Live plants to help in fish cycle?

Laurel and Alex
  • #1
Will adding live plants help my in cycle with fish in? I have had the tank since Sunday, did not know about cycling, but do now. I have done everything you all have suggested to my best ability. I do need todo a full water change when I get terra safe start. I was a fool and listened to the store employees of pet zoo and used stress zyme like they talked me into. Fish are doing ok, but am worried about loosing the cycle I had started. I just did an almost full water change when my toddler Alex filled the tank with note pad, pen and ripped paper instruction manual. My poor fish have been through so much since Sunday I want to hold off on water change for at least another day maybe? When I do my water change and use terra safe start will it help to add live plants?
  • #2
Let's put it this way... it won't hurt.

Most important priorities are the water change and the tetra safe start. Live plants will help with a small portion of the waste created in the nitrogen cycle but if I recall correctly it won't make a HUGE difference.

You fish will probably enjoy live plants though and you probably will too
  • #3
I don't know if it helped. My cycle was quick, this is my first fish tank and my fish love nipping at them or swimming around them. It also looks good. It gives your own personal touch to an aquarium.
  • #4
In theory, I guess live plants could effect SafeStart since from what I understand, live plants will absorb ammonia and nitrite even more readily than nitrate. But in practice I do not think the live plants will negitively effect cycling with SafeStart, since I'm sure many members have used SafeStart in a planted tank.
  • #5
I had live plants in my tank when I used Safe Start, and it worked perfectly. I actually used a double dose of Safe Start though. I used one dose 24hrs after a major water change, and another dose the next day after that...just to be sure. But, I am not saying you need to do a double dose of Safe Start. The point is, I had many live plants and my tank cycled just fine
  • #6
Live plants have some of the bacteria you want on them already from wherever they were grown.. and could potentially speed up your cycle by seeding the tank.
  • #7
In theory if you heavily plant your aquarium and I mean heavy, it can "instant cycle" the tank. .
  • #8
Plants are always a plus in my opinion , no matter if your cycling a tank or have a mature fish tank , to me they add a lively feel and both you and the fish will most likely benefit from them in one form or another
  • #9
Yes, they will help the cycle perform faster! They're great at adding beneficial bacteria that eat up the ammonia and nitrities, as well as increase oxygen to the tank which also helps the cycle. Plus, the fish benefit from the extra oxygen. You'd need a VERY heavily planted tank to "instant cycle", but several or even one will help. The best plant for speeding up the cycle is the anacharis, it's about as cheap as you can get and it grows like wildfire, and the best part is it doesn't need extra substrate like soil, it does not need to be rooted to thrive. This also means if you have fish that like to dig up stuff it won't hurt the plant to be moved around. Hope that helped
  • #10
I'm surprised no one has tagged me yet

Yes, I used live plants to cycle my tank.
No, I did not use Tetra SafeStart.
Yes, I added a lot of fish very quickly.
No, I never had ammonia or nitrite readings.

My 45-gallon tank was 'cycled' using live plants. I set up the tank and ordered plants and fish. I received my plants and some of my fish on the same day. Plants were 3- 12"+ Water Sprite, 10- 12"+ Corkscrew Vallisneria, 4- (6?) 6"+ Windelov Java Fern, 4- 4"-6" Anubias barterii, 1- 6"+ Red Flame Sword, a baseball-sized portion of Christmas moss, some Wisteria, some hornwort, and I think some Java moss as well (though not much since most of it went in my 10-gallon). I also added 2- 3"-4" swordtails and 10 1" Von Rio Tetras. I also added 5 malaysian trumpet snails. The plants came with an un-godly amount of snails/snail eggs and there must be at least 100 ramshorn and bladder snails in there.
About a week later, I added another 10 Von Rio Tetras.
Another week later (more or less), I added 6 kuhlI loaches and 2 paradise fish.
Another week later I added 2 more swordtails, 3 more kuhlI loaches, an albino longfin bristlenose pleco, and 5 assassin snails.

I am now done stocking my tank. I have never had ANY ammonia or nitrite readings and very rarely get any nitrate readings. Most of the time I do partial water changes because my pH has dropped too low (I have a 'normal' KH of 3 which gets depleted rather quickly from the plants and fish). I am a firm believer in cycling a tank using a LOT of plants...I won't ever do it any other way

Edit to add that I would recommend 'cycling' a tank with plants but you have to remember, the plants I added to my tank were VERY large. I wouldn't recommend cycling with plants if you get only a few tiny clumps of moss and a few 2"-3" plants. The plants have to be big enough (or there must be enough of them) to handle the amount of ammonia produced by your fish
Thai Aquarium owner
  • #11
I have previously cycled using plants and fish, but only a small number of fish until the tank has fully cycled,
then I slowly increase fish stock to build up BB in the filter

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