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Old 10-14-2008, 03:44 PM   #1
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Planting/ Ammonia Question

Hello - I am looking for some advice. I set my new tank up and followed all the guidelines that I have found both here and from information from the shop. I think I have it all done and am cycling my tank (started it all on saturday).

I have a few newbie questions that I could not really find the answers to as there seems to be so much information:

1) Do I need to add ammonia or can I just leave the tank to cycle naturally with the plants and let nature takes it course? Will ammonia really help?

2) I have a layer of gravel and all my plants are in, along with one piece of driftwood. Do I need to add anything to help the plants grow, or will they just take and grow naturally. I read somewhere that you need to put substrate down or add plant food to help them - is this true?

Many thanks for your help!
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:01 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!

1) We'll need some details about your tank. How heavily planted is it? If it's not that heavily planted, it's a good idea to provide an ammonia source and let it cycle before adding fish. If it is very heavily planted, you can do what's called a silent cycle. This is essentially when you have enough healthy plants available to consume the ammonia that would be produced by the fish.

2) What size tank, how much lighting, and what kinds of plants do you have? This will determine if you need to add any supplementation for them to thrive.
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Old 10-14-2008, 04:10 PM   #3
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i would still do a fishless cycle. its possible to cycle a planted tank but its not easy and better for the more advanced user. plus you also stock very slowly, such as a couple fish at a time.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:13 AM   #4
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Thank you for your fast response

In answer to your questions:
1) I have a 60 liter (16 gallon tank) with 9 plants in there.
2) I have a 15W fluorescent light tube which I have on 12 hours a day by timer
3) In terms of the plants I have, I am ashamed to say I am not sure. I did not keep the tabs with the plant names. I can also go back to the shop and find them out if I need to

If it helps, I have uploaded some pictures of my setup:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...albums268.html

My readings yesterday were:
dKH - 6
pH - 7.5
NO2 - 0.2
NO3 - 10

Once again thanks for all your help and advice - these forums are a life saver!
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:21 AM   #5
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That's a very low light setup. You'll want to try to stick to Anubia, Crypt, Java Fern, and Java Moss for the most part. The plant with the white veining is probably not a true aquatic and probably won't make it submerged for very long. You best bet is to remove it now and place it in a regular pot if you want to save it, or to be prepared to remove it immediately when it starts to disintegrate. I've got a feeling that a large number of the plants that you selected require more light than you are providing.

In this situation you really aren't going to be able to do a silent cycle. A fishless cycle is going to be chancy because of the amount of time that you are keeping the light on for the plants. The combination of high Ammonia levels from fishless cycling with lots of light often results in green water which can be quite the pain to get rid of.
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Old 10-15-2008, 11:14 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info Purrbox - what would your advice be to fix this? Get a better bulb and not keep it on as long?
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarquin View Post
Get a better bulb and not keep it on as long?

Well you cannot just get a different bulb b/c any bulb that fits in there will only be 15w as the ballast is what provides power and only gives 15w.

What are the dimensions of your tank in inches?
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:04 PM   #8
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57cm x 35cm x 30cm and in inches that comes to 22.4 x 13.8 x 11.8
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Old 10-15-2008, 01:24 PM   #9
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hmm is that a standard size where you are?

Its hard to say since I'm not sure what you have available as it may be different than the US.

Like here we have 10 gallon tanks standard that are 20.25" x 10.5" x 12.5". Here are our standard sizes:
Fish Aquarium and Tank* Sizes and Characteristics, starting an aquarium, buying equipment, choosing tanks

Anyway on this 10G the easiest way to get better lighting is just to buy one that has a hood that uses Incandescent bulbs(screw in bulbs) this way you can just buy some Spiral compact fluorescent replacements and can pick many different wattages.

Here is some info, I retrofitted my stock 15w tube hood to fit screw in bulbs, If I new better I would have bought the incandescent hood to begin with to save me some hassle.
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Old 10-15-2008, 03:22 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info Purrbox - what would your advice be to fix this? Get a better bulb and not keep it on as long?
Ideally when doing a fishless cycle, you would wait until after the cycle is complete to add the plants. This way you can keep the light off until after the cycle is complete and avoid the risk of green water resulting from the combination of Ammonia and Light.

As suggested by another member you could upgrade your light fixture, which would give you a better chance of growing the plants that you already have. Then you could add some medium to low light fast growing stem plants, and do a silent cycle. You'd want to let the plants get established and growing well for a couple of weeks before slowly starting to add fish.
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:20 PM   #11
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for starts its a good idea but i have done fishless cycles fully planted. it really helps to speed things up. someone starting out learning the basics of a fishless cycle i think its best to go with no plants. when your starting out its best to make things as easy as possible vs shooting for the moon.
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Old 10-15-2008, 04:58 PM   #12
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If the LFS you bought your plants at is willing to part with some of his subsrate (gravel) or give you some seeded filter floss to put in your filter this may help you silent cycle along aswell. I know it does for me. Recently i killed off all of my beneficial bacteria in my QT tank and i just re-seeded it from my allready cycled main tank... Hope that helps.
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