First, I was reading a thread on Aquatic Plant Central that discussed the use of soil high in organic matter, like Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil and how it can cause an ammonia spike when the organics begin to decay. To avoid this, the thread suggested 'mineralizing' the soil first by repeatedly wetting it and allowing it to dry out, or mixing the soil 50/50 with something high in cations like Eco-Complete.
Has anyone had this ammonia spike occur? Is there a specific brand soil that is not high in organic matter? If the soil is mixed with Eco-Complete, will it provide the same benefits as soil only? I've never seen mention of mineralizing soil on this forum, so I'm curious- is this necessary?
Second, filters and water changes with fish that require high levels of dissolved oxygen. NPTs 10 gallons and under don't require filters, and mature NPTs require water changes about once per month, right? If one has fish such as otos (what I have) that require lots of oxygen, would this necessitate the use of a filter and more frequent water changes, regardless of how mature the NPT is? I know the plants put out a lot of oxygen during the day, but am concerned about the night when they use
Third, the proper plants to begin an NPT with. I went out and bought a lot of plants for my otos without considering my future plans for an NPT. I don't have much more room at all for more plants in my 10 gallon. What I currently have: two Amazon swords, 13 java fern stems with lots of new shoots, 8 stems green cabomba, hornwort (not sure how many stems, I bought two bunches at Petsmart and had to take out a half of a bunch because it was too much), and frogbit (not very much- it isn't dying anymore, but it grows really slow in my tank).
Can the hornwort count as one of the fast growing stem plants (even though I have it floating)? I assume the reason for the fast growing stems is because they're nutrient hogs- why not rosettes that are nutrient hogs like swords? Why are stems necessary and rosettes optional?
As you can see, I don't have many of the stem plants needed to start an NPT- anyone know of any small
fast growing stems I can squeeze in? I have 26 watts 6500k in my 10 gallon.