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Old 04-16-2012, 04:06 PM   #21 
Olympia
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It's not going achieve full NPT status sadly :( I don't have enough plants for that. So I need to cycle it still.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:22 PM   #22 
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Anything organic can be the ammonia source-like dirt, live plants, snails...etc.....organics byproduct is a great natural ammonia source....

When cycling with live plants it is silent....often you will not see the nitrate reading for a long time if ever....the active growing plants will use the ammonia/ammonium as a food source before conversion-the nitrogen cycle is still happening however, even if you don't have a filter since plants create oxygen.....this process can vary too....based on number, species and growth state of the plants themselves-
One of the driving forces behind active plant growth is the proper lights and photoperiod-without the correct color temp bulbs for the plant photosynthesis they can't use the food (ammonia) that in turn helps keep the water safe for livestock....
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:48 PM   #23 
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I wish there was an exact formula for this.
In general though, with only a few plants, you will still see nitrite go up, then back down, which is the end of the cycle, correct?
In a heavily planted tank, ammonia is immediately consumed by healthy plants, and not as much bacteria exists.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:58 PM   #24 
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All the organic soils at the store I was at today had "Perlite."
It says this is natural and doesn't change pH.. but it's a fertilizer that should be avoided right?
Compost and hummus are fine though, right?
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:27 PM   #25 
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All the organic soils at the store I was at today had "Perlite."
It says this is natural and doesn't change pH.. but it's a fertilizer that should be avoided right?
Compost and hummus are fine though, right?
Aww, no Miracle Grow Organic Potting Mix? :( I got mine at Wal-Mart for like $3.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:38 PM   #26 
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Wal-mart! I'll have to try there. I use miracle grow products but I couldn't remember where to buy them! Thanks, I'll have to check there Friday!
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:33 AM   #27 
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I have used the potting soils with the perlite and it didn't cause any problems per se......it did float and would pop up and float each time I pulled a plant, it would get in the filter sometimes.....but easy enough to net out....just looked more ugly than anything else....but that soil also had a lot of wood pieces that you couldn't get all the way sifted out...still not any problem-just netted out as needed....

If I had a choice I wouldn't use the dirt with perlite-but if that was all I had...I would use it.....you want to avoid additives like the gel beads, added ferts in the potting soil.....
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:40 AM   #28 
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With enough plants you shouldn't get any ammonia reading if I'm right?

I have to tear down my 33 when I move so I'm gonna redo it with soil capped with sand. Would it be fair to say an inch of soil with a half inch of sand?
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:19 AM   #29 
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I think an inch isn't that much.. Usually 2-3 is better. I'm sure some plants would be fine with just an inch.
If you don't like the look of the dirt on the side of the glass I saw a neat trick, when everything is still dry, stick a credit card against the glass and pull it out slowly, the sand will fill the gap so you can't see the dirt along the glass. I'm gonna do that :D
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:37 PM   #30 
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I have to tear down my 33 when I move so I'm gonna redo it with soil capped with sand. Would it be fair to say an inch of soil with a half inch of sand?
In a 33gal-I would go with 2-2.5inch of dirt with 1-1.5inch sand cap-especially if you are going to add sword plants.

In tanks 5-10gal 1in soil to 1/2in sand is correct-maybe a little less in under 5gals-but I have used up to 2in soil and half to 1in sand cap in 2gal without any issue too-depending on the species of plants-

The larger the tank the more dirt you can safely use-but if you are going to use really large rocks or driftwood for decorations in over 2inchs of dirt-its best to place them after the first inch of dirt to help prevent anaerobic spot

Also, its a good idea to place your heater and filter before the hard scape and planting-(if you plan to use a filter)-This way you can position the overflow so that it hits a hard scape item to prevent it from kicking up the dirt/sand and to know the heater and intake position so nothing is in its way.
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