That's the risky part - Silent Cycle's success hinges on the plants doing well and doing their part of the job. Using Stem plants works to reduce the risk because they are traditionally among the easier plants to grow and they grow fast, using up Ammonia. Also, IMO, Silent Cycle has not been adopted to a great extent by the planted tank community, in favor of other methods. I think that contributes to some nervousness around this method.
Diana Walstad does use the Silent Cycle method, since even before it had that name, and described it in her book, "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium: A Practical Manual and Scientific Treatise for the Home Aquarist", 1st ed. December 1999.
I used the Silent Cycle when I started my first planted tank. I was talked into it by someone else, more experienced, who told me how to do it. I was a real newbie and I was hard to convince. But it worked out very well.
I think having sources of help and perhaps a wider acceptance of the method would really help to popularize its use.
MY TANK: Planted 10g; 2 x 10W CFL; Fluval U2 internal filter; MGOCPM/black sand cap
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started April 18, 2012