Beginner Planted Tank & Cycling - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Beginner Planted Tank & Cycling

Good morning all,
Newbie here trying to get the tank cycled. After 2 weeks of tank activity in the way of fish and some plants, I’m getting 0.0 on all tests for Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. I hope that I’m at a point where I just needto wait it out and it will eventually happen, but I would love to get some reassurance to make sure I’m not missing anything. Fish seem active & healthy, and the plants seem to be doing okay.

The goal is for a peaceful community tank with low light plants and small beginner fish. Sorry for the information overload below, but when it comes to trouble-shooting, usually more is better.

Appreciate your help.

The current Set-Up…
-36 Gal Bow-Front tank
-Marineland Penguin 350 – 75 Gal HOB Filter
-Heater (holding at 78 degrees)
-247 Planted+ LED Light
- Sand Substrate (Aquarium Sand)
-3 large pieces of driftwood (boiled for several days, but will leach tannins FOREVER)

Mechanical Filtration Details…
Penguin 350 has 2 media chambers. Each chamber has the following…
-Coarse filtersponge
-Fine filter pad
-Bag of Seachem Purigen (primarily for the driftwood tannins)
-Bag of Fluval BioRings

-2/7/20 Added 8 or9 plants
-All low-light,beginner plants.
-On most days the light is set to cycle through its 24/7day/night setting
-Fertilizer includes a single root-tab near each plant, liquid fertilizer added to thewater column (1-2 times per week), and 3 ml Seachem Flourish Excel (liquid carbon additive) (usually added daily with an eye-dropper)

Tank Stocking…
-2/2/20 Added Tetra Safe Start Plus Aquarium Bacteria
-2/2/20 Added 2 White Skirt Tetras (Tank initially filledwith water on 1/25/20)
-2/8/20 Added 4 Rummy Nose Tetras
-2/8/20 Added 1 Siamese Algae Eater

Water Tests…
-API Master Test Kit – Testing every-other day.
-High PH of 8.2 (Ugh...)
-Ammonia 0.0 ppm
-Nitrite 0.0 ppm
-Nitrate 0.0 ppm

Water Changes…
-None, however I did add about 3 gallons ofconditioned water due to tank evaporation (no tank lid)
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 12:36 PM
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Since plants will use ammonia as their nitrogen source, in a moderate to heavily planted tank, it could take some time to build a beneficial biology colony. And when/if this happens, the BB colony will likely be very small compared to what would happen in an unplanted tank.
This is all largely dependent on the stock level and the amount and type of plants. I know of experienced hobbyists that setup a planted tank with a few fish and never think twice about "cycling" in the conventional sense (as you would need to in an unplanted tank). They can do this because the plants buffer the water by using the ammonia generated. At some point BB develops, but it's a very slow process.
Keep watching your fish for any signs of trouble and keep testing the water - you should be fine. One caution: If you add more stock do it slowly so the system has time to deal with an ammonia increase.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-14-2020, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting point about the time it takes to establish beneficial bacteria in a planted tank vs. a non-planted tank.
I'll continue to watch it closely.

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