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 Post subject: Nearly-zero alkalinity?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 7:51 am 
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Fishkeeper

Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:11 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Somerville
I have an interesting quandry involving big differences in water parameters in my 2 tanks. I have used multiple test kits with similar results:

55gal: 7.4 pH, GH 200-220ppm, KH 50
29gal: 6.4 pH, GH 100-120, KH <20

The 55gal is heavily planted, and I "feed" it with Flourish, Excel, Iron, and, recently, Phosphorus about once a week. I also add SeaChem's Fresh Trace about once a week and aquarium salt (about 8 tbsp with a 30% water change) about once every 2-3 wks. It's filtered with an Eheim Pro II and the substrate is a mixture of pool sand and Eco-Complete. The fish are all community S. Amer. and Asian fish and there are around 20 fish in there ranging from a tiny garnet tetra to my big dragon goby. The pH had been consistently 6.8 for 4 months until recently. I also changed the light schedule recently to keep it from overheating - I have two 10K and two 6K T5s on it and it got over 85 degrees during that heat wave a few weeks ago!

The 29gal has two Anubias and a handful of hornwort, one piece of driftwood, some other plastic decorations, and a regular gravel substrate. I recently used SeaChem's Stability when I added a few new fish, following the instructions (5mL/10gal on day one and 5mL/20 gal for days 2-8). Other than that, I use Fresh Trace about once a week but no other supplements. I have a baby arowana, two big angelfish, two med plecos, a big woodcat, and a tire-track eel in there. It has a Whisper 30 and a single flourescent strip.

Both tanks get water changes every couple of weeks using Jamaica Plain tap water conditioned with Prime but I don't use any other water conditioners, buffers, or regulators.

So here are my questions: How did the KH in my 29gal get so low? Do I need to worry about it? I want to add a sand/Flourite mixture this week - will that change it?

Why did the pH in the 55gal go up (the addition of Phosphorus, maybe, or the change in light schedule)? What do you all like to use to bring your pH down? I'm thinking of trying the Acid/Akaline Regulator combination after I stop adding Phos and see what difference it makes.

Thanks for any input you can give!
~Khrysti~

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 1:47 am 
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Former BAS Board

Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:23 pm
Posts: 246
Location: Pembroke, Ma
It appears like your 55 is a plant explosion. You have the light and all the nutrients needed - except CO2. Your KH of 50 ppm equates to about 3 degrees. With a pH of 7.4 your CO2 level is a poor 4 ppm. I have experienced a problem called biogenic decalcification. With a CO2 deficiency some plants will derive the CO2 needed from the carbonate hardness which causes the pH to rise about 1 step. Have you seen any precipitates? This process reverses at night, check your pH at first light and again at midday.
To lower the pH just add CO2. DIY systems work and they are cheap. Why are you adding the salt?
I don't know what would lower your KH in the 29. I don't think sand/flourite will affect it. You could try adding a little crushed shell.

John B.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 7:51 am 
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Fishkeeper

Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:11 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Somerville
Thanks for the info... I've heard something similar from a few others so I'll add more excel and see how that helps. I realized that I took about half of the fish out of there, too, so not as much CO2 is being produced in the system. (Adding aquarium salt at a rate of about 1-2 tablspoons/10gal is like adding gatorade for your fish... full of electrolytes and a few trace elements that make their bodies happy. :-])

As for the 29, I want to *raise* my KH, don't I?

Thanks!
~Khrysti~

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 9:24 am 
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Former BAS Board
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:05 pm
Posts: 1062
Location: Boston
I assumed the salt was for Ivan.
:mrgreen:

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Rich
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Part-time fishguy at Uncle Ned's Fish Factory (saturdays)
_______
Species I am currently keeping/breeding include :
Copadichromis borleyi "redfin"
Labidochromis caeruleus yellow labs
Aulonocara sp. "Lwanda"
Ancistrus cf. cirrhosus "Super Red Ancistris"
Xiphophorus montezumae Montezuma Swordtails
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(I'm in the middle of resetting and redesigning my fishroom - so things are kinda quiet)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 7:37 am 
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Fishkeeper

Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 8:11 pm
Posts: 194
Location: Somerville
And the rainbowfish. :D But the cardinals and Apistogramma loved it too!

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