Plants or fish first? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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Plants or fish first?

I am doing a low tech tank, currently 1.7 wpg. I have enough room to move up to a high tech (3.7 wpg) when I get co2, but that will not be anytime soon.

I am doing a budget tank and I am using pool sand with a layer of peat for my substrate.

My question (as the title states) is plants or fish first?

My theory is if I start it as a fish only tank, there will be time to establish some natural CO2 in the tank as well as fish poop for fertilizer, then add plants.

Am I missing something? The guy at my LFS said plant it as heavliy as possible first, then put plants in...I told him i dont have CO2, so where will the plants get CO2?

Thanks!


75 gallon, btw
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 10:23 PM
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well you should do a plant first tank if you have something to seed the new tank with. I was able to do a plant first tank with my 55 gallon by taking a sponge filter which had been running in my established tank for 2 weeks. Within one week, the new planted tank cycled and I was able to place fish in it.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-18-2008, 11:06 PM
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Are you planning on cycling the tank? If not, definitely plants first for 2-3 days days, then add fish. Those first few days without CO2 or ammonia won't kill the plants, and you can always dose Excel or some liquid ferts if you have them.
Also, it is easier to plant when the tank is almost empty of water.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 12:09 AM
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plants first even if for no other reason as to keep fish from uprooting the plants (its much easier to nock a plant out of the gravel if it didnt grow the roots into it yet).

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 05:00 AM
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x4 it will actually be easier in the long run if you plant first, then add fish.





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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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awesome, so we are saying, plant it and add fish 3-4 days later?
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 02:52 PM
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It's hard to say when to add fish unless you know the NO3 and NO2 levels in your tank.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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aight! i will plant it today or tomorrow...i am in no hurry, so I will test it this weekend and see whats up.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 03:17 PM
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yeah, exactly: plant your tank and wait for it to cycle (ammonia and nitrite readings should be consistently 0), then add your fish. Patience is key, so good to hear you're not in a hurry!
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 07:33 PM
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Your LFS told you correctly. As everyone else has stated plant first. Note that the LFS told you to plant heavily. Doing so will make cycling a breeze. I set up my first low tech a couple of months ago and planted heavily. I used Seachums Stability to be on the safe side but never had a ammonia reading. Plants will suck up the ammonia.

If you don't have your plants yet you can get some awesome deals here on the swap and shop. Locally the best source I have found is the Petland in Alpharetta. The last few months they have been working to stock a fair selection. Mostly low light plants, almost always have some decent crypts and java fern.

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks bugman! I will probably go check them out Saturday! I should be ready to go then! I need to fiinsh painting my hood, cleaning the lights and getting my filter running properly or replace it...
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2008, 10:19 PM
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I have a question regarding the silent cycle. I'm in the near ending stages of my silent cycle, and my amazonia is leeching less ammonia. Once the amazonia has stopped leeching completely, and the ammonia levels are consistently 0 for about 4 days, is the tank considered cycled? Or should I still add some ammonia to see if the plants absorb it all within 12 hours
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 08:53 PM
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I wouldn't add ammonia, I'd do a 50% PWC and then check the ammonia the next day.





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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2008, 11:15 PM
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And if it's still 0 I'm good to go?
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-21-2008, 02:20 AM
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Yep, as long as the ammonia is 0 and you have lots of fast growing plants, you'll be fine. I've done this many times and never saw any ammonia, as the plants use it all up

Mike


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