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Re: Timing fish introduction ( was Re: Aquatic Plants Digest V5 #194)

My personal suspicion is that all the confusion arose from the
popularization of Chris Cow's ammonia-employing technique for fishless
cycling of FO tanks.  That process uses bacteria from rock wool potted
plants to inoculate the new tank with needed nitrification bacteria.  The
technique was aimed at newcomers without experience or other healthy tanks
from which to get the needed bacteria.  The plant(s) themselves were purely
secondary and for the technique trivial, the important item for this
technique was the previously hydroponic rock wool potting medium.
Naturally, confusion followed and fragments of the technique were spread,
without critical evaluation, into other aspects of the hobby, i.e., planted
tanks in this list's definition and concept of such.  The original technique
was in no way intended as a process for establishing planted tanks.

That out of the way, there is still an issue with the ammonia-utilization of
newly set planted tanks.  IME & IMHO, a newly set planted tank, loaded with
plants in unknown condition from the LFS &/or mail order supplier, is not
metabolically capable of processing the unoxidized nitrogen waste load from
a fully stocked planted fish tank.  Until those plants are established and
growing, there will be a nontrivial lag before they are capable of doing so.
There may well be (again IME) less lag when an experienced grower moves
plants from other of their own established tanks into a new setup with the
same water and knowledgeable-care conditions.  I interpret Tom's comments to
mean that the plant support crew, especially SAEs, go in immediately.  The
planned fish stock outside this should wait for the plants to settle in a
initiate normal growth and metabolism.  Tom can clarify if that was not his
intent, but I would never fully stock a new planted tank with other than
plant support crew.