Odd parameters in 6 week old 40g - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-24-2016, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Odd parameters in 6 week old 40g

I'm pretty new to planted aquariums and I am getting, what I think, are some odd test results. I have read through a dozen threads about KH and GH and pH and how they all affect one another. I've also read through articles on the same topics.

I am still finding myself confused about what, if anything, I need to do. A week ago, I had low pH (6.2) and no nitrates. I started dosing nitrogen and added a small bag, maybe 2 tablespoons of crushed coral to my HOB. Nitrates came up, YAY. PH was still 6.2. So on the advice of LFS, I added significantly more crushed coral, now about 1/2 cup. At the same time, I got the GH/KH test kit.

The next day, PH test was light blue indicating 7.6, so I tested with the high range test and it was 7.4 After attempting to research my specific problem, I'm left with many questions. There seems to be too many variables; tap water parameters, substrate, hardscape, ferts, tank age, and KH and GH seem to affect one another, and KH and pH are usually linked. I think my situation is unique in that KH is low, pH and GH are high.

All that being said, my fish seem pretty happy and healthy, my tank is still new, and lots of changes over a short period of time may lead to some wacky results that will even out with time. So, here are my questions:

1) Should I do anything to raise KH
2) How can I raise kH without raising pH or GH
3) Should I attempt to lower GH
4) Does any of this matter with such a new aquarium?

Test Results: Aquarium
pH - 7.4-7.6
Ammonia - 0ppm (has consistently been 0)
Nitrates - 0ppm (has consistently been 0)
Nitrates - 10-20
GH - 11 degrees
KH - 2 degree

Tap Test
pH - 6.8
GH - 3
KH - 2

Tank Specs:
40g breeder
6 weeks old
ML Penguin 350 HOB
Ecocomplete substrate
No C02, but dosing with Seachem products including Flourish, Excel, Nitrogen, Potassium and Iron
Weekly 25% WC
Temp is at 76

Stock:
4 gold barbs
5 glowlight tetras
5 rasboras
3 panda corys
4 endler guppies (temporary)

Plants:
Anubias nana x 1
Wisteria x 2
Water Lily x 2
Amazon Sword x 1
Bacoba x 1
Bronze Wedntii x 2
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-31-2016, 07:36 AM Thread Starter
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My fish are still doing great with no signs of stress. The plants are doing ok if not exactly thriving. The only one that didn't make it was the dwarf lily and I think it was getting munched by my gold barbs. The pH is still high, pushing 7.8 but I found out my tap pH changed significantly from previous tests. It has been consistently 6.6 and is now 8.0!

I've checked it with 2 test kits and over multiple days to be sure that it was really that high. So I think I'll take out the crushed coral for now, even though I think it was also helping to keep my KH up.

Has anyone else had tap water jump that much suddenly?
Any other suggestions?
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 07:45 AM
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Do yourself a favor and get a decent PH pen with the calibration solution for testing your PH. Liquid PH kits are inaccurate.

If your tap water chemistry is changing then it could be that the source water servicing your area was changed. I get about a 60 TDS soft water most of the year but it changes to a 160 TDS water by fall and now has a higher KH (jumped from a 2.5 to a 7.5 to 8 dKH). A TDS meter is a handy device that could help you check your tap. I usually never bother checking my tap but once I know the TDS changed dramatically then it means the source of that tap was changed.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 09:24 AM
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Do not believe the tap water pH jumped, but rather the tank water did after too much crushed coral raised the pH,Gh.
Run some tap water in a bucket and test the pH after 24 hours.
This is what you have for source water.
Remove crushed coral and perform a couple 50% water changes 12 hours apart in the tank.
Report back the result's from both.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-05-2017, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I have tap water sitting in a bucket and one 50% water change completed. I'll keep you posted.

I have two bottles of both high range and low range API test solution all giving me the same results over multiple tests. So if not accurate, at least it's consistent with itself. I will look into more accurate testing methods if I find that these bottles are off.

Thanks
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-06-2017, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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The sample on the left is my tap after letting it sit. The sample on the right is my tank water after the crushed coral was removed and two 50% water changes. I would say they are both really close to 7.8 with the tank water approaching 8.0
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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After water change today:

pH 7.8
KH 5
GH 7

My plants have stopped growing and have started showing signs of various deficiencies. All of the fish are doing ok, but some increased stress with a lot of their cover dying off. I'll have to address this soon.




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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-09-2017, 10:37 AM
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Decrease lighting period if longer than eight hour's and leave it for a month or two.
Would wonder if plant's being in new environment (7 week's?) might just need more time to adapt.
Would adopt some type of fertilization plan for low tech NON CO2 tank that you could dose once or twice a week followed by water change at the end of the week..
I use macro/micro package from aquariumfertilizer.com in low tech NON CO2 tank's once a week and it supply's everything except phosphates which many fish food's contain.
Cheaper in the long run that Seachem liquid fertz Just sayin.
Would leave the pH alone were it me.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. I have the Finnex Planted 24/7 on it's 24 hour schedule plus another LED light that I turn on for 8 hours each day. Should I reduce the second light's time, or turn them both on the same schedule for only 8 hours? The 2nd light is a Fluval LED that puts out 2800 lumens of light at 7500k, so I didn't think it did much for plants. Probably not helping with the algae though.

It's hard to be disciplined and make only one small change at a time. I tend to over correct with too many variables and solve problems I never had, thereby creating more problems.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-12-2017, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d-ave View Post
Thanks for the reply. I have the Finnex Planted 24/7 on it's 24 hour schedule plus another LED light that I turn on for 8 hours each day. Should I reduce the second light's time, or turn them both on the same schedule for only 8 hours? The 2nd light is a Fluval LED that puts out 2800 lumens of light at 7500k, so I didn't think it did much for plants. Probably not helping with the algae though.

It's hard to be disciplined and make only one small change at a time. I tend to over correct with too many variables and solve problems I never had, thereby creating more problems.

Would only run one of the light fixture's, prolly the Finnex at least for next few week's at eight hour's to help lessen demand for CO2 and or possible nutrient short coming's .
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-13-2017, 05:28 PM
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for real though you have like 5x of the easiest plant species ever to grow. I wouldn't even worry about any of this stuff... your anubias / crypts / swords will be fine and your tank is extremely lightly planted so demand for nutrients should be extremely low. as long as you dose enough so you don't totally bottom out your NPK you will be fine.

also agree with roadmaster that you probably should not be using 2 fixtures on that tank... again, demand for light and nutrients should be very low with your setup. you could throw that tank in a dark closet for a week and it would be totally fine.

CO2 is almost a non-factor with those plants so wouldn't really worry about that. it will certainly help you out but at the lower light levels you should be running there is extremely little (if any) 'demand' for CO2. this really only comes into play at higher light with hungry, faster growing plants where CO2 becomes a limiting factor. your plant selection will not meet that criteria so no worries.

generally I advise against taking measures to alter your water's pH. nobody actually know why they do it (like you mentioned, way too many variables...) but people consistently give advice that "your pH has to be withing a-b range"
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