The Adventures of me and my 90g Tank.
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Old 07-31-2013, 11:26 PM   #1
yobofofas
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The Adventures of me and my 90g Tank.


Hey all. I'm going to try to update this journal once a week in an attempt to track my tanks history and, hopefully get a little info from all of you.

First, a tiny but about me: I'm returning to fish keeping after a very long hiatus and am thrilled at all the new developments and tech. The hobby seems to have become quite a bit easier since I left. My goal with this tank is a planted Discus/Amazon community.

Here's my specs

90g Truvue Acrylic Tank with left side overflow with 1" drain.
Current Satellite LED (48" standard, not plus)(thinking about getting another).
Floramax Red Substrate.
Obsidian Stone
Driftwood found at river (power sprayed and baked)

Filter:
30g Aqualine Refugium ; 1st chamber, foam filter and bio-balls. 2nd, Organic potting soil capped w laterite and Floramax 2 lucky bamboo and 2 wisteria. 3rd 400g pump bag of charcoal and bag of peat with Tru-Temp 300 watt thermometer.

I filled the tank last week and used Tetra Smart Start to get my Nitro cycle rolling. Yesterday I planted the top tank with 2 Amazon Swords and some Dwarf Hair Grass.

1st water test was today 7/31 and read as follows:

PH 7.4-7.6 (higher than I'd like. Thinking about using PH Down unless someone has a better idea??? I did just add some wood to the refugium also)

Ammonia: 2ppm

Nitrite: 0-.25 ppm

Nitrate: 10ppm (could be closer to 20, colors very similar on test kit.

I'm thinking about stocking the refugium with some helpful inverts like Amano Shrimp or maybe snails to eat dead plant matter. After I see them doing well I plan to start stocking fish in the main tank. Any input is welcome and please, let me know what you guys think of my set up.

Thanks
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #2
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Took the PH down today using some Tetra Correct PH 7.0 and added some Ghost Shrimp (4) to the Refugium and 4 tiger snails to the tank along with a Red Banana plant, 3 cork screws and a moss ball that I'm going to use to try and cover the drift wood. Everything's looking pretty great so far.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:08 AM   #3
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Default HELP!!! I've got Foam!

I came home tonight to discover a cloudy tank and foam coming out of the drain to my refugium. I tested the PH and it strangely is back up to 7.6 after I treated the water earlier today with Tetra Correct PH 7.0. What the hell? Water is cloudy also but snails and shrimp seem to be fine. Ammonia seems to be between 1-2 ppm. My only guess is that the Correct PH 7.0 softened the hell out of the water but why would the PH go back up? Is this anything to worry about?
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:13 AM   #4
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Nice tank! Looks clean.

First piece of advice though, don't use products like that to mess with the pH. Why exactly do you want your pH to be lower? Do your planned inhabitants NEED a pH below that? If not, just leave it at 7.6, there's nothing wrong with that, for the most part, unless you plan on keeping some really sensitive things. You'll do more harm than good in trying to mess with your pH.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbn View Post
Nice tank! Looks clean.

First piece of advice though, don't use products like that to mess with the pH. Why exactly do you want your pH to be lower? Do your planned inhabitants NEED a pH below that? If not, just leave it at 7.6, there's nothing wrong with that, for the most part, unless you plan on keeping some really sensitive things. You'll do more harm than good in trying to mess with your pH.
Fair enough. I plan on later introducing some discus but I wanted to make sure I could sustain lower PH for a few months. Is this current sitch anything to worry about? Any advice is welcome.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:24 AM   #6
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If you want a lower pH, consider switching to Reverse Osmosis water. Although the initial investment can be expensive, it is so worth it. Any other methods (other than using an active substrate) is usually useless.

The pH goes back up because there is something in the tank that is altering the params. Someone else can explain it better....
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:25 AM   #7
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I'm assuming you're using tap water at the moment, yes? If you want to breed discus down the road, I'd suggest you invest in an RODI unit so you have control of more of the parameters, including more control over pH. There's not really a sure-fire consistent way to keep the pH of tap water low, especially when you start factoring in water changes, unless you treat your water beforehand.
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info. I've got a reverse osmosis system but I, possibly foolishly, thought I could just treat the water from my tap and everything would be hunky dory. Is there a good way to treat the water other than the Tetra Correct PH? Should I empty and refill? Is all hope lost? Am I a failure? UGGGG....
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:28 AM   #9
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Noooo, don't be pessimistic Just use your RO system and get a remineralizer and you'll be golden!
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Old 08-02-2013, 04:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjbn View Post
Noooo, don't be pessimistic Just use your RO system and get a remineralizer and you'll be golden!
I've got a 90g tank and my RO system is good for 50g every 24 hours. I thought about disconnecting the storage tank and letting it fill a clean garbage can but I just did a PH test on the RO water and the PH is also at least 7.6. I immediately ordered a remineralizer from Amazon. Thanks for the help BTW. Do I need to worry about the foam and if so, whats my next corse of action?

Last edited by yobofofas; 08-02-2013 at 05:11 AM.. Reason: more info
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:16 AM   #11
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With RO water, you're essentially stripping tap water of everything that was added in (chlorine, flourine, etc.). Something is either wrong with your RO unit or with whatever you're measuring pH with. Pure water is neutral, at 7.0. It's typical to get readings below 7 of RO water, which is a little too much to explain right now than I'd like, so I'll skip on that.

What test kit are you using to measure pH?
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:18 AM   #12
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From what I've read RO units tend to filter out everything and leave water fairly acidic.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:44 AM   #13
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Yes, that's exactly what I said. I guess I'll try to explain it..

RO water typically comes out below 7 (pure water) due to there being no buffering capacity in the water. This is the point of RO water, to strip the tap of all the chemicals put into it, etc. With no buffering capacity, even the slightest amount of an acid or protons (H+) will alter the pH. CO2 in the air and in the water beforehand dissolves into the RO water and "bonds" with hydroxides (OH-) in the water. This causes an excess of protons (H+) in the water. Wonder why people who use CO2 can suffer from pH drops if they use too much? Me too (lol), but I'm assuming it's because larger amounts of CO2 creates larger amounts of "free" H+ in the water column, making the pH drop. When there is an excess of H+ in a solution, you can say that it is acidic, because protons (H+) are what make an acid, since they donors of H+.

If you want to breed discus, you'll need a pH below 7.

Which again brings me to the point of asking what test kit you're using. It's either your RODI unit needs filter replacement or your test kit is faulty.



PS to anyone: My breakdown of acidity of RO water is as best as I could think of off the top of my head. Anyone, feel free to correct my logic if you see a mistake in my explanation.
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:01 AM   #14
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Thanks for the explanation and now I get it. I'm using a basic API Master test kit. The RO unit was installed in July (a Watts Premier RO Unit) so everything is still new. Should I be worried about this? Also, I don't necessarily want to breed Discus, just keep some healthy specimen.
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Old 08-02-2013, 06:07 AM   #15
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That's definitely weird that you're getting 7.6 pH for your RODI water.. My RODI water is anywhere from 6.0-6.5.

If you know the parameters that you need for your intended inhabitants, and a higher ph, and i'm gonna say harder water (like most tap), is okay for that inhabitant, I say go for it. Just make sure you are consistent with your parameters. Fluctuation is the cause to a lot of deaths in this hobby.
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