Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Srgtpepper 01-15-2008 10:08 PM

Cycling with plants/lighting
Hello, I had read somewhere that you can cycle your tank using plants, is this true?
Also, what is the best lighting for a planted tank?

fish_4_all 01-16-2008 10:33 AM

Yes you can cycle a tank with plants, I am doing it right now myself.

As for the bestlighting for plants, it depends on what plants you want and ow much you want to spend. Low light doesn't need any thing special and you can select a few low light plants. Medium to medium low light plants need more light but don't need much special short of basic fertilizers. High to very high light requires CO2 injeciton a fair number or fertilizers and almost requires a good substrate but you can still get away with regular gravel with some sort of enhancer in the gravel. Extremely high light requires CO2 injection, a quality substrate like Eco complete, lots of good ferttilizers and lots of them as well as a very good understanding of dosing needs and deficiencies. Everyhting happens faster and more drastically the high the light light levels are.

Let us know what you are looking to do as far as plants and we can give you more specifics on what you may need. HERE is a site to check what lighting gives you what levels, is a good place to get started.

Srgtpepper 01-16-2008 10:35 PM

Thanks for the reply! I want to use live plants in my freshwater tank that I am getting soon. I plan to have platys, tetras, mollys, and other tropical community fish

Srgtpepper 01-18-2008 07:52 PM

I was thinking of using swords, mondo grass, vallisneria, java fern, cobomba, hornwort and java moss(for shrimp).
Also, how long does cycling with plants take, and how do you go about it? I know I saw a link somewhere but I can't find it.

fish_4_all 01-18-2008 09:08 PM

Plants may or may not speed up the cycle. It all depends on the tank. Be aware that a tank may show that the cycle is finished becase theplants are using up the extra ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Always add fish slowly to make sure the tank can handle the bioload regardless of the way a tank is cycled.

Srgtpepper 01-19-2008 11:25 AM

So it would be beneficial to add plants and seed the tank with used gravel/filter media from a friend's tank as well?
The plants I mentioned, would they require any specific lighting or will a regular aquarium light suffice?

Srgtpepper 01-27-2008 07:45 PM


fish_4_all 01-27-2008 08:52 PM

No Special lighting per say. Vals, swords, Cabomba and Monda Grass will all grow really slow and could get algae because of it.

As for as benfical to add plants, it will neither hurt nor help. Seeding the tank will help, or at least it can.

A cycle can take 2 weeks or it can take 3 months. All I can say it is it over when your ammonia and nitrites drop to and stay at 0 for a week.

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