Cycling Fishless With Ada Amazonia Aquasoil


I have a couple of questions about my Amazonia substrate. I have a new 20L aquarium that I had started a fishless cycle with no substrate. I added the power sand, bacter100 and Amazonia aqua soil on April 22. The water has been so brown I can't see through it. I have done several water changes, one complete. I did add my 3rd bag of Amazonia at the water change, since I had ordered three, and now it is worse than ever. I have a HOB aquaclear 50 and a sponge filter going. I have some medium to help filter out the debris but it isn't making a difference. Just wondering if this is normal and anything I can do to speed it along. I'm willing to give it time if I know it's going to clear up. I've always used flourite black so don't have experience with ADA. Everything I read about it sounded great and you don't find out tank problems until they happen to you. At least that has been my aquarium experience!!
So, there's the turbidity issue. Also, I have been adding ammonia (up to 4-5ppm) and it's just gone overnight. I try not to let it get to 0 during a fishless cycle, but I haven't been able to keep up with it. Maybe it's cycling that quickly but it seems unlikely. No nitrites yet so not sure what's going on. I have the temp at 86 F.
My last concern is the pH. Portland has soft water with low pH so I am wondering if it's going to bottom out all the time so I have to add baking soda or some other thing. The crushed coral in the filter isn't touching it.
I'm feeling like I may need to start all over with my substrate and use something different. I have put some plants in there, which I can't even see but they are covered in black when I can get a look at a water change. Hope they make it. I had high hopes for this tank/substrate!!


Keep water changing and you can get a cheap Internal to speed things up. Next time rinse really well before adding any kind of substrate!

The only way the plants would die is if there wasn't enough light to penetrate the dark water so they can make food.
  • Thread Starter


I have always rinsed but ADA says not to rinse the Amazonia. Guess I'll hang in there for a while. Mostly concerned now about maintaining the pH long term. Thanks for your response.


I set up a Fluval Flex 15 gallon just 8 days ago and am doing a fishless cycle. The only substrate in there is Amazonia Aqua Soil. It was slightly cloudy for the first 2 days but has now cleared up. Maybe it’s the power sand causing the dirty water appearance? Plants are doing fairly well. Getting a little melt on my val and I’m not sure how that eleocharis is going to fare but time will tell.

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