially recognise these as food which is why I suggested stones on the window ledge.
Oh and uneaten wafers generate a lot of ammonia.
 
Assume you meant wafers. In my experience they won't initially recognise these as food which is why I suggested stones on the window ledge.
Oh and uneaten wafers generate a lot of ammonia.
Yes 😅 wafers*

I was worried that might be the reason for seeing a spike last week. So I started breaking them in a 1/4 Anne removing whatever wasn’t eaten. I’ve only given them this 3 times so far.
I’m thinking of offering veggies, I read they like squash or zucchini…
 
Yes 😅 wafers*

I was worried that might be the reason for seeing a spike last week. So I started breaking them in a 1/4 Anne removing whatever wasn’t eaten. I’ve only given them this 3 times so far.
I’m thinking of offering veggies, I read they like squash or zucchini…
I'm sure I've read that spikes in Amonia/nitrite can overwhelm the beneficial bacteria which can cause the cycle to take longer. Could try reducing feeding frequency so there's a little less waste being produced.
 

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