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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Silent Cycle

The aquarium cycling method known as the "Silent Cycle" is a another alternative way to cycle your tank without harming fish. The Silent Cycle method uses fast-growing plants, e.g. stem plants, and adequate light to take up the ammonia in the aquarium as the nitrogen bacteria develop. The fast-growing plants should be fertilized appropriately and right away, and should be planted abundantly. Several fish or a school can be added the next day. The fish will not be harmed due to the plants taking up the ammonia.

I like the Silent Cycle method because fish are not harmed, it is natural, and because you can have a working tank to look at in 2 days and not have to wait for a conventional cycle to complete. It does assume that you have adequate lighting to begin with so the plants can use the ammonia to grow.

Django
 

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I'm on board with the method but would caution against the addition of fish too quickly.
Best success for me with this particular method,is to plant the tank heavily with fast growing plants some slower ones too is OK but majority need to be fast growing.
Let the tank run for a week while providing adequate (not excessive) light and nutrient's,and then maybe a few small active fish with week to ten day's before new addition's.
Some substrates can leach a bit, to quite a bit of ammonia initially, and testing every couple day's for a week or two will ensure that the level of ammonia does not exceed what plant's can use or too much for fishes to handle.
I have actually let new tanks run for a month Via silent cycling method before introducing fishes so that I am able to observe plant growth as result of only the nutrient's I am adding, and if ammonia levels get a bit high ,I don't have to worry bout harming any critter's.
I have moved whole tanks of fish to new planted tanks the next day but the plant's were already established in other tanks and so no transistion period was needed for plant's to adapt to being completely submerged.
Still ,,it does not hurt to either test for ammonia every couple day's or perform largish water change.
My two cent's.
 

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Silent cycle is a good method, especially if the plants come from tanks with fish. They will bring with them a fair amount of beneficial microorganisms. Adding used filter media is another good way to help out.

I am cautious to suggest the silent or plant cycle to someone who has not kept a planted tank, though.
Starting with fast growing plants is great. If they will actually grow fast in that tank. I like roadmaster's more cautious approach. That way, if the plants do not grow very well you are not stuck with a full tank of fish in a poorly cycled tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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.
 

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I use the instant cycle method on all pico reef tanks I keep. bring home live rock wet from the pet store, it doesnt die, put in corals day 1 its repeatable like clockwork

the cases are a little different as this technique is more of a preservation of living established bacteria and the first example is how to hold the course while they seed. similar outcomes though, same day service lol.
 

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Moving healthy plants into a new tank is a great way to cycle it near instantly, but I'd caution against attempting it in all circumstances.

I started my tank with aquasoil and plants that had been in the mail for several days. The plants needed time to recover and were not able to mitigate the aquasoil's ammonia spike.
 

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I'm on board with the method but would caution against the addition of fish too quickly.
Best success for me with this particular method,is to plant the tank heavily with fast growing plants some slower ones too is OK but majority need to be fast growing.
Let the tank run for a week while providing adequate (not excessive) light and nutrient's,and then maybe a few small active fish with week to ten day's before new addition's.
Some substrates can leach a bit, to quite a bit of ammonia initially, and testing every couple day's for a week or two will ensure that the level of ammonia does not exceed what plant's can use or too much for fishes to handle.
I have actually let new tanks run for a month Via silent cycling method before introducing fishes so that I am able to observe plant growth as result of only the nutrient's I am adding, and if ammonia levels get a bit high ,I don't have to worry bout harming any critter's.
I have moved whole tanks of fish to new planted tanks the next day but the plant's were already established in other tanks and so no transistion period was needed for plant's to adapt to being completely submerged.
Still ,,it does not hurt to either test for ammonia every couple day's or perform largish water change.
My two cent's.
This a good, fast, relatively safe approach. Fully agree.
 

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I haven't done a traditional cycle in years. Just have tons of plants and add fish slowly - done. In my current setup, I didn't even bother testing my water. Only caveats are that it works a lot better in larger tanks and that one needs *a lot* of plants.

I use the instant cycle method on all pico reef tanks I keep. bring home live rock wet from the pet store, it doesnt die, put in corals day 1 its repeatable like clockwork
Yeah, same here. I sometimes wonder if "live gravel" wouldn't be a good product to sell in the freshwater trade, given how many people seem to have trouble with cycling their tanks.

Btw, are you the Brandon with the long-lived pico reefs? If so, I have learned a lot from your posts and articles, thank you! :proud:
 

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hey man nice to meet you

I think that is a perfectly reasonable venture and something to compete with bottled bac

the instant cycle market is not snake oil there are studies online about bottle bac its pretty inventive, any form of substrate enrichment would probably sell as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Silent cycle is a good method, especially if the plants come from tanks with fish. They will bring with them a fair amount of beneficial microorganisms. Adding used filter media is another good way to help out.

I am cautious to suggest the silent or plant cycle to someone who has not kept a planted tank, though.
Starting with fast growing plants is great. If they will actually grow fast in that tank. I like roadmaster's more cautious approach. That way, if the plants do not grow very well you are not stuck with a full tank of fish in a poorly cycled tank.
Having re-read your post, I think that starting a new tank with prior experience with a planted tank would help make sure the new plants would grow. I think that with some direction, a person who is new to planted tanks could be successful with a Silent Cycle. It is still a risk, though.
 

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This is pretty much the method I learned for setting up tanks back in prehistoric days ,well before the Internet . Most of my geriatric colleagues also use it . It's easy , works , and is pretty much bulletproof if you take a bit of care in your plantings .
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you everybody for contributing to this thred. Give yourself a virtual Hygro :)

In my experience with my 10 gallon and its changes, I got the best growth with MGOCPM and 1/4 Estimative Index (EI) together. Second best would be gravel or sand and Seachem Root Tabs, with 1/4 EI.

Thanks again,

Django
 

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Yeah, same here. I sometimes wonder if "live gravel" wouldn't be a good product to sell in the freshwater trade, given how many people seem to have trouble with cycling their tanks.
Even better would be small bags of bio media. It would not even need to be the good stuff, just something porous.
 

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I've always planted and filled the tank then tested for ammonia and nitrite before putting the fish back in the tank usually after 2 days. Since I am a serial tankist and move all the plants, hard scape, substrate and filter from old tank to new tank it works well, I never see ammonia/nitrite after that initial tiny spike even though very often the plants have been stored for a couple days and are badly set back.
 
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