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Thread: Cycling for planted betta tank

  1. #1
    SCAPE Member Just Planted cori's Avatar
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    Colin
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    Cycling for planted betta tank

    I recently finished setting up 7 gallon waterbox cube. We have a number of different plants and they all seem to be doing great so far.

    The tank has been running for about a week, and due to a lengthy vacation coming up we will not purchase fish for another 3 weeks, allowing the tank to run for at least a month.

    My question is, we only want to purchase one betta, do we need to purchase a full test kit and ensure the tank has cycled? I have read conflicting opinions on whether or not a planted betta tank even needs to be cycled. 2nd if it does need to be cycled, do i need to purchase ammonia? or will some of the plant decay provide the bacteria needed to start the cycle. Happy to post pictures if it would be helpful!!

    Thank you for any feedback.

  2. #2
    SCAPE Member SCAPEr Gredival's Avatar
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    A cycle requires an ammonia source so if you want to cycle the tank while you are on vacation you will need an autofeeder (to introduce fish food that will decay into ammonia), or you will need an autodoser (and put ammonia in instead of fertilizer). When you come back you can take some water to a fish store for a complimentary test. If you get good results (0 ammonia 0 nitrites and some nitrate) then your cycle is complete. I doubt plant decay will be sufficient to cycle for three weeks.

    The argument for the tank not needing to be cycled would be that with properly small feeding and heavy planting your betta's bioload will be so small that the plants would be able to handle processing any waste before it becomes harmful for the betta; therefore the betta can serve as the source of waste to establish an in-fish cycle. This is the same principle as the Walstad dirted tank method, which people often use for Day 1 fish, because the plant mass is dense enough to make the cycle safe.

    You could also buy something very small and self-sufficient to cycle the tank while you are gone. A few ghost shrimp, red cherry neos, or snails could live off algae/biofilm while you are gone.

    I'd also put root tabs or ferts in for the plants.

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