Water Parameter Question(s) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Water Parameter Question(s)

So coming from a cichlid and salt water world to planted I have a couple of questions about water chemistry, hoping folks can help with. I HATE chasing parameters but I also realize things need to be inbounds a bit. I've always used my own cichlid buffer (epsom salt & baking soda) and kept things pretty stable and been successful....

Because I have a whole house water softener that can't be bypassed I'm going to be using RO water (and sometimes distilled, because its easily available to me).

The tank, I'm in the process of setting up is going to be a low tech / low medium light tank and I plan to stock Cardinal Tetras, some Lampchop Rasboras (Kubotai rasboras) and some Panda Corys. Plants will dwarf sag, Pygmy Chain Sword, ava Fern and Anubias Nana, maybe some Vallisneria and Frogbit.

I mixed up some test water the other day, using 5 gallons of RO water (GH / KH 0, PH 7) and added in 5grams of seachem equilibrium then going back to a tried and true past recipe using baking soda, addd 2 grams of baking soda to raise the KH to hopefully around 5.

The mixed water (sat for 24 hours) ended up at 5 dGH and 5 dKH which I was pretty happy with, but as expected it also raised the PH a bit, to around 7.6. which obviously isn't ideal for the fish I am hoping to keep.

My question is, this, am I overthinking this? I've always tired to keep my KH up to prevent PH swings (and in some cases because the fish like harder water). I've talked to some folks who are just using RO water, Equilibrium and keeping perfectly happy planted tanks with fish (with KH of 0 and PH around 7).....

I'd rather not have to play with other additives to lower the PH and then deal with that whole mess when it crashes (because it will crash....) and I am not a huge fan of running peat moss directly in the tank, although I could use it between water changes in a bucket.

If I cut back on the baking soda to 1 gram or so, my KH will likely stay under 3 and the PH will probably be lower but I was shooting for 4+ KH to provide some PH buffering.

I figure, I'm probably not the only one using baking soda, so I'd be curious to hear feedback / advice.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 12:33 AM
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Why not just target 1-2 KH, if you occasionally monitor GH and KH you'll know what to do for the next batch of water.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 01:08 AM
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@sfb911, don't know your exact situation, but we ended up with a house with a whole house water softener. Turns out the water softener has a spigot plumbed in right before it. Our outside garden hose spigots are also bypassed and that's what I use.

pH of 7.6 is not that bad (that's what I have, used to be 8.4) and all the fish on your list will be fine. In a planted tank, the water tends to get more acidic over time anyways. I bet you will end up at around 7.2, especially if you have some driftwood.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OVT View Post
@sfb911, don't know your exact situation, but we ended up with a house with a whole house water softener. Turns out the water softener has a spigot plumbed in right before it. Our outside garden hose spigots are also bypassed and that's what I use.

pH of 7.6 is not that bad (that's what I have, used to be 8.4) and all the fish on your list will be fine. In a planted tank, the water tends to get more acidic over time anyways. I bet you will end up at around 7.2, especially if you have some driftwood.
Yeah ours doesn't have a bypass, (I know as I helped install it). Have to turn it off and bypass the entire system to water the lawn, which is a pain the butt but I don't have time to fix it right now. Some day

Reassuring to here the 7.6 isn't too bad. I may just let it be then since I would prefer the slightly higher KH as a general point just to help with overall stability.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 01:28 AM
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Yeah, hindsight is always 20/20.
I would stick with your current plan and stop agonizing over it.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-12-2018, 02:50 PM
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As I've grown older, I've also grown slower to rush into fighting a fight that I may not need to fight. There are tons of things written and believed that I no longer believe. If I want to try something in the tank, I first try it and then if there is a real problem, I may work on that problem, but, in many cases the fish and plants let me get by without a fight.
I have extremely hard alkaline (PH 7.8 GH 300 +) water here and that is not supposed to work but I find it has a bit of benefit at times. Like when I trade into a tank that comes with a bunch of fish like guppies, Endlers and platies that I keep but don't really want?
The water seems to slow down their breeding so that they only produce a dozen of so a month but that is a good thing for me!
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