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Old 07-16-2003, 12:47 PM   #1
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Adding plants to a barely cycled tank?

Howdy folks:

As some of you know, I'm in the process of fishless cycling a new 10g which I am planning on making a planted tank. Currently levels are: 2.0 ppm ammonia, 3.0 ppm nitrItes and 20 ppm nitrAtes.

My plec has gotten a taste for the Amazon swords I have in my 25g, and I'd like to save some of the babies. Can I put them into the cycling 10g? Or will the ammonia levels likely kill them? They were going in anyway, just don't know if I should wait.

Thanx!
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Old 07-16-2003, 01:15 PM   #2
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Kind of ends up being a 2 part answer.

I don't think 2ppm amonia will kill them. But here is what will happen: Ammonia is one of the favorite "foods" of most aq plants. Your plants will uptake the ammonia, leaving less in the tank for the cycle to be completed. However, if you are just talking about moving a few baby swords over to your 10, it prolly won't affect the cycle much. Also, sword plants get more of their food through the roots, perhaps they won't remove much ammonia from the water. I'd say go for it.
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Old 07-16-2003, 01:30 PM   #3
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I've always made plants part of the cycle, putting them in right after getting the gravel bed wet.

since the point of the cycle is to establish a biological filtration system, the plants are part of that system.

I think it would take a LOT of ammonia to kill most plants, maybe some of the less hardy species might be affected by high levels.

I've never done a fishless cycle however, I always use a few brave soles to break in a new tank.

fwiw
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Old 07-16-2003, 01:31 PM   #4
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Wheeeeha! Heh, they're going in now then. Since the plants on order won't be coming in for a few weeks, and none of the LFS have the fish I want, theres no rush on the cycle (although it IS moving along more rapidly then I expected).

Thanx for saving my poor swords corvus & glm; they will certainly appreciate it
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Old 07-16-2003, 01:34 PM   #5
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Oh and as an aside, I chose the fishless cycling route as the fish I am looking at most prob wouldn't do well as cycling fish (cardinals, dwarf gouramis and otos/cories).
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Old 07-16-2003, 01:49 PM   #6
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Good going with the fishless. I agree that it will only slow the cycle down. Another thing you can do is what I do when I am "holding" plants till I am ready for them. I just fill an ice cream container with tank water and place them in the window. Most will last a long time.
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Old 07-16-2003, 02:58 PM   #7
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Whoohoo! Another excuse to buy more ice cream (like i need one *grin*). I may actually go that route to QT the plants...great idea

Btw, today's nitrogen levels are 1.0 ppm ammonia, 5.0 ppm nitrites, 20-40 ppm nitrates. Ack. I have an almost cycled tank and practically nothing to put IN it.
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Old 07-16-2003, 04:26 PM   #8
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Geez I wish some of you folks lived near me. I have literally several hundred plants I'd gladly give away. I don't like my lfs, all tanks are full, and have no plant tank buddies in the area. Can't ship this time of year either.
Right now there two 5 gallon buckets on my deck full of unneeded plants. Esp. in warm weather, they do great outside in a bucket!
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Old 07-16-2003, 08:02 PM   #9
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I added plants during my fishless cycle. It did not appear to hurt it in anyway. Actually, it really helped. My NitrAte reading was about 60 ppm before the NitrItes had peaked. I was already starting to grow a lot of algae. I added some plants which all did very well (almost too well). My NitrAtes dropped to undetectable levels before the NitrItes were finished. Since I was still adding Ammonia to the tank daily, I do not think the plants got it all because the NitrItes continued to climb and dropped to zero. However, my Ammonia level was a lot higher than 2 ppm when I added plants.
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Old 07-17-2003, 01:17 AM   #10
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Popped the amazon in earlier today, plugged in the coralife lamp, and the tank looks SO pathetic LOL one lil plant in the middle of nowhere.

Augh. I wish I knew sooner corvuscorax; I've already placed an order. And I'm going to to Va in a coupla weeks. I'd prob get YOUR plants before the order comes in LOL my timing is atrocious.

Oh good to hear joker...I really wanted to get some of the swords out as the plec has gotten a taste for them and is starting to strip the leaves. I'll leave the big plants in there and make him happy, but I didn't want to lose the babies. Glad to know I won't (long as I don't muck things up LOL).
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Old 07-30-2003, 11:45 AM   #11
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Planted Tanks and the "Silent Cycle" by Jared Weinberger

Ammonia and Nitrite kits are usually useful when cycling a tank. However, if your tank is heavily planted, the chances are you won't see an ammonia or nitrite spike if you track these parameters when cycling. In fact, the only indication that your tank has cycled may be the appearance of nitrates. Even then you may not get a reading: heavily planted tanks with a light to moderate fish load often test zero nitrates, since the plants take up some of the ammonia before the bacteria convert it, plus most plant species can back-convert both nitrite and nitrate to ammonia (ammonium). If you let a large plant load get established for a week or two in your new setup, it's usually safe start to add groups of fish in weekly increments, but testing for zero ammonia and nitrite first is always a good idea. Remember to put in some fish food while your plant are getting established so they and the beneficial bacteria have some nitrogenous waste for food. In addition to planting heavily, it's wise to start out with a nice percentage of stem plants, which, growing fast, consume more nutrients (fish waste). Once your tank is well-established and in balance, you can start to replace some of the stem plants with slower-growing, rooted ones (if you like).

Fishless cycles are for FISH tanks.
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Old 07-31-2003, 08:09 PM   #12
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Agreed. This is exactly what I did with my 40 tall. Never saw a nitrite or ammonia peak at all.
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