Plants during a cycle...

Rocky998

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First let me say, I am doing an ammonia cycle, that is what I am going to do after reading different threads. Ok now the reason you clicked onto this thread... When I first asked about plants during a fishless ammonia cycle, everyone said NO... But now a lot of people are saying yes and Im very confused on what I should do... So plants or no plants for a fishless ammonia cycle?
 

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Personally I say live plants are beneficial for the cycling process and I always recommend setting the tank up completely with plants if you wish to have live plants and doing the planting now rather than when fish are added will only stress the fish out.

Also the addition of plants whilst cycling will naturally get rid of some ammonia but there will be sufficent ammonia for the growth of benefical bacteria. And also if plants are from another established tank or from LFS tank in store in which case there may be some beneficial bacteria on the plants already so the cycling process can start in earnest.

But the reality is, the cycling process is the same with or without plants. Imho plants do not effect the cycling process at all unless you are adding a LOT of plants in which case the cycling will be quicker and almost doing a silent cycle.
 
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Rocky998

Rocky998

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Personally I say live plants are beneficial for the cycling process and I always recommend setting the tank up completely with plants if you wish to have live plants and doing the planting now rather than when fish are added will only stress the fish out.

Also the addition of plants whilst cycling will naturally get rid of some ammonia but there will be sufficent ammonia for the growth of benefical bacteria. And also if plants are from another established tank or from LFS tank in store in which case there may be some beneficial bacteria on the plants already so the cycling process can start in earnest.

But the reality is, the cycling process is the same with or without plants. Imho plants do not effect the cycling process at all unless you are adding a LOT of plants in which case the cycling will be quicker and almost doing a silent cycle.
Ah ok. So, is this a lot of plants for the cycle: 3 anubias barteri, 3 java ferns, and a lot of red root floaters... This is a 20H by the way
 

Ch4rlie

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Ah ok. So, is this a lot of plants for the cycle: 3 anubias barteri, 3 java ferns, and a lot of red root floaters... This is a 20H by the way

Thats not really a lot of plants at all to be honest, although the floating plants may consume more ammonia than the java ferns and anubias.

This should not affect the cycle process much provided you follow exactly the instructions and dosing of ammonia as stated in the cycing article.

 

Byron

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I do not recommend live plants in the tank if you intend "fishless" cycling by adding artificial ammonia. There is a serious risk that the ammonia can kill the plants, depending upon the plant species, the level of ammonia, and the time of exposure. If you must do an ammonia fishless cycle, wait until it is "cycled," then add the plants. Keep in mind though that the plants are faster at taking up ammonia [in a matter of hours, not days] and they can take up an incredible amount of naturally-occurring ammonia and they do this day and night. Depending upon the plant species and numbers; faster growing plants use more than slow growers. But you may end up with all your nitrifying bacteria going dormant, which rather makes the "cycling" work pointless in my thinking.

Posts while I was typing indicate slow growing plants (the exception being the floating plants but not sure what they are or how effective) and slow-growers will not be rapid ammonia-assimilators.
 
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Rocky998

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Thats not really a lot of plants at all to be honest, although the floating plants may consume more ammonia than the java ferns and anubias.

This should not affect the cycle process much provided you follow exactly the instructions and dosing of ammonia as stated in the cycing article.

I plan on adding to the plant stocking later on down the road when I start cycling because I dont have the money to buy them all at once
 
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Rocky998

Rocky998

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I do not recommend live plants in the tank if you intend "fishless" cycling by adding artificial ammonia. There is a serious risk that the ammonia can kill the plants, depending upon the plant species, the level of ammonia, and the time of exposure. If you must do an ammonia fishless cycle, wait until it is "cycled," then add the plants. Keep in mind though that the plants are faster at taking up ammonia [in a matter of hours, not days] and they can take up an incredible amount of naturally-occurring ammonia and they do this day and night. Depending upon the plant species and numbers; faster growing plants use more than slow growers. But you may end up with all your nitrifying bacteria going dormant, which rather makes the "cycling" work pointless in my thinking.

Posts while I was typing indicate slow growing plants (the exception being the floating plants but not sure what they are or how effective) and slow-growers will not be rapid ammonia-assimilators.
See, here it comes... the different views that confuse me, some say yes while others say no... I will just wait on the plants to be safe
 

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I do not recommend live plants in the tank if you intend "fishless" cycling by adding artificial ammonia. There is a serious risk that the ammonia can kill the plants, depending upon the plant species, the level of ammonia, and the time of exposure. If you must do an ammonia fishless cycle, wait until it is "cycled," then add the plants. Keep in mind though that the plants are faster at taking up ammonia [in a matter of hours, not days] and they can take up an incredible amount of naturally-occurring ammonia and they do this day and night. Depending upon the plant species and numbers; faster growing plants use more than slow growers. But you may end up with all your nitrifying bacteria going dormant, which rather makes the "cycling" work pointless in my thinking.

Posts while I was typing indicate slow growing plants (the exception being the floating plants but not sure what they are or how effective) and slow-growers will not be rapid ammonia-assimilators.
Thats interesting actually.

I have always cycled my tanks with live plants in the tank and made little or no bearing on the amount of time it takes to cycle the tank start to finish with the fishless cycle method and to be honest I have cycled a mininmum of 6 tanks using this method with plants.

There was a well known and knowledable member, TwoTankAmin, whom I've had discussions with before he left the forum a few years ago about if one should be using plants in the aquarium whilst cycling, he said the plants may benefit the cycling the tank as will likely have benefical bacteria and should not hurt the cycling process.

Keeping in mind this discussion was some years back, perhaps the science has changed slightly and discoveries of how much ammoina plants actually consume is better known now than was then may have a bearing on this.

And also a heavily planted tank will certainly have an impact so thats a given but will just a few plants will not really make a noticible difference.

Thats what I learned before and have since then recommended this, perhaps I should change this if the above post is indeed correct.

Also the specie of plants may make a difference also, if using root feeder plants such as swords or crypts then may not make much noticible difference since these won't use much ammonia in the water column, and using anubias and java ferns, being slow growers should not make a big difference either. I think.

I will certainy change my recommendation of a planted tank for cycling if the science backs this up. Thank you for bringing this up Byron, makes for a fascinating discussion.
 

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I believe one of the big issues is the confusing use of language.
It appears that when some say 'fishless cycle', they're meaning that sort of cycling that involves no plants and treats the tank like a chemistry experiment, with artificially added ammonia, given on set days, etc..

I appreciate that that is one way of cycling a tank without fish, but it is NOT the only way of cycling a tank without fish. Unfortunately, since @TwoTankAmin put the time and effort into typing up his detailed methodology, many in this forum view his method as The One True Way.
I actually suspect that this method became The One True Way because so many had difficulties with plants.

Personally, my planted method is 'fishless' and does not involve artificial ammonia, but does involve some organic matter as potential bacteria fuel.

The third method of cycling, involving fish, is abhorrent to me, as it places fish into a stressful situation and all for the sake of impatience.
(I even feel mucky for mentioning it :p )
 

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See, here it comes... the different views that confuse me, some say yes while others say no... I will just wait on the plants to be safe

Indeed, there are nearly always differing opinions on certain subjects of fishkeeping and this may well be one of them, no bad thing at all, this is how we learn.

I may certainly be wrong in my recommendations as Byron is far more knowledgeable than I am, and I for one don't really have a sciencific brain at all, so all things chemistry is not really my strong suit at all, so I defer to Bryon and others whom have more in depth knowledge on matters such as these.
 

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We are not actually differing here, but keep in mind I did qualify my comments. Ammonia can kill plants, depending upon the plant species and the level of ammonia. When a new hobbyist takes things at face value and dumps in too much ammonia, with sensitive plants, and the plants die, it is at the least discouraging for them. And those of us who only use, and have only ever used, the live plant "silent" cycle method are always careful to point out that there are some requirements with this method such as enough fast-growing plants for one, that are clearly growing and not dying. There is not the slightest doubt but that a plant silent cycle is the safest and quickest way to set up a new tank. I just think it is better to do one or the other.

I know TwoTankAmin, we have corresponded privately by email for years, and I respect his knowledge and advice. I don't think I am countering it relative to the initial question, since I am only suggesting caution, though it has been a long while since I read the cycling articles.
 

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I did mine with plants in and they didn't die from ammonia burns, but that was because I knew no better until I'd already got the plants. I was probably just lucky not to kill the plants, so leaving the plants until the cycle is complete is probably the best advice.

It is likely to confuse you when you you look at test results compared to what the guide suggests you should be getting.
 

Ch4rlie

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We are not actually differing here, but keep in mind I did qualify my comments. Ammonia can kill plants, depending upon the plant species and the level of ammonia. When a new hobbyist takes things at face value and dumps in too much ammonia, with sensitive plants, and the plants die, it is at the least discouraging for them. And those of us who only use, and have only ever used, the live plant "silent" cycle method are always careful to point out that there are some requirements with this method such as enough fast-growing plants for one, that are clearly growing and not dying. There is not the slightest doubt but that a plant silent cycle is the safest and quickest way to set up a new tank. I just think it is better to do one or the other.

I know TwoTankAmin, we have corresponded privately by email for years, and I respect his knowledge and advice. I don't think I am countering it relative to the initial question, since I am only suggesting caution, though it has been a long while since I read the cycling articles.
Thats all fine, I do understand and agree 100% that to respect others knowledge and advice, this is one reason why this hobby is so interesting, one learns a whole lot more than anyone imagines, ever changing fishkeeping knowledge.

I wonder when one asks for advice regarding plants whilst cycling that we should ask what species of plant and how many they they plan to have then answers would be different.

Seem there is no one size that fits all type of answer really.

One of the things that specifically for this question that has caused many a cycling issue is the use of specialist soil / substrate. Many of those specialist substrate actually contains ammonia and excess ammonia as we know will quickly cause issues if there is not enough becteria or plants to consume large amounts of ammonia.

But if using standard substrate then perhaps one should be cautious and advise not recommending plants until the end of the cycle and THEN add plants once cycle is completed successfully and doing a large change of dechlorinated fresh water and let settle 24 hours BEFORE adding livestock may be a feasible option.

I think I may be changing my recommendations henceforth to carefully consider what exactly is the new keeper plans before replying about plants during the cycle process.

Just because I was successful before on my previous cycles with plants and had no issues at all does not mean its correct when there are so many variables to consider with the new knowledge and science based evidence that we have access to now.
 

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I did mine with plants in and they didn't die from ammonia burns, but that was because I knew no better until I'd already got the plants. I was probably just lucky not to kill the plants, so leaving the plants until the cycle is complete is probably the best advice.
Nah! Not luck. :D Check my Journal, with plants.

If you're wanting plants in your final set-up, the sooner they're in, the better. It gives them time to established before the fish and it means you can avoid trying to do your water-gardening with fish in situ. Then, of course, there are all the other benefits real plants bring and you get the chance to learn what will thrive in your tank and what won't. Again, perhaps better to do this before the fish are added.
 
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Rocky998

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Yah... What I'm going to do is let the tank cycle with no plants and then after the cycle is over I will add some plants and let the tank run adding some fish food once a week to give some sort of nutrients to the plants until I get some fish in...
 

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