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Newb Question About Ferts

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9 minutes ago, Tyler LaZerte said:

So Newb question for y'all. Is plant fertilizer (like Aquarium Co-op's All-in-One) "food" for aquatic plants? Do I need to provide animal waste so my plants do not die while the tank is cycling?

Easy Green fertilizer is a good one-stop-shop for "feeding" plants. No, there's no need to add any animal waste.

Fish live inside their own toilets. When they produce waste, it immediately raises Ammonia level in the water. Cycling is the process of allowing beneficial bacteria to colonize sufficiently that the bacteria converts that Ammonia first to Nitrite, and then to Nitrate. Plants slowly consume Nitrate -- along with other minerals -- along with a type of "respiration," using dissolved CO2 in conjunction with (day)light and Oxygen during the night. It is very helpful to have air -- either air stones, or air form sponge filters blowing through the water to allow dissolved gasses to get into the water column for immersed plants to absorb. Easy Green, for example, provides a host of plant nutrients -- including Nitrate -- to promote healthy plant growth.

Whenever cycling a tank, we always add plants right away to bring in micro life, help filter the water, bring in some bio to build up the bacterial colony towards a fully cycled tank, etc. And it is fine to use plant fertilizer. Be advised, however: Your testing will show Nitrate that probably does _not_ come merely from the last step of the cycle. Your tests will be reading the plant fertilizer. You'll want to watch the Nitrites. Once Ammonia and Nitrite are nearly at 0 ppm, then you're in the safe zone.

Hope this helps! Shout out if you have followup questions. 

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Hi @Tyler LaZerte, another thing to keep in mind is that you will need a source of ammonia to cycle your aquarium. You may test the water and get 0 ammonia and nitrite but it will not mean the tank is cycled. It can just mean that there was never ammonia in it in the first place. You need to add in a source of ammonia to your aquarium so the bacteria can began to colonize your aquarium and begin the process @Fish Folk mentioned (& explained very very well). Once it cycles, then the fish you add will provide the constant source of ammonia to keep the nitrogen cycle going (& plant growth as well). Given that you have a established sponge filter and plants, this should not take too long. 

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@Tyler LaZerte it is hard to say not knowing the size of the aquarium or what fish you plan to add to the aquarium once it is cycled. However, it is likely that it will not be enough.

If you only put enough ammonia in there to cycle the tank for the snails, the tank may not be able to keep up with the ammonia when you add fish as now there is ammonia from fish and snails. Personally, I would add extra food to the aquarium. I would “act” like I am feeding fish and snails so your tank is prepared to handle both.

And when you add the fish to the aquarium, try to add them slowly over time. For example, if you want to stock the tank with a school of rasboras, a school of tetras and a school of corydoras. Add only one school first, then later introduce the second school, and finally the last school instead of all at once. 

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@Isaac M Good point. Here's my list:

10 Celestial Pearl Danios

5.0 Corydoras panda

5.0 Corydoras bilineatus 

3.0 Otocinclus vittatus 

10.0 Neocaridina "Blue Dream" shrimp

1 Red Racer Nerite Snail

1 Batik Nerite Snail 

1 King Koopa Nerite Snail 

1 Yellow Rabbit Snail 

1 Cappuccino Snail 

1 White Wizard Snail 


I was planning on setting up the hardscape, putting in water, put in the new sponge filter AND the seeded sponge, adding all the nerites and the white wizard and cappuccino snail, then letting it cycle before adding in the shrimp and then the corys after that. 

Edited by Tyler LaZerte
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Your plan is perfect. 
If you’re adding a cycled filter then by definition you’re already cycled. You’ll find Nitrates showing up immediately as the bacteria will feed on the snail waste. Over time you’ll build up more good bacteria and biofilm for your shrimp to feed on. By the time your Corys enter the picture you should have a super healthy environment! 

Edited by Patrick_G
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@Tyler LaZerte as @Patrick_G mentioned, your tank will be instantly cycled to a certain capacity if you add the established sponge. I would add the snails immediately. Then feed your snails plus a little extra as if your corydoras were in the tank.

If you see through your tests that your aquarium is cycled (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and nitrates building up), then you can add the corydoras. As @Fish Folk mentioned, keep in mind that adding in plant fertilizer like Easy Green will cause nitrates to raise. Be careful to not confuse that with a cycled aquarium. Ammonia and nitrite must be zero even though there are sources of ammonia in the aquarium (from snails and fish food in the beginning in this case). Then you can continue that cycle until your tank is fully stocked. 

Also, I would wait to add the otos and shrimp last as they tend to do better in a established aquarium. 

I hope that helps! 

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I would try not to make any water changes unless absolutely necessary. Generally speaking, this would be only be if you have unsafe levels of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. Ammonia and nitrite should be below .2 ppm. Nitrate should be below 40 ppm. 

I will attach some links to some Aquarium Co-op blog posts here that explain these processes better than I can on these posts:





I hope that helps @Tyler LaZerte

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