Hi All. I tyhought I would pop in and give you a much needed update. You remember (dont you? :lol: ) how I bought a 180litre tank, and had read an article written by Diana about how you could stock your tank immediately (and safely) with fish if you put a load of plants in. Here's the link to it -http://tropicalfishfanatics.forumsmotion.com/tropical-beginners-forum-f20/am-i-cycled-t1173.htm#9188
I also read other stuff online, amongst them, these articles -
and decided to give it a go. I did intend to keep vcoming on and giving a blow by blow account of how it went, but never got round to it.
Anyway, here's what I did in case anyone else is interested in doing it.
I decided to use Seachem Flourite as a gravel, as it contains all the nutrition plants need and helpt them root properly. I put enough in for about 3" at the back 2" at the front.
I filled the tank with water and let the filter and heater run for 24hrs just to make sure they were working ok, and let the water clear properly - it was a bit dusty from the gravel even though I had washed it. I then added all the plants I had bought. As I dont know anything about plants aquatic or normal ones, I went for a mix of plants from Greenline. Although some of them were ground cover ones, and the articles recommended big stemmy plants, I gigured that if I put enough plants in it would be ok, and I had more than twice the number of plants for a tank my size.
I put the plants in, and then waited for two weeks. During that time, I had the filter running, the heater on, and fed the plants with Excel Flourish. I did not get a CO2 kit, thinking that that the liqiuid equivalent might be ok. If things looked as if they were going wrong, I would get one then. The Flourite provides all the nutrition the plants need at this stage apparently.
After two weeks I began to add fish. Although one of the articles I read mentioned getting some algae eaters, I didnt like the thought of adding them at this stage so got 6 Harlequin Rasboras, and tested the water twice a day. A lot of the articles mentioned that there might be a build up of algae as the plants and nutrients start to balance each other out (dont really understand that bit really), and although I did get some algae, it was not a lot.
I waited a couple of weeks and added 6 Cherry Barbs, and then fortnight later 3 female Guppies. I also added a Bristlenose Plec as I was starting to have a bit of an algae outbreak and waited for the ammonia and nitrite to hit the roof.
I tested the water twice a day and on no day did the readings go above 0. I did routine weekly water changes, and fed the fish every other day, but only a bit - enough but not too much. I didnt want the ammonia to appear because of over feeding.
I have just begun to take out the odd plant, so that I can get the tank looking as I would like it too, but the fish seem happy enough with all the plants, and I am in no hurry. I dont want to upset everything at this stage.
So, at the moment, the experimernt seems to have been a success. Ammonia and Nitrite are 0, Nitrate 15, fish seem well, plants look healthy, and all is well in the aquatic world of brb98! :lol: I am not recommending this type of tank prep to anyone, or saying that it is better than fishless cycling, just letting you know that I gave it a go and it went ok (touch wood)