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Old 09-20-2003, 03:22 AM   #1
Angie
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I have been cycling my 55 gallon tank for almost 3 weeks now with 15 small fish. I just received my master test kit this week so I am now trying to get everything in place. I am doing very well except the kH and gH, I am betting 2 kH for the past 3 days and 2 to 3 for gH. I have done one 50% water change 2 days ago and I am using RO water with RO right and cycle as well as dry amquel + buffers. I have CO2 in place (no plants yet) just trying to get it all regulated. My pH is fluctuating between 6.7 and 7. HOW CAN I GET MY kH and gH up?
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Old 09-20-2003, 03:37 AM   #2
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I guess the start of the question should be what are you trying to accomplish? Why are you using RO water? and how does your tap water test in comparison?


C02 can cause variations in PH and KH, more I would guess sense you have no plants to absorb it. GH is different and suspect low due to your RO water and not adding enough or the correct buffers before adding to the tank.... :?

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Old 09-20-2003, 03:43 AM   #3
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I used to have a reaf tank and used the RO to help cut down on alage and other issues. I just started using it out of habbit maybe, it's been years since I tested the tap, I will do that again. I have been using the RO right per recomondations. As for the CO2 I was advised to run it to see how things may change but my personal inclination is that it wont work correctly with no photosynthesis occuring in the tank. Is it your advise that I should not run it until I have plants, that was my oppinion but I am so new that I wasn't sure if I was right. I am not sure what the perfect kH/gH would be for a planted tank but I am thinking (based on previouse posts) that 7 would be good. Any thoughts?
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Old 09-20-2003, 03:49 AM   #4
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Angie,

I am just as new as you are ops: .... I would lay off the C02 until you get planted... Your fish our under enough stress from the cycling, they probably wont appreciate the high C02 concentrations and the PH fluctuations to begin with... As far as the cycling check out http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/art_plant_newtank.htm

As far as perfect numbers, I dont think there is a perfect, really depends on the kind of fish, plants and inverts you will be keeping along with how much C02 your are injecting... I am sure we will get alot of other responses from some of the more experienced aquarist...

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Old 09-20-2003, 12:23 PM   #5
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It's too bad you did not do a bit more reading and go with the silent cycle on your tank. It's not too late to start however. Please test your tap water and let us know the readings. IMHO it's a waste of time to use RO water for planted tanks for 98% of the people out there. And until you get the plants in the tank forget about the CO2. BTW, from your pH and kH readings your CO2 is not doing a whole lot for your tank.
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Old 09-20-2003, 01:26 PM   #6
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Does anyone know....Doesnt the use of RO water reduce the general and carbonate hardness of water? I thought this was the case? Doesnt passing the water over the membrane reduce hardness of the water and remove silicate if such a filter is used?

I think this is the case .....why not try just adding tapwater and not use the RO water?

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Old 09-20-2003, 03:04 PM   #7
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Tap water resutlst are: pH7.6, Nitrite .5 ppm, Ammonia 0, dKH 4, dGh 6 ... so I think I am getting the point here. So I guess I should go with tap water and just use AmQuel and NovAqua; however, I would still like to find out what the target range for water hardness is. I do have plants on the way, they should arrive by Monday or Wednesday at the latest, I am counting on them putting the whole system in place. I just don't want to hurt them! If I want to increase water hardness is it safe to use the RO right with the tap water?
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Old 09-20-2003, 03:37 PM   #8
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Angie....

Welcome to the board!

Ok first off....your hardness values are ok dont worry. I am not sure what RO Right does or your buffers. With that being said.

I would just treat your water with a dechlorinator. Most people, well some people, swear by Seachem Prime as it does not affect your pH at all. I am using it now and really like it. Some dechlorinators will drop pH.

What type of plants are you getting?

One of the best methods of establishing a balanced tank is to start from a known quantity and go from there. Your tap water should be your start in my opinion. As long as your chlorine/chloramine is treated as to not effect the fish then you should be fine.

Let the plants get established in the tank. You will probably notice some "melting" of the leaves as the plants get acclimated to your conditions. Plants are highly adaptable and pretty hardy.

I hope this helps you out but I am not a fan of adding buffers and things to the water. The only things I add now are Seachem Prime (to get rid of the chlorine/chloramine) and my fertilizers (nitrate, Phosphate, trace elements, potassium). You will have to start looking for those in the future when your plants take off.

Good luck and if you have any more ??? please ask.

Mike
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Old 09-21-2003, 12:42 AM   #9
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Your water is fine for plants. The kH and gH are just fine. Are you sure you have NITRITE in your tap water or is it NITRATE?

Also did you test right out of the tap or did you let the water sit for a few hours? You should test after the water it has set for a few hours. This will give you your true pH reading.
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Old 09-21-2003, 01:09 AM   #10
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REX!!!!!!!!!!

Havent seen you in a bit! Yes you do need to let your water sit for a few hours before testing for pH....after my tests with various substrates today I found the culprit of my pH rising....It was because the water hadnt off gassed and thus the immediate tap reading was artificially low.

I wish I knew that earlier...oh well had fun with my experiments today!

Mike
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Old 09-21-2003, 02:53 AM   #11
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You are so very helpfull, I am doing another water change tomorrow and putting tap rather than RO water. I will be treating for choromine but that is about it. Had I realized that I could plant right away and avoid the ups and downs of a cycle I would have but coming from a fish only world I would have never thougth I could stock an aquarium so heavy with anything from day 1.
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Old 09-21-2003, 06:53 PM   #12
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Okay, I preformed the tap water test again after allowing the water to sit out over night and all morning in an open cup. The pH is 7.6, the dKH and dGH are both 5, ammonia is 0 and Nitrite (not nitrate) is .25 ppm. So not a lot of change but some as compared to straight out of the tap. I am going to do a 50% water change today using only tap water. I did turn off the the CO2 and found out from my husband that the reason he wanted to run it before the plants was that he wanted to make sure he had it all set up properly and all the guages were working properly. I have no clue on that CO2 stuff so he did it for me. My plants are supposed to arive in the next couple of days and someone asked what kind but I don't really know for sure because I purchased a plant assortment of 48 plants which is supposed to be for 30 to 55 gallon aquaruim. My tank is 55 gallons so I figured this would be a good start and still allow room for more personal choices in the future.
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Old 09-21-2003, 07:18 PM   #13
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Your tapwater is fine. With the addition of CO2 you will easily be able to drop your pH down a bit. Sounds like you are off to a good start. Be sure to post some photos!

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Old 09-21-2003, 07:34 PM   #14
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You have all made me feel so much better. My next adventure is to figure out which fish to use (I want them all!) and make sure my lights are okay. I am a bit leary about my lights. I have power compacts with 2 bulbs 65 watts each and I realize that may be a bit low being just over 2 watts per gallon but my real question is on the type of bulb. They are 50/50 using blue light. I figured I would see how it goes before I replace them. If I run into trouble you will see me on the lighting board. :roll: Thanks again to all of you for the help and the reassurance.
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Old 09-22-2003, 02:57 AM   #15
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Do yourself a BIG favor and replace them before you run into the problems that are waiting just around the corner if you use the 50/50 bulbs. If you use them you are only putting 65 plant usable watts into the tank. The other 65 watts are there for algae.
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