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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I have a mini m sized tank with a high tech setup. After 6 months of battling to grow anything I managed to get this:


I wasn't very happy with the scape so I sold all the plants and purchased some seiryu rock, something I've never worked with before.

I made a cardboard box the same size as the tank and arranged the rocks lots of different ways. It's a great way to spend an evening (or 2 or 3). I got some good feedback from TPT too, which helped a lot. I decided to get a few more rocks and in the end the arrangement that most closely matches the finished scape looked like this:


I planted some hc June 4th in seedling trays:


Today (9 weeks later) it looks like this:


Anyway, some of the hc in the tray ended up going into this scape:




Planting.....








And in the end:


I reused the aquasoil. It's 6 months old. I washed it and it looks and plants fine. But its ammonia is gone. So what are my options for cycling? What the recommended method in this situation? Thanks for any advice.
 

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Outstanding scape. The sand is so well done with the small stone chips. The rocks are really nice....so dark. Is it real Seiryu stone?

The seeding trays are an excellent idea. Did it come with a lid as well?

As far as the aquasoil being used, I havent run into any issues and mine is over 3 years old. Ive been able to get thick carpets with just EI dosing with the used aquasoil. Hopefully, you kept the filter running from the previous setup which shrinks the cycling time down to nothing in my experience. So in short I dont worry to much about the cycling outside of just increased water changes the first through third weeks to keep things clean.
 

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Very nice scape look forward to seeing it grown in!

If you kept your filter running on another tank with fauna or dosing ammonia it would be fine, but if its all clean and needs re done...
I'd personally recommend the fish-less pure ammonia method if you can get the essentials:
-PURE ammonia (no other additives!) Ace hardware store sells a "janitor's strength ammonia" real cheap and 100% safe for cycling (used in all my tanks) still working through same first bottle after cycling.. 55+20+10+7+12+2+3... a LOOOT of gallons of tanks lol
-A needless syringe for measuring (you can use other options but this makes exact measurements easy) I got some needles baby 'food' medicine syringes (cc=ml)
-A test kit including tests for: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate (you probably already have this)
-[This site] so helpful! explains cycling and has a converter on the right for liters, to UK to US gallons and an ammonia dosing calculator at the bottom. also sued when cycling all my tanks.

Cycling: I usually do for about 3ppm ammonia and wait for the BB to start growing and munching it. I'd recommend keeping photo period short and doing 1-2x a week water changes depending on how you plan to do that scheduled once fauna is in (good to get in habit now), don't forget to de-chlorinate ^^ Also if you plan to use a heater, put it in at the beginning, so the bacteria grow into a colony in the enviroment you plant to keep, same deal for any ph or hardness adjustments you plan to have.. do it now. Remember to test and re-dose ammonia as needed after a water change. Once you are starting to get nitrite and ammonia is going to 0ppm after 24 hours you can stop testing ammonia and just dose to get to the proper ppm daily (on water change day i just dose after water change).
In about 2 weeks start testing nitrite and wait till you see it hit 0ppm while still dosing ammonia daily and doing your water change scheduled (sorry, hitting 0ppm after a water change doesn't count, check next day after re-dose of ammonia). The nitrite consume bacteria always seem to take the longest to grow.
Keeping up on the water changes helps reduce nitrate build up at the end of the cycle so you don't have off the chart -could kill anything but a snail (not to mention algae explosive levels)- nitrates.
BB loves oxygenated water, so getting a lot of water movement or adding an airstone can help with cycling process (it won't make it go waaay faster but it doesn't hurt.. as long as it doesn't end up uprooting your plants from the current).

I have 0 experience with co2 systems but theoretically you may need to increase co2 during cycling since ammonia/nitrogen levels will be high in the tank... may also need to dose ferts.. but don't know how much nutrients your substrate will still have for plants (have not worked with that product).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for your feedback!

The rocks are really nice....so dark. Is it real Seiryu stone?

The seeding trays are an excellent idea. Did it come with a lid as well?
I believe it is real seiryu stone. It was sold as seiryu anyway.

Yes, the seedling tray has a lid. The lid has two windows that I open every few days for a few hours to air it out.

I didn't keep the filter running. It was off for a week. I think a lot of the trouble I had with my previous scape was due to the filter. It was so full of brown algae it looked like burn marks on the inside of the canister. So all the media was thrown away and the canister received an big clean. I could pinch some bb media from another tank, but that's hard work. All my filters are plumbed up in tight spaces so I hardly touch them. The filter connected to this tank is the worst- I have pull out the filter (2213), inline heater and co2 reactor in one go :(

@AquaAurora - thanks for all the details. I've never kick stated a cycle without aquasoil before. I'll check out the links you gave me. Thanks. Do you think just adding a bit of fish food each day is a good idea? I don't really want to go buy pure ammonia. I have some brand new aqausoil (I know I'm an idiot for not using it in the scape. I honestly thought the old soil wouldn't be enough and I'd have to add some new stuff. but in the end I didn't use any of the new soil). I could put some new soil in a mesh media bag and hang it from the light. Leave it there's a week or so to let it leach out some ammonia?
 

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Awesome layout. Looking forward to this. I've used seriyou. The scape in my avatar and my current layout. I've decided not to use it anymore in nanos since it raised my hardness up pretty high during the week. It's been a challenge trying to keep in check... I'm thinking plants don't do their best in water above 7 hardness... Or constant changing/rising. Good luck with your set up!
 

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@AquaAurora - thanks for all the details. I've never kick stated a cycle without aquasoil before. I'll check out the links you gave me. Thanks. Do you think just adding a bit of fish food each day is a good idea? I don't really want to go buy pure ammonia. I have some brand new aqausoil (I know I'm an idiot for not using it in the scape. I honestly thought the old soil wouldn't be enough and I'd have to add some new stuff. but in the end I didn't use any of the new soil). I could put some new soil in a mesh media bag and hang it from the light. Leave it there's a week or so to let it leach out some ammonia?
I'm sorry I cannot offer any advice on the use of fish food or new aquasoil for cycling (like how much will be enough). I've only her used pure ammonia as it gives me full control of the ppm levels. I'd read that some people who use fish food (some have even put in raw fish or shrimp (yuck)) have mentioned an odd fungus bloom from the decomposing food, but I can't recall if it's because they put too much in or how they fixed it. And those who use raw sea food to cycle...well getting it out is extremely messy/smelly.
But the info for these methods is out there, and I'm sure some pt members have successfully used the too.
As for buying ammonia my bottle was under $5 (note: linked bottle is a x15 pack, you can buy as single at store) and I could cycle another 100g worth of tanks easily with it. But I will not press you to go this route, explore your cycling options and have fun with which ever you chose (don't know about the rest or you but I get very excited to see the ammonia start going down/hit 0 and same for nitrite ^^).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the kind words and helpful advice.

I've decided not to use it anymore in nanos since it raised my hardness up pretty high during the week. It's been a challenge trying to keep in check... I'm thinking plants don't do their best in water above 7 hardness... Or constant changing/rising. Good luck with your set up!
@frrok, what water were you using? tap, rain, ro or rodi? Thanks. I'm using rodi with a tds of zero. I try to keep all my tanks tds around 120.
 

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Thanks for the kind words and helpful advice.



@frrok, what water were you using? tap, rain, ro or rodi? Thanks. I'm using rodi with a tds of zero. I try to keep all my tanks tds around 120.

Tap. But its very soft. Less than 2 for gh/kh. Never measured tds. Don't have a meter. Only test kits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I know some may poo poo at this suggestion but many people say good things about tetra safe start's bacteria. Nice to see your fantastic scape starting up! Any type of shrimp in mind?
Yeah, I've been dosing half a cap of Seachem Stability each day. Which I guess is similar to Tetra Safe. I already had the bottle, so I figured it couldn't hurt. I 'think' it's helped in the past.

I added a pinch of fish flake 2 days running and that got the ammonia up an running. Daily wc since.

I've only ever kept RCS and low grade CRS. For this tank I'd like to do for something a bit better, more solid colours. But it's very difficult because shrimp are banned where I live (toughest quarantine laws in the world, not kidding). So no lfs sells them. In fact govt goons have been known to got to peoples' houses and pour poison in their tanks. People have even been jailed for posting them into the country. It's insane. Shrimp are treated the same as crack or ice!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arc...996122853?nk=965218277f2f81a76723ceb4c5719d3c


Nice job on the hardscape, looks very natural. Look forward to seeing this come along.
Thanks man!
 

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Damn that's harsh, gotta suck if anything you want is on the "no [censor] way" list.
I can understand having strick laws about importing and exporting live animals and plants though; here in the US you can't even keep count of how many invasive species (flora and fauna) we have now.
 

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But it's very difficult because shrimp are banned where I live (toughest quarantine laws in the world, not kidding). So no lfs sells them. In fact govt goons have been known to got to peoples' houses and pour poison in their tanks. People have even been jailed for posting them into the country. It's insane. Shrimp are treated the same as crack or ice!

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/arc...996122853?nk=965218277f2f81a76723ceb4c5719d3c
This is insane, I just read this now. So how much do CRS or RCS go for in Australian LFS's?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is insane, I just read this now. So how much do CRS or RCS go for in Australian LFS's?
Exotics like CRS and RCS are sold in a few lsf's in the Eastern states of the country, but not in the West. I'm in the West. The ban applies to the West only. I'm not sure what they sell for in shops over East, really depends on the quality. It would be too depressing to find out.
 

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I can undestand why Australia might be anal about introducing species, look what happened with rabbits.

Can I ask how much you paid for your aquasky?
 
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