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rapdor 17-08-2003 01:12 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
When starting up a new tank using the fishless cycle method, should I
include aquatic plants or just the gravel and driftwood?



LeighMo 17-08-2003 01:22 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
When starting up a new tank using the fishless cycle method, should I
include aquatic plants or just the gravel and driftwood?


If this is going to be a high-light, CO2-injected tank, consider using Chuck's
no-cycle method:

http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_newtank.htm

If you can't do this, leave the plants out until after the tank has cycled.
The high ammonia levels you get during a fishless cycle will cause algae
problems. Put the plants in at the same time as the fish.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

Chuck Gadd 17-08-2003 06:33 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
On 17 Aug 2003 12:11:30 GMT, tose (LeighMo) wrote:

http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_newtank.htm

If you can't do this, leave the plants out until after the tank has cycled.
The high ammonia levels you get during a fishless cycle will cause algae
problems. Put the plants in at the same time as the fish.


Note: if you do the fishless cycle method, try to keep the tank as
dark as possible. Leigh's point is very true. The ammonia will most
definitely feed algae. Keeping the tank dark will hopefully eliminate
most of it.

If you have high light plus available ammonia, you will get lots of
algae.



Chuck Gadd
http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua

rapdor 17-08-2003 08:42 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
OK, will follow you advice--I didn't realise about the algae, so that's
saved me some grief. Thanks gents.



rapdor 17-08-2003 08:45 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
OK, will follow you advice--I didn't realise about the algae, so that's
saved me some grief. Thanks gents.



[email protected] 17-08-2003 10:22 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
"rapdor" wrote in message ...
When starting up a new tank using the fishless cycle method, should I
include aquatic plants or just the gravel and driftwood?


Why would you need fishless cycling in the first place?
Plants assimilate NH4. The first product of fish waste. The end
product of the bacterial cycle is NO3, also used by plants. So if you
add plants from the start, there is no "cycle" since you are growing
plants, bacteria on the other hand will simply adjust to whatever is
left over. Your NH4 dosing in th start will produce a large colony,
but this large colony will die back to a nominal level after wards.

As far as adding a good colony on bacteria, what the heck wait 2-3
weeks? This is foolish. Simply vacuum an established tank/(friend's,
one of yours, a LFS's, etc) and add the mulm/dirt/detritus tot he
bottom half of the gravel/a little bit into the filter and there you
are, a fully cycled tank with the bacteria and a little organic
material.

That's all that's missing from an established tank, the bacteria and
organic material. It's plain silly to wait and spend time messing with
this fishless cycling mumbo. It takes less time to do a 50% weekly
water change in th beginning to prevent any build up. A weekly 50%
water change is cheaper and certainly simpler as well.

Why folks get this fishless cycling hair is way beyond me. LFS's and
folks that kept fish long before ggest and we added the fish that day
or the next.

I've never measured any NH4 with a Lamott kit on any plant tank. Also
plant roots are loaded with bacteria and will help cycle a tank
quickly.

If you live far away from a LFS/don't have any established tanks
already/don't have any fish tank friends around etc, then you might
consider this method, but I cannot think of many other situations
where it would be useful for non planted tank. For a planted tank,
there is no use for fishless cycling at all.

Regards,
Tom Barr

~Vicki ~ 18-08-2003 06:24 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I have to agree with Tom here. In the 20+ years I have kept fish I have
never done a fishless cycle. It is a waist of time in my opinion.
Start out with one or two fish a week or "seed" your tank from someone
elses' established tank. Add your plants and enjoy your tank. Check
with your LFS and ask for a handful of gravel or used filter media.
They should give it to you for free or next to nothing.


Vicki


~Vicki ~ 18-08-2003 06:35 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I have to agree with Tom here. In the 20+ years I have kept fish I have
never done a fishless cycle. It is a waist of time in my opinion.
Start out with one or two fish a week or "seed" your tank from someone
elses' established tank. Add your plants and enjoy your tank. Check
with your LFS and ask for a handful of gravel or used filter media.
They should give it to you for free or next to nothing.


Vicki


~Vicki ~ 18-08-2003 06:39 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I have to agree with Tom here. In the 20+ years I have kept fish I have
never done a fishless cycle. It is a waist of time in my opinion.
Start out with one or two fish a week or "seed" your tank from someone
elses' established tank. Add your plants and enjoy your tank. Check
with your LFS and ask for a handful of gravel or used filter media.
They should give it to you for free or next to nothing.


Vicki


rapdor 18-08-2003 10:53 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Hmmmm.

Yes, well, waiting several weeks with a brand new $1,000 tank in the lounge
room but no fish doesn't appeal to me either. In fact, I doubt my own
capacity to let it sit there, fishless, totally fishless, for that long.

I haven't kept fish for over 30 years, so thought I'd better catch up on the
latest ideas. And fishless cycling seems to be very prominent among those
new ideas. However my concern with the replies from yourself and Tom is
that you are both telling me exactly what I want to hear. And I like it.

Anyway, it's food for thought. Thanks for your replies.



LeighMo 18-08-2003 12:09 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I have to agree with Tom here. In the 20+ years I have kept fish I have
never done a fishless cycle. It is a waist of time in my opinion.
Start out with one or two fish a week or "seed" your tank from someone
elses' established tank. Add your plants and enjoy your tank. Check
with your LFS and ask for a handful of gravel or used filter media.
They should give it to you for free or next to nothing.


I've done it both ways, and I think both methods have their place.

There are good reasons why you might want to put in all the fish at once. If
you're keeping aggressive Africans, for example, an instant crowd reduces
bloodshed. Or if you're ordering your fish online, and there's a flat delivery
charge, regardless of how many fish you order.

And if you don't have a quarantine tank, putting all the fish in at once is
probably better than treating the tank with a prophylactic ich medication for
weeks and weeks as you gradually add new fish -- especially if you're setting
up a very large tank.



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

LeighMo 18-08-2003 12:20 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I have to agree with Tom here. In the 20+ years I have kept fish I have
never done a fishless cycle. It is a waist of time in my opinion.
Start out with one or two fish a week or "seed" your tank from someone
elses' established tank. Add your plants and enjoy your tank. Check
with your LFS and ask for a handful of gravel or used filter media.
They should give it to you for free or next to nothing.


I've done it both ways, and I think both methods have their place.

There are good reasons why you might want to put in all the fish at once. If
you're keeping aggressive Africans, for example, an instant crowd reduces
bloodshed. Or if you're ordering your fish online, and there's a flat delivery
charge, regardless of how many fish you order.

And if you don't have a quarantine tank, putting all the fish in at once is
probably better than treating the tank with a prophylactic ich medication for
weeks and weeks as you gradually add new fish -- especially if you're setting
up a very large tank.



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

Jim Seidman 19-08-2003 06:42 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
tose (LeighMo) wrote in message ...
I've done it both ways, and I think both methods have their place.

There are good reasons why you might want to put in all the fish at once. If
you're keeping aggressive Africans, for example, an instant crowd reduces
bloodshed. Or if you're ordering your fish online, and there's a flat delivery
charge, regardless of how many fish you order.


Even adding several fish at once, you can avoid cycling. I recently
tore down my 125-gallon community tank to replace the substrate,
temporarily putting about 20 fish in a plastic tub.

Two days later, the tank was back together. I didn't "seed" the tank
with mulm. It's running filterless, so I didn't save filter bacteria.
I didn't do much of anything except add a lot of plants before putting
the fish back.

I must admit that I was a little nervous about this, so I diligently
monitored NH3 and NO2 levels. Nothing. Neither ever reached a
detectable level. And I'm not even using CO2 injection, and only 120W
of light!

I am now convinced that it's a lot easier to take care of the ammonia
than people normally believe. I'll certainly never cycle a community
tank again.

- Jim

LeighMo 19-08-2003 10:21 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Even adding several fish at once, you can avoid cycling. I recently
tore down my 125-gallon community tank to replace the substrate,
temporarily putting about 20 fish in a plastic tub.

Two days later, the tank was back together. I didn't "seed" the tank
with mulm. It's running filterless, so I didn't save filter bacteria.
I didn't do much of anything except add a lot of plants before putting
the fish back.

I must admit that I was a little nervous about this, so I diligently
monitored NH3 and NO2 levels. Nothing. Neither ever reached a
detectable level. And I'm not even using CO2 injection, and only 120W
of light!

I am now convinced that it's a lot easier to take care of the ammonia
than people normally believe. I'll certainly never cycle a community
tank again.


I'm glad it worked out for you, but I really can't recommend that everyone try
this method. I've read far too many frantic posts from newbies in a panic
because their fish are dying due to ammonia. Heck, I can still remember when I
*was* that frantic newbie.

I don't know how big your 20 fish were, but since you're running filterless, it
sounds like you don't have much bioload in your very large tank. That can be a
wonderful, low-maintenance way to keep a tank, but most of us, and especially
newbies, tend to overstock. We need our filters, and stocking such a tank
fully overnight is likely to cause nightmarish cycling problems.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

[email protected] 19-08-2003 10:21 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Jim et al have never found any NH4 or NO2 when starting and new tank
with plants if set up properly or the method I suggested,
I'm not just tooting here, I have Lamott test kits and have used
them...........

Many many folks have found the same thing, blah blah blah on the
fishless cycling, get it out of here.
If I can do this with Discus and not have issues(no NH4/NO2 measured),
I think I can say pretty confidently it does not have a place in a
planted aquaria.

I mean don't folks do water changes frequently in the beginning also?

I'm lucky to get any nitrogen for that matter.........I'm adding it
for pete sake.

Regards,
Tom Barr

(Jim Seidman) wrote in message om...
tose (LeighMo) wrote in message ...
I've done it both ways, and I think both methods have their place.

There are good reasons why you might want to put in all the fish at once. If
you're keeping aggressive Africans, for example, an instant crowd reduces
bloodshed. Or if you're ordering your fish online, and there's a flat delivery
charge, regardless of how many fish you order.


Even adding several fish at once, you can avoid cycling. I recently
tore down my 125-gallon community tank to replace the substrate,
temporarily putting about 20 fish in a plastic tub.

Two days later, the tank was back together. I didn't "seed" the tank
with mulm. It's running filterless, so I didn't save filter bacteria.
I didn't do much of anything except add a lot of plants before putting
the fish back.

I must admit that I was a little nervous about this, so I diligently
monitored NH3 and NO2 levels. Nothing. Neither ever reached a
detectable level. And I'm not even using CO2 injection, and only 120W
of light!

I am now convinced that it's a lot easier to take care of the ammonia
than people normally believe. I'll certainly never cycle a community
tank again.

- Jim


LeighMo 19-08-2003 10:23 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Even adding several fish at once, you can avoid cycling. I recently
tore down my 125-gallon community tank to replace the substrate,
temporarily putting about 20 fish in a plastic tub.

Two days later, the tank was back together. I didn't "seed" the tank
with mulm. It's running filterless, so I didn't save filter bacteria.
I didn't do much of anything except add a lot of plants before putting
the fish back.

I must admit that I was a little nervous about this, so I diligently
monitored NH3 and NO2 levels. Nothing. Neither ever reached a
detectable level. And I'm not even using CO2 injection, and only 120W
of light!

I am now convinced that it's a lot easier to take care of the ammonia
than people normally believe. I'll certainly never cycle a community
tank again.


I'm glad it worked out for you, but I really can't recommend that everyone try
this method. I've read far too many frantic posts from newbies in a panic
because their fish are dying due to ammonia. Heck, I can still remember when I
*was* that frantic newbie.

I don't know how big your 20 fish were, but since you're running filterless, it
sounds like you don't have much bioload in your very large tank. That can be a
wonderful, low-maintenance way to keep a tank, but most of us, and especially
newbies, tend to overstock. We need our filters, and stocking such a tank
fully overnight is likely to cause nightmarish cycling problems.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

[email protected] 19-08-2003 10:23 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Jim et al have never found any NH4 or NO2 when starting and new tank
with plants if set up properly or the method I suggested,
I'm not just tooting here, I have Lamott test kits and have used
them...........

Many many folks have found the same thing, blah blah blah on the
fishless cycling, get it out of here.
If I can do this with Discus and not have issues(no NH4/NO2 measured),
I think I can say pretty confidently it does not have a place in a
planted aquaria.

I mean don't folks do water changes frequently in the beginning also?

I'm lucky to get any nitrogen for that matter.........I'm adding it
for pete sake.

Regards,
Tom Barr

(Jim Seidman) wrote in message om...
tose (LeighMo) wrote in message ...
I've done it both ways, and I think both methods have their place.

There are good reasons why you might want to put in all the fish at once. If
you're keeping aggressive Africans, for example, an instant crowd reduces
bloodshed. Or if you're ordering your fish online, and there's a flat delivery
charge, regardless of how many fish you order.


Even adding several fish at once, you can avoid cycling. I recently
tore down my 125-gallon community tank to replace the substrate,
temporarily putting about 20 fish in a plastic tub.

Two days later, the tank was back together. I didn't "seed" the tank
with mulm. It's running filterless, so I didn't save filter bacteria.
I didn't do much of anything except add a lot of plants before putting
the fish back.

I must admit that I was a little nervous about this, so I diligently
monitored NH3 and NO2 levels. Nothing. Neither ever reached a
detectable level. And I'm not even using CO2 injection, and only 120W
of light!

I am now convinced that it's a lot easier to take care of the ammonia
than people normally believe. I'll certainly never cycle a community
tank again.

- Jim


LeighMo 19-08-2003 11:05 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Jim et al have never found any NH4 or NO2 when starting and new tank
with plants if set up properly or the method I suggested,
I'm not just tooting here, I have Lamott test kits and have used
them...........


How about for unplanted tanks? Does cycling have a place in those?

A lot of people who post here asking questions about plants don't really have
planted tanks. They have standard fishtanks that they plan to put a few live
plants in. (Often choosing plants completely unsuited for their light levels,
if not for aquariums in general.) I suspect the original poster might have
been one of those, since his main concern was not wanting to have the tank
sitting there empty for weeks and weeks. A true planted tank isn't empty, even
if there's no fish in it. :-)



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

Josh 20-08-2003 01:05 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Xref: 127.0.0.1 rec.aquaria.freshwater.plants:75146

just make it easy on yourseld and go buy the new Bio-Spira from
Marineland... lol sorry just had to bring that into play also! lol _ But
seriously if you want to cycle a tank fast with no problems that stuff is
amazing and it definatly works. I was workin at an LFS when it came out and
a Marineland rep came and talked to us about it, Marineland really has put
ALOT of research into this product (I think it was something like 20+ years)
and from the dozen or so people that i personally know that have tried it
said it worked perfectly and definatly could of stocked their tank to 75%
within the next few days, of course none of them did except the 29gallon
guy, and he has no problems at all. Now I prolly wouldnt use this stuff if
you are doing a serious planted aquarium and just go with that article from
Chuck, if you read it it really does make sense and I have decided a while
ago to go with that method and see how it goes. Ill let ya all kno how it
works - Josh (sorry vout the long post)
"LeighMo" wrote in message
...
Jim et al have never found any NH4 or NO2 when starting and new tank
with plants if set up properly or the method I suggested,
I'm not just tooting here, I have Lamott test kits and have used
them...........


How about for unplanted tanks? Does cycling have a place in those?

A lot of people who post here asking questions about plants don't really

have
planted tanks. They have standard fishtanks that they plan to put a few

live
plants in. (Often choosing plants completely unsuited for their light

levels,
if not for aquariums in general.) I suspect the original poster might

have
been one of those, since his main concern was not wanting to have the tank
sitting there empty for weeks and weeks. A true planted tank isn't empty,

even
if there's no fish in it. :-)



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/




[email protected] 20-08-2003 04:03 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
How about for unplanted tanks? Does cycling have a place in those?

No.
If you are one of those folks that overstocks and over feeds and does
not do water changes, well, no method/advice is going to save those
fish. But if you follow general good healthy tank guidelines, the
fishless cycling is of no use unless you hav no friends with fish
anywhere close by, no LFS's close by, no other tanks around, no plants
etc.
Heck, you are pretty damn isolated if this is the case. There are a
few folks in this boat, but 99% are not.

Mulm adds precisely what you need, the bacteria.
This method works for SW, Brackish, FW, planted AF etc.
LFS's have been doing this for well over 50 years. I've never had an
issue yet. So unless you are really and truly isolated, there is no
need to wait, nor add NH4.

Planted or not.
Salt or Fresh.

Does Fishless cycling hurt if no plants/light is added? No, but it's
not needed. I see no need to use NH4 to cycle a tank.

No one has provided _any_ good argument to counter my opinion except
the total isolation viewpoint which is very rare.

Regards,
Tom Barr

A lot of people who post here asking questions about plants don't really have
planted tanks. They have standard fishtanks that they plan to put a few live
plants in. (Often choosing plants completely unsuited for their light levels,
if not for aquariums in general.) I suspect the original poster might have
been one of those, since his main concern was not wanting to have the tank
sitting there empty for weeks and weeks. A true planted tank isn't empty, even
if there's no fish in it. :-)



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/


LeighMo 20-08-2003 11:42 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
No.
If you are one of those folks that overstocks and over feeds and does
not do water changes, well, no method/advice is going to save those
fish. But if you follow general good healthy tank guidelines, the
fishless cycling is of no use unless you hav no friends with fish
anywhere close by, no LFS's close by, no other tanks around, no plants
etc.


This hasn't been my experience, I'm afraid. Mulm speeds cycling, for sure, and
I use it, but it doesn't eliminate ammonia and nitrite spikes if you're
stocking the tank fully all at once. And as I said, there are instances where
stocking, even overstocking, all at once is necessary. African tanks are often
overstocked, all at once, to minimize aggression and to keep any one fish from
getting a "home tank advantage."

In my newbie days, I had a couple of terrible experiences with cycling -- in
established tanks, not new ones. Once when I changed the gravel in a tank, and
once when I just vacuumed the substrate in a tank with a UGF too thoroughly.
The tanks recovered relatively quickly, but I did lose some fish. Both were
unplanted; I didn't have any problems at all when I changed the gravel in my
planted tank.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

[email protected] 21-08-2003 05:02 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
No.
If you are one of those folks that overstocks and over feeds and does
not do water changes, well, no method/advice is going to save those
fish. But if you follow general good healthy tank guidelines, the
fishless cycling is of no use unless you hav no friends with fish
anywhere close by, no LFS's close by, no other tanks around, no plants
etc.


This hasn't been my experience, I'm afraid. Mulm speeds cycling, for sure, and
I use it, but it doesn't eliminate ammonia and nitrite spikes if you're
stocking the tank fully all at once. And as I said, there are instances where
stocking, even overstocking, all at once is necessary. African tanks are often
overstocked, all at once, to minimize aggression and to keep any one fish from
getting a "home tank advantage."


You have not convinced me there is a place for it yet, the isolated
aquarist is the best hope I've seen thus far.

Having bred AF cichlids from both lakes for many years(15) before
coming to fully planted tanks and also by stating not overstocking
from the start I still disagree.

Small juvenile fish should be purchased if adding all the fish at once
is the goal to prevent home town advantage. Adults have different
behaviors than sub adult fish.

I did the same thing back then as I do now. I never had issues with
water quality. I simply did water changes like I do today.
Small juvenile fish cost less, often are 1 to 1.5" long and perfect
for starting a tank with or for breeding later on. When you add
adults, well you are asking for it and fish behavior is unique to each
fish, it's difficult to say what will happen even with a broad
generalization. Often you have to have other tanks waiting in case of
problems with territorialism as rule o have dead/battered fish/LFS
donations etc.

Sure you can come up with some weird situation to make an exception
for fishless cycling but hell, 99.5% of the cases are still where I've
stated. There's no need unless you plan to over stock all at once
which is bad practice and something I'd not advise anyone to do.

And here's a lynch pin even if you don't know a hoot about AF fish.

If you know you are going to overstock/fully stock etc in
advance(you'd __have to know this__ 3 weeks in advance to use this
method), why not run your filter on another tank a few weeks first,
then slap it on the new tank when you add the fish?
Takes the same time, far less hassle and no left over NO3 requiring a
series of water changes to lower..........also I/we know how
inaccurate the NO3 test kits are. Amano uses this method. So do the
LFS's.

Regards,
Tom Barr

Racf 21-08-2003 05:23 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 

" wrote in message
om...
No.
If you are one of those folks that overstocks and over feeds and

does
not do water changes, well, no method/advice is going to save those
fish. But if you follow general good healthy tank guidelines, the
fishless cycling is of no use unless you hav no friends with fish
anywhere close by, no LFS's close by, no other tanks around, no

plants
etc.


This hasn't been my experience, I'm afraid. Mulm speeds cycling,

for sure, and
I use it, but it doesn't eliminate ammonia and nitrite spikes if

you're
stocking the tank fully all at once. And as I said, there are

instances where
stocking, even overstocking, all at once is necessary. African

tanks are often
overstocked, all at once, to minimize aggression and to keep any one

fish from
getting a "home tank advantage."


You have not convinced me there is a place for it yet, the isolated
aquarist is the best hope I've seen thus far.

Having bred AF cichlids from both lakes for many years(15) before
coming to fully planted tanks and also by stating not overstocking
from the start I still disagree.

Small juvenile fish should be purchased if adding all the fish at once
is the goal to prevent home town advantage. Adults have different
behaviors than sub adult fish.

I did the same thing back then as I do now. I never had issues with
water quality. I simply did water changes like I do today.
Small juvenile fish cost less, often are 1 to 1.5" long and perfect
for starting a tank with or for breeding later on. When you add
adults, well you are asking for it and fish behavior is unique to each
fish, it's difficult to say what will happen even with a broad
generalization. Often you have to have other tanks waiting in case of
problems with territorialism as rule o have dead/battered fish/LFS
donations etc.

Sure you can come up with some weird situation to make an exception
for fishless cycling but hell, 99.5% of the cases are still where I've
stated. There's no need unless you plan to over stock all at once
which is bad practice and something I'd not advise anyone to do.

And here's a lynch pin even if you don't know a hoot about AF fish.

If you know you are going to overstock/fully stock etc in
advance(you'd __have to know this__ 3 weeks in advance to use this
method), why not run your filter on another tank a few weeks first,
then slap it on the new tank when you add the fish?
Takes the same time, far less hassle and no left over NO3 requiring a
series of water changes to lower..........also I/we know how
inaccurate the NO3 test kits are. Amano uses this method. So do the
LFS's.

Regards,
Tom Barr


I recall a short few years ago, fishless cycling was all the popular
rage. Anyone suggesting cycling with fish was usually flamed until
medium done. Here in 2003 I still read about fishless cycling, but its
more rare... It seems I read a lot more about adding plants these days
as a cycle solution. To me its interesting advice as I really do not
really see how that's going to cycle anything... Using someone else's
used media, fish poop, plants, etc.... will probably speed up the
process of adding in all sorts of things that are usually not
wanted.....like parasites, snails, pathogens, etc.... I guess you get a
lot of bad things also just adding in the desired fish.

I still wonder the best method for getting a new tank cycled as any
method has good and bad points, including doing nothing. Lucky me for
having more than one tank already. I wonder what will be popular in
2006..?

PS. I loved the reference to Amano and what he would do. I recently
read somewhere he uses Activated Carbon for the first week or so for
Ammonia removal.....which I thought was amazing, too...



Jim Seidman 21-08-2003 09:12 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
"Racf" wrote in message link.net...
...It seems I read a lot more about adding plants these days
as a cycle solution. To me its interesting advice as I really do not
really see how that's going to cycle anything...


You are correct, adding plants does not "cycle" anything. Rather, it
prevents the cycle.

The cycle occurs because NH4 builds up faster than bacteria reproduce
to process it. As those bacteria grow, NO2 builds up faster than
bacteria reproduce.

But plants consume NH4. In fact, they prefer NH4 to NO3. (Studies have
shown that many plants don't even produce the enzyme "nitrate
reductase" in the presence of NH4, meaning that they won't process NO3
when there's NH4 to be had.) So if you add enough plants, you don't
need that bacterial population.

So is my tank cycled? No. I'm quite sure that if I pulled out all my
plants today, I'd have terrible NH4 and NO2 spikes before things
settled down.

Now, is my tank stable? Yes. It was stable from the day I set it up,
insofar as NH4 and NO2 were, and still are, undetectable.

For me, having a stable tank is a lot more important than having a
cycled tank. :-)

Jim Seidman 21-08-2003 09:32 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
tose (LeighMo) wrote in message ...
I'm glad it worked out for you, but I really can't recommend that everyone try
this method. I've read far too many frantic posts from newbies in a panic
because their fish are dying due to ammonia. Heck, I can still remember when
I *was* that frantic newbie.


I was just discussing this with my wife last night. We both agreed
that this would be a *better* approach for newbies. There'd have to be
some careful definition of what "heavily planted" meant. And sure,
they should start off with a smaller bioload for safety's sake. But
the planted tank approach was much less stressful (for both me and the
fish!) than doing a traditional cycle with fish. (And really, how many
newbies will leave their tank empty for 6 weeks while doing a fishless
cycle?)

I don't know how big your 20 fish were, but since you're running filterless,
it sounds like you don't have much bioload in your very large tank. That can
be a wonderful, low-maintenance way to keep a tank, but most of us, and
especially newbies, tend to overstock. We need our filters, and stocking
such a tank fully overnight is likely to cause nightmarish cycling problems.


My tank isn't overstocked, but I wouldn't say it's a light load
either. They're mostly moderately-sized fish (dwarf gouramis, rosey
barbs, corys, clown loaches, etc.).

However, I'm quite confident that I could add more without a problem.
Why? Because I can't maintain my nitrate levels. When I set up the
tank, my NO3 was about 1.5 ppm. (This is the level in my tap water.)
It took less than a week for my NO3 to hit zero.

In other words, the plants are wanting to consume significantly more
nitrogen than I'm giving them in the fish food. I'm trying to get to a
chemical-free regimen, so I've been increasing the fish load to try to
get to a point where I don't have to add KNO3 like Tom does.

When you say "We need our filters," I have to disagree. It's only in
the past few decades that filters became common. The original
advertisements for the UGF called it "The Miracle Filter" and carried
the tag line, "Never change your water again!" While the hyperbole has
died down since then, I still think filters are overrated.

Think about it this way: would you rather have a filter that helps
process toxins, or plants that actually remove toxins from the water?

LeighMo 21-08-2003 10:22 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I was just discussing this with my wife last night. We both agreed
that this would be a *better* approach for newbies.


Only if they were disciplined enough to stick to the plan, which many of them
aren't. Heck, many of us experienced fishkeepers aren't.

However, I'm quite confident that I could add more without a problem.
Why? Because I can't maintain my nitrate levels. When I set up the
tank, my NO3 was about 1.5 ppm. (This is the level in my tap water.)
It took less than a week for my NO3 to hit zero.


Nitrate, IME, isn't the problem in a filterless tank. The problem is oxygen.
It may not be an issue in a planted tank during the day, but it can be at
night.
And it can be a total disaster in an unplanted tank that's overstocked.

When you say "We need our filters," I have to disagree. It's only in
the past few decades that filters became common.


True, but now the whole trade is set up for them. The fish offered, the advice
given, the photos of tanks, etc., are all geared for a filtered tank. The
person who posted the question that started this thread wanted a tank full of
fish, right away, and I'm afraid he's typical. The low bio-load of
Victorian-era filterless tanks would look barren to him.

Think about it this way: would you rather have a filter that helps
process toxins, or plants that actually remove toxins from the water?


I want both. :-)

This may be heresy on this newsgroup, but I actually wouldn't recommend a
planted tank for a total beginner. It adds expense and an extra learning curve
that most people setting up their first tanks don't need. As it is, the vast
majority of people who start keeping tropical fish give up. I'm all for
anything that adds to a newbie's chance of success, including fishless cycling
and powered filters.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

LeighMo 21-08-2003 10:43 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
If you know you are going to overstock/fully stock etc in
advance(you'd __have to know this__ 3 weeks in advance to use this
method), why not run your filter on another tank a few weeks first,
then slap it on the new tank when you add the fish?


That works if you're setting a small tank. If you're setting up a large one,
as this guy was, there will still be an ammonia spike.

I've had success using a combination of seeding with mulm from an established
tank and fishless cycling. Do the fishless cycle *and* add mulm or filter
material from an established tank. The tank can be fully cycled and ready for
a full bioload in as little as three days.

Takes the same time, far less hassle and no left over NO3 requiring a
series of water changes to lower..........also I/we know how
inaccurate the NO3 test kits are. Amano uses this method. So do the
LFS's.


I do it, but only from my own tanks. I don't have any local friends whose
tanks I'd trust. And the LFSs are even worse. If I didn't have an established
tank, I'd definitely stick with fishless cycling.




Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

[email protected] 22-08-2003 02:12 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I still wonder the best method for getting a new tank cycled as any
method has good and bad points, including doing nothing. Lucky me for
having more than one tank already. I wonder what will be popular in
2006..?


Me too:)

PS. I loved the reference to Amano and what he would do. I recently
read somewhere he uses Activated Carbon for the first week or so for
Ammonia removal.....which I thought was amazing, too...


The carbon helps in the start and then turns into bio media after it's spent.

Regards,
Tom Barr

rapdor 22-08-2003 11:12 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
The
person who posted the question that started this thread wanted a tank full

of
fish, right away, and I'm afraid he's typical.


no, thats not true--im the original poster i didnt mention wanting a
tank full of fish right away i just asked if plants should be included
when cycling a new tank

but having watched the thread, i guess what i will do is use some gravel
from my mates tank, cut the sponge in his filter in half and put it in my
tank, add some of that ager product, add a limited number of plants and
check the ph a few days later if all is well i will add a few fish and
see how we go

how does that sound as a plan?



LeighMo 22-08-2003 01:02 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
no, thats not true--im the original poster i didnt mention wanting a
tank full of fish right away i just asked if plants should be included
when cycling a new tank


Okay, sorry if I misinterpreted what you said.

but having watched the thread, i guess what i will do is use some gravel
from my mates tank, cut the sponge in his filter in half and put it in my
tank,


That sounds like a good idea.

, add a limited number of plants and
check the ph a few days later if all is well i will add a few fish and
see how we go

how does that sound as a plan?


Excellent, except I would add fish right away if you're going with this method.
The bacteria from your friend's tank will starve to death if there are no fish
in your tank to feed them.

So set up the tank, add the plants, and, when you're ready, add the
gravel/filter material from your friends tank and the same time as the fish.
If you can't add them at the same time, add the fish first. It will be several
days before there's a serious ammonia spike.

And read the Krib's plant FAQ, especially this page:

http://faq.thekrib.com/plant-list.html

It will help you choose plants that will do well in your tank. (If you haven't
added souped-up lighting to your tank, then you probably have low light, and
should choose plants accordingly.)


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

rapdor 22-08-2003 01:32 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
excellent thanks for that advice i will do as you suggest, and also
check out the link goodonya



Jim Seidman 22-08-2003 06:22 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
tose (LeighMo) wrote in message ...
I was just discussing this with my wife last night. We both agreed
that this would be a *better* approach for newbies.


Only if they were disciplined enough to stick to the plan, which many of them
aren't. Heck, many of us experienced fishkeepers aren't.


We could probably argue for a long time over whether abandoning the
plan is worse in a plantless filtered tank or a heavily-planted
filterless tank. Personally, I think that a planted tank would be more
resistant to mistakes.

Nitrate, IME, isn't the problem in a filterless tank. The problem is oxygen.
It may not be an issue in a planted tank during the day, but it can be at
night.
And it can be a total disaster in an unplanted tank that's overstocked.


When I said my tank was "filterless" I didn't mean to imply "without
circulation." I do use a powerhead for water movement. I have however
heard of several people who run without circulation in heavily planted
tanks without a problem.

I'm curious, though: have you heard of many oxygen problems (for
newbies or otherwise)? Usually when I hear of fish gasping at the
surface, it's because their gills are inflamed from ammonia poisoning,
not because oxygen levels are too low.

This may be heresy on this newsgroup, but I actually wouldn't recommend a
planted tank for a total beginner. It adds expense and an extra learning curve
that most people setting up their first tanks don't need. As it is, the vast
majority of people who start keeping tropical fish give up. I'm all for
anything that adds to a newbie's chance of success, including fishless cycling
and powered filters.


While it would require retraining fish store employees, I'm not sure
that it adds expense or learning curve. The total value of equipment
on my 125 gallon actually went down when I redid it, as did the
maintenance required. A low-tech tank really doesn't require that much
investment.

A lot of beginners don't even learn about the nitrogen cycle, or that
even after the cycle you need to be careful to add fish gradually.
Plants, on the other hand, can adapt quickly to changing levels of
ammonia. The planted tank will also be much more forgiving of bad
water change schedules. Failing to change the water in a new unplanted
tank can mean death, while failing to change the water in a new
heavily planted tank just means that it looks overgrown. (Similar
arguments can be made for filter maintenance.)

It's a moot point, since stores won't give up their lucrative filter
sales. But if I were advising a newcomer to the hobby, I'd point them
towards a heavily planted tank, since I truly belive that minimizes
their odds of dead fish.

- Jim

Kristen 22-08-2003 10:43 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
) wrote:

Why would you need fishless cycling in the first place?


Although I wouldn't have put it exactly like that, I've got to agree
that when it comes to general planted tanks, fishless cycling isn't
usually necessary. Plants prefer ammonium first as a food source over
nitrate, so it's a great way to start a tank with fish from day 1 (as
long as you set it up properly so the plants thrive, or else the whole
system could collapse.)

But anyway, fishless cycling certainly does have a place, IMO, in some
non-planted tanks or special situations where you need to add a large
bio-load all at once, as someone else already mentioned. In specific,
many newbs setting up community tanks make the mistake of assuming
plants are difficult, time-consuming, or expensive, so they start out
with plastic. And since they're the ones most likely to create an
over-crowded, toxic-waste dump in a tank with their impatience and
greed, mentioning fishless cycling at every turn in hopes that they'll
read about it before killing a bunch of fish isn't all that bad of a
policy, IMO.

And key here against your arguments in other posts that fishless
cycling has no place at all in the hobby is the impatience and greed
for lots of fish that most newbies exhibit. Despite being warned over
and over about not stocking too quickly or overcrowding while doing
fish-cycling, a huge amount of them do it anyway, as evidenced by the
non-stop "why are my fish dying" posts in r.a.f.m. If we can just get
them to add a starter culture of bacteria and finish the cycle with
ammonia and not fish (done the right way, this takes as little as 1-2
weeks in my own personal experience doing cycling experiments for Bit
Nybbler a few years ago,) then a lot of the problems we see can
usually be minimized.

...why not run your filter on another tank a few weeks first,
then slap it on the new tank when you add the fish?


Because after that, neither filter will have a full bacterial culture
at the end of that time since they're splitting the food source, so
it's not a total solution. The new filter would have a starter
culture, but it would probably still need to be cycled some more in
order to handle the full bio load of another tank. And spending a
week or two doing this with ammonia rather than live fish in some
cases might be preferable, especially when starting with sensitive
fish like corys and no plants. People aren't cut out with
cookie-cutters, and neither are their fishkeeping situations; there
are plenty of times this would be a useful method.

And plus, the fishless cycling method is usually targeted specifically
for newbies, who often don't have other tanks of their own or friends'
tanks to do this on or get cultures from. And if your only local pet
store is something like Petco, which is becomming more commonplace as
LFS's go out of business, don't count on them giving you doo-doo from
their own tanks (no pun intended.) If they want to insure they don't
kill fish in a cycling, plantless tank, this might be the most
comfortable way for them to do it. They don't even have to cycle it
all the way, even, so they can combine methods to shorten the time
even further.

As an aside, another minor bit of information (since someone mentioned
something about adding huge amounts of ammonia somewhere along this
thread) is that you don't have to add tons of ammonia for
plantless/fishless cycling. All you have to do is make sure that you
constantly have _measureable amounts_ while cycling. Having 5ppm vs
..5 ppm won't make the bacteria grow any faster. So that's not a
problem.

See ya,

Kristen

Kristen 22-08-2003 10:44 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
tose (LeighMo) wrote:

This may be heresy on this newsgroup, but I actually wouldn't recommend a
planted tank for a total beginner. It adds expense and an extra learning curve
that most people setting up their first tanks don't need. As it is, the vast
majority of people who start keeping tropical fish give up. I'm all for
anything that adds to a newbie's chance of success, including fishless cycling
and powered filters.


I'd have to disagree on more than one point. If you look around on
the net, there's tons of info on setting up and maintaining a planted
tank cheaply. With DIY lighting and CO2, and knowing tricks like
using Profile instead of Fluorite for a substrate, to name one
example, a simple planted tank won't cost that much if any more than a
tank with plastic plants and decorations. Keep in mind that you might
be able to downgrade your power filter capacity while upgrading your
lights, so things like that can offset some cost. Also, I've found
that plastic plants are often more expensive in and of themselves than
buying real plants.

I also don't think that there's all that much more of a learning
curve. Even if they start out with just a bunch of java fern so that
they don't need to add or do _anything_ special to their
tank/hood/pink gravel start-up tank, the concept is the same: plants
can be viewed as biological filtration just like the bacteria in the
filter. Aside from the plantless tank/fishless-cycling subject, start
out with a good filter, some easy plants and a couple little fish in a
typical beginner setup, and you shouldn't have any problems as long as
you maintain it properly and don't overstock.

As for the whole plants-only vs. plants & filter debate, I personally
come down on the side of having both for the majority of people,
especially newbies. If one fails, the other is always there as a
backup, and redundant filtration is never a bad idea.

Plus, if you have any mechanical device creating a water current in a
"filterless" tank, you are actually creating some artificial
biological filtration, because any surface in the path of the water
flow will probably grow an artifically-high amount of nitrifying
bacteria on it (glass, substrate, rocks, plant leaves, etc.) So it's
not really filterless, technically.

See ya,

Kristen

LeighMo 23-08-2003 12:42 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
We could probably argue for a long time over whether abandoning the
plan is worse in a plantless filtered tank or a heavily-planted
filterless tank. Personally, I think that a planted tank would be more
resistant to mistakes.


It's more resistant to some mistakes. But if the plants aren't growing well,
plants only add to the mess. And if they go high tech, with Co2 and all, it's
a lot more work to maintain.

I have however
heard of several people who run without circulation in heavily planted
tanks without a problem.


Me, too. But you do have to be careful with the bioload. I used to run tanks
that way when I was a kid. (My mom was cheap, and didn't like the idea of a
filter running all the time.)

I'm curious, though: have you heard of many oxygen problems (for
newbies or otherwise)?


Yes. I've seen it in my own tank. I had to add a powerhead to my high-tech
planted tank, because the fish were gasping at the water surface by morning.
The water quality was fine, and once I added the powerhead, all was well.

While it would require retraining fish store employees, I'm not sure
that it adds expense or learning curve. The total value of equipment
on my 125 gallon actually went down when I redid it, as did the
maintenance required. A low-tech tank really doesn't require that much
investment.


It doesn't...but it does require knowledge and discipline that many people
don't have.

But if I were advising a newcomer to the hobby, I'd point them
towards a heavily planted tank, since I truly belive that minimizes
their odds of dead fish.


I recommend a few low-light plants, but I don't recommend a real planted tank
unless they seem really interested.

Often, when people see my tanks, they want to set up planted tanks of their
own. I do my best to help them, but most of them don't succeed. I tell them
they need more light, but they decide they don't want to mess with that. Then
they buy a special plant bulb, leave it on 24/7, and think that will be enough.
Of course, their tanks end up algae-ridden nightmares, and soon are sitting
in the attic, empty.


Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

LeighMo 23-08-2003 01:12 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
If you look around on
the net, there's tons of info on setting up and maintaining a planted
tank cheaply. With DIY lighting and CO2, and knowing tricks like
using Profile instead of Fluorite for a substrate, to name one
example, a simple planted tank won't cost that much if any more than a
tank with plastic plants and decorations.


True, but I'd be really hesitant to recommend DIY CO2 to a complete newbie.
It's one more thing to learn, and one more thing that can go wrong.

It is possible to set up a planted tank inexpensively, but a lot of people
won't do the research or do the work required. Often, someone setting up a
tank inheritied it from someone else, so they don't have to buy anything.
Plastic plants and decorations aren't a requirement. But for a planted tank,
lighting is.

I also don't think that there's all that much more of a learning
curve. Even if they start out with just a bunch of java fern so that
they don't need to add or do _anything_ special to their
tank/hood/pink gravel start-up tank, the concept is the same: plants
can be viewed as biological filtration just like the bacteria in the
filter. Aside from the plantless tank/fishless-cycling subject, start
out with a good filter, some easy plants and a couple little fish in a
typical beginner setup, and you shouldn't have any problems as long as
you maintain it properly and don't overstock.


Low-light plants are great for newbies, and I do recommend those. IME, they
grow so slowly in low light, they are almost like plastic plants. Little care
required, no fertilizer or pruning needed, but you do have to rinse the algae
off them once in awhile. g They don't do much filtration, either.

As for the whole plants-only vs. plants & filter debate, I personally
come down on the side of having both for the majority of people,
especially newbies. If one fails, the other is always there as a
backup, and redundant filtration is never a bad idea.


I agree. I always try to have redundant filtration. A UGF and a HOB filter,
say. In planted tanks, I consider my plants the backup filter.

IME, beginners usually need that redundancy. As you noted in your other post,
their constant, frantic posts to fish-oriented newsgroups and message boards
prove that. It's been my experience in real life, too. A friend of mine saw
my tanks last winter, and decided to set up her own this summer. I warned her
to go slow, and even offered her a lot of equipment and stuff (since I have a
bunch of stuff I don't use, from many years of fishkeeping). But she went
right off the deep end. Bought two tanks, with stand, lighting, filters, etc.,
for inside the house, one for her porch, and a huge tub for her backyard, along
with a pond filter. (I think it was meant to be a livestock watering trough.)
She asked me for advice, and I gave it to her, but she ignored most of what I
said. She bought hundreds of dollars worth of fish online, and dumped them in
her tanks with no cycling or anything. (She "aged" the water for two weeks, as
many old books and old-timers recommend.) Worst of all were the four extremely
expensive show koi she bought for her outdoor tub. The tub was only 100
gallons; I told her it wasn't big enough for four koi. She said it would all
right, since they were only babies and she had a good filter. She put tons of
plants in the tub (including several pounds of clippings from my tanks), but in
a couple of weeks, the poor koi were all dead. She tried goldfish next, and
then mollies, then platies; they all died, too. I think I'm going to buy her
an ammonia test kit for her birthday. :-P



Leigh

http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/halloween/881/

[email protected] 23-08-2003 09:22 AM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
(Kristen) wrote in message ...
) wrote:

Why would you need fishless cycling in the first place?


Although I wouldn't have put it exactly like that, I've got to agree
that when it comes to general planted tanks, fishless cycling isn't
usually necessary. Plants prefer ammonium first as a food source over
nitrate, so it's a great way to start a tank with fish from day 1 (as
long as you set it up properly so the plants thrive, or else the whole
system could collapse.)


Plants will do quite fine without _ever_ adding NH4.
This preference in the whole scheme of things is small. I'm perhaps
one of the few folks in the hobby that's run tanks with NH4 and or NO3
from inorganic salts on test tanks with no fish/critters.
You'd be very hard pressed to show a way to supply a significant
amount of NH4 without adding a much larger amount of NO3
inorganically, to the point where the added NH4 is very subtle at
best. It can be seen, but it's subtle and needs a well monitored tanks
to be sure of what it is that you are seeing.
You'd have to add 3ppm a day for some tanks of NH4. This would/does
cause fish death/algae blooms even if dripped in slowly over the
course of a day etc.
I've done it. Great for algal cultures, bad for plants/fish.

But anyway, fishless cycling certainly does have a place, IMO, in some
non-planted tanks or special situations where you need to add a large
bio-load all at once, as someone else already mentioned. In specific,
many newbs setting up community tanks make the mistake of assuming
plants are difficult, time-consuming, or expensive, so they start out
with plastic. And since they're the ones most likely to create an
over-crowded, toxic-waste dump in a tank with their impatience and
greed, mentioning fishless cycling at every turn in hopes that they'll
read about it before killing a bunch of fish isn't all that bad of a
policy, IMO.


Sure, so will fish tank water changes which is a heck of lot easier to
do and explain to a newbie(Change 30-50% a week of your water, add
dechlorinator).

NH4 eventually turns into NO3 which at high levels causes grief too.
Fix the real underlying problem, not just a band aid.
Only a few things fix this NO3 issue like removal resins/plants and
water changes and a coil denitratifiers. About newbie habits: we all
know they over feed. That food even if there's a great bacterial
culture turns to NO3, after sucking up a fair amount of O2 in the
process(more NH4 waste, more O2 used).
Good cycled tank does not deal with that.

This is no cure for the rampant newbie overstocking a tank.
That's going to happen since not everyone listens.
More harm than good could become of the fishless cycling as I have
seen from folks going way overboard in a number of tanks.

The end result: they need to do a bunch of water changes.
Back to square one.
Go figure.

And key here against your arguments in other posts that fishless
cycling has no place at all in the hobby is the impatience and greed
for lots of fish that most newbies exhibit. Despite being warned over
and over about not stocking too quickly or overcrowding while doing
fish-cycling, a huge amount of them do it anyway, as evidenced by the
non-stop "why are my fish dying" posts in r.a.f.m. If we can just get
them to add a starter culture of bacteria and finish the cycle with
ammonia and not fish (done the right way, this takes as little as 1-2
weeks in my own personal experience doing cycling experiments for Bit
Nybbler a few years ago,) then a lot of the problems we see can
usually be minimized.


So this is easier than water change? Both for the ease and the
explaination and the cost associated with it?
I think not.

There's no way you are going to prevent new folks from doing bad
things, but you can make is simpler, water changes are VERY simple. A
simple method anyone can do is ideal for the general public. Yes, they
tell them to do that also and they fail, why would this not be
different, actually more complicated and expensive?

I tell folks how would you like to be in a small bathroom for a month
without flushing the can? Change the water often?! Would you rather
buy several test kits and test often or just do weekly water changes
and not worry about that?
And/Or toss some floating water sprite in there?

...why not run your filter on another tank a few weeks first,
then slap it on the new tank when you add the fish?


Because after that, neither filter will have a full bacterial culture
at the end of that time since they're splitting the food source, so
it's not a total solution. The new filter would have a starter
culture, but it would probably still need to be cycled some more in
order to handle the full bio load of another tank. And spending a
week or two doing this with ammonia rather than live fish in some
cases might be preferable, especially when starting with sensitive
fish like corys and no plants. People aren't cut out with
cookie-cutters, and neither are their fishkeeping situations; there
are plenty of times this would be a useful method.


I ain't heard one except the isolated aquarist yet.
Useful method's include overstocking a small tank is the best folks
can do here?

And plus, the fishless cycling method is usually targeted specifically
for newbies, who often don't have other tanks of their own or friends'
tanks to do this on or get cultures from. And if your only local pet
store is something like Petco, which is becomming more commonplace as
LFS's go out of business, don't count on them giving you doo-doo from
their own tanks (no pun intended.) If they want to insure they don't
kill fish in a cycling, plantless tank, this might be the most
comfortable way for them to do it. They don't even have to cycle it
all the way, even, so they can combine methods to shorten the time
even further.


Okay, now I buy some of this. But the water change, so simple and so
underated....
Is this easier than adding the NH4 and testing every few days?
I would have no issue asking for the mulm from any place wanting my
business, but few newbies would know of either the mulm, the plants,
or the fishless cycling.

And the water changes are soon forgotten, but hopefully after the tank
is doing well. Much like the fishless cycling which will not stop the
overfeeding etc. But water change habits are the best long term
solution to long term fish health, not fishless cycling. But I'll
concede some use if they cannot seem to bring themselves to water
changes.... but get some concern for the fish's environment through
testings with NH4, NO2 and NO3 test kits.

As an aside, another minor bit of information (since someone mentioned
something about adding huge amounts of ammonia somewhere along this
thread) is that you don't have to add tons of ammonia for
plantless/fishless cycling. All you have to do is make sure that you
constantly have _measureable amounts_ while cycling. Having 5ppm vs
.5 ppm won't make the bacteria grow any faster. So that's not a
problem.


Very good point that has not been brought up. I've seen (many) abuses
there.

I think this gets down to the build up of waste in a new(or an old)
tank, the water change is far more effective for a newbie than the
fishless cycling and prevents issues down the road as well.

So I guess if they won't listen the first few tidbits of advice(water
changes, don't over stock etc) suddenly they will listen to this and
start testing?
That's not much of an argument either.

Still unconvinced here it has a place in general.

Predicting a newbie will accept a 3 week empty tank and testing etc vs
a water change each week seems like a tough sell to me. Some might not
find mulm, but folks have the ability to not over stock and take other
useful advice as well.
The urge to add fish is very high and most newbies cannot deal with
the wait, hence the mulm and/or water changes advice that I proscribe.

Since this has sort of become a newbie issue:
Having worked in LFS's in the distant past, I gave the same advice
then as I do today. Folks that did not do the water changes were the
one's bringing back the dead fish(along with a water sample or no
refund). Very few got refunds.
Sal****er folks tended to be worse, they hated water changes and
mixing the sal****er up. Even if FC was around then, these folks would
still kill the fish with high NO3's. Their tanks had cycled, but still
killed fish.

Regards,
Tom Barr


See ya,

Kristen


Racf 23-08-2003 01:42 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
I have nothing against doing water changes, as I do plenty with fully
cycled and planted tanks. Based upon my experience: To use only the act
of a WC to keep ammonia and nitrite levels at non-deadly levels in a
un-cycled, non-planted,and moderately stocked tank would be around 100%
per day....not all at once but cumulative. I assume the pH is above 6.0
and there is not an unusual amount of Chloride in the water. I cannot
understand how a once per week WC of unknown size would be
adequate...even if a blob of "mulm" were added.

I would gladly trade the mulm for a pint of Amquel, some aquarium salt,
and a Seachem Ammonia Alert. I would also prefer to trade the mulm for
a few bunches of Water Sprite or Java Moss or Wysteria or just about any
fast growing low light plant that is free of snails and parasites...

I am definately down with WCs, I just believe there is some practical
limit where they can be a lone success in the dilution of the poisonous
Ammonia and Nitrite. I do not disagree entirely with your remarks or
those of Kirstin or with any one elses, really. There are many ways and
styles to not kill fish.



Danae 23-08-2003 06:12 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 

"LeighMo" wrote in message
...

This hasn't been my experience, I'm afraid. Mulm speeds cycling, for

sure, and
I use it, but it doesn't eliminate ammonia and nitrite spikes if you're
stocking the tank fully all at once. And as I said, there are instances

where
stocking, even overstocking, all at once is necessary. African tanks are

often
overstocked, all at once, to minimize aggression and to keep any one fish

from
getting a "home tank advantage."


Thank you all for this very interesting discussion!

I am actually in the process of setting up my 45 long tank, and this issue
is extremely relevant to me. It's going to be a moderately (20 - 40%)
planted tank stocked with Mbuna cichlids (yes,I'm aware that they are
herbivores!). I plan on fully (over?)stocking my tank at once to avoid
aggression, which means I will be adding 4-5 yellow labs, 6-8
pseudotropheous demasonis, and one bristlenose pl*co all at once. Needless
to say, cycling is an issue.

Right now I'm leaning towards fishless cycling, as the last thing I want to
do is damage or kill all of my new fish to an ammonia or nitrite spike.
After reading some algae horror stories from those who have tried to
fishless cycle with plants, I'm thinking of doing the fishless cycle sans
plants in a dark tank. Once the cycle is complete, then I'll add the
plants, and the next day the fish. The only tank that I trust is safe
enough to use filter media from is my own, but it's a lightly stocked
heavily planted 10 gal, so I'm not sure how beneficial it will be as a seed.
Hopefully it helps somewhat.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan? If I was going with a peaceful
community tank, I would most definitely use Chuck's method of cycling a
planted tank and add fish slowly. But I just can't see it working with
demasonis, which I understand can be mean little buggers. Especially since
I'm not going with a heavily planted tank, as it's primarily rock work.






Kristen 23-08-2003 09:32 PM

Include plants when cycling tank?
 
Aside from the whole debate going on, I have one observation to make:
if there's anything I learned specifically from spending 8-10 hours a
day for years on these groups helping newbies with their problems is
that there is no one "best" way to do something. Every person and
every situation is different.

Some people just aren't comfortable with cycling a tank with fish in
it, period: no matter the water changes, no matter the test kits, no
matter the plants. And if they want to be relieved that they finally
heard of a way to cycle a tank without using fish, then I say let them
be happy and use the method; don't rain on their parade just because
you don't like the method. All we can do as a group is present them
with the sum of our knowledge on how to prevent problems in various
ways and let them make the decision about what they're going to do.

By the by...

But the water change, so simple and so underated....


Yes, they are, but they're not a complete cure-all. And I have also
heard on several occasions, and I'm not exaggerating here,
well-respected fish store employees telling newbs buying their first
tank that they should cycle with several fish (in a 10 gal this is the
final stocking level) and _not do any water changes for two months!_
They tell them it will slow down or even stop the cycling process by
reducing ammonia levels and in the same breath that they should expect
many of the fish to die. And because the poor saps don't understand
how these bacteria work, they believe it and probably go do it. What
a terrible introduction to the hobby! And talk about something to
teach them bad habits... :( I'm just reminding you what we're up
against here.

Unfortunately, if these guys aren't lucky enough to look on the net
and find some good info about testing and changes before applying the
bad advice, then there's a good chance we've lost them to the hobby.
But maybe at some point before or after, when they've learned the
horrors of cycling with fish the wrong way and don't like the idea of
trying the fish method again, they'll see a mention of fishless
cycling and that will interest them in trying again more than another
round of their LFS's previously-advised toxic waste dump method will.
And with fishless cycling, there are so many variations on how you can
do it, they certainly can employ water testing and changing as part of
the method if they wish. Sure, it doesn't cure every potential
problem or bad habit, but only time and experience will do that.

I was so lucky when I seriously got started over 10 years ago that
these groups existed. I'd had lots of problems with ammonia in
goldfish tanks and was about to give up, but when I decided to set up
my first tropical tank, I came to Usenet to read how to do it (the web
didn't exist yet.) I learned about the nitrogen cycle and used
fishless cycling to start the tank - seeded the UGF, dumped in the
ammonia, turned up the heat, and tested every day to watch the cycle
happen. It cycled in a couple weeks with almost no effort from me,
and after a small water change, I added about half the stock and some
plants in one day without having to stress anybody out with measurable
ammonia exposure for even one minute. After that first effort, I've
never had to "cycle" a tank since because of the vast array of
techniques I read about and have employed. If only every person could
start out like that... :/

Oh, yeah, something about plants to stay on topic...anubii!

See ya,

Kristen


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