The Planted Tank Forum - View Single Post - Question about filterless cycling and adding livestock?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2020, 12:25 PM
minorhero
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Hello and welcome!

Dirt tanks have a lot of ammonia being released by the soil plus bacteria already in the soil which is why you are hearing that they are instantly cycled. That said the best way to determine if your tank is cycled is to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If you do not have a test kit yet then you should buy one. API Master Test Kit is sold in most pet stores and online for around 30 dollars. If your ammonia and nitrite are zero and you have some amount of detectable nitrate then tada you are cycled. With other tanks I counsel letting it sit longer, but dirt tanks cycle quicker in my experience so a week is probably sufficient.

You should be doing water changes of 50% every day to every other day for the first couple of weeks and then every few days for another couple of weeks. This will help with nutrient leeching your soil is doing right now. It will not hinder your cycle.

I've had bad luck with cherry shrimp and bettas. Some bettas see them as delightful snacks, others ignore them /shrug. My advice is either way you should get at least 1 and preferably 3 amano shrimp. They are bigger then cherry shrimp, do a much better job managing algae, and in my experience are too big for bettas to eat.



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