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[APD] old soil substrate

I've got a soil substrate based tank that is a year or a year and a half old. It's 50gal and I used maybe a coffee can full of soil under poultry grit. It had a very nice growth spurt when the roots hit the soil. The growth has curbed significantly. I have a medium fish load and give it potassium occassionally.

My smaller 20 gallon soil tank with 1 algae eater looks fabulous with no care at all. The tank has been running with no circulation for 6 months or so. What causes this fizz? I would think the tank with fish would have much more growth than one with an unfed algea eater.

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