I have a similar thread on another forum, but since this is the planted tank, i figured it would be good to ask here in regards to other people's experience relating to ADA Aquasoil and water parameters. The tank originally has been setup for 4 years. I bleached everything down as I had quite an extensive black beard algae problem and decided to just scrap everything, redo my hardscape and go full planted. The only thing that was saved from the old setup that wasn't thoroughly washed down was the filter/media(aquaclear 70) in order to quickly establish bacteria in the new setup. Aquarium is a 55g, it has a hydor koralia 240 for a bit of water agitation, aquaclear 70 on the right and soon to be an eheim 4+ 350 with the spraybar for more water agitation on the left(just waiting for tubing to arrive). Hard scape is a large Eucalyptus root, 3 pieces of malaysian driftwood and 20 pounds of Dragon Rock(ohko stone) and 4.5x 9L bags of ada aquasoil.
So it goes as follows. I setup my tank with hardscape on the 9th, and then planted it the next day. Ammonia of course spiked per usual for ADA soil up to 4-5ppm, PH= 7.4, nitrites = 0, Nitrates = ~40. Have been doing daily 50% water changes for the first week and now im doing them every other day. Ammonia today is down to about .5. Now my questions is as follows, when the soil is done its own cycle and leeching of ammonia, what should i do about my GH, KH and PH? Out of tap my parameters are as follows:
Out of Tap
GH - between 120-180
KH - between 80-120
PH - 7.5
In aquarium with ada soil
GH - 0
KH - 0
PH - 6
My stocking plan will be 2 mystery snails, 20 cardinal tetras, Dream Blue Shrimp, 1x Gold Nugget Pleco, 1x albino rainbow shark and 1x rainbow shark(had these in my last setup with similar stocking which had discus and no shrimp and never had any aggresion issues). I will need to get the KH up because i don't want to WC from a tap of 7.4 to a tank that is being buffered quite considerably down to 6. Any similar experiences/suggestions? Should i just let the ammonia go to 0, retest and go from there? Should i buffer with some limestone chips in the HOB to raise my KH and stabilize my PH that way to get it as close to tap again as possible if it doesn't raise at all itself after the soil cycle? For how long will it buffer everything down to 0?
Here is pics of the tank the next day after planting/filling. Thanks again in advance for any help/suggestions/criticisms. If i have left out some pertinent info that is needed please just let me know and i will try to answer.