Plants during a cycle...

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Rocky998

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...
And of course a water change maybe every two weeks since there is no fish
 

xxBarneyxx

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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...
The issue with that is if you are adding ammonia until it is cycled, then add plants and stop adding ammonia while the plants grow in then the bacteria will end up starving and dying off anyway so you are back at square one.

I'm actually setting up a planted tank at the moment and my approach is get the plants in dose with Ferts and let them get well established (I have ADA aquasoil as well which is know to release ammonia when its first used, this will help kickstart the cycle a little). I also specifically picked fast growing plants which I can switch out later a little bit at a time.

Once my plants are growing well I will do a standard fishless cycle adding bottled ammonia. This may well damage the plants but hopefully by that point they are established enough to get through it. Now some ammonia is going to get eaten by the plants and the rest by the filter. The specifics of where it goes doesn't actually matter, as long as it goes and the plants remain healthy by the time it is "cycled" and stable. In my experience in heavily planted tanks eventually the filter is kind of redundant anyway but its always good to keep it there as a backup and buffer.

At that point once I can see Ammonia/Nitrite is being removed I will add my fish.

I expect it will take a lot longer than a standard fishless cycle but I feel more comfortable allowing it to mature and be stable before I throw fish in there.
 

Byron

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The issue with that is if you are adding ammonia until it is cycled, then add plants and stop adding ammonia while the plants grow in then the bacteria will end up starving and dying off anyway so you are back at square one.

I'm actually setting up a planted tank at the moment and my approach is get the plants in dose with Ferts and let them get well established (I have ADA aquasoil as well which is know to release ammonia when its first used, this will help kickstart the cycle a little). I also specifically picked fast growing plants which I can switch out later a little bit at a time.

Once my plants are growing well I will do a standard fishless cycle adding bottled ammonia. This may well damage the plants but hopefully by that point they are established enough to get through it. Now some ammonia is going to get eaten by the plants and the rest by the filter. The specifics of where it goes doesn't actually matter, as long as it goes and the plants remain healthy by the time it is "cycled" and stable. In my experience in heavily planted tanks eventually the filter is kind of redundant anyway but its always good to keep it there as a backup and buffer.

At that point once I can see Ammonia/Nitrite is being removed I will add my fish.

I expect it will take a lot longer than a standard fishless cycle but I feel more comfortable allowing it to mature and be stable before I throw fish in there.

Perhaps you could explain this to me, since it is not making any sense. You mention in sentence 1 that when the plants go in the bacteria will starve and die. What do you suppose happens when you establish the "cycle" by adding ammonia after planting? The plants will outcompete the bacteria from then on, as the fish will not be able to provide anywhere near enough ammonia for the bacteria...won't they then starve and die off? And just what maturity and stability is there?
 

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It is my understanding that beneficial bacteria is fairly robust. So if their source of ammonia stops they certainly won’t die immediately.

They simply go dormant after a short period of time, how long exactly before becoming dormant I am unsure (assume at least one or two days or more perhaps).

Once dormant they stay this way until ammonia becomes present once again and the bacterias will slowly awaken again to feed on the ammonia. Nitrfying bacteria takes a little longer to awaken but the DO become active.

Under the right conditions bacteria can remain dormant for weeks, even for months as long as they stay in steady conditions. The longer they stay dormant, the longer it takes to awaken them with ammonia being present.

The only real way of killing bacteria quickly is to let them dry out completely.
 

Byron

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It is my understanding that beneficial bacteria is fairly robust. So if their source of ammonia stops they certainly won’t die immediately.

They simply go dormant after a short period of time, how long exactly before becoming dormant I am unsure (assume at least one or two days or more perhaps).

Once dormant they stay this way until ammonia becomes present once again and the bacterias will slowly awaken again to feed on the ammonia. Nitrfying bacteria takes a little longer to awaken but the DO become active.

Under the right conditions bacteria can remain dormant for weeks, even for months as long as they stay in steady conditions. The longer they stay dormant, the longer it takes to awaken them with ammonia being present.

The only real way of killing bacteria quickly is to let them dry out completely.

Absolutely bang on. I was waiting for the response before explaining, because it is the same issue but under two different approaches (if that makes sense...) which begs the question, why bother with ammonia then. You've covered the bacteria issue so I can leave now! :drinks:
 

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Perhaps you could explain this to me, since it is not making any sense. You mention in sentence 1 that when the plants go in the bacteria will starve and die. What do you suppose happens when you establish the "cycle" by adding ammonia after planting? The plants will outcompete the bacteria from then on, as the fish will not be able to provide anywhere near enough ammonia for the bacteria...won't they then starve and die off? And just what maturity and stability is there?
I read (and may have misread) the original post that once the tank is cycled (assuming using added ammonia source) that they will add plants and stop adding the ammonia, other then chucking in some fish food which is not overly reliable ammonia source. That's what I meant by the bacteria starving, because there will not be a strong enough ammonia source to keep them going. Thereby you are back at step one and need not have bothered cycling it in the first place.

Yes I agree plants will out compete the bacteria anyway, which is why I personally plan to get the plants established first. I don't care where the ammonia goes, just that it goes. That wasn't the point here though, the point was the stopping of adding an ammonia source after going through a fishless cycling process, before there are fish to reintroduce the ammonia source seems pointless. You go through all the hassle of building your bacteria colonies with a fishless cycle and then remove their food source as well as add in competition for what little there is by adding plants as well. Just seems to me like its prolonging the process for no good reason?

Maybe it is arguably more stable to build the bacteria colonies first and let them go dormant? Personally I'm not so sure but suspect probably either way would work just fine. I personally wouldn't trust "dormant" bacteria to be able to take care of my tanks waste filtration need. Every guide I have read on fishless cycling makes a point of saying that you keep the ammonia source going until you have fish.

When I consider planted tanks for "maturity and stability" I mean they are all established, growing well and not likely to all suddenly die off. Things like microbiol and bacterial growth happen in this time as well but there is no way to actually test for most of this. As you know the plants are likely to take up the bulk of the nutrients the fish put in the tank before the filters ever come into play so for me I want to make sure them plants are actually doing ok or I might end up with a tank crash if suddenly a few of them die off.
 

Byron

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I read (and may have misread) the original post that once the tank is cycled (assuming using added ammonia source) that they will add plants and stop adding the ammonia, other then chucking in some fish food which is not overly reliable ammonia source. That's what I meant by the bacteria starving, because there will not be a strong enough ammonia source to keep them going. Thereby you are back at step one and need not have bothered cycling it in the first place.

Yes I agree plants will out compete the bacteria anyway, which is why I personally plan to get the plants established first. I don't care where the ammonia goes, just that it goes. That wasn't the point here though, the point was the stopping of adding an ammonia source after going through a fishless cycling process, before there are fish to reintroduce the ammonia source seems pointless. You go through all the hassle of building your bacteria colonies with a fishless cycle and then remove their food source as well as add in competition for what little there is by adding plants as well. Just seems to me like its prolonging the process for no good reason?

Maybe it is arguably more stable to build the bacteria colonies first and let them go dormant? Personally I'm not so sure but suspect probably either way would work just fine. I personally wouldn't trust "dormant" bacteria to be able to take care of my tanks waste filtration need. Every guide I have read on fishless cycling makes a point of saying that you keep the ammonia source going until you have fish.

When I consider planted tanks for "maturity and stability" I mean they are all established, growing well and not likely to all suddenly die off. Things like microbiol and bacterial growth happen in this time as well but there is no way to actually test for most of this. As you know the plants are likely to take up the bulk of the nutrients the fish put in the tank before the filters ever come into play so for me I want to make sure them plants are actually doing ok or I might end up with a tank crash if suddenly a few of them die off.

I think I have no disagreement here. I have never "cycled" an aquarium because I always have live plants and these always include floating (Water Sprite, Salvinia, sometimes Water Lettuce, Frogbit). Once the plants are in, so are the fish. Now, my plants are always those from other tanks so I know they are growing. I have never had ammonia or nitrite above zero. I have a filter but only to move water around as much as the fish in that tank require. Filter media is just sponge. I rinse these under the tap at every water change because again I do not need bacteria, the plants do it. There is also the fact that in any planted tank, the filter should be able to be turned off without any detriment biologically (the water flow is the only issue). I had a 10g tank with no filter for over a year, planted, with a group of 10 pygmy cories and 12 Boraras brigittae, and snails. It was fine. I would worry a bit about the filter in my cory tank not working, but again solely for the current issue; the CO2 builds up from the plants at night, and the filter creating a nice surface disturbance at one end allows a better exchange of O and CO2, and I do notice this in the respiration rate of the cories. But biologically, filters are not necessary--or should not be--in planted tanks that are biologically balanced.
 

Bruce Leyland-Jones

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All of this is great stuff and precisely why I get a tad niggled every time someone asks about cycling and they're (almost) always automatically told to read that fishless (plantless) cycling article.
 
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Rocky998

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The issue with that is if you are adding ammonia until it is cycled, then add plants and stop adding ammonia while the plants grow in then the bacteria will end up starving and dying off anyway so you are back at square one.

I'm actually setting up a planted tank at the moment and my approach is get the plants in dose with Ferts and let them get well established (I have ADA aquasoil as well which is know to release ammonia when its first used, this will help kickstart the cycle a little). I also specifically picked fast growing plants which I can switch out later a little bit at a time.

Once my plants are growing well I will do a standard fishless cycle adding bottled ammonia. This may well damage the plants but hopefully by that point they are established enough to get through it. Now some ammonia is going to get eaten by the plants and the rest by the filter. The specifics of where it goes doesn't actually matter, as long as it goes and the plants remain healthy by the time it is "cycled" and stable. In my experience in heavily planted tanks eventually the filter is kind of redundant anyway but its always good to keep it there as a backup and buffer.

At that point once I can see Ammonia/Nitrite is being removed I will add my fish.

I expect it will take a lot longer than a standard fishless cycle but I feel more comfortable allowing it to mature and be stable before I throw fish in there.
So, I cant just do a fishless cycle before adding plants?
 
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Rocky998

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As you know the plants are likely to take up the bulk of the nutrients the fish put in the tank before the filters ever come into play
All the plants I will have are slow growers and I will have red root floaters as the fast growing plant...
 

itiwhetu

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The cycling thing on this forum site is way to complicated for any of us to understand. Simply add 30 -50% of the volume of the tank with plant once that starts to grow add fish a few at a time. Easy as that. Please make sure that you run your tanks slightly acidic and then you never have to bother about Ammonia.
 

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I have noticed that almost every time someone asks about cycling, they are always pointed at that excellent article.
However...that is NOT the only way to cycle a tank...without fish.
 

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I have noticed that almost every time someone asks about cycling, they are always pointed at that excellent article.
However...that is NOT the only way to cycle a tank...without fish.
Ok, I see your point.

We are well aware the Fishless cycling is not the only way to cycle we do also have articles on silent/planted and fish-in cycles.

The article on fishless cycle written by TwoTankAmin and number of years ago may be a little dated but the information and method is still correct and valid.

The Fishless article is a good article, it is very hard to explain what a Fishless cycle exactly is and how to proceed to complete a successful cycle to people who are completely new to the hobby.

I have seen other Fishless articles on other website and some are just as, if not more, complicated than this one on this forum.

The main reason we advocate Fishless cycles is that it’s more of a foolproof way to ensure a tank is cycled with ZERO harm to any fish, simply because there are no fish in the tank to harm. If mistakes are made, they simply can do a near 100% water change and start again, the bonus is, no fish will suffer from any mistakes.

Yes it’s complicated, it’s not a simple process, but once one learns how and why the cycle works, the science behind this becomes simpler over time.

When I first started and did my fishless cycle, was on way over my head, am no science geek whatsoever in any shape or form, but I learned, and am glad I learned this way as think it educated me more using this method to be entirely honest.

Silent/planted cycle, ok it’s simple in principle for us, but for a newbie, they have little idea on what is a good planted tank for carrying out a silent cycle and what plants should they get, should they get specialised substrate for the plants, the type of substrate which can contain ammonia which will play havoc to the tank cycle and any mistakes will surely have a detrimental effect on livestock that’s in the tank.

Bear in mind, a lot of new fish keepers on this forum are young folks, under 18 years old and still at school/college/Uni and have no source of income, spending lots of money on plants may not be practical and their knowledge on plantkeeping in aquaria may be very restricted.

For experienced or knowledgeable folks, go for it using the silent method, we are certainly not stopping you or going against silent/planted cycles. I have used this method myself and did not have any difficulties but I only did this when I was confident that I could keep aquatic plants alive!

That’s why I advocate Fishless cycles, more than silent / planted cycles.

We certainly don’t recommend fish in cycles as that’s a far more risky and complicated method.
 

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To get a tank ready to accept fish is really easy. Plant the tank 30-50% of it's volume in plant, when the plants start growing ( 10-14 days ) add fish slowly. This is full proof and really easy. I will add to this if you don't want live plants then you don't want to keep fish, the two go hand in hand.
 
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Ch4rlie

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I will add to this if you you don't want live plants then you don't want to keep fish, the two go hand in hand.
Not quite 100% accurate.

What about cichlids and cold water set ups, cichlids and goldfish makes it very hard to have plants in this as they basically ruin any plant that’s in their aquarium.

How about those who have betta tanks, some keepers like to have silk plants rather than live plants.

How about those keepers who simply don’t want live plants, preferring to have fake / silk plants for various reasons but certainly want to keep fish.

So to say a statement like that which is not strictly true is confusing and demeaning to those fish keepers who do not want or cannot have live plants, so please keep this to the thread topic in hand which is the OP is asking if they should have plants or not for cycling purposes.

A healthy debate is fine as long as it’s civilised and part of the topic.

A very educational and interesting subject truth be told for those who are reading about the various methods of cycling and should plants be included, lots of good points for both sides.
 

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