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Hi guys!
I am currently cycling a 20 gallon aquarium.
I plan on planting it.
So, I was wondering, is it ok to plant plants while ammonia and nitrite/nitrate levels are spiking/the tank is cycling?
Will the plants help with the cycle, do nothing, or mess up everything?
Thanks.
Also, do you guys know any other way(s) of putting ammonia in the tank besides buying chemicals or putting in fish while the tank is cycling?
Thanks!
 

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You can put food into the tank just like your feeding fish. Don't overfeed, just add enough food to feed the amount of fish you will be keeping. The uneaten food will produce equivalent levels of ammonia as if fish were present. You could also drop in a dead shrimp, either sourced from a pet shop or grocery store
And yes, it is a good idea to add plants now, they will benefit the cycle either actively by consuming ammonia, or by hosting bacteria that will hitchhike in with them.
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Yes as everyone else mentioned it will speed up the cycling process (my little 5g nano cycled incredibly fast with some anubius and black skirt tetra in it) but it's also much easier to plant/scape when empty. I recommend emptying at least 50 percent if not more of your tank before planting. I'm a new myself but I can say from experience that doing this made planting much easier for me.

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Yes, plant it. You can see if you like the 'scape, move things around... and get started with fertilizer and CO2.

Some plants do not like the high ammonia from cycling with 3ppm from a bottle. The slower release from adding fish food is easier on those plants.

... besides buying chemicals ...
Ammonia from a bottle is NH3
Ammonia from decomposing matter is NH3.

I do not see the difference. Except that the decomposing shrimp or fish food is a lot messier. Ammonia in a bottle works just fine to grow nitrifying bacteria.
 

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Sure. I kinda like that method.

I get the plants, set up my tank, get everything arranged, turn on the filter and such, and add some ammonia.

Check levels, add ammonia as needed, maybe throw in a coupla snails if I didn't get enough with the plants.

Once the cycle finishes, I look to adding fish. By then, the plants are usually somewhat established. Also, one of the local aquarium groups has monthly meetings/auctions, so this works out really well for setting up a new tank. Show up for one, buy any plants that interest me, and if it's not enough/what I wanted, hit up a pet store the next day, and then set up my tank. 3-4 weeks later, my tank is cycled, and I can hit up the auction for fish (and, again, the petstore if I don't find anything suitable).

I actually think this is one of the benefits of doing a fishless cycle, is that it gives time for your plants to set up and acclimate before adding critters.

Also, I don't think there is much to worry about when adding ammonia. Mostly check to make sure it doesn't contain anything other then water and ammonia (especially: surfactants, perfumes, dyes). If in doubt, shake the jug. If you get any noticeable sudsing/bubbles, try another brand. It may take a bit of effort to find a source, but once you have that bottle of ammonia, it will probably outlast you, and you will also have pretty good control over exactly how much ammonia you are adding to your tank at any given time.
 
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Just a word of warning...

I decided to dose Flourish Comprehensive during my cycle and I got a nasty algae bloom. I was able to fight it off, but don't start dosing for maybe 2 months. Add some fish, get your tank's bacteria processing the bioload, then start dosing. JMOT.
 
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