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A couple observations. You call this tank heavily planted, so if there are a fair amount of plants I would not add ammonia at all. The "plants not doing so well" could be due to ammonia. We forget that ammonia is toxic to all life forms, be it fish, plants or bacteria [different bacteria from those that use ammonia]. I do not advise adding ammonia in any form when live plants are present.

The high temp is likely not all that welcome for plants either. I assume this is to increase the bacteria, but again I wouldn't as there is no need.

Adding Flourish at the level you are is also not going to help much, and might also be contributing to the plant's "not doing well." Plants need 17 nutrients, all but 3 of which are in Flourish Comprehensive [though some are in minimal quantity]. Carbon, a major macro-nutrient, is absent completely as this comes from the breakdown of organics in the substrate and in a new tank this will be minimal so the plants can't grow beyond the CO2 regardless. For a 56g, call it 60g, 1 teaspoon once a week, or at most twice, is all you should be using of Flourish Comp.

Carbon in the filter is going to rob the plants of what little CO2 there is, as carbon adsorbs DOC which is a prime source of carbon. Not that there is much at this stage, but no point in removing what little may be there.

On the pH, this is probably to be expected. If the tap pH is 6.4, the tank may well lower. The wood is a minor factor in this, but more importantly (to understand) is the relationship of GH/KH/pH behind all this. What is the GH and KH/Alkalinity of the tap water (on its own)? I'll explain more when I know these numbers.

I would not add crushed coral, this is not the answer as it is not a buffer. It is pure calcium and will raise the pH (possibly astronomically) but not touch GH, and this is not good for almost any fish with a few exceptions. Before we look at raise pH, we need to know the GH and KH numbers, plus the intended fish species.

The API ammonia test reads ammonia/ammonium as "ammonia."

Byron.
 

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Total hardness 250, alkalinity 80 (I only have test strips for these). I have a hard time finding GH test kits.
Interesting numbers. KH at 80ppm is not high, so the buffering capacity will not be great, meaning the pH will likely lower naturally but not a great deal. I wouldn't bother with this any longer, it is not an issue. This plus the wood is likely the reason.

The GH at 250 is moderately hard. While it is not always true, generally the pH will be above 7 with this high a GH [250ppm = 13 dGH] so a tap pH of 6.4 is interesting.

Is there any way you can confirm the numbers? The GH and Akalinity should be available from your water supply people, online probably.

Byron.
 

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It's up to you how you "cycle." I made my point.

To the fish, I would not mix Betta and neontetra, that can go wrong one of two ways, or both. Neons become very nippy when faced with sedate fish, and there is also the possibility of Betta considering neons food. Mine did.
 
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