Tom, may I ask a few questions on your comments?
A good fish load can suffice as water column dosing also in a non CO2 soil tank.
Then you could do water changes or not as long as the fish load/feeding was moderately low relative to total tank volume/plant biomass.
Very newbie-basic questions, but I only came over from the dark side (aquarium gravel and plastic plants) since finding this site. I added plants thinking it would make life more pleasant for the fish, but without knowing why.
So on the first comment; A good fish load can suffice as water column dosing also in a non CO2 soil tank.
I have non CO2 dirt tanks, low/medium light (par). One of the things that always gets me confused when I read about ferts is the macro/micro difference, and what wouldn't be supplied by the soil, fish, or the osmocote tabs I use for my crypts and swords. So unless my plants show obvious nutrient deficiencies, I don't need to do water column ferts? (which I don't now). I pair my plant selections to match my lighting, so I don't have to fight that battle. But how do I determine when I've found the right fish load?
Which leads into; Then you could do water changes or not as long as the fish load/feeding was moderately low relative to total tank volume/plant biomass.
How does one know when they hit that magical balance? Will it be because the water tests will show no accumulating ammonia/nitrites and the nitrate readings stabilize? I still have a heavy fish ratio to plants, but I am adding plants as I can. In the meantime it just means more frequent water changes. However the last few times I've done water changes in my 125, the readings have been identical both before and after the w/c. (0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 40 nitrate.) Some tell me the nitrate is too high - so I keep doing water changes - some tell me it's ok because of my pH. (6.8) I should add that I also have a Hamburg Mattenfilter as well as a Marineland Emperor 400 HOB in the tank, and behind the HMF I have bundles of Matrix bio media. I'm sure that adds to my nitrification bacteria, helping to compensate for my current light plant-to-fish ratio. The 125 tank also has 1/3 surface coverage due to floating Brazilian Pennywort.
I hope this isn't a thread hijack - I thought it might help others if they have the same questions! Now I'm off to check out the Barrreport link
Thank you for your time ~