I do feel for you, i just read over the last 5 pages of this thread and wonder how you can be so patient.People ask the same question over and over again and you keep your cool. People please read the last 5 pages! You have answered so many of the questions that i have had going round in my head over the whole "cycling" business. I wanted lots of plants in my new tank and this has been an inspiration for me. 18 years ago when my parents had tanks they didnt do the whole cycling process BUT they had loads of plants! Fish didnt die all the time and ive been trying to explain this to my son and trying to get him to put in way more plants than he has, and is getting loads of problems with his nitrates ect. You just made me a happy( and smug) MumTo all those myth spreaders and sooth sayers:
I put fish in as soon as the water is up to temperature!!!!
I have not done a water change for 8 months!!!!
I add nitrate and phosphate if I need to and will add excess if I want to!!!!
I will add CO2 to a very high level without fear of killing fish!!!!
I have nearly 20x the tank volume in circulation without fear of blowing fish away!!!!
I use excessively low amounts of light to achieve heavy growth!!!!
My fine sand substrate is over 3 years old and is not cleaned or stirred!!!!
I ignore the 'tolerant temperatures' that are given for each particular fish. Between 22 and 28 suits all the fish I ever had
I am sure there are more, but the point that this post was making is:
There are rules that are suggested. They can be quite useful to follow BUT it is not a 1 rule suits all scenario. Once you go from a 'decorative' tank to a planted tank You have changed the system. You have added natural filtration. You have probably just given your fish an environment that they will love more and more.
In essence read the articles, look into things with open mind and sort the myth from the reality. Take the rule but then research if it applies to your setup. Thats how most of us in planted learnt that the majority were wrong. That they had transferred a rule from 1 setup to all other setups.
Makes me think of my mothers tank.
She has a fishtank, she cleans the algae off it every now and then, if the filter clogs up she cleans it out. Never does a water change. Never did a cycle. Never lost a fish.
My, constantly cleaning, constantly water changing, constantly fussing over nitrates and etc, lost many many fish.
...I may start ignoring my tank. I don't know if I have enough live plants to consider it planted, have atleast 20 seperate storks of planted foliage in my 100 litre tank.. surely enough??