Water chemistry help; Need ideas - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-15-2018, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Water chemistry help; Need ideas

Hi,

I have some interesting water chemistry and would like some advice on what will be the best route for my first planted tank and my betta. Please let me know if any of my following logic is flawed, as I am new to this and it is all based on my understanding after the past several very late nights researching it

The tank has been up for a few weeks and is cycled.

Current water parameters:
- Ammonia - 0 ppm
- Nitrites - 0 ppm
- Nitrates - 5 ppm
- GH - 1 dKH, 17.9 ppm
- KH - 13 dKH, 215+ ppm (off the test kit chart)
- PH - 8.2

- Fluval Spec 5 gallon with 7500K stock light and low tech setup with anubias, anacharis, java fern, and Amazon sword
- Bio filtration (removed the carbon that comes with the tank setup)
- National Geo substrate from Petsmart (that I hope is not raising my PH)
- Heated to 78 degrees
- one big piece of driftwood
- an almond leaf

- I've been changing the water ~20% every few days to lower the tannins in how they color the tank, and this has kept the water parameters stable at the rates above except for the PH.

- New water is treated with appropriate dosage of Prime

- Testing using non expired kits by API

I currently have water in my tank that is from my tap, which is softened with sodium chloride. After A LOT of research, I realize and understand why this is not optimal. If you have had success with softened water, that's great, but it is not the route I would like to take.

Normal water softened tap parameters are:
GH - 1 dKH, 17.9 ppm
KH - 17 dKH, again way off chart
PH - 6.6 before aerating
(which is why I think my tank PH is higher right now? I am currently aging a bit of the substrate and a ceramic ornament, separately, in RO water, for 24 hrs to test and see if there is a PH rise.)

Now, my options for getting better water in my tank are:

Use all RO water, which the parameters are:

GH - 1 dKH
KH - 1 dKH
PH - 6.0 (theoretically this should be 7.0 right? I get this RO water out of a unit directly from my water treatment folks in our town, 25 cents per gallon.)

Use well water, which the parameters are:
GH - 22 dKH, ~550 ppm calculated from the 32 gpg on water report
KH - 19 dKH
PH - 7.4-7.6
I live in the desert where the water is extremely hard with calcium and limestone, and probably other minerals but I am not sure what those are.

My thought is to blend 2/3 RO and 1/3 well water to keep some of the natural minerals in, bring in a bit of the KH, and avoid adding chemicals in the case of full RO route.

What would you suggest the best course of action to be?

How would it be best to introduce the new water/parameters to my tank while keeping my fish safe? His tank PH is high right now.

Thank you for reading. I know it's long. I greatly appreciate any help you offer.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 11:26 PM
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I am very interested in responses to your question, as I live in San Diego and our water is much like yours.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 12:08 AM
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75% RO & 25% well, unless you want remineralize the straight RO.
This would grow a great majority of plants but I don't know about the Phish!


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
I currently have water in my tank that is from my tap, which is softened with sodium chloride. After A LOT of research, I realize and understand why this is not optimal.
Your water softener uses sodium chloride but you likely have very little sodium chloride in your tank. When your water softener removes calcium and magnesium from the water it releases sodium bicarbonate into the water which is why your KH is so high.

Quote:
Use all RO water, which the parameters are:
GH - 1 dKH
KH - 1 dKH
PH - 6.0 (theoretically this should be 7.0 right? I get this RO water out of a unit directly from my water treatment folks in our town, 25 cents per gallon.)
Gases such as CO2 can pass through a RO filter. The CO2 in the water will push the PH down to about 6 (depending on how much CO2 is in the water. If you poor the RO water into a glass an initial reading of 6 is common. But after a while the excess CO2 will outgas and the PH should stabilize at about 7.

Quote:
Current water parameters:
- Ammonia - 0 ppm
- Nitrites - 0 ppm
- Nitrates - 5 ppm
- GH - 1 dGH, 17.9 ppm
- KH - 13 dKH, 215+ ppm (off the test kit chart)
- PH - 8.2

- Fluval Spec 5 gallon with 7500K stock light and low tech setup with anubias, anacharis, java fern, and Amazon sword
- Bio filtration (removed the carbon that comes with the tank setup)
- National Geo substrate from Petsmart (that I hope is not raising my PH)
- Heated to 78 degrees
- one big piece of driftwood
- an almond leaf

- I've been changing the water ~20% every few days to lower the tannins in how they color the tank, and this has kept the water parameters stable at the rates above except for the PH.
Note correction in your statement is in BOLD.

I would suggest you recheck the PH but do it once in the morning before the lights turn on. Than just before the lights turn off check it again. If the PH is low in the morning and then high just before the lights turn off your plants are probably causing the PH shift.

Plants need CO2 to grow. and if there is sufficient carbonate in the water they may consume some of that and in the process increase the PH. The easy solution to this problem is to reduce the intensity of the light until the PH stays stable all day.

If your PH is the same in the morning as it is at lights turn off then it is CO2 outgassing. The 6.6 PH is caused by CO2 in the water but when the CO2 levels drops the real PH appears which in your case is 8.2. If this is the case your best solution is to reduce KH levels.


I believe your best corse of action is a blend of well water with RO water. I would suggest aiming for a GH of 4 and a PH of 7 after blending. One possible issue that could show up is magnesium deficiency in your plants. Hard water from a well in limestone is rich in calcium but poor in magnesium. This can result in plants rapidly using up all the magnesium in your water. If that happens you could add magnesium sulfate to correct the problem. But if you suspect that is happening start a new thread and post a pictures of your plants to get a second opinion.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the info, it's very helpful.

I have been putting 3/4 RO and 1/4 tap water into the aquarium over the last few days. I'm only doing a daily 5% water change with this new mixture... I couldn't find any recommendation as to what is a safe percentage, and how often, to mix in (everything just says "slowly")... I didn't want ph shock. So far so good, my fish is doing all of his usual betta things

This mixture gives me good numbers, I feel:
PH - 7.5
KH - 4-5
GH - 5-6
These are for the water before it goes into the tank. The tank parameters have barely budged due to the small 5% daily water change. I might bump the water change up to 10%.

The outgassing is definitely the cause of the PH rise, I saw that in measuring the aged waters.

I am testing the tank PH this am and will again this evening after the light cycle for the plants to see if there is a change there - thank you for that tip and info!

I did get a water report from our water association and now I am concerned about the amount of copper as I want to put shrimp and/or snails in my planted tanks.

Copper: 8 ppb, or, .008 ppm

Is this tolerable for invertebrates? I will be cutting that amount with RO so only 1/4 of .008ppm will go into the tank.

Or I could just go all RO and remineralize... so I'll need to learn which product(s) are best for that.

I've attached a photo of the mineral parameters in the water report, in case you see anything that is alarming? Our water is the left column of the two sources.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-21-2018, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
I did get a water report from our water association and now I am concerned about the amount of copper as I want to put shrimp and/or snails in my planted tanks.

Copper: 8 ppb, or, .008 ppm
Sorry couldn't reply earlier due to traveling. That level is safe for shrimp. I wouldn't worry about anything below 35ppb. However note the level listed is probably for the water source. Copper levels in your home may be higher than that if you have copper plumbing. My tank has been operating for years on RO but I recently got a copper test kit due to some experiments with making my own micro fertilizer. My tap were has 58ppb of copper in it. My RO has zero copper.

Other than the water harness levels I don't see anything else alarming in your water report
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