Going to try my best to keep up with this journal on my new to me 36 Gallon bow front.
I acquired this tank and decided I would dirt it and go for low light / low tech (no c02 / no dosing for now). I picked up a nice bag of miracle grow organic potting soil from Lowes. I sifted the dirt into 5 gallon bucket using a kitchen strainer.
I also picked up some national geographic black sand from Petsmart to use for a cap. I have about 1 1/2 inches of dirt and another 1 1/2 inches of black sand cap.
I planted my vals, s. repens, and wendtii green in the tank.
The tank came with a Marineland Penguin 200 so I went ahead and ordered an AquaClear 70 and picked up a Sat+ from Amazon. Once the AC came in I started dosing Stability that I picked up from petsmart.
I did run into an issue and had an outbreak of algae and some white fungus on the cap. I decided to cut the lights off on the tank until the algae and fungus was gone. I had been poking the substrate daily and noticed plenty of bubbles releasing.
I picked up some limo window tint from Advance Auto and cut it to fit the back of the tank. Best decision I ever made. I can see the inside of the tank from the backside but the window light no longer bleeds into the tank. I can't see through it looking through the front.
After about a week of poking the substrate and testing the water parameters daily once I had 0 nitrites and 0 ammonia I placed 9 tetras and a couple guppies into the tank. Since adding them I've transferred my albino bristle nose pleco, her driftwood, and 7 peppered cory catfish into the tank. I also picked up a Windelov Java fern for the piece of driftwood.
The tank no longer is releasing ammonia bubbles but I did notice a spike in ammonia. I noticed my ammonia was going up into the 0.25 / 0.5 range. So I've been doing water changes about every other day. The substrate was also leeching into the water making it have a yellowish tint. This has since stopped.
I stopped dosing Stability after following the week long instructions but yesterday I noticed my nitrates were 5PPM, I tested twice because I was surprised by it and each time the tests came back purple, yikes! My ammonia was still around 0.50 PPM. I did a water change and will test today to see what my levels are at.