Trouble cycling w/plants... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2008, 02:24 AM Thread Starter
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Trouble cycling w/plants...

My mom is trying to cycle her tank & the ammonia & nitrite doesn't seem to be rising very much. She has 6 glowlight tetras & 4 glass shrimp in a 14 gallon tank with live plants (wisteria, java fern, water sprite, cabomba, aponageton, bannana plant).

Do you think that the tetras are enough to cycle with the plants? Are the plants slowing down the cycle? Should she add more fish or is what she has going to work?


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2008, 02:49 AM
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If there are a decent number of healthy plants in the tank, you very well may never see a "cycle" as you would in a fish only tank. Some refer to this as a "silent cycle". Healthy plants will gladly process ammonia, and this is one of the benefits of a planted aquarium. I don't even bother cycling tanks anymore. Just get the plants going and add fish. If the plants are healthy, the fish will be as well. It sounds like you are seeing the same thing.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-11-2008, 04:00 AM
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Are there nitrAtes reading in this tank?

If there are readable nitrAtes, but 0 ppm ammonia and nitrItes, then there's a good chance that the tank is cycled as much as it needs to with the current fishload.

If this is the case then she can go ahead and start slowly adding fish





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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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The nitrAtes are at 20 (safe range) & haven't gone up yet....it's been a lil over a month now.

The ammonia goes back & forth between .25 & .5 & the nitrIte stays at .5.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 08:13 PM
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Those are cycling readings. The tank isn't cycled, yet. (You are using drop test kits not strips, right?) Also, have you checked the parameters of your tap water?

Just keep an eye on those tank parameters and try to keep the ammonia and nitrItes both 0.25 or lower with PWC if you want the fish to make it- both of those chemicals are pretty toxic to fish.

Plants won't slow down the cycle- they can only help. I'd actually recommend adding more plants at this point, especially more fast-growing stem plants like the water sprite and cabomba you already have. Stuff the tank with them, if possible?

Don't add any more fish until the water parameters are stable- which means 0ppm both ammonia and nitrIte for several days even with water changes.





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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-12-2008, 10:04 PM
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I agree adding more plants is a good idea, but I don't think it will do anything to speed up the cycle unless perhaps they are coming from a cycled tank (lots of bacteria grow on plant surfaces). They will however process some of the ammonia for themselves making for a healthier tank if there are fish involved.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 12:02 AM
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add a filter from an established tank.
No need to worry if you do.

under stock
over filter
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 12:50 AM
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I used this method with the bottom covered in plants and 9 Mosquito fish. Never had any cycle readings. Just be carefull about adding fish when it does level off.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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No, I use the strips...thats all I can afford right now. They dont sell them here, so I have to order them, which costs because of S&H.

What I don't understand is why the nitrItes & ammonia aren't rising very much? it's been a month or so since I added plants & fish. It's supposed to go very high then drop, right?


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 04:04 PM
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In a planted tank it's common for the ammonia and nitrItes NOT to spike, since the plants are helping the cycle along.

I honestly wouldn't go much by the strips. A master test kit (drops) will only set you back $20-25, so I'd save up for one when you get a chance. You don't have a local PetsMart? I'll take your word for it though.





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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-13-2008, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
In a planted tank it's common for the ammonia and nitrItes NOT to spike, since the plants are helping the cycle along.

I honestly wouldn't go much by the strips. A master test kit (drops) will only set you back $20-25, so I'd save up for one when you get a chance. You don't have a local PetsMart? I'll take your word for it though.

Unless you are using ADA Soil, and getting the ammonia spike like me.
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