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A fellow at the Danish NG made a background from styrofoam ( this white hard plastic used for insert in boxes when shipping all kind of things and for insulating walls ) treated with a heat-gun and painted with alfix (cement for setting up tiles in a bathroom). Looks as good as Back to Nature
A week after settin up the tank ( 1/2 new water + 1/2 old water ) the KH had been reduced almost 50% and the nitrat had risen from 0 to about 100 ppm. The reason for this seems to be the nitrification. But is this possibly in such a short while ? Even when priming, the cycling is supposed to last at least 2 weeks ?
Or do one have to consider matters leaking from the materials ? Unfortunately he did not keep any leftovers of the old water.