Update: I put the rock and blasting sand in my spec V a few weeks ago and started with fishless cycle, with plans to fully plant a few days later. Planting was pushed back when some unforeseen stuff came up but I continued on with the cycle, knowing I wont be ready to fully plant for a while.
Since then, I had some issues with careless ammonia dosing, discussed here: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8...illing-bb.html
On 10/22, after I did 100% water change with Shrimp King GH+/KH+, I put some hornwort, a couple anubias, and a few random stems I had in other tanks into the Spec to help control the nitrates until I'm ready to fully plant. The anubias and hornwort will likely come back out in favor of buces, anubias nana petite, and others. I have some salvinia minima on order that should be here Monday or Tuesday, as well.
After the water change on 10/22, my parameters were as follows:
I continued to dose ammonia to 2-3ppm daily until 10/30 and tested everything again:
Ammonia: ~1 (16 hours after dosing to 3ppm)
Nitrate: 60ish??? (Hard to tell between higher numbers on the test kit)
After I bought the Shrimp King GH+/KH+ I was reading the documentation and thought it was weird that their formula would have such a low KH since it's designed for Neos and they can handle quite a bit higher KH, making PH more stable. I have a feeling the low KH of the water I mixed on 10/22 led to the PH going down but I'm not sure what would account for the KH going down.
I plan on doing another big water change on Saturday and am considering ways to raise the KH in the tank.... or should I just keep using the same salts and plan on getting shrimp that prefer lower PH and KH? I planned on doing Neos but I'm flexible. I could easily get my RO water to GH 5 and KH 0-1 with this salt formula. Thoughts?
Edit: I also just considered that I'm topping off with RO water with a lower PH than my remineralized water. I guess that would slowly lower the PH in the tank. Should I be adding something to my top-off water to raise the PH?