alright thanks. i'll try to convince my parents to drive me to home depot. it sucks being 16, lol. if the soil does have the little blue balls, should I worry about anything else besides ammonia? oh, my dad has a bunch of peat moss lying around and its the kind with no additives. i read somewhere on the forum that you should use it with the soil. should i use a very thin layer of peat covered with the inch or two of sand and then the schultz aquatic soil? im sorry for asking so many questions i just want to get it right the first time and i know you are pretty much a genius when it comes to aquariums.
No apologies needed, we are all here to help one another. A dusting of peat on the bottom before placing sand over it is an excellent idea. It is supposed to provide some organic matter for healthy bacteria colonization. You don't want to use too much though, a dusting is ehough. Lol, thanks for the compliment, but I am far from a genius when it comes to this stuff. All I can do is share my experiences, so hopefully no one repeats the same mistake(s) I did.
If you want to get a good idea of how well Schultz Aquatic Soil, you can check out my log for the 10 galllon I used it in.
My 40 gallon signature tank also makes use of it. I have not updated the web page for the 10 gallon.. The tank was supposed to test some controversial anti-algae measures but the funny thing is that it was over-run with algae until I reduced the light intensity to 20 watts from 30 watts. The last update on this tank can be found here where I battled a Green Dust Algae oubreak. The water is clear crystal light now, but I have bumped up the light intensity back to 30 watts, just to see what happens.
I believe the algae was indirectly caused by the SAS not allowing plants to remain deeply rooted so they were unable to grow and become established, which opened the door to algae. Also, I believe the lighting intensity and unstable/fluctuating c02 levels had a lot to do with the algae. The fish deaths were due to Neon Tetra Disease or bad feed.
Make sure that you have enough light to allow good plant growth but not so much that algae takes advantage. C02 injection cannot hurt and it always pays off in the long run to use pressurized c02.
I have grown plants in both ADA Aquasoil II and Schultz Aquaitc Soil. My preference is ADA Aquasoil. ADA Aquasoil seems to allow balace to be achieved more quickly, so you may not encounter some of the algae issues you get with other substrates. I am not sure if that has to do with ADA Aquasoil changing water parameters to favor plant growth, or the fact ADA Aquasoil is so nutrient dense, or both.If you can afford it, consider the ADA Aquasoil(oringinal and not II). IMHO and IME it is worth the extra money.