Alkaline Water - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 01-31-2017, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Alkaline Water

My tank is 13 months established dirted and capped with BDBS, ran CO2 and EI for a while, had an algae issue and kept it status quo (3-4 months no CO2 no ferts) until last night. I pulled all the algae, 50% w/c, turned the CO2 back on, changed my bulbs (badly overdue) and added the macros for EI. I run off city water, never a problem in my area, tap water showing its usual 7.6+ on API pH.

I have a cheap (however seems to be accurate) pH meter which reads a solid 7.0 in distilled water and ran as high at 8.4 in my tank. I double checked with API test kit and got the 7.6+ colour.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is causing this? My CO2 has been running all day (5-6 hours now) at a very steady high bubble/sec count into the reactor just as it used to. I even have a very slight pearling on the back of my java fern leaves. I cannot explain this alkaline pH and am beginning to think I am either colour blind and my meter is wrong or there is something large I am missing here.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-01-2017, 02:34 PM
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Some random thoughts that you might review?
I find the hobby level test kits are not too accurate but you have used a couple so that should be working. But I find less than stellar results with the API liquid tests. My nitrate tests are flat wrong once I go beyond 20PPM. So don't necessarily believe all that the tests show.
Is there value in checking different parts of the tank for different levels. I thought that I was okay for circulation but once I added a powerhead or two, I got a totally different perspective on how the water needed to flow. Possible part of the tank gets far more CO2 than other parts where you are testing?
I removed the spraybar and added a pipe to run the filter input down to nearer the bottom and it made an amazing difference in how much CO2 actually stays in the water. With powerheads and no spraybar, I reduced CO2 input like 50% and get much better plant action.
Changes can have far reaching and totally unexpected results when we are not fully aware.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 02-02-2017, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response, I checked in the centre of the tank, middle of the water column with the API and centre of the tank however only a few inches down for the electronic reading (not waterproof for deeper testing). I ran the whole gamut of tests today and was heading back here to bump this due to some changes I have had I have questions about. I increased the CO2 after this original post.

Speaking to your flow suggestion, that may very well be a problem. I am running at SunSun 304B with a Hydor Koralia 750-850GPH as well as a small 20G HOB on the side as backup. I always wonder if there is enough flow. I sometimes wonder if the SunSun is not giving me enough GPH.

I found one dead and one lethargic and eventually dead panda cories at the bottom of the tank this afternoon. The 6 that are in there have gone through everything I have thrown at them in the year including a near fatal CO2 gassing one day. I have absolutely no idea what happened to them. One was missing chunks off of his dorsal fin however unremarkable otherwise. All of the other fish seemed perfectly fine as well.

Results from tests today:
pH 7.8 both chemical and electronic matched, done after about 5 hours of CO2 running today.
KH - 8
(total CO2 as per the chart 3.8ppm, low low low)
Ammonia - 0
Nitrie - 0
Nitrate - 40ppm
KH - 8
PO4 - ~5-10

I have dosed three days in a row now;
KNO3 - 3.47G
KH2PO4 - 529mg
(no trace ferts, going tomorrow to grab some)

The plants are pearling on their undersides beautifully, nice big bubbles by the end of the day which they werent doing last week. Clearly the CO2 is getting into the water and to some of the plants. I am slowly increasing CO2 flow to not distress the fish day by day, the bubble counter is showing almost a steady stream of air at this point there are way more bubbles than anyone could possibly count.
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