Why We Should Not Fishless Cycle Planted Tanks.

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UNV_Rasta

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Hey AC, man it seems like finding separate leads and stuff is almost impossible in my part. I had no problem locating the ballasts, but the leads, no luck. Checked quite a few electrical spots too, just not common here in Trinidad. Interesting though, I did see a 25 W T12 bulb @ a lfs. Do you think that extra 5 W could make the difference I need? Also, trying to find a ready made double-tube fixture for a tank my size (which is 22g btw not 25 as i stated) is almost impossible
 

SuperColey1

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Ahhh. You should've added your location in your profile. I was assuming you were UK ;)

Lamp leads are pretty easy to get over here.

The extra 5W will not be any extra at all!! You rballast dictates what your tube runs at so if your ballast is currently 20W then it will run the 25W at 20W.

Common occurrence that people buy the 20W T8 Hagen tubes rather than the 18W standard ones thinking they are better. However they aren't running a 20W ballast so they gain nothing. Further to that the older (not so old we are talking a few years max) Fluval tanks were running those 20W tubes on 15W ballasts so they weren't even getting 18W out of them :)

You can't see the ballast so you assume from what you can see and that is the ??W printed on the tube. lol

I guess you will have to find what you can in Trinidad. I have no idea what is available over there.

Maybe something from ebay? from Hong Kong?

AC
 

UNV_Rasta

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O man, i hadn't the slightest idea that leads would be hard to find here :angry: .

Looks like I may need to order some. All of the bulbs i've seen so far here as well are T8 20W, looked long and hard for an 18 today but no luck. Hmm I dunno AC, looks like i really gotta get creative. Wouldn't i also need to get holders for the lamps? So glad I decided not to buy the 25 W btw, whew!! Just shows you how important it is to do research before purchasing stuff. Why would they sell a 25W bulb, knowing fully well that nearly everybody here have 20W ballasts? jeez
 

sara213

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Awesome thread and suggestions.

I was going to do a fishless cycle then add the plants. But I won't be doing that anymore.

From what I understand fishless cycle/cycle is for someone who is not going to be using live plants. Correct?

You can just add the plants right away and let them create the nitrogen cycle? The plants take the Nitrate already present in tap water to begin the process.
 

aaronnorth

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From what I understand fishless cycle/cycle is for someone who is not going to be using live plants. Correct?

:good:

You can just add the plants right away and let them create the nitrogen cycle? The plants take the Nitrate already present in tap water to begin the process.

The plants do not 'create' the nitrogen cycle.

Adding six small fish such as tetras would release a small volume of ammonia, the plants would use this ammonia, and some would also pass through the filter for the bacteria (nitrosomonas) to convert it to nitrite.
Over time the next set of bacteria (nitrospira) will develop and convert the nitrite to nitrate.

As soon as nitrate starts to become present your filter has a colony of bacteria able to carry out the nitrogen cycle, it just needs time to build up to a healthy size.

Thanks, Aaron
 

newfish84

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I've just read the above and I have some questions. I'm looking into getting my first tank so am still at the research stage atm so bear with me!

Is the idea to add plants to the tank, get them established and then add fish? How does the cycle work for the tank if I add fish and then my bacteria levels are wrong and my fish start dying?

How long after adding plants do I add the fish?
When do I test the water, and what am I looking for? (I have been reading a book on fish keeping, but I have so many different things going round in my head i'm confused lol).

If I want to cycle my tank without putting fish in should I leave plants out and just add ammonia?

Sorry for all the questions, there's a lot I'm trying to learn!
 

Ps3Steveo

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I always add substrate, plant, get filter running and start dosing straight away, I do daily water changes and usually add some mature media from an old filter to the new one and after a 4-5 days of ammonia testing its safe as the ammonia has gone from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate which tha plants will use. Plants will also use some of the ammonia too, mine is generally added from the substrate too as some leech ammonia.
Oh and start with a low photo period such as 5-6 hours a day while initial cycle takes place.
 

newfish84

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I always add substrate, plant, get filter running and start dosing straight away, I do daily water changes and usually add some mature media from an old filter to the new one and after a 4-5 days of ammonia testing its safe as the ammonia has gone from ammonia to nitrite to nitrate which tha plants will use. Plants will also use some of the ammonia too, mine is generally added from the substrate too as some leech ammonia.
Oh and start with a low photo period such as 5-6 hours a day while initial cycle takes place.

what if I don't have an old filter to hand? it's going to be a brand new tank...
 

Ps3Steveo

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There's a section in the top of the forum where people donate mature filter media. :good:
 

RadaR

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I've just read the above and I have some questions. I'm looking into getting my first tank so am still at the research stage atm so bear with me!

Is the idea to add plants to the tank, get them established and then add fish? How does the cycle work for the tank if I add fish and then my bacteria levels are wrong and my fish start dying?

How long after adding plants do I add the fish?
When do I test the water, and what am I looking for? (I have been reading a book on fish keeping, but I have so many different things going round in my head i'm confused lol).

If I want to cycle my tank without putting fish in should I leave plants out and just add ammonia?

Sorry for all the questions, there's a lot I'm trying to learn!

I'd read the whole thread again if I were you. Page 1 aspecially.
 

berzum

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Planted Aquarium.jpg
 
Could anyone tell me if this amount of plants will stop my tank from building a robust bacteria colony?
 

TwoTankAmin

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If one have live plants that consume ammonium, there is less of a need for bacteria. The goal of cycling a tank is to handle the wastes the tank produces. The first step in this is the creation of the ammonia (NH3 and NH4) we do not want. If the bacteria handle these they two step it to nitrate which we remove via water changes, However, live plants will also consume ammonium (NH4). The difference is the plants use the nitrogen in the ammonia and they do not create nitrite or nitrate. In fact they will also consume nitrate.
 
Plants can uptake ammonium (NH4) and a faster rate than bacteria take up ammonia (NH3). Bear in mind in water there will be both NH3 and NH4 (but more of the later than the former). So when the plants reduce the total ammonia, there is less left that require bacteria to handle. Think of it this way. If one is cycling two identical tanks except they are adding 1 ppm of ammonia to one tank but 3 ppm to the second tank, which one will have more bacteria? Well it is the same when the plants are involved,
 
The final piece of this puzzle falls into place when one realizes that plants consume the NH4 but the bacteria take up NH3. Normally there is mostly NH4 in our tanks. However, there will always be a balance between the two forms based on the pH and temp. of the water. This means there will always be both forms. Even if one plants very heavily, there will still be some amount of bacteria present to take up NH3. And in tanks with only a few plants there will be a lot more bacteria.
 
In the end, it doesn't matter from a making a tank safe perspective what the balance is between plants and bacteria doing the work, only that it be done. The other thing to realize is that plant roots and leaves are covered in bacteria. So when one adds plants to a tank, one is also adding bacteria as well.
 

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