pH and hardness for my new planted 55 gal - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-12-2012, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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pH and hardness for my new planted 55 gal

OK folks, almost time to plant my tank. Want to ask about water parameters, since I'm getting conflicting info in my research.

55 gallon (standard dimensions), low light, low tech.

Planting java fern, lutea and lucens crypt, red and green wendtii, marble green sword, micro sword, and nana.

Plan on having corys, a betta, harlequin rasboras, and neon tetras and maybe some upside down catfish.

Help me find a pH that's good for everyone. Was thinking 6-6.5 according to what I've read?

Also, is hard water ok, or should I get something to soften it? I did a test and it said 150, hard.

Thanks in advance--it's hard for a novice to research all of these creatures individually and try to assimilate everything; you guys have been great!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 01:05 PM
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Now that you have spent hours reading and trying to sort through , it feels mean but my best advise on PH is ---FORGET IT. With hard water and lots of buffer, you will find it difficult to change the PH.

It seems to be the first thing mentioned but then many agree that it is not too important what number it falls on as long as it is steady and doesn't bounce up and down. Fish adapt but not if it keeps changing.

People can fight for years and kill all kinds of fish while searching for the "magic " answer. I recommend trying the fish and then only try to change the PH if there is an obvious reason.

Remember that the primary reason books are written is to sell books!
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 01:40 PM
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Water Chemistry

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinthesis View Post
OK folks, almost time to plant my tank. Want to ask about water parameters, since I'm getting conflicting info in my research.

55 gallon (standard dimensions), low light, low tech.

Planting java fern, lutea and lucens crypt, red and green wendtii, marble green sword, micro sword, and nana.

Plan on having corys, a betta, harlequin rasboras, and neon tetras and maybe some upside down catfish.

Help me find a pH that's good for everyone. Was thinking 6-6.5 according to what I've read?

Also, is hard water ok, or should I get something to soften it? I did a test and it said 150, hard.

Thanks in advance--it's hard for a novice to research all of these creatures individually and try to assimilate everything; you guys have been great!
Hello sin...

As long as you're not keeping rare fish, then you don't need to worry about pH, hardness, etc. The vast majority of fish will adapt to the vast majority of public water supplies. A pH between 6 and 8 is acceptable as long as you avoid drastic changes. All you need to do, is treat the water for ammonia, chlorine and chloramine.

Fish prefer a higher pH and plants a lower pH, but it's safer for the fish and easier for you to avoid trying to set and maintain specific water properties.

Just a thought.

B

"Fear not my child, just change the tank water."
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I was thinking--oh I'll just buy a bottle and change the pH to 7. Which did nothing. Then after more reading I realized exactly what you guys are saying, that my water's too hard for that stuff, that the fish will deal with it and it's more important to keep it steady than keep it low. One test strip says 7.8 and my suction cup pH reader says 8+

I guess now as long as my plants will deal with it, I can breathe a sigh of relief I've been worried about killing 100$ worth of plants. Thanks!
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 04:54 AM
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I grow lots of plants in my 8.0 pH water. You'll be fine with what you have. There will only be a few that might not work in your water but not many. Ditto with fish.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 04:59 AM
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if you do a betta, do a few females or none at all.
they're not the best community fish- granted, there are a number of success stories, but also a bunch of DISMAL FAILURE stories. sometimes they're the aggressive ones, sometimes they're stressed out by a community environment...it's not really worth it.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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It's just so funny to me that something as harped on in literature and at pet stores as pH should be the least of your worries. Goes to show you gotta exhaustively cross reference everything and ask those with EXPERIENCE not books. It's really all maddening at times and I still just have a box of water.

Really? That's a shame to hear about bettas, I've had nothing but success with bettas in community tanks (long ago, when I did everything wrong, that's why I'm still a complete "novice" to doing it right!) but I'll look into it a little more before I stock. Was definitely going to stay away from nippy fish or long finned fish and kind of cater to him when picking tankmates. Good point though--he might be the jerk in the tank! The females are lovely too...I kind of figured that if he didn't do well, I could just put him in his own betta tank since I have one in my closet.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-15-2012, 02:00 AM
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It used to be that the only thing aquarists could test was pH. So all the literature stressed how important it was.
Then they found out about what the minerals levels in the water meant to the fish. This was long enough ago, but old habits die hard.

Here is how I would deal with this:

1) Set the GH in the right range for the fish you like. The ones you list are originally from soft water, but are fine at GH up to about 9 German degrees of hardness (17.0 ppm = 1 degree)
2) Make the KH match the GH or a little higher or lower.
3) let the pH do whatever it wants. If you still want to monkey around with it run the water though some peat moss.

Plants thrive at a wide range of mineral levels, though, as noted above there are a few specialist plants that really do seem to need the softer, acidic water. That is not very many, though.
Hatchery raised fish will also handle water a lot harder than their ancestors, though they may not breed in such hard water.
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