Planted Tank & Cycling

Discussion in 'Aquarium Plants' started by cyanicwaters, Jun 17, 2018.

  1. cyanicwatersNew MemberMember

    I have a ten gallon that's been cycling for just a couple of days. I have a decent sized Java fern in it (on a rock). I was just curious if planted tanks cycle faster, and if so is one plant enough to make a difference? 1529293221425.jpg
  2. bryangarWell Known MemberMember

    Hi there,

    Yes, planted tanks do help cycle a tank faster. Except a single java fern wont really do much since they’re slow growing plants. You would have to heavily plant your tank with several fast growing plants. The fast growing plants would use the ammonia or nitrite that would appear in cycling tank as a food source.
  3. david1978Fishlore LegendMember

    For the actual cycle no plants do not make a difference. Column feeders will use some of the ammonia and nitrites but that has nothing to do with the bacteria it simply can make a fish in cycle a little easier.
  4. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

  5. -Mak-Fishlore VIPMember

    I guess people define cycling differently, I define it as the tank as a whole being able to process all ammonia into nitrates within a certain timeframe (probably 24 hours).

    And because plants use ammonia, using this particular definition they do cycle the tank.

    In fact there is a cycling method called the silent cycle, which gets its name from a near instant cycling process. A tank is planted heavily with fast growing plants from day 1 and fish can be added immediately because the plants take care of all ammonia.

    If you define cycling as purely relying on filter bacteria, plants either do not affect it or they harm the cycle. Plants want ammonia, bacteria want ammonia, they compete and slow each other down. However either way the ammonia gets used so what difference does it make?
  6. DuaneVWell Known MemberMember

    Plants help filter the water, not cycle the tank.

    The term "Cycle" has always referred to establishing the biological filtration in the nitrogen cycle of a tank. Decaying matter from fish waste, food and plant matter produces ammonia. The bacteria Nitrosomonas start to grow as they consume ammonia. Their byproduct is nitrite. Then another bacteria called Nitrobacter form as they consume the nitrites. Their byproduct is nitrate. Once there is enough Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter to consume all ammonia and nitrite in the tank, you are then considered "cycled".

    My personal point of view is, if you add enough plants to deal with all ammonia in the water then youre running a "false cycle". If all the plants were to die, youd be overrun with ammonia and your fish would die because your tank isnt actually cycled.

    You can actually plant a tank so heavily you dont need external filtration as all the ammonia will be absorbed by the plants. Ive done this before. BUT, the bioload has to be incredibly small and you have to be fertilizing the plants. Once you get the bioload too big, youll be running a "fish-in cycle", and if you stop fertilizing the plants they will die, causing a massive ammonia spike which will kill the fish.

    Does planting a tank help? Absolutely. But it doesnt mean the tank is actually cycled.

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