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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, I just set up my first dirted (2.5 gal) tank last night in prep for a betta (not bought yet). I want to silent cycle but I want to be sure I have enough plants to realistically achieve that. I haven't done a water test yet because I finished setting the tank up at 3am last night and had to rush to work this morning, so my apologies on the lack of water parameter info. I will test the water as soon as I get home from work today and update that here (as well as a picture). However, I still want to get a general idea from people whether what I have is enough, because if not, I'd like to go buy some more plants on my way home today. Here is the information regarding my tank so far:


  • 2.5 gallon Aqueon rectangular tank
  • Finnex Planted+ clip-on light
  • ~3/4 inch of MGOCPM
  • ~1 inch cap of small diameter gravel
  • ~11-12 stems of Cabomba [ 1 floating, half bunched together with weight, half planted in gravel (will probably end up floating too with all the work it took to keep them in the gravel :icon_roll ) ]
  • 1 Anubias Nangi glued to decor piece

When I went to my LFS for plants I was looking for Anacharis and Anubias nana but they didn't have those, so I grabbed the Cabomba and Anubias Nangi they had in stock instead. Obviously, I need to keep watch if any of the stems die in the days to come but with the amount I have in there now, is that enough to be considered "heavily planted" for the sake of a silent cycle? If not, about how much more should I get for the tank? FYI, I have an Azoo Palm Filter and mini heater too but I want to do some more water changes to clear the last of the debris before putting them in.

Of course, if anyone has other helpful, general tips regarding this setup process I'm all ears. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
6/5/17 Water Parameters:

pH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm


I'm basing my setup off of this article stating a couple of bunches per 5 gallons of water that was referenced a bit in threads here: https://rotalabutterfly.com/rex-grigg/cycle.htm

Also found a different site stating their recommendation of 50% of the gravel surface having stem plants for a silent cycle: http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_silent_cycling.php


I grabbed some more stem plant remnants (Cabomba, Hornwort, Anacharis densa & narrow leaf) at the LFS yesterday until they get a new shipment this week to at least have the view of the back of the tank covered by plants. I got my filter and heater running last night, will perform another water test this evening, and see how the tank is doing today.

Another user at the BettaFish forums has an almost identical setup and suggested I fertilize with these: http://drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=12787

Here's this morning look with the new plants:


Anyone know if I still need more plants to handle the bio load of one betta?

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Discussion Starter #3
Water Parameters last night:



pH:6.6

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: 40 or 80ppm? (the colors on the card are the same I swear!)



Big difference between last night's pH and the first test though I admit I didn't know how to read the tests the first time and did not place the tube directly on the card when comparing colors. So perhaps that's user error? Or could my pH have really changed that much in two days? If so, why?



As for the nitrates... Is that a normal jump in two days? From 0 to 40? (or even possibly 80ppm, good heavens) I followed the directions for both bottles. I did a 50% water change after the water test on 6/5, did a nearly 50% water change on 6/6 (no test), and did not do a water change yesterday.

Anyone out there have any ideas?



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The hornwort will help mitigate the release of ammonia from the dirt. I too recently set up a dirted 2.5 gallon and wanted to have a silent cycle like you implied. Although I heavily planted, I just had way too much ammonia being given off.. expect for your tank to take 4-6 weeks minimum to cycle. Keep an eye on your ammonia levels, I had to do a large weekly waterchange every week to keep my plants from being burned. The jump is likely normal and not due to a completion of the cycle but rather nitrates from the dirt being released into the water column. Hang in there haha it will take a while.

Also any chance you can reconsider on the betta? I've kept one in a 2.5 gallon before and it just looked way too big in there, JMO - I'm sure it could live a long healthy life, just doesn't look visually appealing to me to have such a large fish in a small tank. Maybe look into some shrimp? You could have a small horde in there! Check out my thread for some ideas
 
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