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I would do the plants first, when I set up my 150 gallon I put plants in right away and my tank cycled a lot faster.
Originally Posted by Adamson View Post
With live plants there should be no discernible rise in ammonia or nitrite. The plants grab the majority of ammonia and use it as ammonium, and nitrite is not a by-product.
However, some ammonia obviously gets past the plants, eventually if not initially, and nitrosomonas bacteria will naturally colonize accordingly, and from that Nitrospira to handle the minimal nitrite. This is your "cycle." But this is (or should be) so minimal you cannot detect it with our basic test kits, and no harm is done to the fish.
This is why in a natural planted tank nitrates are so low; many planted tanks have zero nitrates, mine run < 5ppm. The more fish you have and/or the higher the organics the more likely some nitrates may appear, if the ammonia is being produced from these sources beyond the capacity of the plants to take it up.
Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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