I'm building a 40 gallon planted tank, using bdbs as a substrate. Penn plax cascade 700 canister with coarse foam, filter floss and biomax. Temp 83. No fish, but have a couple pond snails.
I have a piece of manzanita, local rocks (vinegar test passed) and several plants, all doing well. I have used Thrive, gh booster, and liquid co2. After watching a video on YouTube I got the idea to sprinkle osmacote plus under the sand for a fertilizer base. I think I've messed this up.
It has been running for 2 weeks today. I have been trying to start a fishless cycle, but for the first week my ammonia level, without adding any ammonia, was doubling every day. (I do have .5 ammonia in my tap). By day 4 it was at 8 so I did a 95% WC. 2 days later it was back to 4, another 95% water change.
At that point it stopped rising, and when it dropped my nitrite test was grey. From what I've read, that means sky high nitrite (the day after a 95% water change. The ammonia zeroed out, nitrite remained grey. 4 days later I did another WC, nitrite turned blue.
I did not understand the high tests after such large water changes, and my nitrite test was 6 months from expiration. It also popped grey on a qt cycled to 2 ppm when I upped the dosed to 2.5, so I ordered a new test.
On 6/21, ammonia was zero, so I dosed 1 ppm ammonia in the evening. The next morning ammonia was at 4 ppm and nitrite was grey. That evening ammonia was 2, and 0 the next morning. At this point my new test came in, and nitrite was deep purple (still grey on old test). Using dilution tests I determined I had 200+ nitrite. Did another water change.
I tested my water before turning the filter back on, and I had .5 ammonia and 0 nitrite. At noon. By 11 pm ammonia was .25 and nitrite is grey! This morning the ammonia is still .25 and nitrite is pinkish purple. I'm thinking this may have come from the water still in my canister after the WC. (?)
I admit I did not test nitrite for the first week. It was 0 on day 1. I added seeded media on day 6. I have been keeping a detailed log, if you can read my scribbles.
At this point I'm thinking about breaking down the tank, clearing out all the osmacote and starting over. I am completely regretting getting any ideas from a YouTube video. Does anyone have any experience with using osmacote this way? Does this stuff ever stop leeching toxins?
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