New tank, amazonia, and CO2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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New tank, amazonia, and CO2

Hi everyone,

So I just started up another tank.

I am using amazonia aquasoil for the first time. I heard it leaches ammonia, and that's definitely true, haha. Maxes out the api test.

Did a big water change this morning after the first test, and just tested again tonight, maxed out again. I decided to check the other usual parameters: nitrite = 0, nitrates = maxed out ~160 ppm, phosphates = 0, pH = 6.4 or 6.0.

I currently have some grass, blyxa, and s repens in there. I also added filtration media from one of my other tanks to try and seed the new media and speed things up a bit.

Anyway, I have two questions. I should just continue doing water changes until things settle down?

My other question is should I be pumping in CO2 while it's cycling? I've never had a CO2 system up before a tank is done cycling. I don't want to tempt the gods of algae too early on in the tank's life.

Thanks
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 10:08 PM
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I hope some one can answer this. I've got a tank full of amizonia and plants cooking right now but I haven't done a water change. Plants seem fine it's been 3 days and I'm about to add co2.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-23-2014, 10:31 PM
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Yep, grow the plants. Fire up the co2. You want the plants getting acclimated and growing that will speed up the cycle.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 12:07 AM
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I didn't do water changes on mine. In general, it seems to slow the process down, or that is my experience with cycling. I have only used AS once and it seemed to cycle pretty quickly compared to journals I read where people were doing daily water changes for the first 2 weeks. However, many will say it's a good idea to change the water daily for the first 2 weeks to prevent algae, too much work for me, especially on a non nano tank.

-Matt

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
I didn't do water changes on mine. In general, it seems to slow the process down, or that is my experience with cycling. I have only used AS once and it seemed to cycle pretty quickly compared to journals I read where people were doing daily water changes for the first 2 weeks. However, many will say it's a good idea to change the water daily for the first 2 weeks to prevent algae, too much work for me, especially on a non nano tank.
If that was true, every time someone day a large water change (which is many) the cycle would be affected. I do 50-60% water changes weekly and there is no problem with the cycle.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houseofcards View Post
If that was true, every time someone day a large water change (which is many) the cycle would be affected. I do 50-60% water changes weekly and there is no problem with the cycle.
That's my experience. Think about it this way, if you keep on taking half the ammonia out everyday, the bacteria can't use that. But, it will come back through leaching, just to be halved again. Now, I don't know how long AS actually leaches ammonia, I have heard anything from a few weeks, a few months, to forever.

I experience the same with mini cycles/bacteria blooms. The more I change the water, the longer it takes to go away. Now, if things get way out of control, you need to change the water to keep your fish but if it's relatively safe levels, I will change less to not at all, depending.

Now I may be totally wrong on this, I admit I am not the foremost expert, it's just my experience. On top of that, it makes sense to me. That doesn't mean it's right and/or absolute though.

-Matt

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:15 AM Thread Starter
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As of today, ammonia and nitrate are still maxed out, nitrites are finally showing a non-zero value. Guess things are getting going.

I suppose I'll just leave it be and hope for the best. I just didn't want my plants to melt or anything.

I've also been adding Seachem Stability so that might speed things up too.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 02:23 AM
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There is a bit of history that will put things in perspective:

The first generation of AS (3-4 years ago) would leach a LOT, and it also had high organic content. ADA was also pushing PowerSand and THAT just added more junk. Frequent water changes with that version of AS was the most practical way to keep ammonia below 4 ppm.

The latest version of AS (about a year now) leaches a LOT less. If you plant a lot of plants from the get go, not changing the water saves you labor and $2 on ferts.

The last 3-4 tanks I did with the new AS I did not bother with WC fir the first 1 - 2 months (depending on volume of AS to volume of water).

Ammonia much above 4 ppm is not good for much besides cleaning windows, but can and will burn the leaves and kill our precious bacteria.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
There is a bit of history that will put things in perspective:

The first generation of AS (3-4 years ago) would leach a LOT, and it also had high organic content. ADA was also pushing PowerSand and THAT just added more junk. Frequent water changes with that version of AS was the most practical way to keep ammonia below 4 ppm.

The latest version of AS (about a year now) leaches a LOT less. If you plant a lot of plants from the get go, not changing the water saves you labor and $2 on ferts.

The last 3-4 tanks I did with the new AS I did not bother with WC fir the first 1 - 2 months (depending on volume of AS to volume of water).

Ammonia much above 4 ppm is not good for much besides cleaning windows, but can and will burn the leaves and kill our precious bacteria.

v3
Hmm...well the AS to water ratio is pretty high... About 2 liters of AS to 5 liters of water. It's in a fluval Chi and fairly deep. My ammonia is at least 8ppm, maxing out the API test. If it wasn't maxing out, I wouldn't be worried about it, so that's why I posted.

Also, ammonia at this acidic pH is more ammonium ions which as I understand are significantly less toxic than the neutral ammonia that persists at higher pH. The pKa of ammonia is about 9 in water, meaning at pH 9 there would be a 50:50 mixture of ammonia (toxic NH3) and ammonium (NH4+). So assuming the concentration is 8 ppm total, then at my pH of 6, drifting to 7 when CO2 is off, this means my ammonia concentration during the day is about 0.3 ppm while at pH 7 it's about 0.8 ppm. Hurray science!

So I suppose it would be best to just do a water change, especially since it's such a small tank, until my ammonia level actually registers below the max.

I think there's already plenty of ammonia around to keep the cycle going after the water change.

You talk about ferts...should I go ahead and dose potassium and phosphorus while cycling and pumping CO2? Pardon my ignorance, I've never actually set up a tank devoted as a higher tech planted tank from the start.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 05:11 AM
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It is not ignorance - all good questions.

Your AS to water volume is pretty high and that would be at least the partial answer to why ammonia is so high.

Assuming the test is somewhat close, I would be doing water changes until ammonia is < ~2 ppm. At least once or twice a day.

The two other questions do not have an easy answers, at least not for me. The two key variables are the light and the plant mass/type. Both are hard to guesstimate and the "relationship/ratio" between the two would be highly speculative. Another unknown is how minutely you can inject the co2 in such a small tank. Given that you do not have fish/shrimp atm makes the last factor a non-issue for now.

In short, if this were my tank, with decent plant mass:

1. Get ammonia < 2 ppm with water changes
2. Then start ferts and co2
3. Keep water changes ~50% per week until ammonia is < 1 ppm
4. Stop water changes, continue ferts and co2 until ammonia = 0 (my guess = 1 - 2 weeks)
5. You are done, now 'normal' regiment

If algae starts to appear in steps 2 - 5 start dumping in floaters (= faster nutrient uptake, lower light in the tank). Once the plants catch up abd algae recedes, start taking the floaters out bit by bit.

v3

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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-24-2014, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
It is not ignorance - all good questions.

Your AS to water volume is pretty high and that would be at least the partial answer to why ammonia is so high.

Assuming the test is somewhat close, I would be doing water changes until ammonia is < ~2 ppm. At least once or twice a day.

The two other questions do not have an easy answers, at least not for me. The two key variables are the light and the plant mass/type. Both are hard to guesstimate and the "relationship/ratio" between the two would be highly speculative. Another unknown is how minutely you can inject the co2 in such a small tank. Given that you do not have fish/shrimp atm makes the last factor a non-issue for now.

In short, if this were my tank, with decent plant mass:

1. Get ammonia < 2 ppm with water changes
2. Then start ferts and co2
3. Keep water changes ~50% per week until ammonia is < 1 ppm
4. Stop water changes, continue ferts and co2 until ammonia = 0 (my guess = 1 - 2 weeks)
5. You are done, now 'normal' regiment

If algae starts to appear in steps 2 - 5 start dumping in floaters (= faster nutrient uptake, lower light in the tank). Once the plants catch up abd algae recedes, start taking the floaters out bit by bit.

v3
Did another water change this morning that brought the ammonia down to about 4 ppm. I'll check it again tonight and see if it's still leaching at the same rate. If I can get it down to 2ppm, I'll look into starting my dosing, probably light dosing for now.

I think I need a better drop checker...it's been reading above 30 ppm CO2 (yellow) for the past few days. It's one that just hangs over the side of the rim, I am use fresh indicator solution. It may have been above 30 ppm at one point cause I had the CO2 above 1 bps, but I have since lowered it to 1/2 bps and even after sitting overnight with no added CO2, it's still yellow. Gotta get that figured out between now and next week or two-ish when I can start adding fauna.

Currently the light is a fugeray r ultra slim clip on light, so that should put me in the middle of the "low light" range for the moment. I think I'll eventually upgrade, but for it's sufficient. I'll definitely add some floaters if I start seeing algae problems.

Thanks a ton for the advice OVT!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2014, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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Well it's now been 9 days of daily water changes with everything nitrogen-related maxed out the whole time. Finally this morning the ammonia just barely registered on the test kit! Nitrites and nitrates were maxed, but it's looking like I'm finally getting somewhere!
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 04:30 AM
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I'm not far behind you on days my amizonia cycle and I had a huge hair algae bloom. Co2 was the apparent fix. I did water changes and maxed out my co2 regulator. Tank looked like a shook up sprite bottle. It fixed the problem though.

Dowsing ei also at the same time seemed to help.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Ugh, hair algae... I have battled with that stuff in my other tank off and on since I started it 4 months ago. Hate the stuff.

So far the only algae I'm seeing is that growing on the ceramic diffuser. *knocks on wood* I'll be starting my dosing soon as well, just ran out of flourish phosphorus so I gotta mix up my dry ferts now so they're ready to go!

I've been running CO2 the whole time, drop checker now reads yellow/green. At the beginning it was all yellow, but I think I'm starting to figure out where the needle valve needs to be.

I should also note that my photoperiod is only 6 hours currently, 2pm to 8pm. CO2 on one hour before the light and off one hour before lights-out.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by talontsiawd View Post
I didn't do water changes on mine. In general, it seems to slow the process down, or that is my experience with cycling. I have only used AS once and it seemed to cycle pretty quickly compared to journals I read where people were doing daily water changes for the first 2 weeks. However, many will say it's a good idea to change the water daily for the first 2 weeks to prevent algae, too much work for me, especially on a non nano tank.
Matt, my experience as well with amazonia.

Now when I do a new tank with it, I fill the tank, start ferts and co2 CRANKED right away. I then just do weekly water changes as usual. (Fishless, BTW) and not worry about any of the numbers. I give the tank pre-seeded media and will check numbers every 3-4 weeks. Usually by the 4 week mark, the tank is ready to go.

My 25 gallon cube garden:

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