Are my parameters "healthy"?
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:35 AM   #1
Colorblizzle
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Are my parameters "healthy"?


I am doing a low-tech planted tank haven't yet decided on plant species or fish species. All I have so far is the tank the substrate (flourite black sand) a heater and a filter. Still up in the air on what I need for lighting as well...back to the parameters. My GH is high I think at 11dgh and my KH is low at 4dkh. Will this sustain both plant and fish life properly? I understand by using half RO water I can cut my GH down to 6 or so but won't that also cut my KH to about 2-3? I'm getting lighting and wanna start aqua scraping in a few weeks so I really need to get this in check. If I do need to alter my water chemistry how doni do it safely? I'm also not planning on water changes. Maybe at first til everything balances out but eventually plan on only too offs
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:45 AM   #2
Diana
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While you are waiting and thinking, get the fishless cycle started.

The GH and KH are a bit lopsided, but not too bad. I would not think soft water fish would like that high GH, though. Go for more adaptable fish, not the really picky ones.

If you want to alter the water to keep softer water fish:
Get a bottle of RO water from the store (unless you already have the RO unit)
Try different blends until you get the GH you want for the fish you want to keep. Do some research.

Then add enough baking soda to make the KH pretty close to the GH.
For many soft water fish add some peat moss to the filter. This will add the organic acids they like.

For hard water fish you can add Seachem Equilibrium to raise the GH to suit the fish, and add baking soda to bring the KH up to pretty close to the GH. You could add other sources of carbonates, if you do not want to add that much sodium to the water.
I use a substrate that is mostly coral sand and add coral sand or oyster shell grit to the filters for hard water tanks.

No matter which sort of fish you want to keep, stay on top of the water testing to be sure the GH and KH are holding stable. Top off with RO water unless the mineral levels are dropping, then add just what is needed to correct that.

Nitrifying bacteria use the carbon from carbonates, so the KH might drop.
Fish and plants use the calcium and magnesium that we measure as GH.
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Old 01-12-2013, 06:56 AM   #3
Colorblizzle
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Very inciteful! So their not related? I was worried by adjusting one the other would change as well. If I can adjust them seperatelyninthink I can do that. As far as the fish less cycle that's a no can do :/ my woman saw a bottle of ammonia on the counter 1 day and freaked out. She's very easy going but extremely protective of the kids. She read somewhere and had it happen in her family somewhere where exposure to pure ammonia can cause mild mental retardation even in small doses. So she threw it away and told me no. I do however have media for this tank in another tank right now seeding. And I'm gonna plant densely from the start and hope for the "silent cycle" my LFS told me they have all of their fish acclimated to our natural water with the exceptions if their discus'. But they sell RO WATER .29 cents a gallon. I'm planning in going 50/50 and I'm not using CO2 at all but I've been told to buy ferts but should I wait to see if I even need them? I was told to buy potassium nitrate mono potassium phosphate and trace elements forget what that was called
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Old 01-12-2013, 07:08 AM   #4
Diana
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OK, overfeed the tank where the new filter is. Fish food breaks down whether the fish eat it or bacteria eat it, and becomes ammonia that feeds the bacteria.

Yes, a heavily planted tank will be all the bio filter you need, as long as the plants are healthy and thriving. The plants will bring in some bacteria on their leaves, too.

Some substrates are pretty high in fertilizers to get your plants started, but over time the plants use those fertilizers, so you will need to add more. Dry ferts are more cost effective than buying bottles of water with just a little fertilizer in them.

GH and KH measure different things, so it is entirely possible to adjust each separately.
The KH is related to pH, so there is a link there. In general when you raise the KH the pH will also rise. When you dilute your tap water with RO, so the KH goes down the pH is more liable to vary. Something else in the tank is dictating the pH.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:31 AM   #5
danielt
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Hi Colorblizzle!

kH is not linked in any way with gH. You might be confused about that as you might have come across texts that refer to a total hardness which is not that applicable in artificial conditions such as an aquarium. This confusion is caused by assuming all water hardness comes from CaCO3. That's the link between kH and gH if you want to put it that way. CaCO3 will raise BOTH of them as it contains Calcium and Carbonate. However, this is the only relation between kH and gH. Otherwise they do not influence each other.

Both of them can be raised or lowered independent of each other. For instance, peat will lower kH as it's organic components tend to bind Carbon but it will do nothing to your gH.

My tap water is pretty close to yours and I found a 4:1 ration tap:RO to be good for plants. 50/50 might strip the water of minerals more than necessary. Use your tests to get the water close to what you want.

If the plants are not difficult don't bother with RO water. One thing to keep in mind is that gH tests do not tell the whole story. They just measure how much metal ions you have in the water. gH reading may come from Sodium as well and also does not show the ratio between elements.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:05 PM   #6
Colorblizzle
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Your very knowledgable your last name isn't walstad is it? Lol. I can add fish food to cycle the tank, I didn't think about that.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:17 PM   #7
Colorblizzle
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All plants are difficult to me as I'm a newbie. My last few attempts failed. I've managed to Lille duckweed and java fern in less than 2 weeks on 2 seperate occasions
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