What are good water parameters?
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:26 AM   #1
Pdiet4
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What are good water parameters?


Hello all. Im setting up my first planted tank.I know nothing about what my tap water parameters are or should be.I plan on using my API master test kit to do some test on my tap water but what should I actually be testing for?
Also are there any general parameters to follow?

I am setting up a 15g topsoil capped with eco complete tank.With rows of mint Charlie in the background, a micro sword carpet (hopefully), and one main mid ground plant like a sword or maybe tiger lotus. Oh and a piece of drift wood.

Thanks every one!
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Old 12-15-2013, 01:30 AM   #2
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There are no specific "ideal parameters" that are needed. You can use plants and fish that like just about any combination of parameters you might have with water that is drinkable. Low KH is good for most plants, but higher KH is fine for most plants, too. GH should be high enough to ensure that you have adequate calcium and magnesium in the water for the plants, but you can routinely dose GH builder if you have any doubts about having enough. The pH will be whatever matches the combination of other parameters, and any pH between about 5.5 and 8 will work for most plants and fish. You don't want any measurable ammonia, so zero is the best value to have. Nitrites should also be zero to avoid harming the fish.

I think it is a good idea to test your tap water after it has been in the tank for a day or two, just to know roughly what kind of water you have. Test the GH, KH, pH, (and ammonia and nitrites if you are trying to cycle the tank before using it). Anything more is mostly to entertain yourself.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:11 PM   #3
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Awsome.Thanks for all the great info!
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
There are no specific "ideal parameters" that are needed. You can use plants and fish that like just about any combination of parameters you might have with water that is drinkable. Low KH is good for most plants, but higher KH is fine for most plants, too. GH should be high enough to ensure that you have adequate calcium and magnesium in the water for the plants, but you can routinely dose GH builder if you have any doubts about having enough. The pH will be whatever matches the combination of other parameters, and any pH between about 5.5 and 8 will work for most plants and fish. You don't want any measurable ammonia, so zero is the best value to have. Nitrites should also be zero to avoid harming the fish.

I think it is a good idea to test your tap water after it has been in the tank for a day or two, just to know roughly what kind of water you have. Test the GH, KH, pH, (and ammonia and nitrites if you are trying to cycle the tank before using it). Anything more is mostly to entertain yourself.
I have a water softner between the well and my water supplies. The parameters from the company that tested for my inspection resulted in N/D for GH and KH. I will start dosing for the plants, but do fish need certain parameters of GH or KH?

Thanks.
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:43 AM   #5
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Yes.

Fish and plants use the calcium and magnesium that we test as GH.
Soft water fish are OK with a low GH, about 3 German degrees of hardness.
Hard water fish need a much higher GH, over 9 degrees for many.
I use Seachem Equilibrium for GH.

KH is a test of carbonates. Carbonates are used by the nitrifying bacteria, so while you are cycling the tank the KH ought to test at the very least 3 degrees, and much higher is just fine.
Carbonates act to stabilize the pH. If the KH is high, then the pH will be very stable, and probably fairly high. If the KH is low then the pH will change more easily.
I use baking soda for KH. You could also use potassium bicarbonate.

If you can get some of the water before it gets to the softener you might test it to see if it could be used. It might turn out that a blend of softened and hard water gives you the right mineral balance. If you could test the water before the softener and post GH and KH that might help.

I generally set up a tank this way:
Set the GH to suit the fish.
Make the KH match the GH within a degree or so.
If the fish come from a black water river, then filter the water through peat moss to add organic acids.
Let the pH do whatever it wants. But setting the KH in the right ballpark generally gets the pH in the right range for the fish.
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Old 01-13-2014, 05:22 AM   #6
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Thanks for the info!
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