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Wood & Plants - Before, During Or After Fish Less Cycle?

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David J

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Hi

Today I put sand in the base of my new tank attached the filter and heater and filled it with dechlorinated water. I am now leaving it to let the sand settle. I have 2 pieces of bogwood that I bought today and they are soaking in a bucket. I am waiting on a test kit which should arrive in the next week or so.

I was wondering if before starting a fish less cycle if I should put the wood in. Same question about live plants. Will it matter?

Thanks,

David
 
Wood - doesn't really matter. Won't affect your cycle, so if it sinks, why not? You have more than enough time to see if you like its position.

Plants - If you are doing a fishless cycle, I would probably wait until the end. You might get slightly different advice, as I have heard some people say it doesn't matter, and some people say to do it after you finish the cycle. If you are doing fishless, and plan on adding more than just a couple of plants, I would do it at the very end, just due to the fact that after your cycle is done, just before you add the fish, you will be doing about a 90% water change to get rid of nitrate. In that case, I find that is easier to plant when you have a pretty low water level in you tank, ie. when you water level is about 40-50% or so. As far as how plants will affect a cycle chemically, I think it's little to none; the plants might not thrive/do very well though. It's not like you are doing a silent cycle where you heavily plant from the beginning and add fish right away, as the thought is that the plants will remove the toxic ammonia/nitrite while the filter matures.
 
I am too lazy to type, but why wouldn't plants thrive in a tank that is being fishless cycled really? They love ammonia, nitrites and nitrAtes.
I've cycled two tanks with plants, gives you time while cycling to see how the plants are getting on and adjust a few things rather than looking at an empty glass. I've kept the light for 8 hours a day on both.
 
I cycled with plants and they thrived - I was dosing with ferts and easy carbo though. Lights on from 6pm to 11pm daily.

By adding the plants I also inadvertently introduced bladder snails into the tank for the duration of the cycle.

The snails didn't seem fazed by the ammonia added each day and multiplied nicely
rolleyes.gif


One side effect of the snails was that I think they kept the algae at bay - I've got none on anything in the tank . I don't think I even had any diatoms.

So, my opinion is if you are prepared to look after the plants by feeding them then it should work out well for you. The plants will have a head start to become established before the fish come in and try to uproot them.
rolleyes.gif
 
I agree with them above, Plants are geat to have in a fishless cycle so why not.
 
I think the reason people say not to add live plants is due to algae. If you're having the lights on for plants then your likelihood of getting algae is supposed to be higher. But then again the plants compete for nutrients with algae, so technically you shouldn't get any.

I don't think it really matters whether you add plants now or later; I added mine at the end of my cycle just because I was taking so long to choose between live or fake plants :p (I went with live!).
 
I've been wondering the same thing about live plants and cycling.

Half my tank receives direct sunlight so it's going to grow algae anyway, whether I have the lights on or not. So ideally I'd like to get plants in there as soon as possible.

But my bottle of BioMature states N.B. Do not use if fish, invertebrates or plants are present.

The list of ingredients is just ammonium salts, vitamins and minerals. I'm not sure why it can't be used with plants, but I'm too scared to disobey the warning
wacko.png
 
BioMature looks like it is used to provide filter bacteria nutrients. Is that right? If so, I don't think it's really necessary as you're already feeding the bacteria with ammonia (that is, if you're fishless cycling?). So if it was me I would skip the BioMature, add plants and continue cycling with ammonia :good:.
 
Ok, after reading all the points I think I'll get my wood in once all the tannins are out. Changed the water in the wood bucket today and sure enough it was a light tea colour and there was lots of debris so I'm glad I didn't take the labels advice which said it was ready to go as was pre soaked.

As far as plants go, I think I'll get them in ASAP also although still choosing. I put 8kg of sand in my 90l tank and it gives me about an inch deep on the bottom. Do you think that is enough or should I maybe add more?

Thanks,

David
 
BioMature looks like it is used to provide filter bacteria nutrients. Is that right? If so, I don't think it's really necessary as you're already feeding the bacteria with ammonia (that is, if you're fishless cycling?). So if it was me I would skip the BioMature, add plants and continue cycling with ammonia
good.gif
.

Couldn't get hold of any household ammonia for love nor money :S Nowhere sells it anymore
The BioMature does the same thing as it contains ammonia and also extra nutrients. So I can't skip it, or I won't have any ammonia


@David: I also used sand and the advice I got was 1 inch is perfect, or up to 1.5 inches for planting. Don't have more than 1.5 inches as it gets too compressed and builds up dangerous gasses which can harm the fish. The general advice for sand is to stir it around periodically to release trapped gas, either manually or with MTS snails in your tank. HTH
 
BioMature looks like it is used to provide filter bacteria nutrients. Is that right? If so, I don't think it's really necessary as you're already feeding the bacteria with ammonia (that is, if you're fishless cycling?). So if it was me I would skip the BioMature, add plants and continue cycling with ammonia
good.gif
.

Couldn't get hold of any household ammonia for love nor money
wacko.png
Nowhere sells it anymore
The BioMature does the same thing as it contains ammonia and also extra nutrients. So I can't skip it, or I won't have any ammonia

Sorry didn't realise it had ammonia in it. I guess you'll just have to hold off on the plants, just in case.
 
DaizeUK,

I got a bottle of ammonia at home base. Ingredients state only ammonia. It was £2-£3 and comes in a white bottle with a yellow lid if you're trying to find it.

I went to buy another bag of sand to raise the level to 1.5 inches but they had no stock left and I don't want to mix different types. Therefore I think I'll just see how I go with 1 inch. I'll look together some plants in a week or so.

Cheers,

David.
 
I guess I didn't look hard enough then :) I think I just checked the website and couldn't find it so I didn't bother checking the store.
The BioMature cost about £6 and might not smell so bad so I don't mind
biggrin.png
 
In case anyone is curious, I did some digging on BioMature and why it can't be used with plants. I found a statement from Waterlife (manufacterers of BioMature) on another forum. This may also be of interest to people using pure ammonia.

"Biomature is an ammonia and nitrite mixture. Ammonia and nitrite is toxic to a lot of aquatic organisms. We do not encourage the use of Biomature with plants as people have used it to encourage plant growth while still having fish in the aquariums, with fatal results. Although some plants will tolerate high ammonia and nitrite levels not all will. In most water bodies were the plants come from they do not encounter such high levels of ammonia and nitrite."

I've come across reports of plants disintegrating in ammonia, so it sounds like it depends on which species of plants you're using.
 
Hi Daize

I've been coming across more and more people saying not to cycle with plants in. TBH, after reading your info above, I think I've maybe decided to just cycle with what's in the tank already, sand and bogwood.

Thanks for the info.

David
 

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