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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-25-2013 07:31 PM
lochaber If you want to add some more cap in the setup tank, put it in an (empty) soda/water bottle, fill it with water, and then put it in the tank, invert it a few inches (or more), and repeatedly squeeze the bottle.

The substrate will tumble out, and most of the dust/cloudiness will remain in the bottle. Take the bottle out, dump the water, and repeat over any thin/non-capped areas.

Someone used to post a youtube vid demonstrating this, but I can't remember who it was, or the video url. I've done it a couple times to help cover exposed roots or add substrate, and it worked pretty well for me.

As to the salt in the mushroom compost, that wasn't something I was aware of, but I would think that a few water changes would get most of it out (still, wouldn't want to put fish/plants in it until then.

Anyway you can do multiple buckets or shelter some of them in existing tanks (maybe throw in some separators), or anything?

I've got quite a few malaysian trumpet snails, and they stir the surface around a lot, but I don't think they go deep enough to disturb the soil layer. Little pebbles, small chunks of wood, and some bones scattered in the tank get moved all over the place, but I haven't really noticed any dirt surfacing. I don't think they will disturb the dirt layer unless your cap is exceptionally thin.
09-25-2013 03:36 PM
jwilson48 Morning y'all. Got up this morning to a slight tinge in the water but much better than it has been. Hopefully this will soon be over. Didn't have time to test ammonia will do so tonight after work. Would it be a good idea to add a little pool sand to the top of the gravel to fill in any pockets? I have trumpet snails in there will they cause me long term grief with their burrowing nature? Thanks
09-25-2013 05:57 AM
jwilson48 it is capped, although not terribly well. between me being in a hurry to get it done before my fish sitting in a bucket all died, and when planting i seem to have disturbed the cap in a few places. i would say on average the soil is 1.5" deep and the cap is the same. the cap is the same gravel i had in the last tank with some additional gravel mixed in. i reused the filters as well so there should be some bacteria left. the temp home is pretty much a no go as i'm sure putting around 40 fish albeit small fish in a 5 gallon bucket wouldn't end any better than the cess pool they are currently residing in. i will keep everyone posted and hopefully this will be over soon enough. what is bad about sodium chloride? how long will the tannins leach? i will try to get some pics tomorrow if i can find my camera. thanks again.
09-25-2013 05:45 AM
jonnyboy Lochaber nailed it. Make sure when you do your water changes that you aren't disturbing the dirt and/or cap. A cap is highly recommended. Ammonia is spiking from organic materials in the dirt you bought. Did you try to filter out the larger chunks from the dirt? Getting the fish in a better temp home would be ideal! Also make sure your dirt isn't too deep....1-2 inches max! If you're capping then 1" dirt max and 2" capping max. The more info you put out the more help you will get. Pictures always help too.
09-25-2013 05:43 AM
Drowned My Cactus A lot of mushroom compost is very high in table salt (sodium chloride.) Many outdoor gardeners tried it in garden beds and killed lots of plants. I don't know about your product but I would avoid mushroom compost.
09-25-2013 05:35 AM
lochaber Is the dirt capped with anything, or is the dirt the only substrate in there?

Also, are you still using the same filter and media you had on your previous tank, or are you using new/different filter/media?

Best guess I have right now is to get a bucket or something that will hold water, fill it with decholrinated water, and move your fish/critters to that, with a filter ideally. Then I guess muck about with the new tank. see if the soil keeps leaching ammonia, or if it was just an initial burst from added fertilizers that will quickly taper off.

If that's not an option, I guess just keep on top of the water changes, do whatever you can to keep the ammonia/nitrite as low as possible until the biological filter picks up. Maybe try throwing in some floaters, or some houseplant cuttings (riparium style), since plants with access to the atmosphere will grow quicker (and take up more ammonia) than most submerged types.
09-25-2013 05:10 AM
jwilson48
please help this newbie!

hi yall this is my first post on this forum but i have spent many hours on here. i have learned a ton from everyone here already, but obviously not enough. a lady on craigslist wanted to trade a 75 gallon aquarium for a 65 gallon. it just so happened i had a 65 and was wanting a 75 to replace it with. in my 65 gallon i had just gravel and used homemade root tabs and liquid fert and had adequate but slow plant growth. i have wanted to add better substrate for a long time. i got to read a total of 10 minutes of emergency research before i had to meet her to swap tanks. being on a budget i opted for the walstad method using dirt. went to wally world and got what i thought would work best. the selection was very limited as it is one of the only walmarts left that is not a super center.

i ended up getting a bag of nurture naturally compost. the ingredients says: this product is regionally formulated with one or more of the following: aged and processed forest products, sphagnum peat moss, reed sedge peat; compost (leaf compost, mushroom compost); and lime as needed to adjust pH.

after setting up the tank and refilling it it instantly turned to mud. i have other tanks in the house but they are set up with different species of fish so these fish had to go back in the mud water. i instantly drained the tank and refilled. this made the water much more clear. i only have an ammonia test kit so i tested before the water change. 6 ppm! ouch! after water change 2 ppm.

this was all on saturday. monday after work i proceeded to buy some seachem prime to continue to reduce the ammonia. i have been doing 90% water changes daily and dosing prime once after water change and again in the morning. this has been keeping the ammonia in the 1 ppm-2 ppm range. i lost one molly saturday during the transfer. this has been the only loss to my knowledge. i still have several ghost shrimp alive so that is a good sign. i have nothing i can do with these fish except hope they live. today i also ordered seachem purigen from ebay to further reduce ammonia and tannins.

sorry for the ramble just wanted to let everyone know the situation. onto the questions.

1. what else can i do to ensure the best chance of survival for my fish?

2. how long can i expect this ammonia problem?

3. how long can i expect this tannin problem?

i have tons of java moss, 4 swords, 1 anubias, some java fern, 4 dwarf lilys, 20 or so dwarf sag, some crypt, 4 or 5 aponogetons, around 12 moneywort starts, and some water wisteria all of which seems to be growing faster than ever before. they aren't keeping up with the ammonia being leached into the water though. thank you very much.

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