Betta Fish Care  
Go Back   Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care > Betta Fish Care
Check out the eBook Betta Fish Care Made Easy
betta fish
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-11-2010, 10:38 PM   #11 
iamtetsuo
New Member
 
iamtetsuo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1fish2fish View Post
You can add a plant at anytime. Plants are really beneficial as they absorb the nitrates produced.. it won't affect your cycle no matter when you add them.
As I have been trying to tell you 1fish2fish aquatic plants absorb ammonia directly. They are not like terrestrial plants which prefer to absorb nitrates. Aquatic plants will absorb nitrates but they prefer to absorb ammonium (which is a negatively charged ammonia molecule. Ammonium is the form ammonia will take in slightly acidic water, aka most tap water)

Adding ammonia to a planted tank is completely unnecessary
iamtetsuo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-11-2010, 11:12 PM   #12 
1fish2fish
Member
 
1fish2fish's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Savannah, GA
Yes but you aren't saying that you have to have a LOT of plants to offset the ammonia produced by fish. One or two java ferns is not going to cut it. IMO having a biological cycle set up is much safer than simply relying on plants.
1fish2fish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2010, 01:19 PM   #13 
Byron
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
Perhaps I could provide some detail to clarify this issue of ammonia/nitrate and plants and cycling, just so it is clear.

First, aquatic plants prefer ammonium to nitrate as their source of nitrogen [as iamtetsuo very correctly stated]. I explain this in Part 2 of my series on low-tech planted aquaria at the head of the Aquarium Plants section http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/a...um-part-34859/ so there is no need to repeat all that here.

As for cycling, provided the aquarium is well-planted, there will be no "cycle period" as we commonly know it with new tanks. There have to be adequate plants, not just a couple as 1fish2fish rightly mentioned, and I would not recommend too many fish the first day for someone new to this method. I set up my (then empty) 115g tank last July in one day, including all 95 fish, and ammonia and nitrite were zero from day one and nitrates at 5ppm. I moved over the plants and some wood from an existing 90g, so obviously bacteria came with it, and I would not normally stock so many fish in a new tank except for this. But a good number of plants will "cycle" a new aquarium immediately, provided the fish load is within reason. The plants grab the ammonium (ammonia) faster than nitrosomonas bacteria can develop. Kittles, this also explains why you had no ammonia, it was the plants.

Which brings me to the last point, the nitrification bacteria. In a well-planted tank that is in balance (fish load/plants) the nitrification bacteria will be substantially fewer in number than in non-planted tanks. Biological filtration is not encouraged in planted aquaria, and may in fact be detrimental to plant growth; this is also explained a bit in the previous linked article.

In response to your initial question brancasterr, use a good conditioner that detoxifies ammonia (several do, but some don't) with your partial water changes to handle the influx of ammonia from your tap water. I do not personally know the extent to which plants can absorb ammonia/ammonium when it is suddenly increased at this level, so it is wiser to take precautions and use a good ammonia detoxifying water conditioner. These conditioners detoxify by converting ammonia to basically harmless ammonium, which is exactly what the plants want. The conditioners also work for about 24 hours; by then the plants will likely have handled most if not all of the ammonium/ammonia introduced during the pwc.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2010, 01:36 PM   #14 
brancasterr
Member
 
brancasterr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Whew, thanks Byron! I love when someone with such a knowledge base on the topic of my question jump in to save my life.

So I have a 10g, ready to be set up. I plan on putting plants in it but how many would be a good amount?

I'm thinking hornwort, java fern/moss, and some swords. Are there any plants that bettas particularly like?

Also, when planting them, do I just bury their roots in the gravel?
brancasterr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2010, 02:07 PM   #15 
Kittles
Member
 
Kittles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
From what I gathered, Byron, your tank cycled immediately because you recycled plants from another tank, thus establishing all the bacteria necessary for a cycled tank without undergoing the cycling process, yeah? Maybe what I'm not understanding is this:
Quote:
The plants grab the ammonium (ammonia) faster than nitrosomonas bacteria can develop.
Because if you have just bought new plants from a store that aren't already carrying all the different bacteria, and they're absorbing the ammonium faster than the nitrosomonas, how can nitrates be expected to form? And I thought you needed nitrates for your tank to be 'properly' cycled?

Forgive me if I've hijacked, but I think this has been the misunderstanding between users since the topic arose.
Kittles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2010, 02:54 PM   #16 
Byron
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by brancasterr View Post
Whew, thanks Byron! I love when someone with such a knowledge base on the topic of my question jump in to save my life.

So I have a 10g, ready to be set up. I plan on putting plants in it but how many would be a good amount?

I'm thinking hornwort, java fern/moss, and some swords. Are there any plants that bettas particularly like?

Also, when planting them, do I just bury their roots in the gravel?
Fully plant the tank on day 1. By this I mean, plant as much of what you want as you can get. Swords are lovely plants, my favourites; they are hardy, relatively fast growing, and beautiful. Hornwort being a stem plant is a fast grower. I have found it better in cooler temperatures than what you want for betta, so if you can find them some alternates might be cabomba, pennywort, wisteria--these are all stem plants that do well floating; which brings me to the betta plant--anything floating. Betta are anabantid fish and spend much of their time near the surface because they breathe in air (tank should be covered to retain warm moist air above the water). They browse floating plants and roots for food, use them to build bubblenests, and generally feel "secure" surrounded by floating plants. An ideal plant is Ceratopteris, water sprite or floating fern it is sometimes called. But the stem plants I've mentioned will grow floating too as work for the betta. And all these are fast growers, using the ammonia quickly.

Java Fern is nice, a slower growing plant, it attaches to wood or rocks, never bury it in the substrate or it can rot. Java Moss also attaches to rock or wood. As for swords, plant the roots in the gravel, but don't bury the crown, that is the part of the plant where the cluster of leaves arises from the roots and it must be at or above the surface. The stem plants you just stick the cut ends into the gravel; they will grow to the surface and along it, or can be cut and just left floating.

Byron.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-12-2010, 03:13 PM   #17 
Byron
Member
 
Byron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kittles View Post
From what I gathered, Byron, your tank cycled immediately because you recycled plants from another tank, thus establishing all the bacteria necessary for a cycled tank without undergoing the cycling process, yeah? Maybe what I'm not understanding is this:

Because if you have just bought new plants from a store that aren't already carrying all the different bacteria, and they're absorbing the ammonium faster than the nitrosomonas, how can nitrates be expected to form? And I thought you needed nitrates for your tank to be 'properly' cycled?

Forgive me if I've hijacked, but I think this has been the misunderstanding between users since the topic arose.
No problem Kittles, I'll try to explain. First, we have two quite different processes here, one being "cycling" with nitrifying bacteria and the other being plants.

You are correct that in non-planted tanks, the nitrification bacteria have to become established at a level to handle the ammonia produced by the fish and biological processes. Once this occurs, the tank is said to be "cycled" and nitrate is the form of nitrogen that we see. The ammonia first, and then the nitrite, are used by the two bacteria and nitrate results.

Planted tanks are quite different. This "cycle" occurs, but minimally to the point of not even being detected. When I or others set up a planted tank, even with plants from the nursery or store and with no source of bacteria whatsoever, you will not see ammonia or nitrite at all. Provided the fish load is not beyond what the plants can handle of course. Diana Walstad, an acknowledged authority on planted aquaria, has often written of setting up brand new tanks with fish and plants from day one and never a cycle. I have done this too, as have many others. The earlier example I gave was different, as I admitted there would have been bacteria on the plants and wood. But years ago I had another case that proves Diana's point.

I had reason to tear down my 115g due to something toxic leeching from a piece of wood that was killing the fish. Once I ascertained the source, I removed all the wood and destroyed it. I moved the fish to an empty 33g for the day and pulled down and disinfected everything in the 115g. Filter media was discarded and replaced with new, filter housing scrubbed in very hot water, as was all the gravel (what a chore); plant leaves cleaned under warm tap water as best I could; tank walls cleaned with hot water. I replaced the gravel, planted the plants, filled the tank, started the filter--and netted all 110 fish back in. Not one problem, no ammonia, no nitrite. The plants consumed the ammonium from the fish from the start. Having acidic water the ammonia produced by the fish changed to ammonium immediately, and the plants grabbed it.

In a balanced planted aquarium, there will be some nitrifying bacteria, but they will be fewer than if there were no plants. The plants are very quick at grabbing ammonia/ammonium, and the nitrosomonas bacteria get what is left over so to speak. This changes to nitrite but that is minimal because of the minimal bacteria, and eventually nitrates appear. However, in many aquarists' planted tanks, nitrates are always zero. This is because the fish load is not greater than what the plants can handle (in ammonia), and the nitrite and nitrate is so little it can't be detected with our standard test kits. I have 5ppm of nitrate in two tanks, and 10ppm in the 115g because it has more fish, over 140 at present, and when the fish load is greater there is more likelihood of bacteria appearing because there is more ammonia than the plants can grab.
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2010, 12:42 AM   #18 
iamtetsuo
New Member
 
iamtetsuo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Thanks Byron, I'm not as good at explaining the biology behind planted tanks.
iamtetsuo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2010, 09:26 AM   #19 
brancasterr
Member
 
brancasterr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Thanks Byron for that extensive explanation. It's always nice when someone pops by and throws some knowledge down like emerald throws his spices on his food. BAM! (okay, maybe a bit toooo cheesy. :P) But thanks! It helped a lot. :)
brancasterr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
? use of Amquel+ for spike in tap water ammonia purplegirl Betta Fish Bowls, Habitats, and Accessories 5 01-22-2010 10:29 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:49 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.