Cycle, filter and plants... - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Cycle, filter and plants...

I get the concept of cycling without live plants but how does having live plants affect things? Do I remove the filter or keep it in the tank? Also, how do the plants affect the water changes?

Most of the plants have grown like weeds in the past 3 weeks

3 weeks ago

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 12:10 PM
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plants may soak up some ammonia and nitrates but you generally cycle in the same way as you normally would.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 02:28 PM
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With a heavy loaded planted tank you could get what is called a silent cycle, you should ask The Old Fish Lady about that. Do you have a test kit yet ?

Remember the Light at the end of the tunnel may be You.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 06:54 PM
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When you are cycling a tank one of the common things to do is put live fish to start the process. If you understand the cycle you know the levels of certain things rise. This becomes dangerous to your starter fish.

This much is common knowledge. Adding in live plants gives your new tank an edge because they help absorb the the stuff that is rising in your tank while your bacteria colony gets a start. So if you want to have a few fish in a live cycle get plants and your success rate of the animals living through the cycle is higher plus it's over all beneficial anyway.

As for affecting your water changes depending upon how well your plants are doing with handling the load it can decrease the amount of water you need to remove or the amount of water changes you have to do and or just simply mean the water you take out is not as dirty as it could be without the plants.

Last edited by Sanguinefox; 09-05-2012 at 06:57 PM.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-05-2012, 07:21 PM
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Depending on your stocking and plant mass, you can have a non-filtered tank consistently give readings that are comparable to that of a cycled tank.

Stem and floating plants (duckweed in particular) are exceptionally good at drawing nutrients out of the water column. If you have emersed plants such as pothos or spathiphyllum, they can also help with the removal of nitrates.

I have seen heavily planted tanks with no filters on other forums before. Usually they do have to provide some surface agitation generally through a powerhead as I think at night the plants would deplete the available oxygen in the water. With something like bettas this might not be a worry but for other fish it could pose problems.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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The tank was already cycled before I took out the silk and added the real plants. I have heave heard that some people take out the filters and I was wondering if I it was bad to leave the filter in there. The only fish in there are the 6 bettas. I was thinking of more girls but since these are remarkably peaceful and with the male in there - I don't want to push my luck. I know I am already pushing it by leaving him in there.

What I was wanting to know was - do I leave the filter in there or do the plants do everything? and do I do less water changes with live plants. I have heard that some people remove the filters and other people do not. The same about the WC's

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 04:27 PM
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Are these soil based?

In soil based-once the tank is mature (about 3+months) plants are thriving and provided that you have enough of the right species of plants with a low to moderate livestock bioload.
The tank can take care of itself to a degree-no filter needed and limited water changes. The active growth of the plants and the live soil can function as filtration and the livestock as the ferts, cleanup crew, name a few things they do....its as close to a complete ecosystem that can be created in a closed system....Everything has a job of sorts.....
I like to use water movement from filters in my 20gal and larger soil based tanks with homemade filter media-they are more for water movement than filtration. I don't use any filtration or water movement in my 10gal and smaller soil based tanks.

In regular substrate-gravel or sand-since these are inert-Even with active growing plants regular partial weekly water changes will be needed and depending on species of fish-you may or may not need a filter.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-07-2012, 10:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks OFL.
I'll leave the filter in there. I don't use the cartridges - but stuffed in aquaclear foam, added a layer of aquaclear carbon and then another layer of foam.

It's just sand right now. I was thinking of redoing it with soil but decided to add API plant growth and API Liquid CO2.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 09-07-2012 at 10:10 PM.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 12:16 AM
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I was wondering why there was a male in there lol. Hw just got 20% cooler lol

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