Plant Cycling

What's the best way to cycle a tank?

  • With Hardy Fish

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • To let it sit for 8 weeks

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • With already cycled plants

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


New Member
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Hi! So I had an issue with fish dying in my tank so I took a water sample to a nearby pet store and they told me I need to cycle my tank. I was looking up ways to do that and found 3 ways. The first was to clean the water, turn on my filter, and wait 8 weeks but I don't wanna wait that long. The second was to put in one or two Hardy fish and let them live there for a few weeks but that's inhumane so I really don't wanna do that. The third way I found was to take a plant or rock from an already cycled tank and put that in my tank and let it be for a week or two so that the good bacteria from that plant are inroduced and multiply in my tank.

So my question is will the plant method actually work? The nearby pet store had lots of live plants in already cycled and established tanks for sale and I wanted to get one as soon as possible. My tank is 5 gallons and I cleaned it really thoroughly yesterday and turned the filter on so I think all I would need to do is put the plant in and wait a little bit, right?

Thank you so much in advance for your help!


Well Known
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4 years
While decor or plants from an established tank would carry bacteria, it wouldn't really be enough to cycle your tank. You'd be much better off getting some filter media from a cycled tank, and that'd instantly cycle your aquarium.


Fishlore VIP
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3 years
Like lorekeeper said it's better to use established media. Almost all of the bacteria live in the filter and some in the substrate, so adding a plant will not establish bacteria in your filter.

There are products such as tetra safe start that allow you to add bacteria to the water column, and over about 2-3 weeks they will completely cycle the tank. You must have a source of ammonia for the bacteria or they will starve, and so people do a fish-in cycle with safe start or use pure ammonium chloride.

Plants use ammonia as a food source as well, so they'll actually be competing with the filter bacteria. If your goal is a planted tank, start with all the plants from day 1. If your goal is just to cycle, skip on plants for a while.

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