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Re: Cycling a new planted aquarium -- or - Stew over this

Robert H said:

> Common Scott! You are an experienced aquarist and plant
> grower, why would
> you even bother doing that much? In the years I have kept
> planted tanks, I
> have never been concerned with "Cycling". 

Well, as I hinted in my response, Karen could put it all
much more eloquently than I. I'm glad she posted because
she did such a great job.  So I point to that post as
excellent advice for any aquatic gardener to take in hand.

Re my own post: In the lfs and often on this list we tend
to state an approach as if it's the only way to do things. 
I think Roger Miller recently pointed this out very
effectivley.  There are lots of ways to skin an aquatic cat
-- sometimes some ways are better than others, many times
not, often it depends on the sitution fo the individual --
"I've got my tank set up but the plants that I expected to
be delivered to day are not scheduled for next week."

If I'm setting up a tank for someone else, escpecially if
it's an aquarist newbie or a planted tank newbie, then I do
the mulm thing.  If I'm setting up a slow grow for myself,
I do the mulm thing. It's very effective, easy, and
provides a lot of assurance against things going astray --
especially if maintenance isn't followed as religiously as
one might hope.  You can call that cycling, or instant
cycing, or non-cycling, it's the process that counts, not
the name.  

> With fast
> growing plants and good
> lighting, the plants consume any ammonium or nitrate
> spikes, and avoiding
> spikes is the only reason anyone "cycles" is it not? It
> is nitrate spikes
> that endanger fish. Hence the old adage of using "cycle"
> fish, (very hardy
> species that are less likely to be affected by the
> spikes) and wait six
> weeks before adding more fish. Take away the spike factor
> by having many
> fast growing plants and cycling becomes a mute memory.
> All the effort people work up about having bacteria and
> doing the "fishless
> cycle", buying bacteria in a bottle, or bacteria in a
> substrate, adding
> ammonia to the water, or borrowing old water, seems
> pointless to me. As long
> as my fish are in no danger, I know bacteria will grow
> very rampant in its
> own due course.

Yes, the course, unaided, is several weeks to several
months ;-)  The denitrifying bacteria take the longest to

> I would never think of sword plants as fast growers. 

Tell it to my tank, it hasn't gotten the message ;-)

> Not
> compared to the
> fastest growing stem plants: Hygrophila, Myriophyllum,
> Bacopa and the like.

Fair enough, but stems aren't the first thing I'd
personally wish on a plant newbie -- and some of them I
wouldn't wish on anyone that hadn't aparticular taste for
them. Others would and that's fine; I was giving my advice
-- I expect them to give theirs.

> Cycle smycle! I like that!

Well, I try to include something to please everyone since I
often do a good job of bugging a whole bunch of folk ;-)
> Now is it just me, or does it seem like the participation
> on this list is
> the lowest its been in three years? 

Well were the heck have your posts been lately?

> And if Scott and Tom
> stopped posting,
> there would be half as many messages again! Now whats up
> with that? Where is
> everybody? :) Not that I don't enjoy reading what you
> have to say Scott...
> you are very knowledgeable and quite the muse! Its just
> reading this list
> the old Wendys commercial keeps coming to mind...

How could I take offense at being compared to an old fast
food commercial? But truth is, that's why many have dropped
off -- it *all* gets old to most folks after a while. 

Still although the last couple of weeks have been slow, the
traffic has always varied a lot from time to time. And in
recent months, the traffic has been as high as it ever was
in prior years, give or take a few exceptional peaks.

All lists have a life and they change like neighborhoods
[Old Elmer doesn't stroll the block as much as he used to,
but he still sits on the porch on warm summer evenings and
hollers a greeting to you as you go by. And if you ask him
a question directly, he's bound to give you a good answer.]
But the neighbors change over time -- it's about a one to
two year rollover for repeat posters, with a few
exceptions.  With lurkers, it's hard to say, they don't
leave a trail that one can count -- they only peak through
the windows.  

Some of the interesting aquatic problems of earlier years
are somewhat resolved now and so are of interest, are still
problems, to newbies but not the veterans.  And most
posters that offer "answers" eventually tire of posting

Actually, I think the remarkable thing about this list is
that, after all this time since it was started, the traffic
and the quality remains so high -- even veterans that no
longer post often still read the list (and they
ocassionally post too as Ms. Randall did yesterday and
George Booth and Roger Miller did last month, etc.)  Much
of the quality of the list today is clearly their legacy. 
Many lists have no legacy; they just crap out after a few
years, or belligerence and 'barfights' eventually drive
everyone away but the combatants.

I'm relatively new to the list and I write when I think I
have something to say, which undoubtedly is less often than
I write :-\ but like I always say, scan and skip to what
interests you.  

Tom Barr has a much longer tenure and he ramains actively
helping folks on the list everyday.  That's remarkable too
-- but everyone on the list knows he's one of the more
remarkable aquatic gardeners.

Scott H.

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