Originally Posted by ThatGuyWithTheFish
How many water changes have you been doing?
I first soaked the soil with pump running for a week, no plants, full water level, in the ADA 60-P, then did 1/4 water change about once a week after putting in the plants. Initially the grass and micro swords did the best. The crypts did the worst. The big swords were barely OK. All water changes used my home-based RO system.
Am I supposed to do many, large percentage water changes during the start up phase? I naively thought the plants will soak up the ammonia, but they never did, and two weeks ago on a very hot day the tank probably went toxic and had a huge algae bloom, so now, after removing some dead plants, and doing more water changes, the tank is less stocked than before, and I still have algae everywhere, even though I try to skim them off the plants as much as I can. Some swords have turned transparent and died. The crypts are all dead and removed.
I would like to rescue the tank, but I'm also thinking of using Dry Start Method to start over again.
I didn't cover the soil with anything. Maybe that was no good? I also mixed the soil with some of the sand from ADA, and the whole substrate rests on a thin layer of sand. Maybe that layering is backwards. Soil should go in the bottom, then sand goes on top.