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"Cycling" a planted tank

Lorenzo Rota <lorenzo1961 at hotmail_com> wrote:

> Im finding conflicting information regarding setup of new planted
> and would like some clarification.
> Basically...when initially setting up a new tank....should I fill it, add
> some hardy 'cycling' fish and "Cycle"( or similar bacteria additive) and
> wait for the "30 day cycle" to complete before I add plants....OR...do I
> plant right after I fill it...then add the hardy fish and bacteria
> One source that I found recommended waiting the full 30 days for the tank
> cycle before adding plants, claiming that plants can 'throw off" the cycle
> process.

A properly set up planted aquarium will "throw off" typical fish-tank type
cycling in the sense that a well lit, properly set up planted tank often
will NOT "cycle" in the fish-tank sense of the word.  The plants use the
available nitrogen products produced in the tank as fast or faster than they
appear, the end result being that you can't track an amonia spike followed
by a nitrite spike followed by a rise in nitrate.  The plants use it all (or
at least enough that the residual is unmeasurable with hobby grade test

If the tank is set up properly, there is absolutely no need (nor benefit) to
"cycle" a planted tank.  There can be some risks, actually, in that if you
introduce nutrients before establishing the plants, you can end up with
algae using the nutrients instead of the plants!  Many of us prefer the
"back-up" of including some cycled filter material in the filter of a new
tank, just to insure the safety of our fish.  But even this is more of a
safety net.  With it, you can add quite a few fish right from the beginning.
Without it, you might want to stock more slowly and carefully.

For that matter, once you you have one reasonably sized tank with a good
biological filter, there is no reason to every "cycle" ANY tank... even a
fish-only tank again.  Simply run the filter intended for the new tank on
the onld tank for a week or so, and transfer it.  Instant, fully operational
biological filter... no cycle required.  I haven't cycled a tank in close to
20 years.