Yet another cycling thread - Page 5 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #61 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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Your gH is fine just add some Baking Soda(use Zorfox Calculator for how much) at each water change to get to 1 dkH easiest and most consistent way of raising kH it will raise pH a little but its normal for aquasoil to lower the tank pH and buffer the water.
Definitely no problem with GH, I dose with a mineralizer. I'm not sure about using baking soda though, or crushed coral, to raise pH. It sounds like something that would take some tinkering in measuring out, and I'm not sure how often it would have to be done if I used baking soda. I wouldn't mind finding out if there are some types of rocks who will raise pH. I wouldn't mind sanding some down and adding some until pH was at the desirable level.

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post #62 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 01:32 AM
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Definitely no problem with GH, I dose with a mineralizer. I'm not sure about using baking soda though, or crushed coral, to raise pH. It sounds like something that would take some tinkering in measuring out, and I'm not sure how often it would have to be done if I used baking soda. I wouldn't mind finding out if there are some types of rocks who will raise pH. I wouldn't mind sanding some down and adding some until pH was at the desirable level.


If you wish to go that route and fight the buffering of the soil, Seiryu stone would be a good choice. Itís attractive and it will raise GH and KH.


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post #63 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 02:31 AM Thread Starter
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@varanidguy It'll raise the pH too, then, right? I'm okay with anything that will raise GH as long as it will raise pH because I was dosing for GH anyway.

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post #64 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 03:03 AM
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Definitely no problem with GH, I dose with a mineralizer. I'm not sure about using baking soda though, or crushed coral, to raise pH. It sounds like something that would take some tinkering in measuring out, and I'm not sure how often it would have to be done if I used baking soda. I wouldn't mind finding out if there are some types of rocks who will raise pH. I wouldn't mind sanding some down and adding some until pH was at the desirable level.
Sodium Bicarbonate is not 'something you tinker with' its controlled, you measure it out in grams and you keep kH consistent on every water change. It is the simplest 'mineralizer' as its one salt Sodium Bicarbonate. If you are adding CO2 you want kH to be consistent. Your plants will thank you for it and this is one way to do it, Potassium Bicarbonate is another.

You don't need to tinker with pH leave it where it is, some people with ADA aquasoil have reported pH down to 4.9 it won't hurt your plants and for livestock it depends (although shrimp and snails will not tolerate it). But if your kH is really 0 than that is a difficult balance for plants and for livestock.

Adding anything that will dissolve in water in an uncontrolled manner(coral rock etc. etc.) is adding variables and lack of balance which you don't need to do, and it may give you problems down the road when CO2 is dissolving the rock and you get gH or kH that is inconsistent and raises over time.

If you decide not to use CO2 than I would agree you have other options which can work.
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post #65 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 03:51 AM Thread Starter
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@cl3537 My tanks are low tech, I don't infuse CO2. I do keep snails and shrimp, and I would be concerned for the bettas that experience the pH fluctuating. My tap water is also 0 dkH.

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post #66 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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@varanidguy I'd love to try seiryu stones. Can the sharper edges be sanded off, either with sandpaper or a diamond bit?

If I could I'd go with limestone river stones like this, but I couldn't find any on Amazon:

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post #67 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 01:57 PM
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@varanidguy I'd love to try seiryu stones. Can the sharper edges be sanded off, either with sandpaper or a diamond bit?

If I could I'd go with limestone river stones like this, but I couldn't find any on Amazon:
Any landscape supply store will have them... even home depot
(River rock... they will have two or three sizes... just rinse them well before adding. But they are not all limesztone- even in that image, they are all sorts of compositions)

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@livebearerlove I appreciate the all the help! In my 5 gallon tank the pH fluctuates between 6.8 to 7.2, with a low of 6.2 and a high of 7.8. A short while ago I added some shale rocks to that tank, so I haven't seen any real lows or highs.

It looks like all of my tanks fluctuate between this range, likely due to the pH in my tap water, and the presence of aquasoil.

Baking soda and crushed coral are temporary, since both break down. Is there a more permanent solution I can add to these nano tanks, such as some small rocks?
Coral takes a long time to break down- in my case, about 5 months in a small bag in the filter. I dont do large water changes- so I have never had issues with fluctuation.

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post #68 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 06:11 PM
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I find this all to be kind of ironic. You have perfect water, from the tap, to utilize aquasoil to its full extent seeing as how it's a buffering substrate, yet you're fighting it. Why fight it? Are you going to stock animals that cannot handle low pH?

KH is what fish depend on for osmotic regulation, even if the pH from your tap is 7.4 and your tank is 6.4, with both sources being 0 dKH, you won't have any issues. The water you add will be buffered down and stabilized rather quickly. Plus the acidic environment will greatly benefit most plants that we grow in our aquariums (not to say alkaline conditions can't grow amazing plants of the same species).

If it's for a betta, they can do very well in a lower pH.

With a buffering substrate such as aquasoil, you are going to be fighting it to create a balance and that will be more deadly to your fish than going with what it naturally wants to do, unless you can completely exhaust its buffering properties before adding livestock. The constant adding of KH, then subsequent eating of the KH by the substrate, then adding KH, etc etc is going to be more detrimental than just going with the flow.

Just my $0.02
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post #69 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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@varanidguy I'm sorry, I was under the impression that low pH was bad for bettas, snails, and shrimp. If it's not, then I'll leave things as they are.

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post #70 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 09:23 PM
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Yet another cycling thread

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@varanidguy I'm sorry, I was under the impression that low pH was bad for bettas, snails, and shrimp. If it's not, then I'll leave things as they are.


Bettas nah. They do great in black water tanks.

Snails should be okay, depending on the species, if you supplement their diet with calcium or have adequate GH in your water.

Shrimp is species dependent. Neocaridina can be acclimated to caridina conditions, but caridina like little to no KH and a low pH. Amano shrimp can be acclimated to just about anything.

There are some hobbyists that would kill (not literally of course) to have your tap water. Hell, Iíd love your tap water.


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post #71 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 09:49 PM Thread Starter
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I find this all to be kind of ironic. You have perfect water, from the tap, to utilize aquasoil to its full extent seeing as how it's a buffering substrate, yet you're fighting it. Why fight it? Are you going to stock animals that cannot handle low pH?

KH is what fish depend on for osmotic regulation, even if the pH from your tap is 7.4 and your tank is 6.4, with both sources being 0 dKH, you won't have any issues. The water you add will be buffered down and stabilized rather quickly. Plus the acidic environment will greatly benefit most plants that we grow in our aquariums (not to say alkaline conditions can't grow amazing plants of the same species).

If it's for a betta, they can do very well in a lower pH.

With a buffering substrate such as aquasoil, you are going to be fighting it to create a balance and that will be more deadly to your fish than going with what it naturally wants to do, unless you can completely exhaust its buffering properties before adding livestock. The constant adding of KH, then subsequent eating of the KH by the substrate, then adding KH, etc etc is going to be more detrimental than just going with the flow.

Just my $0.02
The new betta has developed cloudy eye.

"Popeye is treatable and like most bacterial infections, the cause is normally dirty water or a low pH."
-[Source]

I appreciate everyone's help but it is very confusing to be receiving conflicting information from different sources. Raise the pH, don't raise the pH. I honestly don't know what to do at this point, but something has to be done fast so that my betta doesn't lose her eye.

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post #72 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:05 PM
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The new betta has developed popeye.

"Popeye is treatable and like most bacterial infections, the cause is normally dirty water or a low pH."
-[Source]

I appreciate everyone's help but it is very confusing to be receiving conflicting information from different sources. Raise the pH, don't raise the pH. I honestly don't know what to do at this point, but something has to be done fast so that my betta doesn't lose her eye.
That really depends on what your substrate is naturally wanting to buffer to. Many sources consider "neutral" to be 6.5-7.5, but we all know that 6.5 is slightly acidic and 7.5 is slightly alkaline. I don't consider water to be "low pH" until it's in the low 6's. To be frank, most of us do not keep our tanks in really acidic conditions. The popeye is likely bacterial, and should be treated as such. Clean water, proper medication, and it should be okay.

Think of it this way, bettas naturally occur in shallow, slow moving, sometimes even stagnant water. These areas likely have a build up of organic material and plant matter...tannins. This would soften the water at least by a little.

Do you know what your soil buffers your water to naturally without adding KH? If it's low 6's high 5's, then yeah that might be pushing it. But if it's 6.4, even 6.2, a betta can easily be acclimated to that.
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post #73 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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@varanidguy Thank you for clarifying. The lowest I ever see it is 6.2. It looks more like she has cloudy eye, not yet in the stages of popeye. I'm reading up on proper medication now (so far all I found is someone recommending aquarium salt).

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post #74 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:10 PM
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@varanidguy Thank you for clarifying. The lowest I ever see it is 6.2. It looks more like she has cloudy eye, not yet in the stages of popeye. I'm reading up on proper medication now (so far all I found is someone recommending aquarium salt).
The #1 thing I've found that's great for clearing up fishy sickness, while the illness is just starting, is clean, fresh, warm water. Cloudy eyes could be bacterial or fungal. Do you have a QT regimen?
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post #75 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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The #1 thing I've found that's great for clearing up fishy sickness, while the illness is just starting, is clean, fresh, warm water. Cloudy eyes could be bacterial or fungal. Do you have a QT regimen?
I don't have any quarantine tanks, but she is the only one in her tank. I know the tank she is in is clean, and that it was likely the tank she came out of that had issues. Regardless, I gave both tanks a very large water change. Her heat was running too hot at 81 F and I tried to cool it down a little, but now I am going to let it warm back up since I read a little extra heat will help. I've tried researching what medications to apply but all I have found so far is to use aquarium salt, 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons (so 1 tsp for a 3.7 gallon). I want to be sure that's correct however, so that I don't make things worse.

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