New Tank Water Parameters Help - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2013, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Question New Tank Water Parameters Help

Hey gang, so I've had my tank up and running for a little over a month now. I am in the process of trying to treat my own tap water to use for my tank. I recently purchased a GH and KH testing kit and was surprised to see my current tank hardness much greater than my tap. Here's my parameters for the tank and tap;

PH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 40-80
KH - 11
GH - 8

PH - 8.4
Ammonia - 0.25 ppm
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
KH - 2
GH - 2

I have treated a 5 gallon batch of tap water with Prime and Acid/Alkaline buffers. My treated tap water now reads 6.4 on PH. I find this to be suitable to begin doing water changes with, or should I let this sit for 24 hours?

I have a piece of dolomite in tank along with a little bit of "river sand" i purchased from the LFS (see below). Do I need to remove the dolomite? Any information helps out! Thanks again!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2013, 10:41 PM
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The acid/alkaline buffers are making a lot of the difference.
Dolomite rock also breaks down and becomes calcium carbonate. The calcium is tested with the GH kit, and the carbonate is tested with the KH kit.

I would quit trying to monkey with the pH.

If you will be keeping soft water fish you water is prefect as it comes out of the tap. GH is great. KH is great.

Do this and post back:
Run a glass of tap water and let it sit out for 24-48 hours and test the pH. Lets see what it would do with no additives.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2013, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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I have tetras in the tank right now. I understand the tetras to prefer the lower end of the GH and KH. I have removed the dolomite and did a 30% water change to see how the KH and GH look within in a few days. I love the dolomite in the tank but I'm not sure how practical it will be with my fish choice.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 03:32 AM
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You could test that rock in a bucket of water.
Test the water (use tap water) when you start, and every few days for a week.
If the change in the water hardness and pH is not much, (perhaps 1 degree through the week) then you might be able to keep the rock in the tank. A weekly water change will reset the GH and KH with no problem for the fish.
I think a lot of the problem is the salts and minerals you are adding (acid and alkaline stuff).

It is worth testing the rock, looks like a nice addition to the tank!

You are right to do smaller water changes that result in smaller changes in GH and KH. Let it take a month to get the GH and KH in a better range for the fish. It takes them time to acclimate to lower mineral levels.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 04:45 AM
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I doubt that many experienced planted tank hobbyists ever use those acid/alkaline buffers for anything, and probably have never owned any. I know I have never heard a good reason to use them. The fewer things you do to your tap water, other than adding Prime or equivalent at water changes, and routine fertilizing for the plants, the better off you will be. If you have extreme water parameters, like near zero GH or extremely high KH, you may need to "doctor" your water, but the best way to do that is to add a GH Booster at every water change, and/or dilute your tap water with distilled or RO/DI water.

If you want to use rocks that slowly dissolve in the water, you can do that by doing 50% water changes every week, as Diana suggested. Then the GH and KH should stabilize at some value that is acceptable. The dissolved minerals are just removed by the water change.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-07-2013, 02:43 PM
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I use 100% RO so I use acid/alkaline buffers to set my water parameters.
GH 6/7
KH 4
PH 6.7
I store the water in a container with air stone and heater .
However for tap water I would not add buffers just mix with RO to lower values no chemicals.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 01:33 AM
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My tap water is similar:
GH and KH are 4-5 degrees out of the tap, but the pH is in the upper 7s to low 8s because the water company adds sodium hydroxide to keep the pH up.
When I was breeding some soft water fish that really did need a lower pH I would use RO and add GH booster and baking soda to GH and KH about 2 degrees. Then filter it though peat moss for the organic acids. The pH would end up in the low 6s.
You do not need to go to these extremes just to keep the fish, though, unless they are wild caught.

Most fish do not care about the pH so much as the GH. If the GH is right, then the pH could be anywhere in a wide range and the fish will be fine.
Keep the minerals stable. Don't worry about the pH.
I just use the pH test as one more confirmation that things are stable. If the pH starts varying from the previous tests I start looking for other things that might be going on that need attention.
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