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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the complete ADA Amazonia combo (sand, substrate, additives) and will be setting up a brand new tank. I was wondering if it is critical to plant at the same time the substrate is added. I haven't made up my mind with respect to hardscape, but want to get the process started since it takes a while for things to cycle. I'm dreading the daily 50% water changes in the first week, but just want to get it over with. If I don't plant heavily from the get go, will I have a tank full of algae?
 

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You can plant later, or indeed never (as in a shrimp tank where it is just used to buffer pH / KH), but for a planted tank I'm not sure there is much point. The soil will leach huge amounts of ammonia into the water for the first few weeks, and significant amounts for a month or more. The point of planting from day 1 is that the new plants help to soak up this ammonia and get to benefit from it as fertiliser.

Depends what you're trying to achieve of course, but there is no way to rush a cycle with Amazonia soil. It will take as long as it takes, and that will probably be longer than you want or expected. You can't rush it or try and 'get it over with'! One month would be optimistic in my experience, two months do-able, three months safe before adding livestock. Might be worth re-calibrating your expectations now, from the start, saving yourself frustration down the line.

Enjoy the process rather than focusing on the end point! =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You can plant later, or indeed never (as in a shrimp tank where it is just used to buffer pH / KH), but for a planted tank I'm not sure there is much point. The soil will leach huge amounts of ammonia into the water for the first few weeks, and significant amounts for a month or more. The point of planting from day 1 is that the new plants help to soak up this ammonia and get to benefit from it as fertiliser.




Depends what you're trying to achieve of course, but there is no way to rush a cycle with Amazonia soil. It will take as long as it takes, and that will probably be longer than you want or expected. You can't rush it or try and 'get it over with'! One month would be optimistic in my experience, two months do-able, three months safe before adding livestock. Might be worth re-calibrating your expectations now, from the start, saving yourself frustration down the line.

Enjoy the process rather than focusing on the end point! =)
Thanks for the reply. I didn't mean to imply I wanted to rush the cycling process, I meant I'm anxious to get it started so it will be over sooner rather than later. Good to know I don't need to plant right away. I'm guessing I would not use a light until after the tank is planted to keep algae at a minimum? Also, I planned on using a spare HOB (AC70), but I can use a canister of more desirable. I'd have to steal one off another tank. I imagine I want as much filtration and bio media to help things along.
 

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No problem. Even if you're in no rush, still expect things to take longer than you expected! :wink2:

I was in a similar situation with a recent shrimp tank setup. Wanted to get things started, but still waiting for some tank parts to arrive and to find time to modify the filter the way I wanted in (with very fine gauze covering intake). So I tried putting the Amazonia soil in a bucket with an air-stone to try and leach out most of the ammonia before putting it into the tank. This was however for a shrimp tank where I don't plan to plant into the soil, just want it for looks and buffering capacity. Did a water change every 3 to 5 days, and also hung a mesh bag full of Seachem Matrix on the side to try and start to build some bio activity. I dosed Seed every few days too. Bucket of soil must have sat there for about 3 weeks in the end. Guess it must have leached out some of the ammonia, but it wasn't like the soil and filter media were ready to go as soon as it went into the tank. Probably took 1 week off in tank cycling time for 3 weeks worth of effort, as a complete guess. Downside was that water changes in bucket and moving soil from bucket to tank did break up some of the soil particles slightly.

To be honest, if you're planting into the soil, I'd be tempted to wait until you have everything ready then plant from day one. Planting disturbs the soil, releases a whole new wave of ammonia into the water and sets everything back. I'm not sure you will gain much by starting off unplanted. The plants are useful for offsetting the side effects of using fresh nutrient rich soil. Ok maybe not much algae if you keep the tank dark, but probably not really much to gain either.

Best advice I received for setting up a tank was: set everything up the way you want it to end up from day one (correct water parameters, temp, light, pH, filter, filter media, etc, etc). That way the biofilter that grows will survive and take care of the tank long term.

Good luck, and enjoy the Amazonia ride! :smile2:
 
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