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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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PH question and Intro

Hi all, I used to have several low tech freshwater aquariums, with plants, a long time ago. I had 2 20H's, 1 30h, 1 5g, and 1 10g. After moving around a lot for many years, I gave up on til now. I bit the bullet and got a 55 two weeks ago.

I set up my all-glass, 55L about 9 days ago, and I planted moderately, about 15-18 plants 4 of which are large. I have moderate light 2.5 wpg, and 8 small fish that I added on days 2 and 4, and heater is set to 76. I have flourite/sand substrate using Buck's method, and a root/log and a few shale peices. I tested my water day two and all was fine. I had sand dust in the tank so I did 5% water changes on days 2-5 and water was perfectly clear. On day 6 water became white cloudy, temperature rose to 78, and PH and KH went off the charts (around 9ph), and there are no nitrite's and barely detectable nitratres. I did another 10% change two days ago, and it made no difference in clarity or PH/KH values. My household water was softened by a home softener when I filled the tank up, but it broke yesterday. My questions, are:

Is this a bacterial bloom, and should I totally ignore the values? or

Should I keep doing partial water changes with the unsoftened water til it clears?

I will post pics of the tank when my backdrop comes in.....glad I found this board.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 05:17 PM
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what is the KH level of your tap water (without using the water softner)? Assuming it is pretty high, you may be forced to either start mixing the water with RO water to bring down the KH, or start injecting co2. co2 will be the most cost efficient of these options, but RO units arent too expensive.

a bacteria bloom isnt going to screw around with the KH, and it shouldnt affect pH much (if any).

450g Planted Discus Tank - Work in Process!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 08:42 PM
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To start, you shouldn't use softened water at all. If you have a bypass valve count yourself lucky. Salt softened water doesn't benefit fish or plants or anything really. It really isn't "soft" either since the TDS is higher. Also the KH isn't affected by the water softener, only the GH.

It does sound like you have a typical bacterial bloom, but the your shale sent up a red flag. It could contain some carbonates which will raise your pH and KH. Maybe the white cloudiness could be a calcium carbonate precipitate.

Could you give us the pH and KH of your tap water after resting 12-24 hours?
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 10:56 PM
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I am also questioning the sand as well as the shale... check that too for the buffering in your water quality.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-07-2005, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Hey guys. Let me say that I since the water softener broke this week, I don't think it was working correctly last week when I filled up the tank. I tested my tap water yesterday and it's not much different than the tank. It has a slighty lower ph and kh of 8.0 and tested in the soft/ideal range.

I thought I had shale but I have slate, marble from Lowes, 5 pieces from stone section.

I noticed I have little/tiny white dots growing on my glass, and white fungus on parts of the log. Last night I changed 20% of the water and replaced it with a mix of tap 80% and distilled 20%. I noticed the water was immediately clearer but not perfectly clear, it could be oxygen, but It's like the tap water does have calcium or something. I know our fixtures in our house have lime and calcium deposits constantly. The fish immediately seemed happier...I'll restest water tonight.

Buck, what do you mean about the sand? This is the first time I've ever used sand in a tank.....I tested it like you said in a cup and it didn't change the ph before I started....

What if it is calcium? What can you do about getting water clear?

Oh and I am building a DIY Co2 this week, just for fun, and I have a PC light kit coming from AH to upgrade my two hood lights. I have twin 48" tubes with 80w bulbs and two 20" hoods singles . Guess I really am a geek...hee hee..

ETA: I changed my timer on my lights from 11 hours to 10, and my temperature is now at 76 and steady.
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