Fertilizer comes above substrate - is it bad ? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-04-2018, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Question Fertilizer comes above substrate - is it bad ?


It's my first post here, and to be honest my first aquarium too.
Please let me know if it's the wrong place for this post.

I just finished setting up my 110L tank, my substrate is JBL aquascape Pro and fertilizer is JBL Florapol.

I mixed 9L of substrate with the 700g of Florapol as first layer, roughly 3cm deep.
Used another 6L of substrate on top, about 2cm high.

While setting everything up, I have poured the water too generously it seem:
The small plate I used while pouring only helped to dig in the substrate, exposing some of the fertilizer at the surface. So the 2cm of extra substrate didn't stay in place, and some of the fertilizer/substrate mix is now sitting on top of the soil.

Right now, i'm waiting for the tank to be less cloudy before adding in more plants (moss and 2 mid range plants) and kick off a fishless cycle with some food or liquid fertilizer maybe.

I wonder if the fertilizer exposed at the surface would be a problem for the next fishies to come, especially as i am lurking towards Khula Loach and Amano shrimps ? Is there some other problems i should expect because of this ?

Is it ok to move or add some substrate again (i wouldn't want to end up with a cloudy tank again) ?

I guess this situation could also happen during vacuuming ?
What did i do wrong (besides zealous water pouring) ?

Thanks for your answers, I'll get there eventually !
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-05-2018, 02:50 AM
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I would cover up the fertilizers; if they are exposed to the water column, they will be releasing much more fertilizer at once. This may cause an algal bloom down the road.

Yes, you will encounter similar problems if you do a deep substrate vacuum (or if your fish decide to dig, which is likely given your choice).


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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-05-2018, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your reply !

Day 2: it is getting a bit better. It's less cloudy and i can distinguish the decor now. The air pump + external filter seem to help. The carbon filter media is all dark already.

I noticed there's a lot of debris on the substrate. Some grey powder. I think the violent pouring broke down the florapol grains and it's now everywhere in the water column ... The manual of florapol says it's slow to disperse. I'll wait til end of week, see how things go.

Seeing all the debris on the substrate, i did a first water change today, about 50%, to vacuum all the debris away. The water was indeed dirty, black.
So far, all i have in the tank is decor, some java fern and ... florapol all around ! I have to be extremely careful not to disturb the substrate when pouring water, as the florapol is easily disturbed and unleashes hell (more florapol), which i think is a concern for the rest of my life with this setup.

If it isn't any better by end of week (today being monday), I'll flush it all away and start again with new substrate
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-13-2018, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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4 days later, the water was not that cloudy, and i could see the decor.
Did one 50% water change to help clear things up and rinsed my filter media too (i didn't hope to have much healty bacteria already).
I have covered most of the fertilizer with more soil, thanks !
I have given up on the khula loaches idea, maybe another time.

My tank is still cloudy/dusty one week later, i'm thinking of bacterial bloom since i have some nitrates and nitrites but no amonia.
Waiting for that to go before kicking off a real cycle.
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fertalizer, newbie mistakes, setup, substrate

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