Creating substrate for your aquarium has many approaches. I'm sharing with you my recipe for a success in long term. You can use a branded substrate like eco-complete, aquasoil or dirt. Additionally you can add some additives like: azomite, bacter AE, worms castings, If you would like the setup which will last longer I truly recommend repeating the process in your aquarium.
The only thing is to pay attention to a water changes. I was tracking all the parameters each day after planting the aquarium. In the first 7 days I did 9 water changes. I knew I would have to do a daily water change in this setup, however when ammonia rises over 1ppm you need to do additional water changes. 2 days I was doing a water change in the evening and another water change in the morning before the work. This way you will ensure that your plants won't melt and you won't experience any algae.
The only thing I experienced is biofilm from the driftwood which I didn't have time to soak before. If you have a time I really recommend to soak the driftwood for about 3 weeks and change the water from time to time.
The tank was cycling 14 days. After 14 days I didn't see any ammonia or nitrites and nitrates had orange color which means they were around 20-30ppm. Plants were doing well, even those more demanding.
The only algae I experienced were the ones which I introduced to the tank with the plants. I tried to clean the plants as well as I can but some hairy algae still stayed on it. I had all the plants for free so it was still worth it.
With a healthy environment you can beat any algae you want.
I noticed that the dirt decomposition took longer than I expected. I had no ammonia from day 14 to day 22 so I stopped doing water changes that often. After 5 days of not doing water changes my ammonia went to 1ppm. I was able to manage it with water change and seachem prime.
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