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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just started a planted fluval chi for a future "breeding tank" I used small pebble rocks for the substrate and planted a fairly healthy jungle. I figure the excessive plants (hosting beneficial bacteria) should help cycle the tank. I will probally throw in a bit of fish food for some added ammonia goodness.

IS there any other tips for cycling a heavily planted tank? I'm just using the stock chi filtration light/filter for now but may upgrade to a hob or sponge filter down the road. I plan on using this as a breeding/fry tank once its successfully cycled.

 

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I just started a planted fluval chi for a future "breeding tank" I used small pebble rocks for the substrate and planted a fairly healthy jungle. I figure the excessive plants (hosting beneficial bacteria) should help cycle the tank. I will probally throw in a bit of fish food for some added ammonia goodness.

IS there any other tips for cycling a heavily planted tank? I'm just using the stock chi filtration light/filter for now but may upgrade to a hob or sponge filter down the road. I plan on using this as a breeding/fry tank once its successfully cycled.
Check your ammonia and nitrates. I would put in some fast-growing tall stem plants (e.g., anachris) in the back. If your ammonia is 0 you should put in a fish or two. You should see if you can increase the light some. Maybe a clip-on lamp with a Compact Fluorescent light (10 watts, it's hard to say how much more not knowing the size of the tank)

Hope that helped.
Steven
 

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btw, it's a nice tank and it looks good - a good start.

The plants consume the ammonia before it goes any further down the Nitrogen cycle, and the nitrifying bacteria drops in as it finds any ammonia and nitrite which end up as nitrates. Assuming there's enough light for the plants to photosynthesize. In any case, whether you're a plant or a bacterium, it's very important to have good water circulation to distribute the oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nutrients (including ammonia) around the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So i did a water test last night (hopefully not mixing up the nitrate/nitrite viles..!)
PH 7-7.5
Ammonia 0
Nitrite .3
Nitrate 5

Is it worth picking up some ammonia and putting a drop or two in the tank to speed it up or does it look like its doing fine in its cycle?

I gave the filter from the main tank a few good squeezes in the water and have been adding the hagen cycle bacteria in a bottle as well.
 

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So i did a water test last night (hopefully not mixing up the nitrate/nitrite viles..!)
PH 7-7.5
Ammonia 0
Nitrite .3
Nitrate 5

Is it worth picking up some ammonia and putting a drop or two in the tank to speed it up or does it look like its doing fine in its cycle?

I gave the filter from the main tank a few good squeezes in the water and have been adding the hagen cycle bacteria in a bottle as well.
Thats great! Ammonia is where you want it, of course, nitrite is high (higher than 0) and nitrates are low which is good for fish. You shouldn't add any fish until nitrites are 0. Add stem plants or any fast-growing plants - they consume the most ammonia. As I recall from your pic, you need some tall plants like Anachris. You should look through a plant and pick out some more plants that grow fast and that you like, and whose water needs match or nearly match your tank's parameters.

In addition, the light to me looks a little weak. If it looks like that to you, get a clamp-on desk light and put a 10 watt 6500K ("Daylight") Compact Fluorescent Light You can adjust the actual wattage later if necessary.

Ammonia, in small amounts per day, like 3 mL, is good. You just have to get someone who knows to tell you how to do it or google it. This is if you think you can handly very smal quantities and measure right without any spills. Honestly, I'm not too up on Ammonia cycling.

My thrust in all of this is to get you used to the idea that enough growing plants will handle all or nearly all the ammonia in the tank. They eat nitrites and then nitrites too. Maybe you should hold off on the ammonia for a little while and let the plants take care of the toxic nitrates. Then, introduce a small number (or a shoal of shoaling fish). Please check the lighting. I'm sure Hoppy, a guy who really knows his stuff, would be glad to help you figure the lighting part,

Boogie on!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Django - I have some Cabomba in the other tank. Ill grab a stem or two and add it to this this one. I couldn't seem to find any pure ammonia today (all had additives) so i guess i'm going with out it for now.

I have a few strips of smd leds. Ill right up something to up lighting for now.
I also bought some nutrafin plant gro and added a few mm to each tank.. :)
 

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That's right, you have to fertilize the plants! I use Seachem Flourish Comprehensive. It's all micronutrients, but the plants can get Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium from your tap water.

Don't worry about the ammonia - the plants are the essential part. A little won't hurt the plants any, in fact it's a nutrient for plants. Actually, you want to get the nitrite out of there, so don't put in any ammonia - this will force the plants to eat up the nitrites and when they hit zero, time for fish.

Plants consuming ammonia is a separate system than bacteria converting from one molecule to another to another. They co-exist in your tank. Plants also filter toxin's from the water. Get involved with the plants - the nitrifying bacteria will develop at the usual cycle rate

Steven
 

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Add ammonia.
Do the fishless cycle.
That way, whatever amount of bacteria came in with the plants will grow to the maximum amount you could want, to handle the waste from any reasonable amount of fish.

It does not matter whether the plants or bacteria remove the nitrogen, just so long as something does. But you will not know how good a bio filter you have unless you add ammonia.

You can do it with rotting fish food, if you want, but ammonia is easier, and you know exactly how much you are adding.
 

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I still havent been able to find pure ammonia, everything seems to have added cleaning agents mixed in.. i guess ill throw in some more fish food flakes for now.
Have you looked in the hardware store? Seems to me someone said one time that that would be the place to find ammonia. If you get it and start using it, if the light is adequate , if you have enough growing plants, you will see that the additional ammonia goes right back down to zero, as if you had a fully-cycled tank. That's the plants consuming the ammonia. If you have zero ammonia and zero nitrites, you can put in a few fish, which will supply ammonia.

As far as the current nitrite level goes, plants will consume all ammonia first, then nitrites, and finally if nothing else is left, nitrates. This is because plants have to convert nitrites back to ammonia in order to consume it, and nitrates to nitrites to ammonia. It's just easier to consume ammonia in the first place.

Make sure you get more plants in there :)

Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
2 Groceries stores only had mixed. Home hardware was sold out. home depot didnt have any :(

Ill add a few more plants in thee back, a few more days of feeding the tank fish food (unless i find ammonia) then hopefully its good to try breeding in :)

Should i be doing water changes on the tank as it cycling or just leave it?
 

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2 Groceries stores only had mixed. Home hardware was sold out. home depot didnt have any :(

Ill add a few more plants in thee back, a few more days of feeding the tank fish food (unless i find ammonia) then hopefully its good to try breeding in :)

Should i be doing water changes on the tank as it cycling or just leave it?
Ok, if you have enough plants and they're growing, they will more than handle the ammonia/nitrites and when you measure zero on ammonia and nitrites you can put in your fish, as long as you don't put in too many and as long as the nitrates are under 20 ppm, or do a big water change (suggestion: 50%). Additional plants should be fast-growing stem plants with enough light.

If you want to take a more traditional route with the traditional cycle time, do the fish food, but don't put in too much and check it with your ammonia test. For our purposes ammonia and fish food are interchangeable. Ammonia can be substituted at any time, because the fish food decaying results in ammonia anyway.

You shouldn't do any water changes until the tank is cycled -same goes for cleaning the filter.

You absolutely have to wait until nitrites are zero before adding fish. This will happen sooner with the plant cycle and later with fish food or ammonia. Keep me in the loop.

Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks Steven, I did a small water change before i read this, (maybe 10%) and add a bit more cycle and a getto lighting upgrade for now. to help speed it up.



Ill do another water test tomorrow and see where its at :) I have a few CPD's that look like they have a bit of a belly now so hopefully its cycled in time!
 

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Hi Shift,

I can see the new stems in the back in the picture. That's a good step in the right direction. (thanks for the pic). Yeah, that's a tall tank. You might try moving the LEDs (if that's what they are) up a little more, just because you want the light coming from above. Er, you'd get more light from a Compact Fluorescent bulbs - they cost around $8, I don't know about the clip-on desk lamps, probably not too much. I think maybe you need more light, but you'll have to watch the plants closely and if they start yellowing or getting leggy, then you'll know. Watts per gallon doesn't work with LEDs or tall tanks. I'm using two 10s on my 10g but maybe you could go hgher than that in terms of watts per bulb and maybe do just one bulb pointed at the middle. Btw, are you using a timer for the lights? Makes things a lot easier, especially the photoperiod. I think you should start with 10 hours and adjust as needed.

The more fast-growers the sooner you'll be done :)

Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good call. Ill pop on a cfl clamp on with a timer. It will be a good fix for now until i build something a little more elegant. My other tank 12g edge seems to be doing pretty well with just leds. Will adding to0 much lite affect the fish negativity in any way? (sames question for breeding)
 

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Good call. Ill pop on a cfl clamp on with a timer. It will be a good fix for now until i build something a little more elegant. My other tank 12g edge seems to be doing pretty well with just leds. Will adding to0 much lite affect the fish negativity in any way? (sames question for breeding)
I don't know what kind of fish we're talking about and I don't know a lot about fish. My Pristella Tetras don't mind it - they just hang out under plant overhangs, and they're supposed to be forest fish. They travel together so they do spend a good amount of time in the light. Their coloration is not pale at all - I think it's very good for tan gravel.

If a specie of fish doesn't like sun, some floaters might be helpful or some bog wood or rocks. I think breeding needs low water circulation where they are spawning.

So take this link and look them up in the fish directory:
http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/myFish.php

Steven
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the link These are the guys i'm trying to breed. I decided the clamp on light didnt look as good beside the tank so i started building a led light for over the tank. Its drawing .53A at 12V and about 6.5W.. so not sure how led compares to normal Watts per gallon but it should hopefully do the trick.

sneak preview :

 
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