Should i do a fishless cycle before i buy plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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Should i do a fishless cycle before i buy plants?

I just about have everything i need to get my new 55g tank up and running. I have spent ALOT more money then i expected (close to $700). I want to wait a few weeks to save up some more money before i buy all of my plants, will it be okay to start the cycling process without them? I wish i had waited to start this tank till i was done with college! lol Thanks -Derek
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:08 AM
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A 55 gallon tank could be jammed with fast growing, temporary stem plants for little more than $5 if you buy from the swap n shop forum here. And, that would take a week, max. I strongly recommend you do this instead of adding ammonia to the tank. If there are no fish and no plants in the tank now, just don't turn on the lights and you should be fine while you wait.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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So if i bought some cheap fast growing plants would i not have to add the amonia? This is my first planted tank, or fishtank for that matter and i want to do everything right. I'm getting some help from my dad, but he hasnt been big into fishtanks in 25 years he still knows alot but things have changed if you know what i mean...
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:26 AM
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Rex's Guide to Cycling your Planted Tank
Check out the other stuff there too, it's very helpful and to the point.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Derekj03 View Post
So if i bought some cheap fast growing plants would i not have to add the amonia? This is my first planted tank, or fishtank for that matter and i want to do everything right. I'm getting some help from my dad, but he hasnt been big into fishtanks in 25 years he still knows alot but things have changed if you know what i mean...
add the ammonia? Am I missing something?

I wouldn't do a fishless cycle if you are doing a planted tank. If you are not planning on a planted one, then that is a different story.
I would load the tank with fast growers and some hearty starter fish, like minnows or danios. it worked for me and the cycle time is cut as a result.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by yoink View Post
Rex's Guide to Cycling your Planted Tank
Check out the other stuff there too, it's very helpful and to the point.
Thanks, that was very informative! I just have to ask what is a "stem plant"? Correct me if I'm wrong, but seems that i might as well just wait the extra week to buy all the plant for my aquascape. By doing that i wouldnt have to deal with the extra hassle and stress of having to replant and such...
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:43 AM
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Don't worry about cycling. Just worry about growing plants. Focus on that and everything else will follow suite.

Once your plants are growing well then start adding you fish little by little. Don't stock it all at one time.

Don't add amonnia!!! This is almost guranteed to cause a green water outbreak.

Plan on packing it will as many stem plants as you can from the start. When you plant it helps to drain out most of the water water and then slowly fill it back up. This will help keep the water clear and also allow you to work more easily.

Now that you do have water in there though it's a good time to make sure your filters are working right, no leaks etc.. Get you co2 up and running. Don't be afraid to crank it up/ down whatever. Get it dialed in and running steady. CO2 will be the most important thing in the success/ failure of the tank. You want that rock solid to avoid potential issues.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:48 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by magicmagni View Post
Don't worry about cycling. Just worry about growing plants. Focus on that and everything else will follow suite.

Once your plants are growing well then start adding you fish little by little. Don't stock it all at one time.

Don't add amonnia!!! This is almost guranteed to cause a green water outbreak.

Plan on packing it will as many stem plants as you can from the start. When you plant it helps to drain out most of the water water and then slowly fill it back up. This will help keep the water clear and also allow you to work more easily.

Now that you do have water in there though it's a good time to make sure your filters are working right, no leaks etc.. Get you co2 up and running. Don't be afraid to crank it up/ down whatever. Get it dialed in and running steady. CO2 will be the most important thing in the success/ failure of the tank. You want that rock solid to avoid potential issues.
I wasnt planning on initially running a co2 system. I will be using the AH supply 2x55watt lights, at 2wpg i figured it wouldnt need the co2 in the beginning. I will be using eco-complete substrate, was i wrong to assume the lighting and substrate would be sufficent for my plants?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:49 AM
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The idea is that these fast growing plants will absorb the excess nutrients, (ammonia and nitrite), that would otherwise poison the fish. The plants use these 'fish poisons' as nutrients. Once the bacteria in the tank has matured, the plants will compete with the bacteria for these nutrients and all is well. That's why fresh_newby recommended hearty fish as they will tolerate these less than ideal conditions, if any, that you might run into. A fishless cycle is a choice. If you want a box of water while the tanks bacteria population matures, then that is a perfectly acceptable way to start your tank. But, because you want a planted tank anyhow, why not start with some fast growing hearty plants along with the same type of fish.


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Derekj03 View Post
Thanks, that was very informative! I just have to ask what is a "stem plant".Correct me if I'm wrong, but seems that i might as well just wait the extra week to buy all the plant for my aquascape. By doing that i wouldnt have to deal with the extra hassle and stress of having to replant and such...
trust me, you will replant many times, one extra re-scape is no stress or big deal. Grow the plants as magic said....he is right on target.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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So pretty much if i get the plants growing and wait a few weeks i should be okay? As long as the water stays within the safe parameters i should be able to slowly start adding fish in a few weeks?

PS this board is fast! lol
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 05:32 AM
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If you enjoy playing chemist, then do get a set of test kits and use them, but don't expect them to be at all accurate, except for pH, KH and GH. However, if playing chemist isn't your idea of fun, just get pH, KH, and GH test kits and forget the others. Then concentrate on getting the plants growing well with little or no algae. If you use the estimative index (EI) method of fertilizing and buy dry fertilizers from Greg Watson.com, you can just dose fixed amounts about twice a week (for 2 watts per gallon), then do 50% water changes every week, to get rid of any excess of any of the ferts. That will provide a good balanced fertilizer regime for the plants. Now, if you also add CO2, and you should, even with 2 watts per gallon, you will have everything set for good plant growth and little or no algae. And, you will be ready to add fish. If you decide to use CO2, I suggest you look at a "drop checker" as a method for checking that you have the right amount of CO2 in the water (DIY Drop Checker - Aquatic Plant Central- aquascaping...a living art)
Experienced plant growers can tell by watching the plants and fish whether they have enough, not enough or too much CO2, but when you start out you aren't likely to be able to do that very well.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 05:36 AM
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Get the CO2 going asap.
Then add lots of plant sand then light.

You can run a fishless cycle if you want without any plants or lighht for 3 weeks prior, or.............not bother at all with FC and simply add the plants and luight and CO2 and nutrients from day one, you can also use some dirt from a local friend's or LFS's filter to seed the filter, add a few fish each week rather than all at once, keep good plant growth going etc, you will never need any cycling at all.

Another simple way around the need for cycling and adding toxic pollutants:
User zeolite and activated carbon when you start up a new filter, by the time the media is spent, the tank is abotu 3-4 weeks old and the bacteria are alrerady cycled.

Yet another method and one many Discus keepers and many others wisely use: a weekly 50% water change, sometimes more frequent/larger in the start up phase till things get going and then back down to 50% weekly etc.

All these methods conspire to eliminate the need for FC.

You did not need it before, and you do not need it now.
You also have no need no matter what you believe to add it(NH3) to a tank.
Simply cycle the filter in bucket and add NH3 to the bucket and wait 3 weeks etc, then add the filter to the tank, never add NH3 to a tank.
This keeps the NH3 out of the tank and reduces the need for any testing.




Makes me wonder about folk's sanity when they read the FC baloney, they did not think that one through very well when it was sugegsted and many jumped on the bandwagon. Newbies fall prey to that stuff.

Mulm, the dirt in the gravel or filter of a well established tank is the idea culture to add and most are verty willing to offer it for free or if you have a tank already, adding this to the filter and to the substrate adds precisely what is missing from a new tank's filter/substrate.

Bacteria and organic matter that they live on and are eating.

It does not get any better than adding the specific microbes you need from a live culture thriving.

Water changes, chemical media, good stocking routines, lots of well growing plants, moderate light, good CO2, mulm etc all make FC uneeded.

I've yet to have any issues with cycling after setting up hundreds of tanks over three decades, working at LFS's etc, never found a need for the FC and knowing a bit about the cycle myself, I find it incredulous of folks to carry on when I criticize the method agressively as it should be.

NH4 production of waste is from only one significant source in the tank: fish.
Thus if you add NH4 removing media, live cultured bacteria from an estbalished tank, do routine frequent water changes(you should do this anyway), stocking fish slowly rather than all at once, add lots of plants that have a good place to grow well(plants alone without good conditions makes for a worst place otherwise-> rotting plants!), simple things that reduce the need for testing, practice good mainteance for aquariums, by the time the media expires, the bacteria are there anyway.

There are plenty of better methods that suit all aquarist, not just planted tanks.

Regards,
Tom Barr




Regards,
Tom Barr
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 05:48 AM
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I did a nice 55 gallon tank with the same type of lighting as you and no CO2.

Used soil and gravel as the substrate. Ferts added 3 times a month. Water changes every 2 months. Very low maint. Super easy tank. Yeah you can do it with no Co2.

I was initially thinking that you have more light. Usually more then 2wpg is when you kinda have to so CO2, but any tank will benefit.

Hey, why not run a DIY yeast Co2? Even if you only get 10ppm Co2 it's OK. With that light level the limiting factor will be the light not the CO2 or anything else. This is good as there are very few side effects from light limitation. The only thing that I know of is slower growth. This can be a good thing ;-)

Best of luck.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 11-08-2006, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
I wasnt planning on initially running a co2 system. I will be using the AH supply 2x55watt lights, at 2wpg i figured it wouldnt need the co2 in the beginning. I will be using eco-complete substrate, was i wrong to assume the lighting and substrate would be sufficent for my plants?
Man, that's close. You are right, 2 wpg is the cutoff for many. But CO2 NEVER hurts to add, it can only help. for example, I hope to someday have a 75g tank with 2x55watts, and STILL add co2. It's just good for the plants.

And yes, lighting and substrate are not ALWAYS enough for the plants. With that light over 55g, you will probably need to add fertilizers. Fish poop just won't cut it As for what you need to fertilize with, just watch the plants for growth/algae, and report back!
Quote:
So pretty much if i get the plants growing and wait a few weeks i should be okay? As long as the water stays within the safe parameters i should be able to slowly start adding fish in a few weeks?
Sounds about right. And this is being pretty safe. I would also stress that adding some old filter media from a friend/LFS would be incredibly helpful.

Last but not least. In fact, maybe most. You really do need to get lots of plants in there to begin with. All different kinds. I would be able to help you out with some Najas grass and some Hornwort....but there are a thousand kind of plants that would be good. Just get lots of different kinds, stick 'em in the ECO, and see what happens.
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