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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm new here. I'm pretty sure either I'm doing something stupid, or what's happening with the tank is normal and I'm just stressing because I've never experienced it before. I was hoping yall could give me some advice.

I've set up a 55 Gallon its been running about 2 weeks.

I did a layer of coarse gravel on the bottom, real just a single thin layer, less then an inch of MGOCPM, and on top of that I have a little more then an inch of black Petco sand. The substrate was all new and I did rinse it all very well. I sifted the MGOCPM and moistened it before I put the sand layer on top. I also have some driftwood and rocks that came out of my well established 37.

I've got a Ehehim 2215 that I had running on my 37 along side it's other filters for about a month before I setup the 55. It's got a Hydor Nano 425 on the opposite side of the tank from the filter output. The input pipe is right in the center where there is kind of a gyre from the two currents.

I have no fish in this tank. I do have some Jungle Vale, several Swords, Java Ferns, Anubis, some Bacopa and a bunch of Dwarf Sage. There is a 48" Finnex Planted+ 24/7 on it.

I'm not dosing ferts, I do have Root Tabs near the plants that need to be in the substrate. I was dosing Excel but stopped a couple days ago when the bottle ran out. I don't think the plants I'm growing really need it and it was a pretty old bottle so who know if it was actually still good.

The plants aren't great but they aren't terrible either, the Jungle Vale never really took hold, and pretty much melted away after about a week. Maybe the excel did that? I don't know. But I cut it way back so I'll see if it comes back. The Sagittarius isn't real, green like when I put it in there, but is, surprisingly, already propagating. Everything else ins still pretty green but no new growth, but isn't dying either. Except the Bacopa, which actually looks pretty good, well, better then when I first got it anyway.

My real problem is the water clarity though, its like a smoky room. not so cloudy you cant see though it but like a light fog.
I've drained and filled this thing about 6 or 7 times in the last two weeks and 3 times when I first set it up. I also have this weird, what looks like the dust bunnies under your bed, that grows on the soil. it seems to grow most in the shaded areas, or the corners, and around plants where the current is low. I vacuum it up everytime I change the water and its back the next day. This has all been going on pretty much since day one, its a little clearer when I refill it, but by the next day its cloudy again.
I'm extremely careful when I fill this thing not to stir up the soil.

Water parameters? I can only test NH4, NO2, NO3 and Ph

NH4=0
NO2=0
NO3 is somewhere between 10-15 only a little darker then my tap water.
The PH is right around 7 my tap and the other 2 tanks are 7.5 or so.


So what going on here? Is there something I'm not doing that I should be? Is this just a normal bacterial cycle when you setup a tank with dirt?
 

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Probably a bacterial bloom which will eventually go away on its own. Water changes wont effect it, it just needs to balance itself out. You can get seachem purigen and it will make it crystal clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I gave up. Drained it, removed all the dirt, and put in Caribsea Peace River + root tabs.
After a few days leaving it running without messing with it the NO2 levels in the tank were so high the tests looked like grape juice. I would have like to left it up but I was worried months from now I still wouldn't be totally happy with it and ripped it apart any way.

The soil really stunk as I was removing it, smelled like a stagnant swamp. I was getting some amazing growth though. In just a few weeks more the half the dwarf sage I planted already had 3 or 4 runners each. All the jungle vale I cut back was starting to regrow too. One of the Anubis flowered in there, which was totally new for me, so I got that out of it at least.

c'est la vie I have e 20L kicking around in the basement. Maybe I'll try again with dirt. I think I'd be able to get a lot more light for less out of pocket on that tank anyway.
 

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