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re: update on cycling without fish...

Just a note on cycling without fish. The technique is really aimed at
plantless and lightly planted tanks. The dynamics and procedure for heavily
planted tanks is fairly different. We set up our 135-gal with lots of
plants. While we should probably have waited a week, we introduced about 20
cardinals the next day. Thereafter we put in small groups of fish each
week. Although I had the rather crude Tetra tests back then, we never got
an ammonia, nitrite or even nitrate reading in the following months. Only
much later, when I got a sensitive, low-range LaMotte kit did I see a
nitrate reading, which was about 5 ppm back then. Plants come with a nice
inoculum of bacteria and, in addition, can handle the waste from a small
number of fish while the right bacteria increase and balance out. If you
really wait for spikes with a heavily planted tank, you could be waiting
quite a while. The stress and damage to fish comes from ammonia and
nitrite; if you plant heavily and add stock gradually, these shouldn't pose
a problem.

Jared Weinberger                    jweinberger at knology_net  
______    http://www.knology.net/~jweinberger/     ________