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Thank you very much, MEA.

Will wait for another 2 weeks to observe and will probably redo the tank should this continue.

As for Ms. Walstad's book, I have it and ready. Thought I'd experiment and am really experiencing the after-effects of experimenting.

Thank you again.

regards,
Ravi
No matter what soil you use, it will cause problems the first two months after it is submerged ('Chaos in Freshly Submerged Terrestrial Soils', my book, pp 130-135). No soil is perfect. Be prepared to change water, maintain sufficient aeration, and add charcoal to the filter.

If your soil is richer (more nutrients), you will need to do more water changes and be more vigilant. However, that doesn't mean that a rich soil is bad or needs to be replaced. You just may need to do more water changes the first few weeks.

Once the soil is established and your plants are growing, you can relax on water changes and everything else.

I'm encouraged by the fact that you say that your plants are growing well. If they are doing well, then the soil is good and your lighting is sufficient.
 

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I just have a submersible powerhead for water movement and feeding DIY CO2 while maintaining minimal surface agitation. Should I think about adding a filter for the tank?
In this situation, I don't think you need a filter. You've got water movement to keep the water safely oxygenated. The NPT itself functions as a biofilter (bacteria in the soil and on plant surfaces reduce ammonia and nitrite levels).

Good luck!
 

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Folks,

When changing the water today, I noticed that all the dusting in the leaves (not sure what type of algae they were) and the green algae were all gone. just a tiny bit of thread algae in the tips of some leaves. What happened? I love it now. :cool:

The temperature of the water dropped over past week also as it's getting colder in the Chicago area. The water temperature dropped from 76 to 70 degrees. I do not have a water heater in the tank. Could this have had any influence?

Thank you.

regards,
Ravi
Nitrates (less than 10 ppm in aquariums) aren't that important, but temperature certainly is. Many tropical aquarium plants won't do well at 70 degrees. Why not a water heater?
 

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"The tank has now gone with 25% water changes so far and am planning to do a 50% water change this weekend. After that I'm planning on letting it go for a couple of months without water changes. Your thoughts on this please.

Over the past two weeks, I've started seeing slowed growth and yellowing of the leaves. This is consistent with all the plants in the tank except for the Swords. They seem to be OK. Not sure what is causing this. I still do not have fish in the tank and nor am I fertilizing the tank. The only thing that's going is the DIY CO2 generator. Any guidance or thoughts on this?

Thank you very much for your guidance."

regards,
Ravi

Dear Ravi,

Since this tank has been set up since Sept, I think you could probably go several months without water changes.

I see that you've added artificial CO2 injection. This gives plants plenty of carbon so that they quickly run out of other nutrients like nitrogen, iron, etc. It is not surprising that they're starting to turn yellow indicating nutrient deficiencies. Please don't complicate this mistake by adding fertilitzers. The solution is to stop the CO2 injection, add fish to the tank, and start feeding the fish. (This will start adding the nutrients into your tank.) I don't know why you've held back on the fish. I routinely add them the next day after setting up a tank.

Remember that if you have CO2 injection, you throw the whole ecosystem out of whack. Many of your plants may collapse, now that don't have their "CO2 candy" readily available.

I think you are worrying unnecessarily about water changes, soil, nitrates, etc. Your first NPT isn't a life-or-death issue. If it works fine, great. If it doesn't, you will learn something and then can always start over.

You can always go the high-tech route with CO2 injection, fertilizers, etc. Right now, you're doing it half-way and inducing nutrient deficiencies in your plants.

I recommend that people try to follow the guidelines in my book if they want to set up NPTs.
 
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