So I'm getting my Fluval Spec V iwagumi cycled. I'm a few weeks in with no animals, just plants - no mature tank bio media either, just SeaChem Stability. The tank has Fluval Shrimp stratum that was used in the previous incarnation of this tank for about a year. I tore that tank down, baked the substrate, and am reusing it. I have some play sand (I know... nobody likes it but me) and petrified wood in there. Have a fluval mini CO2 injection system and run about 1 bps, and usually turn it off at night. Fertilizing with 1 pump of NilocG ThriveS 2 x per week (recommended 1 pump per 5 gal 1-3 x per week). I've been testing here and there with API kits, and these are my levels so far
Small amount of algae growth - scrubbed off with toothbrush and did a 25% WC with RO water remineralized with SeaChem Equilibrium.
More minor algae growth, so I scrubbed it off and did a 25% WC again with RO water remineralized with SeaChem Equilibrium
No algae growth since last time, and I did not do a WC.
Now for the questions.
How is my cycle looking?
Is the stratum responsible for the pH and KH droping?
I've purchased SaltyShrimp GH/KH minerals to replace the equilibrium. I was thinking I was going to do neocaridina in here... Now I have my doubts. You think I can do neos in here, or should I go with caridina since it wants to buffer down so low?
As I understand it, the stratum will stop buffering before long, and then the pH will climb too high for the caridina. When that happens will I be able to buffer it back down with alder cones, peat, almond leaves, etc, or will I be fighting a losing battle? I feel like I'd need to fight the opposite battle to keep neos in it right now.
Just trying to figure out my next move, so any feedback is appreciated. Let me know if you need more info.Thanks!
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