Originally Posted by dwalstad
Your tapwater sounds weird and terrible! Can see why you use R.O. water, especially with that amount of sodium, high pH, etc.
Salty Shrimp sounds good. Tank has a nice assortment of good plants. Maybe, this (4 ppm ammonia) will work itself out as the soil settles down at 6-8 weeks post-setup?
I would do water changes every week or so--whenever you think ammonia and cloudiness are getting out of control.
Thanks! The ammonia got up to almost 8ppm the night before last, but I didn't have time to to a water change until yesterday evening. I filled 3 5-gallon jugs with RO water at a water vending station down the street, so was able to do a BIG water change (almost 20 gallons) last night, which brought the ammonia back down to ~1ppm. It looks to be holding there this morning. We also grabbed a bunch of duckweed from the neighborhood pond, which hopefully will help with the ammonia and maybe bring some beneficial bacteria along with it.
I haven't seen any nitrites yet. I could add filter media from my other tank, but no reason to rush the process of ammonia to nitrate at this stage right? I don't plan to add fish until the soil settles down (probably too hot to ship them now anyway and no good local options). I just received my Ecology of the Planted Aquarium book yesterday so will be busy reading more details
The additional plants I was expecting this week look to be delayed (not shipped yet), but hopefully the duckweed will help!