Cycling new tank with aquasoil, have questions

B3TT45

Hi everyone! I have a few questions with a lot of conflicting answers on the interwebs so I figured to ask here…

I’m starting to (fishless) cycle a brand new 29 gal tank and figured there’s no easier way to cycle a planted tank than just having the aquasoil doing all the work. I started dosing with Seachem Stability the last 3 days and it’s been about a week since I put down all the soil and slowly filled the tank with water (no water changes). My levels are this:
Ammonia: 2
Nitrite: 1
Nitrate: 10
pH: 6.4 (!!!)
gH: 5
kH: no clue!It starts turning yellow from the first drop but it’s… more yellow around 3-4?
(I should mention half the tank is RO water)

I’m wondering, am I supposed to do water changes using this method? Ammonia is not crazy high, but I’m also already having nitrites and nitrate which is pretty crazy.
Also no clue about what’s going on with my kH as it is possibly insanely low (and out of the tap my water is extremely hard and alkaline! I knew RO would lower it, but not THIS much!). I have heard of kH messing with cycles.

Any other things I should be doing using this method of cycling?
 

Cody

I think your on a good track as far as the Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate go. I would not worry about doing a waterchange unless the something gets really high. With the aqua soil I would worry about huge ammonia spikes being worst case but it all looks manageable.

I’m not going to be the best source of info on the KH/GH and RO usage. It could be a mix of the aqua soil and the RO water. I know some aqua soils and make the water more acidic which could be your culprit more so then the low KH. from what I understand the KH is more about the stability of how your water can change form hard to soft and the GH is the actually hardness. 5 is a good GH Not really being too hard or too soft. So I would say your 50/50 mixture isn’t over kill.

I may have just said a bunch of things you Already know and i apologize for that!

1. Start with the tap KH and see what that is. From what I see on here it usually seems like KH and GH go hand in hand.

2. If you do have a low KH from the tap I would adjust your ratio to maybe 30/70 and see what happens.

Lastly, I do not personally use aqua soils but I would think that initially the adverse affects will be the most prevalent, like the ammonia release. So perhaps after a the first waterchange you won’t have as bad if an issue with with causing things to fluctuate so much. So the issue how how much RO water to use may change in time too.

What is the PH, GH, and KH out of the tap?
 

B3TT45

Thanks for the response! I'll just leave the tank be then. So should I do a water change once my ammonia and nitrites are at 0 and nitrates get higher? Would the soil be enough of a source of ammonia to not need other sources (like fish food) during cycling?

Reason why I was weirded out by the pH and kH is because my water is very alkaline and hard out of the tap (and hence why I got the RO water in the first place). PH out of the tap was 8.0-8.2, gH of 11, and kH of about 5, so seeing a pH of 6.4 and kH of basically nothing was quite shocking.
 

Cody

I would just continue to watch and as long as your cycle seems to keep moving along I would not worry about introducing another ammonia source. And yea just wait until those zero out or if the nitrates starting getting high over 40ppm do a waterchange just to avoid them getting to high.

Not sure how long you will see spikes from the soil, so you may need to intervene a little to avoid getting anything off the charts at the end.
 

B3TT45

My water keeps reading 2 ppm for ammonia consistently, I have seen the nitrites and nitrates go up a tiny bit though (or it could just be me, it's just so hard to tell with the colors). Is it normal that my ammonia levels haven't changed yet (about 2 weeksish since filling up the tank)? No water changes yet.
 

Cody

It could be that it’s just a constant release from the aqua soil but I would think that would be starting to level off.

You could try a 50% water change and see if the numbers creep back up or stay where you’re at. That would either confirm the soil is still releasing a lot of ammonia or show if you’re stalling somewhere.

I know sometimes if the ph gets to low it can hinder ammonia processing, but the fact that you have 1ppm of nitrites would make me think that’s a non issue
 

B3TT45

50% water change and see if the numbers creep back up or stay where you’re at. That would either confirm the soil is still releasing a lot of ammonia or show if you’re stalling somewhere.

I know sometimes if the ph gets to low it can hinder ammonia processing, but the fact that you have 1ppm of nitrites would make me think that’s a non issue
I'll do that today and see what happens, thanks!
 

B3TT45

It could be that it’s just a constant release from the aqua soil but I would think that would be starting to level off.

You could try a 50% water change and see if the numbers creep back up or stay where you’re at. That would either confirm the soil is still releasing a lot of ammonia or show if you’re stalling somewhere.

I know sometimes if the ph gets to low it can hinder ammonia processing, but the fact that you have 1ppm of nitrites would make me think that’s a non issue
Alright so... I did the 50% WC and now my ammonia is at 1, nitrite at 0.5, and nitrate at 10. How long should I wait or maybe what should I look out for to indicate when to do the next WC?
The WC definitely halved my parameters (for nitrates, it quartered) so that's great.

For some context, before the WC ammonia was at 2, my nitrites were at 2, and nitrates between 40-80
 

Cody

Alright so... I did the 50% WC and now my ammonia is at 1, nitrite at 0.5, and nitrate at 10. How long should I wait or maybe what should I look out for to indicate when to do the next WC?
The WC definitely halved my parameters (for nitrates, it quartered) so that's great.

For some context, before the WC ammonia was at 2, my nitrites were at 2, and nitrates between 40-80

Just watch your nitrates. If they get up in that 40-80 range I would consider a WC. Hopefully the other parameters will start to 0 out and you’ll be ready for fish. From what you have now it looks like your still leaching a fair amount of ammonia from the aqua soil.

Biggest thing is trying not to let the nitrates get too high so you don’t have to do a 75%+ wc before adding fish to get it in check. Not that it will hurt anything but just to save the efforts.
 

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