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Re: Cycled Tank Definition

     >OK - so a buddy and I were discussing tank cycling and we discovered 
     >that the term is not well defined.  So, in response to our find, I 
     >would like to pose the question to the group.  This question is valid 
     >because it does involve plants as a viable option in the answer.
     I like the definition found in:
     Spotte, S.  1979.  Fish and invertebrate culture:  water management in 
     closed systems.  John Wiley, New York.
     He states:  "A conditioned aquarium is one in which the filter bed 
     bacteria are in equilibrium with the routine input of their energy 
     sources." (p. 10).
     Simply stated, a tank is cycled when it's bacterial population has 
     reached it's working density, and their oxidizing capacity has been 
     geared to a stable daily input of oxidizable substrates.  Of course, 
     sudden increases in the fish load, or food added, can produce 
     measureable increases in ammonia and nitrite, which will persist until 
     the bacteria equilibrate with the new conditions.
     I suspect a planted tank has fewer nitrifying bacteria than a 
     comparable fish-only tank, as the plants are competing with bacteria 
     for ammonia, and there is less available.