- 26 Feb 2013
The real problem for me is that I'm just not sure that the whole cycling concept is very useful, partially because it promotes the idea of a binary switch between "non-cycled" and "cycled", and partially because it promotes the idea that the paraphernalia of water testing is going to give you consistent and reliable results that will allow you to manage your tank.
I think the "cycling" concept is a great way of one "learning to walk before they start running". Being stuck to testing water for a while isn't a bad thing and it won't harm. The only thing I don't agree with the original advise on old school cycling out there is using a nitrate test as a measure of general water quality which just doesn't work well in reality and pretty much doesn't matter. ( A TDS/conductivity meter is way more useful and easier/cheaper to use) Ammonia and nitrite test is a waste of time for an established tank too but it does help when there's a serious water quality issue. It is still more beneficial to observe and read the signs rather than read a test but it takes time to be good at this and knowing your own tank(s) and fish enough to notice subtle changes....otherwise its too late....
With the High tech tanks obsessions and EI, people actually take even longer to learn how everything works...I think that high tech people find it hard to learn how most common plant deficiencies look like on their plants, they just increase or decrease the dose of whatever..change the fertiliser brand, the flow, the co2,,etc....but they don't know which worked(although claiming a particular thing worked denying the fact they did dozen of changes at a time) and don't risk trying things one by one patiently in fear of algae....... and nitrogen cycle remains a total blur for majority of them...People just learn a method of growing plants but if the method needs changing....they get confused....Regardless, whatever the approach...one will eventually learn....The difference is at what cost and what bitter memories.....