With no inhabitants, how did you achieve a nitrate level of 30 ppm? Are you dosing fertilizers? Are you using peat? Like Diana, I do not understand why your tank has a low pH, especially if you are using tap as your water source. Are you adding CO2?
It is hard to make a diagnosis with the information you provided.
Hi Mike, thanks for the reply as well!
I was trying to be concise and only give information needed.
I go into more detail with my reply to Diana if that helps.
I believe Nitrates are high due to dead plant matter. I dose ferts:
1/16 t. KNO3 (1-2x/week)
1/64 t. KH2PO4 (1-2x/week)
1/8 t . Equilibrium (Except the past 2 weeks I bumped it up to 1 teaspoon)
No CO2 (since it melts Vallisneria), No Peat, but I have cured driftwood. (I boiled it in water until the tannins came out and water is clear.)
This is my 1st planted tank (10 gal). Check out my picture!
For more info check out my reply to Diana. Let me know if you need more details!
Originally Posted by Straight shooter
This is simply the buffering capacity of the soil reducing KH, GH and pH. It is meant to do this.
No need to adjust pH before adding to the tank. The tapwater pH will lower in the presence of the soil. This does not affect inhabitants in any way.
Nitrates may be leaching from the soil. Increase water changes until the soil stops leaching.
Thank you for the explanation. I don't understand how it could not affect inhabitants though. When the aquarium pH can fluctuate from 6.4 to 7.8, then back to 6.4 over a few days. I was certain inhabitants would be dead in 24 hours since they are so sensitive to pH fluctuations.
Also, 6.4 pH is too low for invertebrates (ghost shrimp, mystery snail). Would adding crushed coral be a good solution to increase it?
I have cured driftwood (I boiled the tannins out of it until the water is clear), but perhaps it could still lower the pH.
I posted a pic of my tank if that helps. It's a 10 gal upgrade for my betta and friends.