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Freshwater Cycle?

2920 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  littlefish
New here but not new to aquariums. I've been into saltwater/reef aquariums for around two years now. However, I am new to freshwater/planted tanks. I've done some searching on the forum and I'm trying to get a better understanding on how to cycle my 10g planted tank. With my reef tank all I had to do was add live rock and then wait about a month. And with that tank the live rock is the biological filtration. But how does biological filtration work in freshwater systems? Is it the same idea where you wait for beneficial bacteria to colonize? I know this is a very noob question. But I just want to make sure I understand before I setup the tank.
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In a heavily planted tank, if the plants are growing, the ammonia from the fish will very quickly be consumed by the plants for the nitrogen. But, in any case, nitrogen converting bacteria will grow on all surfaces in the water. As the ammonia load builds up-as more fish are added-the bacteria colonies will expand to match the available food. All of this means a tank that is heavily planted from the start doesn't need an effort to develop a bacteria colony, as long as the plants are growing before any fish are added, and the fish are added a few at a time. But, a lightly planted tank, in which a lot of fish are added at one time must have been allowed to grow a bacterial colony before the fish are added. Obviously, one big fish is the same as lots of tiny fish, where ammonia generation is concerned.

That is my opinion.
Interesting... so if I'm understanding you correctly it sounds like it would be better to plant the tank right off the bat and then start adding fish later on? Thank you for your response.
Exactly. You can do the fishless cycle, or light stocking cycle, but having lots of plants will make a nice buffer by absorbing nitrogenous waste. You don't have to wait for any kind of cycle for the plants' sake. Cycling is for the safety of the fish.
Here is an article that I wrote for beginners and not only, to better understand the nitrogen cycle from a new tank, to avoid fish getting hurt from our ignorance.
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