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I'm considering getting a 10 gallon tank and cycling it...

My question is, do I *have* to have live plants in order to cycle my tank? This whole cycle thing is a bit confusing, but I think I understand it thanks to the sticky thread :-D
 

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I'm considering getting a 10 gallon tank and cycling it...

My question is, do I *have* to have live plants in order to cycle my tank? This whole cycle thing is a bit confusing, but I think I understand it thanks to the sticky thread :-D
Uh, you can cycle without live plants.

.____. Live plants are not needed in order to cycle a tank, you just need an ammonia source.
 

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Okayy, I guess I asked the wrong question. I know they are not needed in the cycling process.

I guess what I what to know is; (obviously they are beneficial, soaking up the bad stuff, etc)

But is my cycle going to be harder to keep going if I just use fake plants...?

I am still new to all of this and I'm trying to understand the most beneficial way to do this. I don't want to get a big 10 gallon tank and still have to do 100% changes since it isn't cycled properly.
 

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Okayy, I guess I asked the wrong question. I know they are not needed in the cycling process.

I guess what I what to know is; (obviously they are beneficial, soaking up the bad stuff, etc)

But is my cycle going to be harder to keep going if I just use fake plants...?

I am still new to all of this and I'm trying to understand the most beneficial way to do this. I don't want to get a big 10 gallon tank and still have to do 100% changes since it isn't cycled properly.
No, using fake plants won't affect your cycling.

In my opinion cycling with live plants is much more confusing.
 

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The nitrogen cycle and cycling isn't as hard as it can sound- but it can be confusing......Once you have the tank setup, filter running and add an ammonia source the nitrogen cycle starts.....It can take 4-8 weeks to established.....

When doing the fish-less cycle on the 10gal filtered tank-you really need to have water test products on hand-this is so you can monitor the ammonia level daily to keep it at 3-4ppm-using pure ammonia is best/safest.
If you plan to add more fish to the tank along with the Betta-the fish-less cycle is sometimes the best method so that you can fully stock the tank once the nitrogen cycle is established.

Fish-less cycling was developed more for this reason since the nitrifying bacteria are self-limiting or you will only have enough based on stocking.

You can also establish the nitrogen cycle with the Betta safely or Fish-in-provided that you make the needed water changes....You don't have to have test products on hand, however, it will make the process much easier and take the guess work out of the game......

Regardless of which method you use....its important to understand the process and the bacteria.
The nitrifying bacteria are sticky and adhere to all the surface areas within the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants both fake and real, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media....very little are in the water column itself-and so water only change will not hurt the process or stall it, but over cleaning can......

You don't want to vacuum more than 1 time a week or clean the non-viewing walls, decorations, remove things to clean etc....or change the filter media or even rinse it until the nitrogen cycle has established unless the water flow is compromised.

You do want to vacuum at least weekly, clean the viewing walls and rinse/swish the filter media in the bucket of old tank water if the water flow is compromised-otherwise the build up of mulm/debris can suffocate the beneficial bacteria.....its a balance of sorts.......

Some things can change this process too-water temp, pH, live plants, oxygen and CO2 levels to name a few-
Then you have additives and live plants that can sometimes cause skewed or confusing water pram results

You have both anaerobic and aerobic bacteria responsible for the nitrogen cycle- while good water flow is needed- you don't want to move things to vacuum=those few dead spots are important too-but not too many...back to that all important balance.....

As Micho posted-live plants are not needed and can sometimes make understanding the water prams more confusing-a few plants shouldn't make much difference-but a lot of active growing live plants can since they can use the ammonia before conversion and often it may take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading-the cycle is still happening-its silent.....

By adding live plants to cycle with the Betta can help make it safer-but again not needed unless you plan on adding live plants...I would do that when you first setup....

Water test products can make a difference too-the test strip are good for quick checks-but for cycling it is best to use the liquid reagent type and test both the tank and source water with and without the normal additives used to establish the base line as well as knowing if additive cause any changes, something in the tank itself causing changes...etc.......

Its a lot to take in... the nitrogen cycle happens in filtered tanks that contain organics-its a natural process......
 
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