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This is a discussion on New Aquarium Questions within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> The last few posts are dealing with varying issues involving cycling and seem to be getting a bit confused. First, I do not recommend ...

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New Aquarium Questions
Old 03-13-2012, 03:08 PM   #21
 
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The last few posts are dealing with varying issues involving cycling and seem to be getting a bit confused.

First, I do not recommend (and never use) "fish in cycling" per say. No matter which fish, the ammonia and nitrite at any level above zero is harmful. The fish may live, but it will likely be damaged somehow. These poisons are very lethal to all life (aside from the bacteria that feed on them obviously). Subjecting any "hardy" fish to poisoning to cycle the tank and then somehow discarding the fish makes no sense to me, and is in my view not responsible fish-keeping.

Live plants is a very different thing. Live plants that are sufficient in number and contain some at least that are fast growing will assimilate a lot of ammonia/ammonium. With sufficient plants and a few fish, the cycle still occurs but minimally to the extent that you should not detect ammonia or nitrite with our basic test kits, and the fish should feel no effects. It is basically the same as any established aquarium: fish and bacteria are continually producing ammonia, but live plants and nitrosomonas bacteria grab it quickly so that the fish have no negative effects [this assumes the tank is biologically balanced]. The same thing occurs in a new tank with lots of plants and few fish.
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:11 PM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by jimmyvea View Post
Yes...I've been following the directions very closely.....After 56 days this is what I have.....
Ammonia....0ppm
PH.........7.6
Nitrite......0ppm
Nitrate....0ppm

So......any thoughts? Is it ready for fish? Been a long 8 weeks! Some people have told me to cycle it with fish....nope. Didn't want to harm any fish. Should I do a 25% water change today and add 2 fish tomorrow? Thanks for all the comments and thoughts.
Jim
If there are no live plants, add one or two small fish, something you want in the tank (i.e., not "cycling" fish to discard later). If you have some live plants, you can up the fish added a bit. I would not do a water change here.
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:12 PM   #23
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
The last few posts are dealing with varying issues involving cycling and seem to be getting a bit confused.

First, I do not recommend (and never use) "fish in cycling" per say. No matter which fish, the ammonia and nitrite at any level above zero is harmful. The fish may live, but it will likely be damaged somehow. These poisons are very lethal to all life (aside from the bacteria that feed on them obviously). Subjecting any "hardy" fish to poisoning to cycle the tank and then somehow discarding the fish makes no sense to me, and is in my view not responsible fish-keeping.

Live plants is a very different thing. Live plants that are sufficient in number and contain some at least that are fast growing will assimilate a lot of ammonia/ammonium. With sufficient plants and a few fish, the cycle still occurs but minimally to the extent that you should not detect ammonia or nitrite with our basic test kits, and the fish should feel no effects. It is basically the same as any established aquarium: fish and bacteria are continually producing ammonia, but live plants and nitrosomonas bacteria grab it quickly so that the fish have no negative effects [this assumes the tank is biologically balanced]. The same thing occurs in a new tank with lots of plants and few fish.
My mistake Byron, I did not mean to make it seem as though you do fish in cycle. I agree it is not very responsible fish keeping and I very much regret not knowing better before starting my tanks. The second one I didn't cycle it fully before I put the fish in.

I have been changing my water every day to keep the levels down near 0.

I am curious though. If you don't feed the tank or have fish in it. How do you cycle it with just plants? From everything I've been reading that you written I am not grasping this concept fully.

Last edited by Termato; 03-13-2012 at 03:24 PM..
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:45 PM   #24
 
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Not a problem Termato, I just wanted to clear things up esp for new members who can run off with this or that without the whole picture.

To the plants cycling. Plants need nitrogen, as all life does, and aquatic plants prefer it as ammonium. Ammonia produced by fish in respiration and by the bacteria breaking down waste changes to ammonium in acidic water. Plants grab it fast, faster than nitrosomonas bacteria in fact. In basic water the plants still out-compete the bacteria for the most part, and having taken up the ammonia they change it into ammonium to use as their nitrogen. Nitrite is not a by-product as it is with bacteria, so that problem is eliminated completely [assuming a balanced fish/plant/water ratio]. Plants can also take up ammonia and use it for other purposes, building certain proteins for instance, and they may store it too.

Plants can handle a lot of ammonia/ammonium, particularly the fast growing species and especially floating plants. The benefits of floating plants cannot be overstated; they assimilate CO2 from the air so they get more of it faster, and they are closer to the light so it is more intense, which means they can photosynthesize faster and thus use even more ammonia/ammonium and other nutrients from the water. Plus they release vast amounts of oxygen through their roots into the water column.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 03-13-2012 at 03:47 PM..
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:53 PM   #25
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Not a problem Termato, I just wanted to clear things up esp for new members who can run off with this or that without the whole picture.

To the plants cycling. Plants need nitrogen, as all life does, and aquatic plants prefer it as ammonium. Ammonia produced by fish in respiration and by the bacteria breaking down waste changes to ammonium in acidic water. Plants grab it fast, faster than nitrosomonas bacteria in fact. In basic water the plants still out-compete the bacteria for the most part, and having taken up the ammonia they change it into ammonium to use as their nitrogen. Nitrite is not a by-product as it is with bacteria, so that problem is eliminated completely [assuming a balanced fish/plant/water ratio]. Plants can also take up ammonia and use it for other purposes, building certain proteins for instance, and they may store it too.

Plants can handle a lot of ammonia/ammonium, particularly the fast growing species and especially floating plants. The benefits of floating plants cannot be overstated; they assimilate CO2 from the air so they get more of it faster, and they are closer to the light so it is more intense, which means they can photosynthesize faster and thus use even more ammonia/ammonium and other nutrients from the water. Plus they release vast amounts of oxygen through their roots into the water column.

Byron.
I wish there was a thank button on that post because I'd press it! Very nice. It is very good to know that the plants are helping lower the production of nitrite.

Decaying plant leaves will release these toxins as well? I am asking because I have some plant leaves that are starting to decay but not the entire leaf is dead yet. Do you recommend trimming the entire leaf or just the dead areas?

Okay so you plant your tank, but do you use food to start the cycle? You would need something to kick start the ammonia right?

And from what I read from the other article the only time you ever want to touch the substrate to remove waste is if you have a bacteria bloom caused by the overwhelming waste that the plants and other bacteria can't break down enough.

Thanks for the great help Byron!
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:07 PM   #26
 
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Quote:
I wish there was a thank button on that post
That is odd, not sure what's happening. I don't see that feature on any post here.

Quote:
Decaying plant leaves will release these toxins as well? I am asking because I have some plant leaves that are starting to decay but not the entire leaf is dead yet. Do you recommend trimming the entire leaf or just the dead areas?
Any organic matter breaking down releases ammonia and CO2. But this is never--or should never be--a concern because the plants and nitrosomonas bacteria handle it. I usually remove decaying plant leaves just for appearance. However, there is some value to leaving them longer, and that is because some nutrients are mobile, meaning that the plant can transport them from a decaying leaf to use in growing a new leaf. But this is really only significant if there is a nutrient deficiency of that particular nutrient existing in the aquarium.

Quote:
Okay so you plant your tank, but do you use food to start the cycle? You would need something to kick start the ammonia right?
No, assuming you mean the nitrification cycle. Ammonia occurs naturally, first via fish respiration. Then from fish waste, and the breaking down of that waste by snails and bacteria. Then from the breakdown of any other organics. There will never be a shortage of ammonia if there are fish in the tank.

Quote:
And from what I read from the other article the only time you ever want to touch the substrate to remove waste is if you have a bacteria bloom caused by the overwhelming waste that the plants and other bacteria can't break down enough.
Basically, yes. Though it may not be a bacterial bloom, it can be a sudden outbreak of cyanobacteria. Or a sudden rise in nitrates. Any of these would signal excess organics.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:20 AM   #27
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
That is odd, not sure what's happening. I don't see that feature on any post here.

Any organic matter breaking down releases ammonia and CO2. But this is never--or should never be--a concern because the plants and nitrosomonas bacteria handle it. I usually remove decaying plant leaves just for appearance. However, there is some value to leaving them longer, and that is because some nutrients are mobile, meaning that the plant can transport them from a decaying leaf to use in growing a new leaf. But this is really only significant if there is a nutrient deficiency of that particular nutrient existing in the aquarium.

No, assuming you mean the nitrification cycle. Ammonia occurs naturally, first via fish respiration. Then from fish waste, and the breaking down of that waste by snails and bacteria. Then from the breakdown of any other organics. There will never be a shortage of ammonia if there are fish in the tank.

Basically, yes. Though it may not be a bacterial bloom, it can be a sudden outbreak of cyanobacteria. Or a sudden rise in nitrates. Any of these would signal excess organics.
Very nice. Yeah that has been happening lately on some pages where you can't press thank you until 2 days later sometimes. I don't know why.

I found this in the Beginners guide to cycling that helped also:

Quote:
The planted tank method, then, is the practice of planting your tank heavily enough that any ammonia your fish might excrete can be absorbed directly by your plants. In other words, you plant the tank very heavily and immediately add a small number of fish, letting the plants take the place of beneficial bacteria as they normally would exist in a cycled tank.

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...#ixzz1p6n9bSQd
Do you need to use fertilizer and/or C02 on plants? Or can you just leave them in the aquarium? I haven't been doing anything to my plants other then buying them the correct lights. Is it beneficial or will using fertilizer effect the fish as well?
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:49 AM   #28
 
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Do you need to use fertilizer and/or C02 on plants? Or can you just leave them in the aquarium? I haven't been doing anything to my plants other then buying them the correct lights. Is it beneficial or will using fertilizer effect the fish as well?
Plant fertilizers made for use in an aquarium will not affect any fish or invertebrates provided they are not overdosed. And one would usually have to seriously overdose, as plants can take up many of these nutrients as toxins as well as nutrients. Though I would not deliberately push this limit.

To answer your main question, it depends...on the source water, fish load (species and number), feeding schedule and plant species. Taking each of these in turn:

Tap water in most areas contains some minerals. Only if you have very soft water (as I do) out of the tap will this not be a source of some minerals, depending what is in the water and how much.

Fish load and feeding go together; all nutrients required by plants will be found in most prepared (dry) fish foods--directly or indirectly--and these will make their way to the plants via waste entering the substrate and being broken down by snails and then bacteria (the snails just help this along faster). Whether this is sufficient depends upon how much is fed and the plant species.

Some plants need more nutrients than others. Low light plants in general need less, because they are slower growing. Stem plants and floating plants need more, always, because they are fast growing. Echinodorus (swords) are heavy feeders compared to many other plants.

Taking CO2 separately. This occur via biological processes ongoing in every aquarium. Fish and plant and bacteria respiration produce CO2 continually, day and night. The breakdown of organics by bacteria produces a lot of CO2, more than the afore-mentioned by far--which is why we leave the substrate alone. Provided this CO2 is sufficient in balance with the other nutrients and light intensity, plants will photosynthesize.

Those of us with natural or low-tech systems rely on nature to do most of the work, including providing CO2, oxygen, hydrogen [these three occur naturally in an aquarium] and other mineral nutrients. I have very soft water with basically no calcium, magnesium or potassium, so I must add these. I also use a liquid complete fertilizer, Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is the one I'm using now. Another near-identical product is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. Both have all nutrients included (except hydrogen and oxygen, and Flourish contains no carbon) in the relevant proportion to each other (this is important) needed by plants. Both assume you have medium hard water, so those minerals are minimal. Depending upon the response of your plants, and their species, you may find one of these liquids beneficial. Large swords will benefit from direct substrate fertilizer, the tabs such as Flourish Tabs sold for this purpose.

Light is the limiting factor, or should be; otherwise algae will take advantage. The nutrients can, within reason, be greater than what is needed, with no harmful effect. But light beyond the balance with any nutrient availability will encourage algae.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:10 PM   #29
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Plant fertilizers made for use in an aquarium will not affect any fish or invertebrates provided they are not overdosed. And one would usually have to seriously overdose, as plants can take up many of these nutrients as toxins as well as nutrients. Though I would not deliberately push this limit.

To answer your main question, it depends...on the source water, fish load (species and number), feeding schedule and plant species. Taking each of these in turn:

Tap water in most areas contains some minerals. Only if you have very soft water (as I do) out of the tap will this not be a source of some minerals, depending what is in the water and how much.

Fish load and feeding go together; all nutrients required by plants will be found in most prepared (dry) fish foods--directly or indirectly--and these will make their way to the plants via waste entering the substrate and being broken down by snails and then bacteria (the snails just help this along faster). Whether this is sufficient depends upon how much is fed and the plant species.

Some plants need more nutrients than others. Low light plants in general need less, because they are slower growing. Stem plants and floating plants need more, always, because they are fast growing. Echinodorus (swords) are heavy feeders compared to many other plants.

Taking CO2 separately. This occur via biological processes ongoing in every aquarium. Fish and plant and bacteria respiration produce CO2 continually, day and night. The breakdown of organics by bacteria produces a lot of CO2, more than the afore-mentioned by far--which is why we leave the substrate alone. Provided this CO2 is sufficient in balance with the other nutrients and light intensity, plants will photosynthesize.

Those of us with natural or low-tech systems rely on nature to do most of the work, including providing CO2, oxygen, hydrogen [these three occur naturally in an aquarium] and other mineral nutrients. I have very soft water with basically no calcium, magnesium or potassium, so I must add these. I also use a liquid complete fertilizer, Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement is the one I'm using now. Another near-identical product is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. Both have all nutrients included (except hydrogen and oxygen, and Flourish contains no carbon) in the relevant proportion to each other (this is important) needed by plants. Both assume you have medium hard water, so those minerals are minimal. Depending upon the response of your plants, and their species, you may find one of these liquids beneficial. Large swords will benefit from direct substrate fertilizer, the tabs such as Flourish Tabs sold for this purpose.

Light is the limiting factor, or should be; otherwise algae will take advantage. The nutrients can, within reason, be greater than what is needed, with no harmful effect. But light beyond the balance with any nutrient availability will encourage algae.
Wow I just got the knowledge ball dropped on me. Yeah that makes a lot of sense, my sword plants haven't been doing too well in my new tank. All of my other plants seem to be doing fine except for one of my corkscrew val grass plants.

This is all I found on my cities water report except what they mailed to us months ago (I don't have it anymore)

Salisbury - Tap Water Data by Homefacts.com - know more about pollution and water quality in Salisbury MD
AND
http://www.ci.salisbury.md.us/public...2010-Final.pdf

My pH out of the tap is about 7.4 to 7.6. It has a decently high leve of Nitrate in the water as well. On the water report it says 6.10ppm but everytime I test it it comes up between 40-80ppm so I think closer to 61.0ppm. They may be using a different test system.

I don't know how to test for minerals. I will look for this fertilizer as soon as i get off of work.

Right now I am running my lights on both tanks for about 11-12 hours a day. Almost everyone says that it is too much but I am afraid the plants are not getting enough light. I have noticed a build up of this reflective oil looking stuff by the filter (i thought it was algae but I don't know). I lowered the light exposure down on the 10 gallon to 10-11 hours a day and I am still running the 29 on 12 hours of day light.

I should probably get a timer and run between 10-11 max on both tanks (need to wait so I can buy the timers)

Last edited by Termato; 03-14-2012 at 12:13 PM..
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:32 PM   #30
 
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I'll respond separately on the water when I've checked the link.

Quote:
I don't know how to test for minerals.
Don't bother, you can't test for everything and years ago I learned that messing around with this or that made things worse. The tap water hardness will give us those minerals so calcium, magnesium are covered. The others may or may not be present but as I mentioned the complete liquid ferts are balanced and using their recommended dose is not going to hurt anything at such minimal levels.

Quote:
Right now I am running my lights on both tanks for about 11-12 hours a day. Almost everyone says that it is too much but I am afraid the plants are not getting enough light. I have noticed a build up of this reflective oil looking stuff by the filter (i thought it was algae but I don't know). I lowered the light exposure down on the 10 gallon to 10-11 hours a day and I am still running the 29 on 12 hours of day light.

I should probably get a timer and run between 10-11 max on both tanks (need to wait so I can buy the timers)
Aquarium plants can manage with as little as six hours out of every 24. This is the only limit to duration. The intensity is more crucial. And one does not compensate for the other. If the light intensity over the tank is not sufficient, leaving lights on longer does not make any improvement--but it will grow more algae. Once the intensity is sufficient to balance the nutrients, and they are all available, plants will photosynthesize (grow) full out--until something is no longer available, then they slow and may even stop. As I said earlier, if this happens and light is still on, you will see algae increase.

I have my lights on according to algae. It varies from tank to tank, so obviously many factors play into this. Back in the 1990's I had the lights on for 15 hours daily, and no algae issues. Presently I have them on for 8-9 hours daily and I had to cut back to this due to brush algae issues. In the summer, the additional daylight (more bright and longer) coming in the windows caused algae, so I've now solved that with heavy drapes and blinds in the fish room.

Timers are a good idea, both for plants and fish. A regular schedule is best. It can vary, depending when you are normally home to enjoy the tank. You can read more on lighting and its effect on fish here:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...er-fish-81982/

The oil stuff--if it is like a film on the water surface that is a protein scum. If it is dark green and slimy, that is cyanobacteria.

Swords need good nutrient supply; I have managed well with just adding the Flourish Comprehensive [if this is the product you get, make sure it is the Comprehensive, as they make several products in the Flourish line] twice a week. And now I have the root tabs so Flourish Comp once a week. Each tank can be a bit different.
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