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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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Question Co2 confused

I new to doing planted tanks. I went out and bought some plants to put into the new tank that I'm starting. I firgued that it would be a good idea to have them in there while the tank is cycling so when I add the fish all the kinks are worked out and I can keep both the fish and the plants alive. When I first added the plants they started dying in the tank. So I did some research. After some thought i decide to look into Co2. I found both some charts and a formula used to find out how much Co2 is in the tank. And I found out I had almost none. So I added a DIY Co2 system. And now I'm very confused about the water conditions of my tank. The plants are thriving but I think fish will die.
So here what my water specs were prior to adding C02.
Ph 8.4
KH 90ppm
GH 300ppm
According to my Co2 formula and charts that meant I had a 0.6 ppm of CO2, If I did the calulations right any way. After the Co2 is added to it, it changes to
PH 6.0-6.2
KH 0
GH 200ppm
I was expecting the Ph to drop but not the Kh so that surprized me, but then I found that was normal. But still according to the Co2 charts the water has almost Co2. (1.6 ppm, If my calulations are correct.) But with such a big change in the PH and KH it seems like there should be a lot of Co2 in the water. I don't want to kill my fish, so I'd like some help on this. What I would like to know is my Kh to low? If so how do I raise it so the Co2 calulations don't get messed up? are my calulations correct in the first place? If they aren't how much Co2 is really in that water?
Since I know other things that have been added to a tank can effect all of these things I'll list everything I have added to the tank.
5 gal. tank
6 plants
1 ceramic decorations
2 small plastic plants
Jungle TM Fertilizer and Water Conditioner
gravel
clear Ammonia (To cycle the tank)
Please Help
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 09:42 PM
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Has your source water changed?
What are the source water parameters?
Do you have a water softener?
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 11:24 PM
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I don't know any way to measure 0 KH. Are you sure you did that test right? My test kit has me take a small sample of water in the tube. Add a drop of the reagent, which colors the water blue (as I recall), then keep adding a drop at a time and shaking it until the color changes to yellow. The total number of drops, including the first one, is the degrees of KH. I don't know what the chemicals you added are - is the "clear Ammonia" a chemical to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine? If not, you need one, like Seachem Prime.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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My source water hasn't changed.
PH Hot Hot Pink off the charts pink so it's above 8.4
KH 90 ppm
GH 300ppm which is very hard water so no there is no water softener
The 8.4 PH listed above what my water changes to after it has had a couple of days to settle, and does not change from that until I turn the Co2 on.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2006, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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I use test test strips
yellow means 0ppm
a yellowish green=40ppm
a darker green= 80 ppm
a green color with blue tint to it=120ppm
a blue green color is 180ppm
a teal color is 300ppm
The color appear on the strip is a very yellow color.
The Clear Ammonia is that ammonia with no additives to it. It so that I can do a fishless cycle to grow the good bactria that is needed for healthy fish tank. It does not effect my ph, I already checked that possibility. The Jungle TM Plant Fertilizer and Water Conditioner is plant fertilizer and water conditioner that does neutralize the chlorine and chloramine. And I already checked that too for any effects on my ph, and it doesn't effect it. Also I tested it to make sure it does work to neutralize the chlorine and chloramine, and it does. Also I checked the Clear Ammonia and Jungle TM Fertilizer and Water Conditioner together as well to make sure there was no chemical reactions between the two to make sure that wasn't causing the change the ph. It's not.
Also I just want to point out that I am not new to fish keeping only new to having a planted tank.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 01:20 AM
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Ok, first off the test strips suck. If your water has a pH of above 8.4 then your kH has to be over 90 ppm. More in the 250-275 ppm range. This is a simple physical fact. In the absence of other buffers water with a high pH will also have a high kH.

Second there is no reason to do a "fishless" cycle on a planted tank.

Take a few minutes and read my Guide.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-24-2006, 02:19 AM
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So, you add ammonia to the tank to speed up the cycling? That isn't a good idea. Algae love to see ammonia in the water. A much better idea is adding a few hardy fish plus lots of plants, and let the plants do the work of using up the small ammonia additions from the fish. The good bacteria will build up in the filter, the substrate and almost everywhere else in any case.

Adding ammonia (ammonium hydroxide, NH4OH) is adding a source of alkalinity to the water that isn't carbonate. I don't know how this will affect either the KH, which is actually a measure of total alkalinity, or the PH.

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