Cycling a tank with plants and ADA type soil... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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Cycling a tank with plants and ADA type soil...

So, I have my 9.5 gal setup. I just moved into this new place, and went through a massive "cleansing" of fish "junk" before I moved in, so I was without many staples... One such staple was a test kit.

So, scaped, planted, filled, and began running the tank. Was looking for advice on this forum and a few others on how i should begin dosing and what water change schedules to follow (there are varying opinions.. i.e. everyday, every other day, etc). Didn't get too many responses, so I did every other day water changes of 30%.

Well, I finally bought new test kits yesterday, and tested pH, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia.

pH = 6.0 (or off the scale, since 6 is the lowest it goes)
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 0
Ammonia = well... Let's say 8ppm is dark green, and the result is dark Blue!!!!

So, I dosed a cap full of Prime, and did 80% water change. The tank has been setup for a week and a half. I have an Eheim 2213 setup and 2x 18w T5HO bulbs, and pressurized co2.

I'm starting to worry about the plants melting. What do you suggest?


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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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P.S
Sorry, forgot to mention that the ADA type soil I'm using is the Netlea Lambo product... A product that is known to leech ammonia, though it supposedly releases less then ADA.

the ammonia is still off the charts.......


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 02:40 PM
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You can complete the fishless cycle, probably just using the ammonia from the soil.
Do enough water changes to keep it under 5 ppm, and 3 ppm is better. This will call for a lot of water changes that first week!
Do not dose nitrogen, and dosing the other ferts is optional. I do not know if the specific substrate you have has ferts, but some have plenty to see the tank through the cycle at least. Dose GH booster if the water is too soft.
Add carbonates to get the pH up. The nitrifying bacteria use carbonates as their source of carbon. Keep the KH at least 3 degrees, and higher is better. The bacteria do not seem to do very well when the pH is acidic. I do not know if that is because the KH is usually too low then, or if it is actually a pH problem.

As the cycle goes forward:
Do enough water changes to keep the ammonia AND nitrite under 5 ppm. In a few days (at least by the end of the first week) the nitrite will be trying to spike. High nitrites and high ammonia both reduce the growth rate of the very bacteria you are trying to grow.

Toward the end: The soil may be producing so little ammonia that you have to add some to finish out the cycle. Maybe. Maybe not. Test and add enough ammonia daily to hit 3 ppm. The bacteria will remove that overnight, and when the nitrite also hits 0 overnight the cycle is complete.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Diana!

I guess I'll make larger water changes until I can reach the ppm you stipulated...?

As far as the plants go, are they at risk of melting?


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