Tank Cycle time - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Tank Cycle time

Hi guys. Im new to this forum and just got back into the hobby after 10 years. I had a 38 gallon at that time which was a community tank and a few live plants. i just set up my 84 gallon osaka (tonight) and was wondering roughly how long it should take to cycle and when can i add plants? Never set up at tank this large so im kinda in uncharted water. Do i actually need to wait for the cycle to add the plants? Im not in a rush to get fish goin and my goal is an amazon type setup with schooling tetras and maybe Angels but havent decided yet. Have a nice large peice of driftwood and smaller peice with gravel from http://www.aquariumplants.com/ . I was gonna run some peat in my filter because i have hard water where i live. Anyone have experience with super peat? Im trying to do this on a budget because ive got a little one on the way. Ive got my set up listed below. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanx

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 01:25 AM
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Peat isn't going to lower your water hardness, not unless you use large quantities.

Cycle time will vary depending on if it's a completely bare start or if you're using any seed material. You can add plants immediately, however, they love all the things fish die from.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 03:51 PM
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Add plants before filling the tank.
Mist the plants as you go.
Then put a plate or plastic bag over the substrate and pour the water in over that. This way reduces the cloudiness.

If the planting is so dense you cannot see the back of the tank, then do not worry about the N-cycle, the plants are your bio-filter.

Otherwise, here are the best ways to cycle, with no harm to the fish:
1) Fishless cycle. Add ammonia to the tank to feed the bacteria. (The bacteria are already in the tank, they are growing on the plants and other places). When the bacteria can remove 3 ppm of ammonia overnight and no nitrite shows up, there is enough bacteria for a reasonable fish load. This will generally take about 3 weeks, if are no plants, or just small plants.
2) Shortened fishless cycle: If you have access to Nitrospira bacteria from a bottle or from a cycled tank, add it to the new tank. Then start feeding ammonia just like the fishless cycle. This method will go a lot faster, depending on how much bacteria you can add. Look for Nitrospira species on the label if you buy any cycle products. If it does not say Nitrospira it has the wrong bacteria, and is a waste of money.
3) Bottled bacteria: Get one of the products as described in idea 2. Dose a small amount and add a small amount of fish. Dose more later and add more fish. Dose more later and add more fish... The Nitrospira products can be kept in the fridge (not freezer) for anywhere from 6 mos to a year, so you can add fish whenever you want, just add some more bacteria up to 24 hours or as little as half an hour before you add the new fish.

ALWAYS QUARANTINE NEW FISH!!! Do not risk your main set up with fish that may bring in disease or parasites. At least a month of observation in a smaller, bare bottom tank minimum.
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