Need help reconstituting RO (and introduction)
First of all, Hello!!! I just joined today, have been reading this forum for the last couple months. I am new to the hobby, just starting in Feb. After that i tore down my tank a restarted at the end of march with a planted set up. Just want to say thank you for all the help you guys and gals have provided me unknowingly already, and Thanks for any help im sure you will provide moving forward. I enjoy what you guys do around here, and i enjoy the detailed fact based evidence behind it.
So, this is one hell of a way to introduce myself to you guys, but i'm sure its pretty basic for a lot of you. Forgive me....here goes...
This is long. Ill apologize right off the bat. I'm going to be as in depth as possible, and I would be so grateful to anyone who can dig through this and help me come up with a stable plan. First ill give you the run down of my current setup, current parameters, available products, method for reconstituting RO, then ill get into what I'm trying to accomplish/maintain. Hopefully someone can lend me some serious help demystifying this process, as Seachem's instructions leave much to be desired for me.
20 gallon high
Aquaclear 70 (300gph) w/ prefilter-5 stage internal mechanical filtration (custom made) going from coarse sponge all the way to 50 micron felt, seachem matrix, and old cermaic rings to seed filter
Flourite substrate (Flourite Gravel with Flourite Sand on top)
Finnex planted+ 24/7 (24")
CO2 injection will be added after I move at the end of june. For now I am just using Excel.
Dwarf Hair Grass
Literally the Entire Seachem line of liquid ferts. (will be switching to NilocG when they are gone now that i'm getting a better understanding)
Test Kits and Parameters as of 5/27 (all API, not calibrated)
NH-0/.2 (hard to gauge, color seems to match pure RO so possibly test kit being off)
PO4-10++++(off the charts, almost black. My main concern for this post)
-Water change was done about 12 hours ago.
Usual RO Recipe (per 5 gallon)
1/4 tsp Neutral Regulator
1/2 tsp Alkaline Buffer
10ml (2 caps) Replenish
Prime/Stability for tank volume after completed change
Usual Recipe Results:
Last nights recipe i did the same thing, except i replaced the 10ml of Replenish with 2 tsp of Equilibrium. As you can see from my results today, my ph went from 7.5 to 8 which is a concern to me. Also today was the first day i used my phosphate test, and as i said it was off the charts.
I did a bit of reading, and i guess the alkaline buffer uses or contains phosphate to aid in buffering. I was also dosing phosphate ferts as well for my plants, which clearly i do not or should not have been doing.
My goal here is to find a recipe for water that goes from the usual RO (6-6.5 PH, 0 everything else) and leaves me at
I am a bit confused by the Acid/Alkaline buffer combination. On the bottles it says to mix the two together in varying ratios to attain certain ph levels. I would like to do that and possibly do away with using the neutral regulator. I feel that it is really not needed, and if i use it alone it does bring the ph to the 7.0 range, but it leaves KH in the 2 range, which is not nearly enough for me to sleep at night without worrying about a ph crash.
Aside from these goals, i am very concerned with my phosphate levels. I ideally would like to get it to the 5 range, then i can monitor my plant uptake over a week or so and adjust accordingly. But as it sits now, i would say something in the 30-50ppm range is probably where it is at. There really isnt a solid way to tell because the test only goes to 10ppm, but as i said the tube was almost black in color as opposed to blue.
Also, is phosphate toxic in any way? does it encourage algae growth of any kind? i know i have some very fine brown algae on my plants, so i wouldnt be surprised if the two are linked.
Thank you so, so much! Sincerely!