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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm setting up a new 30 gallon aquarium and am using Amazonia Ver.2 substrate over fine gravel. It has been less than 24 hours and the ammonia level as of this morning is 1.5ppm. I really don't want to hassle with daily 50% water changes. I could maybe manage to do so every few days though. What's the harm in allowing the tank to cycle like normal? Would it just take longer?
 

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If its planted you need to be doing the water changes or you will get a lot of algae as the nutrient release is pretty intense in the first month (not just ammonia). If its not planted then you can do a 'dark start' meaning you take a thick blanket and put it over the tank not allowing any light in the tank at all. Leave it alone for 3 weeks or so until its cycled then do a 100% water change and plant the tank.
 

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FWIW I’m on day 19 with my Amazonia Ver. 2 substrate and it’s planted. I did daily 50% water changes the first week, then every other day in the 2d week, and I’m doing them every 3 days this week. I think my algae is pretty contained — just a little (diatoms? Algae?) on the leaves that doesn’t seem to be growing much. 🤞🏽🤞🏽🤞🏽
 

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If you didn't want to do water changes, then you should have chosen an inert substrate. You can either A.) do your water changes as recommended or B.) replace the substrate with something inert. If you get lax on these water changes, you're going to be chasing a never ending algae nightmare. Also, if the ammonia gets too high, that can be toxic to the beneficial bacteria that you're trying to cultivate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've gone inert in the past and wasn't happy with the results. Guess I'll bite the bullet and do the WCs.

If you didn't want to do water changes, then you should have chosen an inert substrate. You can either A.) do your water changes as recommended or B.) replace the substrate with something inert. If you get lax on these water changes, you're going to be chasing a never ending algae nightmare. Also, if the ammonia gets too high, that can be toxic to the beneficial bacteria that you're trying to cultivate.
I just checked the water and it's only 105 ppm, about the same as my tap water. Doesn't seem like there are any excess nutrients. However, I have not yet added the small nutrient packet. Is that why?
 
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I just checked the water and it's only 105 ppm, about the same as my tap water. Doesn't seem like there are any excess nutrients. However, I have not yet added the small nutrient packet. Is that why?
105ppm of what? Was that a typo?
 

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Part of ADA expense is that they did a lot of the thinking for you and it's plug and play. But you do have to follow the instructions on the box for the best experience.
 

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Yeah, ammonia won't change your TDS much. Your soil is leeching ammonia, and too much ammonia can stall a cycle. You need to follow the instruction from ADA, and do your water changes on schedule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry, I meant the TDS is 105ppm. Same as my tap. Makes sense though since I haven't added anything nutrients yet.
Do I add Prime upon changing the water, or is untreated chlorinated tap water okay during the substrate "cleansing" period?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You have to add prime. Chlorine will kill the beneficial bacteria you need to process the ammonia and nitrites.
Even if I'm just diluting the nutrients in the water column with daily 50% water changes?
 

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Even if I'm just diluting the nutrients in the water column with daily 50% water changes?
Yes. If you never intend to keep any livestock then I suppose you can get away with it, but the initial water changes with Amazonia is to keep the ammonia under control while the tank cycles. If you're not going to add dechlorinator of some kind, then your tank will never cycle. The chlorine in city water is there to kill bacteria. If you don't remove it or bind it somehow, then it's going to do exactly what it's meant to do; it will kill your bacteria. You need bacteria to convert ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate. If you don't add a dechlorinator, then your tank will never cycle

I should add all of this is assuming you're on municipal water. If you have well water, then you don't have chlorine and you're OK not using prime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Okay. Yeah, I understand all that. Just wasn't sure if it was necessary for when diluting the nutrients in the water column after adding Amazonia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Not sure what happened to my latest post, but the ADA website says the water changes are primarily for diluting humic acid that builds up in the tank. Keeping the ammonia under control is just normal tank cycling protocol, and I'm guessing it's good to dechlorinate the water as to not kill off the microorganisms present in the powersand (Bacter 100). I don't think I necessarily need to be concerned with the BB in the filter or a slightly elevated ammonia level because I'll be adding cycled media when the time comes to add livestock.
 
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