Question regarding cycling a planted aquarium - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-17-2013, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Question Question regarding cycling a planted aquarium

Hi all

I'm currently in the process of setting up a 55 gallon low-tech planted aquarium. I'm interested in using the fish-less silent cycling method to cycle my aquarium. The articles I have read regarding silent cycling a planted aquarium recommend using fast growing stem plants such as Ceratopteris thalictroides, Hygrophila, et cetera, until the aquarium is established, and then replacing them with the plants of your choosing.

My question is, is it necessary to use these fast growing species when cycling the aquarium, or is it possible to plant slower growing species, such as Amazon Sword, Anubias, and Java Fern, that I would like to keep in the long run?

I'm not too concerned if doing it this way will make my cycling slower, however I'm concerned it could have adverse effects.

I guess I just like the simplicity of planting my choice species from the get go rather than swapping them out with the fast growers along the track.

I'm entirely new to tropical fish keeping, so please forgive me if I've misused any terminology.

Thanks
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-17-2013, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keywan View Post
Hi all

I'm currently in the process of setting up a 55 gallon low-tech planted aquarium. I'm interested in using the fish-less silent cycling method to cycle my aquarium. The articles I have read regarding silent cycling a planted aquarium recommend using fast growing stem plants such as Ceratopteris thalictroides, Hygrophila, et cetera, until the aquarium is established, and then replacing them with the plants of your choosing.

My question is, is it necessary to use these fast growing species when cycling the aquarium, or is it possible to plant slower growing species, such as Amazon Sword, Anubias, and Java Fern, that I would like to keep in the long run?

I'm not too concerned if doing it this way will make my cycling slower, however I'm concerned it could have adverse effects.

I guess I just like the simplicity of planting my choice species from the get go rather than swapping them out with the fast growers along the track.

I'm entirely new to tropical fish keeping, so please forgive me if I've misused any terminology.

Thanks


First of Welcome to the forum!

With enough plants and a slow stocking process you won't even see a cycle. There is no reason to get plants from the start that you don't want in your tank.
When ppl suggest fast growers such as the stems you mentioned its because they will pull nutrients out of the water faster such as ammonia. All plants will as its a food source some just do it slower like Anubias and Java ferns.

If you are planning to cycle your tank and have live plants then the plants you said are fine. If you plan on cycling your tank with live plants then you will need faster growing plants and more at the very least I would suggest some type of floating plant. These will pull out nutrients out of the water just as fast as stems do but shade the fish and plants below. Most tropical fish do not appreciate bright lights and most come from dull light rivers/streams. There are some plants that will appreciate the shade too like Anubias and Java fern.

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post #3 of 7 Old 04-17-2013, 05:47 AM
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Yah, what Byron said... With a clarification, if you plan on planting and putting fish in immediately then you need to have enough plants to replace the cycle up front and this is why the fast growing stems and floaters are beneficial as they use the ammonia much faster than the slower growing plants.

Of course if you really pack in the swords etc, the result would be similar. The plants use the ammonia and it it doesn't get converted to nitrite or, in turn, nitrate, or mot nearly so much of it does.

The caveat is that you need to stock the fish slowly (2-3 weeks between) so as to not have enough ammonia production to still end up with a nitrite spike... I did that with my second batch of fish to no harm, but it still spiked. The cycle still occurs but it is a background event and small enough to not be noticeable or harmful to the fish.

Jeff.


Total years fish keeping experience: 7 months, can't start counting in years for a while yet.

The shotgun approach to a planted tank with an LED fixture

Small scale nitrogen cycle with a jar, water and fish food; no substrate, filter etc
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-17-2013, 10:45 AM
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Keywan, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum, and to the hobby.

I concur with what the previous members have posted. The main thing is to keep the initial fish n umbers low, and have as many plants as you can get. There is more than just the cycling in this; planting a tank well from the beginning seems to result in a better planted tank. And the more plants, the more ammonia/ammonium they need, which avoids cycling if the first fish are not overwhelming. You also have a larger tank, 55g, and the more water volume the better for the first fish too.

Swords are fairly fast growing, Anubias and Java Fern much less. I would still add some floating plants, like Water Sprite if you can find it. Forest fish appreciate the shade, and floating plants are very fast growing so they use a lot of nutrients.

As you are a new member, I'll mention our profiles section, second heading from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page. Fish and plants are included. If the name in the profile is typed exactly the same in a post, it shades to form a link to that profile.

Byron.

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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post #5 of 7 Old 04-17-2013, 02:40 PM
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frogbit is a personal favorite floater of mine... only if it would take off in my tank =/
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-17-2013, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great advice.

I really like the look of Water Sprite and Amazon Frogbit, so I will definitely be getting either one or both for the surface of the aquarium. I'm fairly impartial towards duckweed, but due to it's rater uncontrollable reputation I think I will voluntarily avoid it; chances are it will make it into the tank whether I want it or not.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-18-2013, 01:14 PM
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Duckweed serves a good purpose in sucking out Nitrates but I don't like the plant at all!
I had once before as a hitchhiker plant and was unaware of it too it start taking over my tank. I now once again got it back cause of the same reason.
when you get new plants you can rinse them off really good and look over them to make sure. I generally don't do this. I usually just get the plants in and plant them in my tank. There are some ppl that quarantine their plants for various reason but I have never been one of those ppl. Guess that's why I end up with duckweed. LoL
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