Hello all, I'll appreciate all comments on this:
I had a ten gallon grossly overstocked with endlers livebearers and cherry shrimp and only java moss for plants (some plastics for cover)- the tank had been set up for over 3 months and ammonia and nitrites had always been undetectable even with the high bioload and a small small whisper type filter. I decided to make it a planted tank from clippings and extras from my 55.
I used a 1.5" layer of shultz aquatic soil under a 1" layer of playsand, added plants (a good bunch of cambomba, dwarf sags and loads of java fern and javamoss, some crypts and HC and some spiral vals) and fish and let the tank go for a week. I was also adding DIY CO2 via a hagan ladder at this point. My fish began to act weird one day and I was worried there was too much CO2 being added as I was getting about 120bpm out of the DIY setup, but this was not the case, so I tested the water for nitrites (I ran out of ammonia tests) and it was off the charts, something like 15ppm
(i'm surprised anything survived especially the shrimp). I did a massive water change and tested the next day - same thing.
My laziness paid off as I left some of the sand and schultz aquatic soil in a bucket with some water so I could test to see if there was some sort of crazy leaching happening from the subsrate, but that was also not the case. at this point I removed the driftwood that I had collected locally since I was convinced that was the cause and sure enough nitrites were gone in a day.
I bought a proper piece of driftwood (malaysian or something like that) from the lfs and soaked it for a couple days, tested the water and it was clean. I affixed all the java fern and moss and plopped it into the tank and in one day nitrites are back up to 10ppm and nitrates shot up by 60ppm (at least it looks like the bio filter is working somewhat). ugh.
I have loads of this driftwood in my 55/30 gallon and this has never happened.
What is going on? I set my 55 up like this, right away with fish and everything and I didn't have to go through a cycling process and I don't think I should have to in a ten gallon with established filters. do you think it is the driftwood or perhaps leaf die-off after replanting? Also I added 100ml of purigen in the filters (prior to adding the driftwood back in), which, by the way, have been upgraded to a fluval 104 AND and penguin biowheel 170 (haha for a 10 gallon
) I have also added lots of mulm from my 55 and scaled back the feeding regimen way way back. I am also sure that the DIY CO2 soup is not getting into the tank.
I don't want to go without the driftwood in this tank and I don't think I should have to. What can I do? I'm game to do water changes everyday if need be, but I want to hear from someone that I will be successful in the end.
I will be posting pics of my 55/30 gallon setup (which I am very proud of) soon with big thanks to everyone in the forum. I lurked here for months extracting information before I did anything.
I value everyone's opinion so fire away.