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Include plants when cycling tank?



 
 
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  #21  
Old August 22nd 03, 06:18 PM
Jim Seidman
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

tose (LeighMo) wrote in message ...
I was just discussing this with my wife last night. We both agreed
that this would be a *better* approach for newbies.


Only if they were disciplined enough to stick to the plan, which many of them
aren't. Heck, many of us experienced fishkeepers aren't.


We could probably argue for a long time over whether abandoning the
plan is worse in a plantless filtered tank or a heavily-planted
filterless tank. Personally, I think that a planted tank would be more
resistant to mistakes.

Nitrate, IME, isn't the problem in a filterless tank. The problem is oxygen.
It may not be an issue in a planted tank during the day, but it can be at
night.
And it can be a total disaster in an unplanted tank that's overstocked.


When I said my tank was "filterless" I didn't mean to imply "without
circulation." I do use a powerhead for water movement. I have however
heard of several people who run without circulation in heavily planted
tanks without a problem.

I'm curious, though: have you heard of many oxygen problems (for
newbies or otherwise)? Usually when I hear of fish gasping at the
surface, it's because their gills are inflamed from ammonia poisoning,
not because oxygen levels are too low.

This may be heresy on this newsgroup, but I actually wouldn't recommend a
planted tank for a total beginner. It adds expense and an extra learning curve
that most people setting up their first tanks don't need. As it is, the vast
majority of people who start keeping tropical fish give up. I'm all for
anything that adds to a newbie's chance of success, including fishless cycling
and powered filters.


While it would require retraining fish store employees, I'm not sure
that it adds expense or learning curve. The total value of equipment
on my 125 gallon actually went down when I redid it, as did the
maintenance required. A low-tech tank really doesn't require that much
investment.

A lot of beginners don't even learn about the nitrogen cycle, or that
even after the cycle you need to be careful to add fish gradually.
Plants, on the other hand, can adapt quickly to changing levels of
ammonia. The planted tank will also be much more forgiving of bad
water change schedules. Failing to change the water in a new unplanted
tank can mean death, while failing to change the water in a new
heavily planted tank just means that it looks overgrown. (Similar
arguments can be made for filter maintenance.)

It's a moot point, since stores won't give up their lucrative filter
sales. But if I were advising a newcomer to the hobby, I'd point them
towards a heavily planted tank, since I truly belive that minimizes
their odds of dead fish.

- Jim
  #22  
Old August 23rd 03, 11:42 AM
Racf
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

I have nothing against doing water changes, as I do plenty with fully
cycled and planted tanks. Based upon my experience: To use only the act
of a WC to keep ammonia and nitrite levels at non-deadly levels in a
un-cycled, non-planted,and moderately stocked tank would be around 100%
per day....not all at once but cumulative. I assume the pH is above 6.0
and there is not an unusual amount of Chloride in the water. I cannot
understand how a once per week WC of unknown size would be
adequate...even if a blob of "mulm" were added.

I would gladly trade the mulm for a pint of Amquel, some aquarium salt,
and a Seachem Ammonia Alert. I would also prefer to trade the mulm for
a few bunches of Water Sprite or Java Moss or Wysteria or just about any
fast growing low light plant that is free of snails and parasites...

I am definately down with WCs, I just believe there is some practical
limit where they can be a lone success in the dilution of the poisonous
Ammonia and Nitrite. I do not disagree entirely with your remarks or
those of Kirstin or with any one elses, really. There are many ways and
styles to not kill fish.


  #23  
Old August 23rd 03, 06:02 PM
Danae
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?


"LeighMo" wrote in message
...

This hasn't been my experience, I'm afraid. Mulm speeds cycling, for

sure, and
I use it, but it doesn't eliminate ammonia and nitrite spikes if you're
stocking the tank fully all at once. And as I said, there are instances

where
stocking, even overstocking, all at once is necessary. African tanks are

often
overstocked, all at once, to minimize aggression and to keep any one fish

from
getting a "home tank advantage."


Thank you all for this very interesting discussion!

I am actually in the process of setting up my 45 long tank, and this issue
is extremely relevant to me. It's going to be a moderately (20 - 40%)
planted tank stocked with Mbuna cichlids (yes,I'm aware that they are
herbivores!). I plan on fully (over?)stocking my tank at once to avoid
aggression, which means I will be adding 4-5 yellow labs, 6-8
pseudotropheous demasonis, and one bristlenose pl*co all at once. Needless
to say, cycling is an issue.

Right now I'm leaning towards fishless cycling, as the last thing I want to
do is damage or kill all of my new fish to an ammonia or nitrite spike.
After reading some algae horror stories from those who have tried to
fishless cycle with plants, I'm thinking of doing the fishless cycle sans
plants in a dark tank. Once the cycle is complete, then I'll add the
plants, and the next day the fish. The only tank that I trust is safe
enough to use filter media from is my own, but it's a lightly stocked
heavily planted 10 gal, so I'm not sure how beneficial it will be as a seed.
Hopefully it helps somewhat.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan? If I was going with a peaceful
community tank, I would most definitely use Chuck's method of cycling a
planted tank and add fish slowly. But I just can't see it working with
demasonis, which I understand can be mean little buggers. Especially since
I'm not going with a heavily planted tank, as it's primarily rock work.





  #24  
Old August 23rd 03, 09:25 PM
Kristen
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

Aside from the whole debate going on, I have one observation to make:
if there's anything I learned specifically from spending 8-10 hours a
day for years on these groups helping newbies with their problems is
that there is no one "best" way to do something. Every person and
every situation is different.

Some people just aren't comfortable with cycling a tank with fish in
it, period: no matter the water changes, no matter the test kits, no
matter the plants. And if they want to be relieved that they finally
heard of a way to cycle a tank without using fish, then I say let them
be happy and use the method; don't rain on their parade just because
you don't like the method. All we can do as a group is present them
with the sum of our knowledge on how to prevent problems in various
ways and let them make the decision about what they're going to do.

By the by...

But the water change, so simple and so underated....


Yes, they are, but they're not a complete cure-all. And I have also
heard on several occasions, and I'm not exaggerating here,
well-respected fish store employees telling newbs buying their first
tank that they should cycle with several fish (in a 10 gal this is the
final stocking level) and _not do any water changes for two months!_
They tell them it will slow down or even stop the cycling process by
reducing ammonia levels and in the same breath that they should expect
many of the fish to die. And because the poor saps don't understand
how these bacteria work, they believe it and probably go do it. What
a terrible introduction to the hobby! And talk about something to
teach them bad habits... I'm just reminding you what we're up
against here.

Unfortunately, if these guys aren't lucky enough to look on the net
and find some good info about testing and changes before applying the
bad advice, then there's a good chance we've lost them to the hobby.
But maybe at some point before or after, when they've learned the
horrors of cycling with fish the wrong way and don't like the idea of
trying the fish method again, they'll see a mention of fishless
cycling and that will interest them in trying again more than another
round of their LFS's previously-advised toxic waste dump method will.
And with fishless cycling, there are so many variations on how you can
do it, they certainly can employ water testing and changing as part of
the method if they wish. Sure, it doesn't cure every potential
problem or bad habit, but only time and experience will do that.

I was so lucky when I seriously got started over 10 years ago that
these groups existed. I'd had lots of problems with ammonia in
goldfish tanks and was about to give up, but when I decided to set up
my first tropical tank, I came to Usenet to read how to do it (the web
didn't exist yet.) I learned about the nitrogen cycle and used
fishless cycling to start the tank - seeded the UGF, dumped in the
ammonia, turned up the heat, and tested every day to watch the cycle
happen. It cycled in a couple weeks with almost no effort from me,
and after a small water change, I added about half the stock and some
plants in one day without having to stress anybody out with measurable
ammonia exposure for even one minute. After that first effort, I've
never had to "cycle" a tank since because of the vast array of
techniques I read about and have employed. If only every person could
start out like that... :/

Oh, yeah, something about plants to stay on topic...anubii!

See ya,

Kristen
  #25  
Old August 23rd 03, 09:59 PM
Victor M. Martinez
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

Danae wrote:
Does this sound like a reasonable plan? If I was going with a peaceful


I think your plan is great, and I for one appreciate your concern for the
well-being of your fish.

--
Victor M. Martinez

http://www.che.utexas.edu/~martiv

  #26  
Old August 23rd 03, 10:27 PM
~Vicki ~
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

How about for unplanted tanks? Does cycling have a place in those?
A lot of people who post here asking questions about plants don't really
have planted tanks. They have standard fishtanks that they plan to put a
few live plants in. (Often choosing plants completely unsuited for their
light levels, if not for aquariums in general.) =A0 I suspect the
original poster might have been one of those, since his main concern was
not wanting to have the tank sitting there empty for weeks and weeks. A
true planted tank isn't empty, even if there's no fish in it. :-)
Leigh



I think people make the cycle more difficult than it needs to be
regardless of planted or non planted tanks. I have never pre cycled a
tank just started out with a small fish load and some gravel to seed the
tank. Even without the gravel I have never had any trouble with the
process if I don't overload the tank to start out with. As far as
plants go I would have to think that some of the bacteria is clinging to
them when they are added to the tank so again the tank is seeded. This
is just my opinion tho.

Vicki

On a personal note I think a planted tank is healthier for the fish. I
have kept fish in a non planted tank for a long time till this past
winter when I started adding live plants. Now I believe that there is
more of a balance and my plants are growing like weeds, also I have
noticed fish spawning that never did before.

  #27  
Old August 23rd 03, 10:50 PM
~Vicki ~
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

no, thats not true--im the original poster =A0 =A0 i didnt mention
wanting a tank full of fish right away =A0 =A0 i just asked if plants
should be included when cycling a new tank
but having watched the thread, i guess what i will do is use some gravel
from my mates tank, cut the sponge in his filter in half and put it in
my tank, add some of that ager product, add a limited number of plants
and check the ph a few days later =A0 =A0 if all is well i will add a
few fish and see how we go
how does that sound as a plan?



Better yet just swap out his sponge for your new one. That way you get
all his nice happy bacteria, he gets a new sponge filter and both of
y'all are happy. Add a few fish to feed the bacteria, some low/moderate
light plants like amazon swords and enjoy your tank. Just remember to
feed the plants and provide them with a nice full spectrum light to
grow. Leave the expensive lighting CO2 stuff alone till you are ready
for that part of the hobby. Personally I don't use that stuff and all
is well. Also keep in mind that many fish don't like extreme lighting
anyways.

Vicki

  #28  
Old August 24th 03, 01:06 AM
rapdor
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?


Better yet just swap out his sponge for your new one. That way you get
all his nice happy bacteria, he gets a new sponge filter and both of
y'all are happy. Add a few fish to feed the bacteria, some low/moderate
light plants like amazon swords and enjoy your tank. Just remember to
feed the plants and provide them with a nice full spectrum light to
grow. Leave the expensive lighting CO2 stuff alone till you are ready
for that part of the hobby. Personally I don't use that stuff and all
is well. Also keep in mind that many fish don't like extreme lighting
anyways.

Vicki

OK, thats an improvement on my plan Vicki, thanks.

On the subject of lights and plants: the tank is 75 gallon (US), 4' long
and has space for 3 tubes. I plan to start off with a modest number of
plants, but hope to develop this into a heavily planted tank as time goes by
(I work in a tree nursery, so love plants and the challenge of aquatic
plants seems like a potential consuming hobby). Any recommendations on the
combination of tubes I should buy?


  #29  
Old August 24th 03, 06:54 AM
~Vicki ~
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Default Include plants when cycling tank?

Better yet just swap out his sponge for your new one. That way you get
all his nice happy bacteria, he gets a new sponge filter and both of
y'all are happy. Add a few fish to feed the bacteria, some low/moderate
light plants like amazon swords and enjoy your tank. Just remember to
feed the plants and provide them with a nice full spectrum light to
grow. Leave the expensive lighting CO2 stuff alone till you are ready
for that part of the hobby. Personally I don't use that stuff and all is
well. Also keep in mind that many fish don't like extreme lighting
anyways.

Vicki

OK, thats an improvement on my plan Vicki, thanks.

On the subject of lights and plants: the tank is 75 gallon (US), 4' long
and has space for 3 tubes. =A0 =A0 I plan to start off with a modest
number of plants, but hope to develop this into a heavily planted tank
as time goes by (I work in a tree nursery, so love plants and the
challenge of aquatic plants seems like a potential consuming hobby). Any
recommendations on the combination of tubes I should buy?



You sound a lot like me. My husband has a full service garden center
and after messing with ponds for a while I decided to do the planted
aquarium thing. I have a 55g myself with the factory hood on it. I
only have low/moderate light plants and use two 15w 10,000K deep reef
lights. They are for coral and plant use and get the light down good
for my deep tank. If you plan on only growing similar plants than that
is all you will need. Just make sure that you read the label on the
tubes first and make sure that they are full spectrum and not acnic
(sp?) bulbs. You can even try a 50/50 bulb on the third spot for a
bulb. It will not do much for the plants but will really bring out the
colour of your fish.

If you plan on growing higher level lighting plants than there are folks
in here that know more about that.

Vicki

 




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