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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a newbie to planted tanks, but an experienced discus keeper for years (no plants), I decided to set up an aquascape in a 30 g cube tank. All the reading I've done suggests waiting up to 4 weeks after establishing the tank before adding fish.

Is it only because it's assumed that the tank is not cycled? I have two canister filters on my 125g discus tank (Eheim 2028 and Fluval 304), and an identical Fluval for the 30g. Once I establish the new aquascape, can I just insert a tray of filter media from my big tank in the new tank's filter, and immediately add my 12 cardinal tetras? Certainly one tray from the 125g would more than be enough for the 30g, it would be immediately cycled.

Or, is there another reason I'm missing for waiting 4 weeks? THANKS FOR YOUR HELP! -Don
 

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Are these real?
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Hi Don, are you sure this rule applies to planted tanks?

I would wait a couple of days to give the plants time to establish, and the dust to settle. But if you start with a fairly well planted tank, I'd think you can add fish much earlier.

You don't want to "fully stock" it until it is more established. A good approach would be to add fish slowly, perhaps over the course of 4 weeks, to give the tank time to build up bacteria accordingly. 12 Cardinals in a 30gal tank should do just fine.

In planted tanks, even new ones, there is rarely an issue with NO2 or NH4, since plants like to eat them up quickly.

That is UNLESS you use ADA AquaSoil which initially releases NH4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
In planted tanks, even new ones, there is rarely an issue with NO2 or NH4, since plants like to eat them up quickly.

That is UNLESS you use ADA AquaSoil which initially releases NH4.[/quote]

Well, in fact I did order ADA Aquasoil. I had no idea it gives off ammonium. I heard at the 2009 Aquafest that it was the best substrate. What's the hazard I'm now facing?:icon_sad: Do I just handle that with water changes?

Thanks.
 

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Fear the Swamp!
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I added mulm from a previous scape before putting in Aquasoil and also started with a well established "dirty" filter. I was able to get the ammonia down to near zero in about 18 days. I also changed 80% of the water daily. I still waited an extra week before adding fish just to be safe.
 

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Using your "used" filter media will certainly help speed things up since you are adding a live community of nitrifying bacteria. Add an ammonia remover to help rid the ammonia from the substrate faster. I would let the plants sit in the tank by themselves for 1 week (with the filter running) and then add some strong fish to cycle it for at least another week (I would not recommend using your 12 cardinals for this purpose since they are so delicate, but a small group of 5 zebra danios will certainly survive, then you can take them out if you don´t want to keep them, but they are nice)
 

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I'm one that usually waits at least a week before adding new fish. I like giving a tank a bit of time to stabilize and give the plants a chance to put down roots. Many plants go through a die-off before they grow back acclimated to a tank (especially Crypts), and this can cause ammonia issues. It especially helps to not add Cories/loaches/catfish of any sort immediately if you're trying to get a carpet established, unless you enjoy replanting your plants every single day... (I'm going through this right now in my 90gal rescape LOL :icon_conf)

I also tend to have my hands in the tank every day for the first couple of weeks, tweaking this and that, and would rather not add even more stress for newly acclimating fish.

Maintaining a faithful QT practice on all new fish is another good reason not to stock immediately, unless you're transferring stock over that you already have.

But it's certainly possible to plant and stock immediately from the getgo, especially if you know what you're doing and have mulm & established filters ready to go from other tanks.
 
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