Adding plants during cycle - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 04-20-2010, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Adding plants during cycle

Can I add live plants to my 10 gal during my cycle? I already have 4 in there. I just didn't want to go to far if I shouldn't be doing it. Also should there be any acclimation process for plants?
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post #2 of 5 Old 04-20-2010, 11:58 AM
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Plants will help the new tank cycling process, and the more there are the better. In a well-planted tank, fish can be added immediately. I would only add 1 or 2 fish at first to be safe, but the plants will assimilate the ammonia from the fish by changing it to ammonium, their preferred source of nitrogen.

Plants do not need acclimating to a tank. Most will show no effects, some will grow new leaves and lose the existing leaves over a few weeks (swords particularly), and crypts may melt completely but will sprout new leaves. No form of "acclimating" will prevent any of this, it is the individual plant's response to any change.


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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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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post #3 of 5 Old 04-20-2010, 12:18 PM
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Byron is spot-on, as always.

I sometimes encourage people who throw fish in their tank without knowing about cycling to just buy tons of plants...
not because it'll prevent all deaths, but it might save a few.

My only confusion on the subject, is that I've read you should introduce slow-growing plants early, then fast growing ones to fill the gaps.
I don't think that applies if you WANT them to use up ammonia... Sure, all plants use ammonia, but their growth rate increases their demand for it.
I would speculate, for example, that a couple bunches of a stem plant (something with a lot of surface area- water wisteria, hornwort,anarchis perhaps) would suck up as much ammonia as 5-6 similiarly sized plants of anubias or java fern since they grow so slow.
That only really applies if you want to skip the cycling process alltogether by heavily planting- any plant will speed up the process.

Originally Posted by Christople View Post
^^ genius

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post #4 of 5 Old 04-21-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. can't wait to put more plants in my tank. I can wait on the fish tho. I'm used to have a limited amount of fish doing a 29 gal reef tank. You guys are awesome.
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post #5 of 5 Old 04-21-2010, 08:03 PM
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On Byron's advice I started up my 90g a couple months ago with many plants. The "cycle" never happened as the plants ate up the ammonia and then nitrite. I never added fish for about 2 weeks to be safe but my tests never showed any hits on a traditional cycle. Best of luck on your tank and we are looking for forward to pictures...Kym wants closeups as per usual


"Whether you think you can, or think you cannot, you are correct; Henry Ford"
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