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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I'm currently setting up my first planted tank and this forum has been enormously helpful! I'm not new to keeping fish, but this is my first planted tank, so I have a few questions.

My tank had been set up for 3 days now. I have a 25 gallon tank (24L, 13w, 19h) with the Aqueon T-5 24" fixture (has the 6700 and colormax bulbs, 14 watts I believe). My tank has Floramax mixed with a little plain gravel as the substrate and I have a nice piece of mopani wood. I have it planted with water wisteria (1), anubius (1), crypts (2), java fern (2) and a big clump of hornwort. I'm planning on adding some corkscrew vals, and either some moneywort or anacharis, depending on what I find at the store tonight.

My first question is how long should my lights be on? Right now I have them on from 7am to 7pm and the room the tank is in gets a good bit of ambient sunlight throughout the day. Is this too much? I want to make sure I give my plants enough light, but I don't want an algae outbreak!

My second question is about silent cycling. I've read several places that if your tank is planted heavily enough, there is no need to go through the fishless cycling song and dance as the plants will use up all of the ammonia. If that's the case, I should be okay to add a few fish now, right?

Thanks for all your help. If anyone has any other advice, I'd love to hear it! I feel like I've read just enough info to be dangerous :icon_wink
 

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Welcome, Mamafish!

8-10 hours is generally considered more acceptable for photoperiod.

"Silent" cycling is a bit of a gamble. If you don't have enough plants for the amount of fish, they won't be able to take up all the ammonia. Nor will they if they aren't growing well for any reason, like a nutrient deficiency. Some plants like vals may initially melt when added to a tank with different water parameters, and this can actually add more ammonia. Better in my opinion for those who already have some experience and success growing plants.

However, you can still try if you wish. Just test for ammonia daily. If you find it, you'll need to keep it at a minimum yourself through water changes - and continue doing it - until either the biofilter cycles, or the issues with the plants are solved. Then taper off water changes, and continue testing, until the remedial water changes are no longer necessary at all.
 

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I don't agree with a photoperiod that large from the start. Regardless of how many plants you got in there.

Algae cheats, A LOT. A freshly started tank will have it's ups and downs until everything balances and you will feed one or more algae in the process.

I still don't understand why people view cycling a tank as a chemical pool. The nitrogen cycle is a BALANCE. You need to reach an equilibrium between the bioload of the tank, plants, ferts and light. If you think a tank is cycled as it shows no Ammonia you're doing it wrong in my opinion.

As for the light, how many bulbs/lamps you got there? I'm in Eastern Europe and not familiar with the imperial system that much. I'm using converters to gauge the sizes you people are using :D
 

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In my recent experience, I followed the plan laid out by Rex Griggs, using 2 bunches of fast growing stem plants per 5 gallons. (Actually, I exceeded that - got a bit carried away with my plant order.)

I used lots of anacharis, some giant hygro, 2 bunches of green cabomba (which went CA-BOOM! real fast), water wysteria (another hygro), and pennywort.

My tank is a 20 long. I planted it right after the first of the year. Two weeks in, I started dosing liquid ferts, and added a shoal of 10 harlequin rasbora. After a week of 0/0/0 readings, I added a shoal of 6 neon tetras. The second week of February, I added 6 cories, and last week, 8 black neons.

The only reading I've every gotten above 0 is ammonia, and that has intermittently been .25 ppm. I do two 25% water changes a week.

Some people replace the stems with rooted plants as the tank matures. I like the stems though, and am getting ready to re-scape all my tanks this Friday with more plants. The 20 does have a couple of crypts - which did not melt, and are putting on new leaves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I turned off my light at 5 tonight instead of 7. I'll try a 10 hour photo period for the time being. I'm glad I asked before I ran into problems!

I have read Rex Griggs' website about cycling a planted tank, along with a few other sources which said the same thing: plants will use up any ammonia which the fish produce. I guess I'm just confused over starting the process. If what Rex says is true (plants remove ammonia) how can one even start the cycling process without adding fish? I think I might just add a couple of fish over the weekend (assuming my plants are doing well) with careful water monitoring and the addition of more stem plants.

DanielT, I have 2 bulbs, but from what I understand the colormax bulb isn't for plant growth, so effectively, I have one. I'm debating replacing the colormax bulb with a second 67k bulb, but I don't want too much light! I may do Excel at some point, but I'm not ready yet!
 
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