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Re: where's my nitrogen

I discovered (the hard way) that filters attached to heavily planted aquaria
with moderate fish loads do not contain sufficient bacteria in order to be
considered 'cycled'.

Experienced people, like Karen Randall, have written that a filter in a
heavily planted tank is not necessary, however, the provision of water
movement is.  To this end, I use the canister filters to move water.
Whenever I do open the filters, which is seldom these days, there is next to
nothing in them.

At one time, I had an extra canister on one of my tanks.  Thinking. that
after several months, it must have significant bacterial colonization, I
switched it over to a new tank., hoping to be able to skip the several week
long 'cycling' process.  Well, I got an ammonia spike and nitrite.  After
twice daily 60 percent water changes, I ended up with only nitrate which was
also dealt with via water changes.

So, if you have a heavily planted tank into which you introduce only two
fish, don't be surprised that all the ammonia is being immediately absorbed
by the plants.  That's the form they prefer.  It's possible, if you never
load up the tank with lots of fish, that your filter will never be 'cycled'.
But, your fish will be very healthy, live long, and your plants will be

A tank which sits idle for several months, even if it's running with a
filter, will once again revert to being 'uncycled' because there is no
nitrogenous waste present in the system to keep bacterial populations alive.

G. Kadar