03-28-2008, 08:47 PM
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You can add the plants straight away, but as the plants will take up some ammonia they *may* slow down your cycle. If it is a fishless cycle, that may sound like bad news, but in a fish cycle your plants will be of benefit, even if the cycle is slowed.
Opinion appears to be split on this effect of having plants in a (fishless) cycling tank, but I believe that it slowed my fishless cycle down and the fact that some people planning a heavily planted but very lightly planted tank do not cycle seems to support this. I wouldn't recommend cycling with plants, except for the very experienced fishkepper (I exclude myself from that btw in case you think I may be patronising you - I'm not!).
You can use polyester thread or fishing line (for example) to tie the plants down, but others prefer elastic bands as they will degrade in time, by which point the roots will usually be gripping the wood not to need the elastic anymore. The thing to be wary of in using anything to tie down plants is that you don't leave threads hanging, or have any loose areas, since fish can get stuck easily (I've had a bad experience with hairnet, thread and a very lucky plec).
As to your last question, I don't know tbh. I've used bogwod, mopani and sumatran wood with no floating - it has all sunk. I suspect that soaking it for a pronlonged period may do the trick, but as to how long *shrug*. You can use some flat slate to use as a base and just screw it in with some galvanised screws or the like - actually, this is a good idea since it can mean that you can place to wood as desired (ie in an angle to suit you) and you'll have added stability.