Sure, I will take some photos later today after work.Your tank has been cycled for a week now. Unfortunately, a nitrate level of 40-80 ppm is not good for fish. Let's take a look at what your tank looks like.
My water test results published above represents tank 1, tank 2 still have some ammonium present (at least it had ammonium two days ago). Both tanks have high nitrite levels, which is toxic for fish. I will add fish when I am sure the nitrite levels are close to zero. I am not sure frequent water changes will speed up the nitrite to nitrate conversion as I am dependent upon the build up of beneficial bacteria. 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.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.
Yes, with more duckweed and more patience I might be able to run both tanks without filter and still get the ammonia/ammonium and nitrite levels under control. So, I did cheat a bit by adding a filter, but I just wanted to speed up the process a bit.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.
Yes, thanks for helpful suggestions! I did notice the Echinodorus Argentinensis (grandiflorus) were too deep in the substrate (due to the fact that I added some more gravel to this tank after planting). I pulled it up yesterday, but, maybe I should pull it even further up so it will not rot. Yes, the Hygrophila difformis does not look happy, particular at the bottom. I will spread it like you say, maybe that will help.Enough pictures! But beautiful plants. I think you have plenty and they look so healthy. Make sure that that the crown of that big Echinodorus is above the gravel; you've got the crown buried and it may rot. And I would spread out the Hygrophila difformis. You've got all the stems all bunched together.
Not so sure that nitrification is reason for your nitrites. Soil fertilizers? Those high water nitrates could be diffusing into the substrate where MANY ordinary bacteria will convert them to nitrite via 'nitrate respiration' (my book, p. 65). Nitrate respiration in this situation would be a much more common bacterial process than nitrification.
To get your nitrites down, I would do water change to get rid of the nitrates. I assume that those nitrates didn't come from your tapwater. Possibly the soil is the source. Should be a temporary problem, because nitrates don't attach well to soil particles, so eventually they will clear out of the soil and you can get your fish.
I would forget about adding ammonia to your tank. Add a little fishfood. Much safer.
Only time will show, will do another water test tomorrow to see where the nitrite/nitrate levels go. My water lettuce is growing like crazy at least.These measurements are consistent with a 50% water change. The question is whether they are going to shoot back up again or are we simply dealing with conditions that were status quo ante?
I am a newbie so I have nothing to compare it against. I guess other people who have used bone meal have to comment on that. Most commercial soils contain either NPK fertilizers or some kind of manure (at least here in Norway). It is not something I have added myself. I do not believe I am the first to measure high nitrite levels after using commercial soils in the tank. As mentioned before, one of the tanks have a lot of air bubbles in the soil the other one has none. I am not sure how to interpret that. Many Norwegians that play with aquariums use NH4Cl to cycle their tanks before buying fish. It usually takes around 3-4 weeks and after daily measurements they find that bacteria for the NH4 to NO2 conversion grow faster than bacteria for the NO2 to NO3 conversion. Anyway, it take some time for the process to occur. My tanks are in its third week now....Seems like adding bone meal and manure are a hassle.
if you’re seeing NO3 => NO2 reaction, there might be anaerobic conditions in your substrate.
Did have several tanks when i was younger with only gravel. Wanted to try something different this time to see if I could enhance plant grow without artificial CO2 injection. I do have a third tank also, with just gravel and some commercial fertilizer called aquatic nature fertiplant (Aquatic Nature Fertiplant ABF | Seaflower). I am using this third tank to compare with the two others with garden (tiger and sowing) soil.Perhaps we should have asked this question earlier: What is it you are trying to accomplish by adding soil to your fish tanks?
Good idea! I will do that today.Poke your substrate with a stick and smell if the bubbles smell like rotten eggs. If not, it’s CO2 bubbles.
Your plants look great though.
I know that beneficial bacteria has nothing to do with plant grow , but I think it is nice to have some beneficial bacteria when I add guppies into the tankYou'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.
So they do not die due to ammonium/nitrite toxicity? I guess a high fish load will increase ammonia/ammonium/nitrite levels in the tank dependent upon the amount of fish and how much you feed them. To then be sure your tank can handle that amount of ammonia/ammonium/nitrite it is ok to have a back up system (filter with beneficial bacteria) in case your plants and your tank can not handle the ammonia/ammonium/nitrite levels.Why do you say that?
Ok, I will just stay calm then, do some poking now and then and let mother nature take over for some weeks before I add any livestock. I will naturally do some water tests to follow the situation, remove dead plant material, and maybe add some more plants.First of all, it is difficult to imagine a higher critical mass of ammonia/ammonium/nitrite than you've already experienced from dumping a bag full of terrestrial soil into your tank and exposing it to water. The fact that all your parameters are headed in the right direction is a huge testament to your healthy plant growth. If you're really worried about bio-load, the solution is to continue what you've been doing which is adding more plants. Hoping that you have enough beneficial bacteria to absorb fish poop is like hoping you have enough ants at a picnic. Just eat the food.
Second of all, as @dwalstad has posted several times, your unusually high nitrite levels were likely not the result of nitrification (beneficial bacteria) but were probably the result of nitrate respiration, a process that was set in motion while the soil was exposed to air.
Third and lastly, be careful what you wish for. The less able your plants are to compete with the beneficial bacteria already in your tank for food, the more you will periodically have to change the water as nitrification levels rise. Plant uptake of ammonia/ammonium results in plant protein. Bacteria just produce a different form of nitrogen.
It's probably too early to expect toxic gases to form in your soil. I would consider poking around now rather than later as a preventative measure.
I have three tanks, one with just gravel and some commercial fertilizer in the bottom layer (ANF ABF, see link above, tank 3) and two with dirt soil and gravel (walstad type of bottom layer). So, two cubic tanks (31L, 30x30x35), and one rectangular type of tank (37,5L) with measurements 25x50x30cm (WxLxH). The 37,5L tank (tank 3) show signs of poor plant growth in the form of pale leaf color on the plants (see pictures above). So, I thought maybe I should do a make over and make a dirt tank of that one too. The two cubic tanks were installed for about three weeks ago, while tank 3 is one week older.Does this involve an actual tank that you have or are you just bumping your thread?
I do not have any pure manure tanks at the moment . However, some manure is usually often added to commercial garden soil if you read the label at the back . Since it smells of manure in tank 2, I was wondering if that smell usually gets stronger or weaker with time....but I guess no one have had that experience here. If it gets stronger I will tear down tank 2 also. So, what do you think of using pure soil from the forest then? I need to rinse it a bit first to sort out all the floating parts before I use it.Well, in answer to your question, No. I would not use pure animal manure as a substrate.