GH climbing again...thoughts? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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GH climbing again...thoughts?

I've posted in other areas on here...thought I had everything figured out enough that patience would get me in the desired range but that's not happening. In short, I have a 120 that I set up in the fall. Found and cured my own driftwood, bought some BDBG for substrate, filled the tank, tested parameters, added rosies...all was good. Until the woman in me decided I didn't like the driftwood pieces enough and started all over again. I removed the rosies to my daughter's tank and found and cured more driftwood. While visiting a LFS, I spotted a piece of holey rock and fell in love with it. I questioned the salesman if it would raise my PH a ton and he assured me it wouldn't. Right. Anyway, that piece of rock went into my fishless (thank God) tank back in November and sat that way ever since. A couple weeks ago, I decided to finally plant and stock the tank enough to cycle it again and tested the parameters. The GH and PH were so high that I concluded it had to be the rock and removed it...did a 30% PWC and retested the next day. PH was down from 7.9 to about 7.5 and GH had come down to 9 from 12. Not perfect but I decided to remove about 2 gallons a day and replace with 2 G of RO water to help reduce the hardness and PH gradually over time. But I've noticed that while the PH seems to be remaining stable, the hardness is climbign again. It was 10, then went to 11 and this morning, it was up to 12. I have tetras in my tank and I don't want to lose them. I'm thinking that the driftwood must have absorbed some of the minerals the holey rock leached into the water...and now that the water is less concentrated, everything the driftwood absorbed is leaching back into the water. Does this seem plausible? And if so, how long before the driftwood will no longer be leaching calcium carbonate and whatever else it absorbed back into my tank?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 04:03 AM
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I've posted in other areas on here...thought I had everything figured out enough that patience would get me in the desired range but that's not happening. In short, I have a 120 that I set up in the fall. Found and cured my own driftwood, bought some BDBG for substrate, filled the tank, tested parameters, added rosies...all was good. Until the woman in me decided I didn't like the driftwood pieces enough and started all over again. I removed the rosies to my daughter's tank and found and cured more driftwood. While visiting a LFS, I spotted a piece of holey rock and fell in love with it. I questioned the salesman if it would raise my PH a ton and he assured me it wouldn't. Right. Anyway, that piece of rock went into my fishless (thank God) tank back in November and sat that way ever since. A couple weeks ago, I decided to finally plant and stock the tank enough to cycle it again and tested the parameters. The GH and PH were so high that I concluded it had to be the rock and removed it...did a 30% PWC and retested the next day. PH was down from 7.9 to about 7.5 and GH had come down to 9 from 12. Not perfect but I decided to remove about 2 gallons a day and replace with 2 G of RO water to help reduce the hardness and PH gradually over time. But I've noticed that while the PH seems to be remaining stable, the hardness is climbign again. It was 10, then went to 11 and this morning, it was up to 12. I have tetras in my tank and I don't want to lose them. I'm thinking that the driftwood must have absorbed some of the minerals the holey rock leached into the water...and now that the water is less concentrated, everything the driftwood absorbed is leaching back into the water. Does this seem plausible? And if so, how long before the driftwood will no longer be leaching calcium carbonate and whatever else it absorbed back into my tank?
So what substrate is in the "fishless tank"? And why not pull the driftwood and do a massive water change and test again throughout the week?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 04:25 AM Thread Starter
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So what substrate is in the "fishless tank"? And why not pull the driftwood and do a massive water change and test again throughout the week?
The 'fishless' tank now has fish... an acara, 2 gourami, 2 syno cats and a handfulof emperor tetras. Cycling with fish....and no other tank large enough to move them to that's set up. The substrate is the Black Diamond blasting grit. Water parameters were less alkaline and softer before adding that stupid holey rock so I'm fairly certain the substrate isn't contribuing to the hike. I tested our tap water after sitting for 6 hours and it's closer to neutral with a hardness of 3. I tested our RO water and the PH is 6 with no GH at all. With the fish already inhabiting the once fishless tank, I fear a PWC would swing the hardness so drastically that it would kill them...found an article that basically said the PH shock (for the most part) is a myth and that it's usually a large swing in hardness that's often responsible for the loss of fish. Which is why I opted for 2 gallon changes a day. Over the course of a month, that would be a 60 gallon change and less of a shock to the fish. Or is that logic stupid? Since the hardness was 12 with the rock in, I'm thinking it probably won't climb higher than 12 but that is still too high for a tank with tetras. I suppose I could move them to my daughter's 10G for now but then her tank would be overstocked and I don't want her to lose any of her fish. I have a 30G and a 55G that I'm planning on setting up soon but no money in the budget to start those just yet....AndI really wanted to get this one established first. Never had issues with our 10 G or our koi pond. That rock really messed things up
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 05:02 AM
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120 gallon tank???


Should be fine doing 10 gallon water changes. Just don't dump/pour the water in quickly. Of course, doing 2 gallons a day is less stressful.


What about setting up one of the other tanks and moving the filter from the 120 to the other tank? (maybe the 55?) Use water and filter from the 120, so there's no shock and it should be "insta cycled". Of course, keep an eye on parameters, too!

That way, you can do a large water change on the 120, then keep an eye on the water parameters before moving your fish back in. Any chance you added anything else to the tank that might be raising the parameters?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 05:03 AM
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Well if it were my tank I'd pull the wood and do about a 20% water change daily until the numbers go down.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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120 gallon tank???


Should be fine doing 10 gallon water changes. Just don't dump/pour the water in quickly. Of course, doing 2 gallons a day is less stressful.


What about setting up one of the other tanks and moving the filter from the 120 to the other tank? (maybe the 55?) Use water and filter from the 120, so there's no shock and it should be "insta cycled". Of course, keep an eye on parameters, too!

That way, you can do a large water change on the 120, then keep an eye on the water parameters before moving your fish back in. Any chance you added anything else to the tank that might be raising the parameters?
Well, that would certainly light the proverbial fire of getting the other tanks going...though I fear the EHeim 2217 is too powerful for a 55G...let alone a 30. I do have hanging filters for the other 2 tanks; just no media yet. And no substrate. Was planning on making the 30 a small cichlid tank for my son and using PFS so if there is any hike in PH, it's not a big deal. In fact, that wil probably be the stupid rock's new home! But for now, I suppose it could suffice to hold the fish if I put some plastic plants or something in to give the gourami and acara room to hide from each other. THat's not a lot of space for those 3. Or I could start on the 55....have to look at the filter that came with it; not sure if it's salvageable. That's going to be a livebearing tank since my daughter loves her guppies and such. Again...was hoping for PFS but without the rock, should be able to maintain better parameters even if the silica raises the PH a little. Any experience with PFS? Maybe I'll just go substrateless in the 55 until I fix my 120...then add the substrate after the fish are back in my tank. This is no fun when you have 3 tanks on 3 different floors of an old Victorian. At least I'm getting my exercise hauling buckets! Ha!

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Well if it were my tank I'd pull the wood and do about a 20% water change daily until the numbers go down.
Clearly the obvious route but I'm a woman and I love that piece of wood. So I might have to listen to you and the above responder and start one of the other tanks and rehome my fish until I get mine in range. Figure if I empty it completely and fill with RO water (which would take forever...our RO filter only puts out about 2 gallons every so many hours.....), it'll draw out whatever the wood absorbed. I can keep testing until the PH and GH stabilize. What a PITA. I did a 4 G change yesterday and a 2 gallon this morning. Will probably do another 2 gallon tonight and retest tomorrow morning. If the GH has come down enough to make me comfortable, then I'll just maintain that regimen. But if it hasn't, looks like I'll be following all of your advice. Thanks for responding!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 05:17 PM
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On a slightly related note, a 2217 will not be too powerful for a 55, especially if it is planted well. On a 30 gallon, you could use the quick disconnects on the outflow to reduce flow by partially shutting it.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-29-2017, 05:42 PM
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Alternative, too, could any of the filter media from the 2217 fit into the filter for the 55? Even reducing flow should help.



My SO and I have a 20 gallon with an AC30, a 30 gallon with an AC50, and when my SO still had his 90+ gallon tank, he used two Fluval filters rated for 100g on it. (405 and 406) The smaller tanks have Black Diamond Media Blasting Sand in them, where-as the larger tank had Pool Filter Sand. No issues with any of it.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-30-2017, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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On a slightly related note, a 2217 will not be too powerful for a 55, especially if it is planted well. On a 30 gallon, you could use the quick disconnects on the outflow to reduce flow by partially shutting it.

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I hadn't thought of that...didn't realize there was a way to restrict flow. Well, I removed and replaced 4 gallons yesterday and today so I'll test the levels again tomorrow. If there's a slight shift downward, then I'll maintain that plan a little longer to see if it gets me the desired result. Afterall, it's easier. If not, I guess I'll start the 55 next as a not-so-local Home Depot has PFS in stock. It's $5 and change a bag...worth the bit of extra gas. My daughter's been wanting that tank set up anyway so it'll be nice to get it out of our dining room where it's just in the way.

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Alternative, too, could any of the filter media from the 2217 fit into the filter for the 55? Even reducing flow should help.



My SO and I have a 20 gallon with an AC30, a 30 gallon with an AC50, and when my SO still had his 90+ gallon tank, he used two Fluval filters rated for 100g on it. (405 and 406) The smaller tanks have Black Diamond Media Blasting Sand in them, where-as the larger tank had Pool Filter Sand. No issues with any of it.
Not sure about the media... I think I could probably cut it to fit...I have spare round ones that I can replace the altered ones with in the Eheim while it's getting the levels addressed. I'd be cycling all over again in the 120 but since the 120 isn't really cycled yet and in process, it's not like I've lost much. Leaning towards setting up the 55 in my eldest's room after all your responses. My eldest will eventually get out room and my younger daughter will get hers when we renovate the attic....so that'll give me a great excuse to get another 55 in the future Strategy haha My son will keep the smaller room so he'll get the 30 and a train track around the ceiling. That should make up for the smaller tank Guess I'll check the levels tomorrow and if they're still high, the 55 will finally get some attention. Thanks everyone!
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