Covering the back wall of your aquarium with moss or plants can be quite a challenge. Here we show you how to do this...
Starting the aquarium safely, responsibly and without problems is a major challenge. The traditional way of starting an aquascape is quite a job because of the many water changes. Aqua Soil produces many substances that can encourage algae, cloud water and make plants slime. Is there no other way?
Let's start by noting that an aquascape takes a different approach than a traditional aquarium. The main difference lies in the construction of the hardscape (wood and stones) and the use of Aqua Soil. Hardscape and Aqua Soil can release many substances into the water that are not desirable in the beginning. With new Spiderwood, a slime layer is the rule rather than the exception. When mosses or other plants are tied to it, there is a chance that they will succumb to the slime. Driftwood, Manzanita wood, Corbo Root and basically all other types of wood can give off discoloration to the water. This will also have a negative effect on the development of aquarium plants. Many water changes are necessary to get rid of the worst discoloration. Aqua Soil is also packed with nutrients that can cause algae growth in the early stages. The GH, KH and pH lowering effect is very strong in the beginning. Due to many water changes, the excess nutrients can be drained off and the soil can be "hardened", so that it will assume stable values.
- Less trouble with discolouration due to wood
- Less GH increase due to calcium release from stones
- Less chance of algae
- Less strong GH, KH and pH lowering effect of Aqua Soil
- Less labour-intensive
- Less chance of plants slime
- More space for making a planting plan
- Faster rotation due to already developed bacterial strains
- After planting the fish can be put in faster
- Easier planting in soggy Aqua Soil (no need to spray the soil)
The time that arises for making the planting plan must be mentioned separately. You can take your time to see how many pots are needed and which types are best to use. There is no pressure to do this quickly and the day of planting can be planned carefully. Moreover, there is no need to worry that the Aqua Soil will dry out.
- Need more time
- Not a pretty face
- Tying up moss is more difficult
Simply put, it's a few steps:
1. Building Soil (Power Sand, Additives, Soil)
2. Apply Hardscape (wood, stones, etc.)
3. Fill the aquarium with water
4. Connect and switch on the filter
5. Let it run for a few weeks (2-4 weeks)
6. Remove all the contaminated water
7. Plant the aquarium
8. Fill the aquarium with clean water
9. Lights on
10. Switch on CO2 fertilization
11. Add fish and any other animals
It's that simple. Of course there are still some comments to be made and several variations are possible.
Do you also have to do water changes during steps 3 to 5?
Yes. That's the most logical. The water can become completely saturated in 4 weeks and no longer absorb anything. The water that has been sucked into the soil and hardscape is just as saturated. If the aquarium were to arrive at step 8 without switches, all that saturated water would pollute the fresh water again. The soil is also not yet buffered. Water changes are therefore obvious and a water change has never reduced an aquarium. So I would definitely advise to build in some water changes. Fortunately, it is less difficult than with a traditional startup.
Do I have to cover the aquarium with, for example, garbage bags?
No, unless they're nice garbage bags. The little daylight that can enter the aquarium should not be a problem.
Do I have to test the aquarium water in the meantime?
Optional. It is of course advisable to gain insight into the processes that take place. How high are those ammonia levels? Is nitrite already being formed? Is it already being converted into nitrate? Is it safe for fish now? To get answers to those questions, the only way is to test the water.
Do I need to add food or ammonium to get the bacterial growth going?
No. Bacteria will develop naturally on the basis of available food. A natural balance arises automatically.
Does a Dark Start make sense with a sand/gravel bottom?
Fewer. This only makes sense if a lot of hardscape is used that releases many substances into the water. Pre-watering Hardscape or regular water changes in the start-up phase should also suffice. A Dark Start seems like a waste of time.
The Dark Start solves a few important obstacles during the turn-in. My advice would be to use the Dark Start mainly to deal with the worst discoloration from wood. Molds that arise can be sucked away, so that plants have a better chance of success. Aqua Soil can get rid of its first release of excess nutrients, without plants being bothered or algae developing. After completing the Dark Start, it would still be preferable to change some water regularly. Even if it's for sure. As said "a water change has never reduced an aquarium". The use of Activated carbon or Seachem Purigen is still recommended after step 8. It removes some discoloration and contamination. After step 8 it is still a good idea to add bacteria boosters. In theory, the animals could also be placed directly in it. Since the Dark Start method is also chosen anyway, because time is available, I would recommend just waiting another 1 or 2 weeks. After planting, the Aqua Soil is stirred again, whereby substances are released into the water column again. A little caution with animals is not inappropriate. The lighting should also be built up quietly. Start with 6 hours a day and build up to 8 hours a day in 1 or months time. Give everything a chance to find their place and interact with each other.
The Dark Start is a reliable, user-friendly addition to start up the aquarium. Large fluctuations are removed, resulting in stability sooner. By thinking logically and combining it with the traditional method, a safe way of screwing in is created with a greater chance of success.