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Hi, I'm new here. I actually stumbled upon these message boards in search of information of Schultz Aquatic plant soil because I am having some problem with it. I found this thread. http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/forumapc/science-aquatic-substrates/48987-aquatic-soil-2.html

I recently bought some due to all the good things i was hearing about it online. I was really excited about it, but that quickly changed. I put my aquatic plant soil in a 60 gal tank and it looked really nice. I decided to check the water parameters just to make sure everything was ok (just to make sure the soil was not doing anything) and boy was I surprised. My ammonia levels are through the roof. I immediately took my fish out. I then tried a different ammonia test that I had and it agreed with my first one. I also went to my LFS and their tests also turned up the same thing. So my fish are in a temporary home until this is resolved :(.

I also tried putting some left over plant soil and clean water in a separate container and that container also ended up being saturated by ammonia, so the aquatic plant soil is the culprit.

So I wanted to know if anyone has experienced this before. Is this normal? What can I do about it? Help would be greatly appreciated since my fish are all crammed into a smaller tank at the moment :(.
 

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I did not wash it at first. >.< I did however try to wash some that I had left over and it did not seem to make a difference. I even tried boiling it in water with some success but it did not get rid of all of it. I also called the number on the back of the bag and all they could tell me was that it releases carbonic gas when first immersed in water. I don't really know how that could account for ammonia.

Currently I have taken all the gravel out and am washing it over and over, but it is not doing much.
 

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First time I've ever heard a report like this. Perhaps a bag was contaminated with some fertilizer?
 

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I am also having a problem with this soil. Despite its claims to not cloud the water and be safe for fish, the water is very cloud, and the fish are distressed.

The directions on the bag didn't say anything about needing to rinse the soil. Did I get a defective bag?
 

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Sounds like ADA AquaSoil..... It does the same thing. In any event you can do the same things people do for the ADA AquaSoil.

This is suggested regimen
Just to give you an example(of course this regiment is not the absolute)
-water change everyday and adding plants and setting up the tank in first week
-water change every other day and perhaps adding some algae eaters second week
-water change twice or once a week and adding more algae eaters and some fish

I changed water every other day (using Prime as a declor agent). On my OFF days I dosed with Prime as per bottle instructions for high ammonia.

PLANT HEAVY - they will take up the ammonia. Seed with mulm if you have any....
 

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I am also having a problem with this soil. Despite its claims to not cloud the water and be safe for fish, the water is very cloud, and the fish are distressed.

The directions on the bag didn't say anything about needing to rinse the soil. Did I get a defective bag?
Okay, I just tested the water, the ammonia level is sky high! #%*&!
 

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You really have to wash it like crazy. It is sold as a soil for pots to put in ponds. In that regard it doesn't affect your water that much. However, we are using it as a substrate which means a much high ratio of soil to water.

I have a ridiculous amount of tanks with this soil and I wash it repeatedly in 1/3 bag portions before adding it to a tank.
 

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I washed mine thoroughly and did not think much of it. Water was slightly cloudy when I filled the tank. I added 1 male Endler to my 55G that had 4 bags of Schultz. The next day I tested for ammonia and if was maxed on the API card. I quickly added filter media from my 10G and dosed the tank with prime. After ~ 1 week I had a nitrite spike to maxed, then settled in. It was basically a free fishless cycle but I wish I knew beforehand.

My Schultz had small little blue balls in it that looked to be capsules, like ferts. Well I believe this is the cause of the ammonia and my following algae outbreak.

I did not remove these blue pills which I prob should have. I'm not sure what they contain, but I did squish one or 2 in the water and something cloudy came out of it. Must be some kind of time release normal fert, I'm not sure if it was NH3 or NH4+?
 

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You really have to wash it like crazy. It is sold as a soil for pots to put in ponds. In that regard it doesn't affect your water that much. However, we are using it as a substrate which means a much high ratio of soil to water.

I have a ridiculous amount of tanks with this soil and I wash it repeatedly in 1/3 bag portions before adding it to a tank.
This is just astounding to me. I was using it in a pond, though a small half barrel one. Why don't the directions say "for use in large bodies of water only"???

I've had this pond for seven years, and this was the first time I tried a commercial product for potting my plants. Never again. :mmph:
 

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Interesting. Unless Schultz drastically changed what they add to the Aquatic Soil since I bought mine, this really surprises me. Schultz Aquatic Soil is the main substrate in my 40 gallon and 10 gallon and as far as water parameters go, I have tested water parameters over many months for the 10 gallon and readings were all within normal parameters, including ammonia. I did have issues with the tank but they were not ammonia related.

You can see my water test logs at http://azdhan.googlepages.com/thelostworld

As far as the 40 gallon goes, the plants continue to do well, there have been no fish deaths whatsoever, and there is no algae.
 

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I had a sharp ammonia spike right after I set up my tank (30 long). I did a couple of 50% water changes adding water from other tanks, added a couple of used filters, and some plants including duckweed, and in about a week my ammonia and nitrite tests were at or near zero. But I gotta tell ya, when I saw the results of that first test, I coulda filled my drawers. The second wasn't any better and the third not much. Used filters and duckweed, hallelujah! By the way, I still plan on using it in my next tank.
 

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I have heard that one needs to permit the soil to settle and mature first prior to filling a tank. that's the only reason I haven't done that yet. I am a touch impatient.

What was described, was they submerse the soil only a little and let the bacteria colonies establish in the soil. Basically, cycling the soil. These people were using pressurised CO2, so they planted hermanthus emmersed and then when they submersed the tank, they did it ever so gently so as to not disturb the soil. The whole procedure took around a 1 - 2 months but the aquarium is fantastic.

The fellow, I think it's Dusko, said that the soil has to go through a massive change from being in air to underwater.
 
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