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Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V3 #1268

>I'm getting ready to set up a new 75g tank.  It's going to be
>heavily planted.   Will I still see the normal ammonia and 
>nitrite spikes during cycling?  My thought is that the plants
>will consume the ammonia and nitrites, so the bacteria don't
>end up with any, and therefore, the bacteria colony won't grow
>as it would in a non-planted tank.  Is this correct?  
>Should I cycle the tank without a full plant-load?  Or will it
>cycle just fine even with the plants.  It seems that if it will
>cycle normally, the ammonia and nitrite levels will probably be 
>kept much lower by the plants.
>Chuck Gadd
Add all the plants you can. Cheap fast growing stem plants are great for a
start up tank. They have bacteria attached to them. Get some from a fellow
hobbyist that came out of a nice planted tank. It's like adding dirty old
tank water to your tank! Much better than adding the cycling stuff(crap) the
stores sell. Your bacteria MAY take slightly longer to get to non planted
tank titers(bacterial quantity) with plants but ask your self this question:
Do I want to grow bacteria or algae............ or plants? The bacteria are
more adaptable than the plants and will find a nice niche in your substrate
or filter and on roots etc. Your plants will die from lack of NH4+/NH3/NO3
long before any bacteria are effected in any visual way . Tanks cycle just
fine with plants if not faster. I would say better than without IMHO.
Both will consume nutrients, but neither will "starve the other". A balance
will ensue. You'll get a higher titer(quantity) of bacteria than with no
plants but you are growing plants not bacteria so this is OK. Their
population will level off and stabilize. If your tap water is decent, do
water changes to keep the spikes down in the beginning. Plants like water
changes also as long as trace/macro nutrients are there.
You are correct is thinking that your ammonia and nitrate levels will be
kept down by adding plants from the start. This will help stop algae also.
     Having plants in your tank does take away the need for large(er)
filters generally. You just don't need that much due to the plants uptake of
waste. It's a good deal. So spend the $ on a nice light/CO2 instead of a
nice big filter. Think plant, not bacteria. They are always there.
Tom Barr               Bacteria.........................the only culture
some folks have<g>.