Cycling with plants - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Cycling with plants

Hey guys,

I’m very close to my cycle being done.

At the moment my ammonia hovers around .5ppm, and the nitrites at 5ppm, which I’m hoping will drop any day now.

I have been doing water tests daily, and have noticed the nitrates building up also

Here is my question:
Should I worry about high nitrates during a fishless cycle? I have some plants, which I hopped would take care of that, but so far hasn’t been the case.

Also, my plants don’t look the greatest. I have some Flurish, but I’m scared to add it, because I don’t want it to mess with my water testing.

Any one have any ideas?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 03:21 PM
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Hey guys,

Iím very close to my cycle being done.

At the moment my ammonia hovers around .5ppm, and the nitrites at 5ppm, which Iím hoping will drop any day now.

I have been doing water tests daily, and have noticed the nitrates building up also

Here is my question:
Should I worry about high nitrates during a fishless cycle? I have some plants, which I hopped would take care of that, but so far hasnít been the case.

Also, my plants donít look the greatest. I have some Flurish, but Iím scared to add it, because I donít want it to mess with my water testing.

Any one have any ideas?


Your plants will likely not uptake any noticeable amounts of NO3. Water changes are your best best to reduce NO3.

Flourish contains no macro nutrients, only micro nutrients. You can dose it during the cycle without issue.

I will suggest picking up some macro fertilizers (KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4) or a quality all-in-one fertilizer such as Thrive.



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-26-2019, 11:02 PM
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Your plants will likely not uptake any noticeable amounts of NO3. Water changes are your best best to reduce NO3.
Just curious; why do you say that plants will not take up noticeable amounts of NO3?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 12:32 PM
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Just curious; why do you say that plants will not take up noticeable amounts of NO3?
Even with fast growth and moderate stocking levels, NO3 has slowly risen over time without large water changes in my experience, and with observing many tanks on this forum.

I should specify that yes, plants will uptake NO3 and slow the rate at which NO3 rises** but overall water changes are the best bet in reducing NO3.

Not speaking in terms of using terrestrial plants that act as NO3 sponges of course.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Your plants will likely not uptake any noticeable amounts of NO3. Water changes are your best best to reduce NO3.

Flourish contains no macro nutrients, only micro nutrients. You can dose it during the cycle without issue.

I will suggest picking up some macro fertilizers (KNO3, KH2PO4, K2SO4) or a quality all-in-one fertilizer such as Thrive.



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Might want to specify what flourish comprehensive? contains or does not contain before stating that it has no macro nutrient's.(ingredients says otherwise). Maybe minimal macros might be more accurate.
Plant's won't use noticeable amount's of NO3? Define what levels are at beginning of week and end of week without any additional NO3 being added to see.(if you like testing )
Then add Xppm KNO3 fertilizer at beginning of the week and measure again at end of week.
No argument with water changes to lower levels of all organic and inorganic matter both solid and dissolved that influence readings.
Would not fret about NO3 levels unless approaching levels above 40ppm as result of fish waste /fish foods.
Have run tanks with NO3 levels close to 60 80 ppm with both waste from fish foods and fish poo along with added KNO3 from dry fertilizer and saw nothing to indicate harm to fishes or shrimps.Cherry shrimps thrived, and long finned albino babies were raised /traded /sold year round.Large weekly water changes kept NO3 levels from climbing higher and tanks were crammed with plant's.Mostly anubia that the plecos could not so easily damage.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the info.

I would normally do water changes when the Nitrates are high. But this is during a cycle, and there aren’t fish. Should I worry about it?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by LuluCocoPopoRoro View Post
Hey guys,

I’m very close to my cycle being done.

At the moment my ammonia hovers around .5ppm, and the nitrites at 5ppm, which I’m hoping will drop any day now.
We all assume you meant nitrates at 5ppm not nitrites as this would be unusual and at the beginning of the cycle not at the end.

Quote:

I have been doing water tests daily, and have noticed the nitrates building up also

Here is my question:
Should I worry about high nitrates during a fishless cycle? I have some plants, which I hopped would take care of that, but so far hasn’t been the case.

Also, my plants don’t look the greatest. I have some Flurish, but I’m scared to add it, because I don’t want it to mess with my water testing.

Any one have any ideas?
Your plants may not look great because of excess ammonia, transfer melt, lighting, or various other reasons that are somewhat normal with cycling tanks. Excess Ammonia is not good for them but you don't have that issue now at 0.5ppm. For cycling I would try to keep your Ammonia concentration at ~0.5 - 1.5ppm which is best for growing your beneficial bacteria. If you can do water changes and add back Ammonia you can do them but they aren't necessary, otherwise I would just wait to do water changes until your cycle is done. I wouldn't add fertilizers at this point, nor would I keep much light(not 0 but not high) at this point.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info.

I did mean nitrites. I assumed that because the ammonia is being converted that the cycle is at least half done.

My light is a no name brand rgb led strip. Should that be ok?

I’d be surprised if it was from Transfer melt, seeing as all my plants were water grown. It’s my understanding that Transfer melt if the plant adapting from being above water to below
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