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Toeknee's Forum Info
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Toeknee's Most Liked Post
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RE: ammonia and plants 4
Thread Subject Forum Name
ammonia and plants New to Fishkeeping
Post Message
A factor that has thus far not been considered in this discussion: The bacteria and how it arrives in the water and in what numbers, and variety.

If you start cycling a tank with treated tap water, as most people do. You are waiting for bacteria floating in the air, hopefully viable/alive (and of the right type) on dust particles to get into an effectively sterile volume of water and begin reproducing.

If you introduce plants from an aquarist shop, then it's highly likely you will introduce bacteria with them, in huge numbers, living on the surfaces of the plants. Because it's fairly safe to assume the plants have not been growing in sterile water. Mostly, (bunched stems) are sitting submerged in (often) open top tanks in water that isn't fresh from the tap that is constantly circulating and being fed with some nitrogen based fertiliser. I have often seen fish in these tanks too... And fish produce an abundance of bacteria in their solid waste from their gut flora.

It's a little different if you buy your plants (in pots) from a specialist, where plants were generally grown out of water in large greenhouses, usually in rural Holland and not in a sterile atmosphere and so will have bacteria all over them and then shipped to the local specialist, where again they are kept for however long it takes for them to be sold all the while exposed to the air and the bacteria floating in it.

So, I would contend that this (plants alive with bacteria) will give the cycle a head start, an immediate advantage over a tank of water and nothing else alive.
If your intention is to have a planted tank then I see zero advantage in starting the cycle with an empty tank.. Empty of everything aside from water and substrate as well as hardscape. (If any). In fact, I would suggest that this is the slowest of all methods, relying as it does on chance. Pot luck.

The cycle is for many people tedious enough and looking at an empty tank just makes matters worse. Usually the tank is a focal point and having "nothing" but a glass box of water to look at just can't be as pleasant for the owner.

Having something alive and growing is much better I think. Something to enjoy from the start. And you also have time to get it 'just so' without the usual negative side effect: Stress.