Charging Safe T Sorb w/vermicompost?
Has anyone ever done this? please tell me how that worked for you. I've read a lot about people putting worm castings under substrate in a dirted tank, but nothing about using it to initially charge a clay substrate.
I'm no expert, so let me know if I'm on the wrong track here- I've got a planted 20L w/malaysian trumpet snails, cherry barb and kuhli loaches. It's just gravel substrate, I've been doing EI dosing (dry ferts) and root tabs. I want to switch to a nutrient-rich substrate, and soon will be moving so figure that's a good time as I will have to break down the tank anyway.
I have read a lot about using Safe T Sorb. I have a ready supply of vermicompost from my worm bin (all organic). I'd love to use this stuff for my aquarium plants, if its safe. My idea is to sift the Safe T Sorb through a window screen to get out the dust and smallest particles, soak it in a bucket with the vermicompost (or make worm tea and soak in that) for the 2 weeks before my move. On moving day, to mix part of the existing gravel in the tank w/the charged Safe T Sorb, reset the tank up, let filter run a few hours, then move the fishes back in. (They will be waiting in 5 gal bucket w/sponge filter in meantime)
I have a few concerns though. I've read that using worm poo can initially cause high ammonia, enough to kill the plants. If I do water changes on the Safe T Sorb bucket when done soaking, can that remove enough ammonia before adding back into the tank? I'm still expecting to get diatoms or something, but is it going to cycle my tank again? Since I'm moving everything back in- driftwood, plants, filter media- I won't loose my bacteria colony, right? I just want to know this won't be dangerous for my fish.
I've also read Safe T Sorb will lower the pH and this is something I want- my tapwater has always been near 8 and I'd rather have lower pH in the tank but is it going to be stable- will it bounce around every time I do a water change? I thought at first to do lots of testing to monitor the pH, ammonia, nitrates etc, and to keep doing weekly water changes but less- maybe 20 or 25% (instead of the 50% I was doing with EI) and keep an eye on the plants to see what nutrients they might be lacking- but my end goal here is to have the fish poo+substrate feed the plants instead of constantly dosing ferts.
Is this all possible or am I missing something key. Thanks. I did read a lot but still admit to not always understanding the whole picture...