Question for those Experienced with Aquasoil - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Question for those Experienced with Aquasoil

I am currently buying supplies for a new 90 gallon setup and should have everything ready to go by December 5th (right after I get back from a Thanksgiving trip to see my family).

I'll be using aquasoil and will be heavily planting the tank from day 1. I know that you have to do a bunch of water changes in the early stages. I plan on doing a 50% change every day the first week. A 50% change every 2-3 days the second week...but the third week I will be out of town for a week which means the tank would go 6 days without a water change.

Will my plants be toast going 6 days without a water change in week 3? My alternative is to wait until Jan 1st to setup this tank, but I'd rather get this thing started a month earlier if at all possible.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-31-2015, 01:54 AM
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I just put ADAAS in the tank in June and did the water changes as you wrote. First day there was 2ppm ammonia and on day 5 .25ppm. In 2 weeks ammonia and nitrite were both 0. You will be fine if your tank goes the way mine did. I tried to plant heavily but a lot of my plants melted badly from a week of storage and lost a lot of plant mass and even so the ammonia/nitrite were gone much quicker than I thought they would.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kathyy View Post
I just put ADAAS in the tank in June and did the water changes as you wrote. First day there was 2ppm ammonia and on day 5 .25ppm. In 2 weeks ammonia and nitrite were both 0. You will be fine if your tank goes the way mine did. I tried to plant heavily but a lot of my plants melted badly from a week of storage and lost a lot of plant mass and even so the ammonia/nitrite were gone much quicker than I thought they would.

Why so many water changes? Your plants will be fine without water changes.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 01:50 PM
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Why so many water changes? Your plants will be fine without water changes.
I've ready that daily water changes are required for the first few weeks, especially after flooding after a dry start, due to the leeching ammonia.


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 02:34 PM
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Throw some used media in it and call it a day!

Would doing all those water changes not pull out much of the nutrients? Is that not the main reason for using an aquasoil?
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 02:56 PM
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If you're doing a fishless cycle there is no need to do a WC unless the ammonia or nitrite reaches 5 ppm. Under this level the plants (caution with maintaining 5 ppm ammonia for cycling, under 3 is safer) and bacteria should be able to handle it.

That's one advantage of Aquasoil, no need to add as much ammonia to cycle the tank.

With fish-in of course that's a different proposition altogether.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 03:46 PM
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In addition to the plants melting the filter media had been cleaned in tap water so was quite disturbed.

Some plants burn exposed to ammonia and mine were in poor shape to begin with. I lost one Blxya cutting but all others survived, it is a plant known to be sensitive to ammonia.

Not a fan of using ammonia to cycle a tank. I use plants. Seems to me one runs a big risk that you are not just growing filter bacteria but growing algae as well. Plants need some settling in time before they take off in a new tank and algae might have a field day.

This time I was amazed. No initial diatom bloom. Zero green dust algae. I haven't had problems with the various thready algae for decades but those 2 have been present at the start up of tanks in recent years. Was it the large water changes? Was it the carefully calculated LED light program? Don't know.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 04:05 PM
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Hi @Kathyy. Could you please explain what you mean by using plants to cycle a tank? I understand not being a fan of ammonia for various reasons.

When I mentioned fishless cycling with ammonia, I meant plant the tank, and use ammonia as food source for the nitrogen fixing bacteria. Sorry if I wasn't clear. I like planting while waiting for the tank to cycle, as you mentioned, this helps them become established. Plus, the ammonia also is used by some plants as a nitrogen source.

Are we actually on the same page when it comes to planting during the cycling period?

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 04:18 PM
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From what I have been reading on the subject, using the ADA Bacter100 is what starts your biological filtration when setting up a new tank using Aquasoil.

I will be using all Aquasoil in setting up 6 tanks so I have been studying up on the subject. I plan on waiting until after the ammonia spike subsides and doing the water changes before I plant draining each tank before planting.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 06:04 PM
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I would just let the tank cycle in the dark.

Add a filter, do top offs and let it cycle. Then when you are looking to add fish, plant it and go.

I wouldn't mess around with doing a bunch of water changes. And since it's not your first tank, I assume you have media laying around. Use it. Will help soak up the ammonia quicker.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WickedOdie View Post
I would just let the tank cycle in the dark.

Add a filter, do top offs and let it cycle. Then when you are looking to add fish, plant it and go.

I wouldn't mess around with doing a bunch of water changes. And since it's not your first tank, I assume you have media laying around. Use it. Will help soak up the ammonia quicker.
Seems to be two general opinions on the matter. I had mostly read about fully planting the tank from the get go and the excessive water changes is to keep the ammonia from hurting the plants.

Seems like filling the tank, running the filters, draining the tank, planting everything and refilling could potentially make a mess versus planting everything and filling it up once.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 07:08 PM
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Great point insane! I left all the mulm in the tank I could. There wasn't much even though the tank had been up 2.5 years at that point, only a thin smear over about half the bottom of the tank. I leave water in the tank and pull out substrate through it to roughly rinse the substrate too. The slope in my tank is supported by bags of the old dirty substrate, more mulm in there. That is ~2" over about half the bottom of the tank's worth of old stuff. But mulm was gone from sump, I really cleaned it as well as cleaning all the media. So rinsing filter media and putting that dirty water at the bottom of the tank before dumping aqua soil in and putting some used filter media in the new tank's filter would be an excellent move. Better than excellent, a prudent move.

My tank cycling method such as it is. Plants are covered with bacteria unless they've been dipped. Mine were straight from the tank stored then picked over and replanted. They die back and cause a little bit of ammonia as does the disturbed substrate, I have registered .25-.5ppm in past years after doing major tank redos. Plants take up the tiny bit of ammonia, the bacteria do the same. I don't stock the tank all at once doing this. After the ammonia and nitrite are gone from the tank which takes a couple days for a major rescape some algae eaters go in. There will already be snails in the tank so I put my old otos, shrimp and platies in first. If there isn't any problem [never has there been one] then in a couple days half the schooling fish go in and last the corydoras are in to allow the ground covering plants to get settled. Plants are kept fed at about 1/2 the amount of NPK+M they will get in the future and light is kept dimmer. I also made good and sure to keep GH booster replenished at every water change, aqua soil strips it out of the water. The Stauro developed dark green veins anyway but stauro is like that, always the drama.

These are the test results from this summer.

Date Time Ammonia
Daily water changes
6/27 filled tank at 12pm
6/28 5pm 2.0 before water change
6/29 9:45am 1.0 "
6/30 7pm 1.0 "
7/1 9pm 0.5
7/2 8pm .25
7/3 8:30 .0
Went to every other day at this point then to once a week and fish started going back into the tank on 7/9 after the newly arrived nitrite test read 0. Never see any ammonia or nitrite after adding fish once ammonia/nitrite are gone and didn't this time either.


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-01-2015, 09:52 PM
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Thanks, @Kathyy!

Always good to hear other people's tricks, as some of them can definitely be applicable to my situation. I don't like dipping plants either, I don't mind hitchhiking snails and bacteria. I'm going to keep the old substrate base layer trick up my sleeve for the next time.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-02-2015, 03:30 PM
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I'm using AS for the first time starting in July. I just followed ADA and Tom Barr's advice, mostly Tom's, regarding water changes. I went with daily water changes for the first week, every other day for the second week and two to three water changes per week for the next month or so. I put two established filters on the tank when it I set it up, added some mulm from my previous tank and used Purigen. I never had any detectable levels of ammonia with the test kit I was using and no algae other than a couple of weeks of diatoms that left as suddenly as they appeared.

I also accidentally introduced some RCS with my initial planting which I didn't notice for a few days which seemed unaffected by the whole move and just went about their normal business.
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