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I've been in and out of planted tanks for a few years now. I recently tore down a 55g and started my first dirted tank using potting soil (Nature's Care Organic). I put a few root tabs down and some red clay clumps with one inch of the potting soil. I sifted the soil, rinsed it once, and mixed with a couple lbs of aragonite sand...didn't mineralize or condition it other than that. I capped it with a little over an inch of the PFS from the previous setup and 3/4" of new gravel. Most of the substrate is just under 3" total. I kept the PFS in tank water with the sponges/biomedia and tried to keep water moving during the changeover to try and keep as much BB alive as possible.
So... I've been standing by with my python waiting for ammonia levels to creep up for the last 4-5 days but nothing. I thought my biofilter might have held up strong but just to see, I added ~2ppm ammonia a couple days ago and it is decreasing slightly but not fast enough for me to assume my biofilter survived the move completely. It doesn't seem likely that the soil is releasing ammonia and the biofilter is processing it at the exact same rate.
Is it possible that the 2" cap is preventing (or delaying) ammonia spikes. Can your cap be too thick? Or perhaps I am anticipating an immediate spike and it just takes longer for the organic material to break down. Should I be changing the water anyway? Everything looks great except the white fuzz on the new driftwood (which is annoying even though I knew it would happen).
Any thoughts?
 
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