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I think you're erring way too far on the side of caution. Peat moss has 0% nutrients and I'm not sure what "bark fines" are. To me, it sounds like a fancy word for "saw dust". Aquatic plants don't uptake nutrients quite as fast as terrestrial plants - but they still need their share of nitrogen by-products derived from slowly decomposing organic matter. The trick is finding that happy medium where the plants are being fed without poisoning the livestock that makes its home in the same ecosystem. Commercially available potting soils that grow houseplants can be "mineralized" (rinsed and flushed) in order to step down their toxicity under water. My current favorite is Miracle-Gro's "Cactus, Palm and Citrus Potting Mix" , but I'm sure there are others.
 

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Strange, I believe Miracle-Gro Organic Choice potting mix consist of a blend of sphagnum peat moss, composted bark fines and natural fertilizer. That`s why I tried to find something similar here in Norway.
I understand what you are trying to do. However, I just took a look at the ingredients of my store-bought Miracle-Gro and it doesn't go into much detail in terms of how much of either ingredient they use. I suspect in both cases they are being used as additives.
 

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I understand what you are trying to do. However, I just took a look at the ingredients of my store-bought Miracle-Gro and it doesn't go into much detail in terms of how much of either ingredient they use. I suspect in both cases they are being used as additives.
I'd like to amend what I stated upstream in answer to the thread starter's question. I did a quick google search of the question, "How much peat moss is in Miracle-Gro potting mix?" Potting mix is a term of art used within the industry to differentiate between it and garden soil. Potting mixes are intentionally filled with peat moss roughly in the proportions you propose to use (anywhere from 50-80%) so that the water does not drain so fast that the houseplant roots have no chance to absorb the moisture. One important consequence of using so much peat moss in commercial potting mixes is that they have to compensate for the lack of nutrients in peat by adding "slow-released" nutrients to the product. Apparently, this has worked out well for hobbyists over the years (Walstad, "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium", page 137)

So, if you are going the DIY route, you will probably wind up having to add ferts. Another suggestion might be to add organic garden soil to what you have.
 

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Your missing ingredient is the "slowly available nitrogen" that is included in packaged potting mixes. It is a euphemism for animal (in the above case, poultry) manure. Good luck experimenting with that.
 

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The answer is probably "All of the Above", but I'm not gonna lie. I really like D. Top Soil. It's one of the choices that don't mention fertilizer as an ingredient and the sand makes me think it has already been "mineralized" in the traditional sense of the word. You will probably still have to do a fair amount of rinsing and flushing to step down the nitrogen by-products to a non-toxic level, but that is pretty much par for the course.
 

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To be honest (TBH), that's way more than I would ever pay for a light. But if it fits your budget, who am I to judge? In my experience, most of these LED lights are too intense for a tank where they will be on for over half a day (in order to incorporate a four-hour siesta), without much in the way of mechanical filtration and with enough fish poop to keep your plants growing. Too much intensity and they can become absolute algae factories.

So, sure. Personally, I'd buy something that either has a dimmer or is dimmable and a timer and with as close to 100% white lights as possible and leave it at that.
 

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What about this one, its a cheaper LED (1400lm, 14W, 8000K, 400-700nm)

Much more reasonable, IMO (in my opinion.)
 

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Twenty degrees Celsius is a little low for most tropical fish. If that's the ambient temperature in your home for any stretch of time, you'll need a heater. Twenty-four degrees Celsius is a safe median temperature for most tropical fish and plants. Breeding temperatures can trend higher. You need to research each species.
 

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So, I read in another post that the "kick off" in a walstad tank is after two weeks and may last up to six weeks? Is this correct? Between 2-6 weeks the soil will start to release a lot of nutrition in form of NH3, NO2, CO2, etc?
No. It's more like 2-6 weeks for toxic gases in anaerobic areas to build up in the substrate and perhaps even before CO2 production from decaying organic matter in the soil begins to "kick in". The slow release of CO2 from organic matter in the soil is one of the main advantages the Walstad method affords low tech hobbyists like me to raising interesting plants without the standard CO2 dispensers, tanks and other devices.

The fact that you're not getting high readings of nitrogen by-products right now is probably a reflection of your mineralizing skills and very likely of the fact that your soil mix was very low in nutrients to begin with. Until you start getting some fish poop in there, you should probably start adding some flake fish food on a daily basis to supplement your plant's nutrients.
 

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Did some new water tests yesterday evening.

NH4 = 0,4 mg/L
NO2 = 0,2 mg/L
NO3 = 1 mg/L
GB = 9
KH = 8
pH = 7,5
So, your tank has "cycled" in the sense that beneficial bacteria are doing their work. If you're lucky, the nitrification process can continue at this rate indefinitely with only a slow buildup of NO3. What's likely to happen, however, is that the nitrate level will increase as more ammonia is absorbed by more bacteria. Rapidly growing plants at the substrate level help rob the bacteria of ammonia, thus slowing down the creation of nitrates.
 

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These are very attractive tanks. You can probably add fish at any time and only have to make partial water changes every few weeks. Frankly, I was surprised by how quickly the nitrates spiked in that tank where it hit between 40-80 ppm. Or were you describing both tanks?

I think your emphasis on the traditional cycling process was perhaps a tad misguided, but it's fairly common for Walstad beginners to do so. I know I did in the beginning.
 

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Maybe it is "best" to just let nature take its time and do water tests a couple of times a week to monitor the nitrite levels and hope they decrease in the nearby future.
Of course, the irony here is that the name of this site is Aquatic Plant Central, and this forum is devoted to the idea of adding "soil for plants and plants for soil." The whole point of the Walstad method is to lessen the need for ammonia/ammonium conversion since plants will uptake ammonium directly without creating nitrites. It's still possible to accomplish this in the long run. But it would really mean paying a little less attention to bacteria and maybe adding a lot more plants than you presently have.
 

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I would forget about adding ammonia to your tank. Add a little fishfood. Much safer.
Since, I am not adding any live stock before X-mas, should I then start to add fish food, aquarium holiday fish food, or NH3 to maintain a high population of beneficial bacteria or is that not necessary?
You're kind of not listening. Beneficial bacteria have nothing to do with the growth of your plants. Judging from your snapshots, a few more weeks without fish should be fine.
 
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