Has anybody put fish in a uncycled planted tank?
So heres what Im thinking, I hear that kuhli loaches have a pretty light bioload and that with plants I wont really have to cycle, taking it slow of course.
I have quite a few plants in my 75 gallon and its been running for weeks with the unkillable snails and a few rotting leaves floating around. I feel like it would be safe to put in a couple of these loaches given the size of the tank and the plants. And I plan on shaking a filter from another tank in the water either before I leave to get them or while Im acclimating them.
Anybody have some words of wisdom here?
If that was my tank I'd have no hesitation adding the kuhlis. There are only snails in the tank right now? Lots of plants? I don't see a problem. What are your water parameters?? Are you getting a reading for nitrAtes yet??
They seem to be doing fine, despite the traumatic happenings when I bought them. So I had the guy get me 3 of them and as soon as he lifted the decoration they swamp up in it and as his was trying to get them out 2 of the 3 spent some time on the floor.
They seem to be doing fine although they are great at hiding and I only see one at a time every couple hours as it does a lap around the tank then back to hiding, but those few seconds are great. Like right as I turned off the lights last night they came out.
They will be more active at night since by nature they are nocturnal. Lessening the overhead light also works to calm them; have the tank as dimly lit as necessary for the plants; a layer of floating plants is ideal to achieve this, and they will be out more just with that. All nocturnal or semi-nocturnal fish will be out more in dim lighting.
Providing lots (and I mean, lots) of hiding places is necessary or they will be highly stressed. Groups of 5-6 or more will lessen their timidity and stress, but they still need refuge. Interestingly, as with most similar-habit fish, they are out more during the day if they have plenty of hiding spots to disappear into, it seems to calm them if they know they can escape. Their need for this is why they are so often trapped and caught in filters, even undergravel plates. They can enter the smallest openings, looking for hiding spots.
They also like leaf litter on the substrate; in their habitat they spend hours turning over leaves and searching under them for food.
They should always be added to an established tank; however, with plenty of plants there will be no cycling issues, which gets back to your original question. However, established means more than just cycled, and it takes a couple months for most tanks to settled into a biologically established state. Avoiding any fluctuations in hardness, pH and temp will help, as will weekly water changes with water close to the tank water in parameters.
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