Just tested my tap water. What do I do? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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Just tested my tap water. What do I do?

Hello all. I'm in the process of setting up my first freshwater tank which will also be a planted tank. I tested my tap water tonight to see what I'll be dealing with. Seems that I have very soft water. I'll be setting up a 37g tank using SMS. During setup nothing will be added to the SMS other than root tabs. I'm currently planning on starting out using Flourish Excel and will go to the DIY sugar/yeast brew as I get acclimated to this style of tank. I'm converting from a reef tank. Now to my questions.

Here are my water parameters. Seems that I've got very soft water. Do I need to be raising my kH with baking soda? What about my gH? Should I be using epsom salts and calcium chloride to raise the gH? If so, where do I get those items? As I currently understand it raising my kH and adding Flourish Excel will lower my pH range. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

kH - 30ppm
gH - 60ppm
pH - 7.5


Oh, I told a guy at the LFS that I'd be testing my water today and he suggested that I run crushed coral in my XP2 if my kH is low. He said to just add it slowly until I get the desired kH. That's the first I've heard of this technique, but I haven't been researching this for too long.
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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 07:52 AM
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I wouldn't mess w/ your water chemistry at all. I would, however caution you against trying to maintain sufficient CO2 in a 37G w/ yeast. It was impossible in my 30G and I ended up fighting BBA 3 times b4 I finally broke down and bought my pressurized system. Much better to spend the money on the front end correctly then wait and spend it twice on stuff that didn't work even if it means waiting to set up a tank. I've learned my lesson that's for sure!
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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I can't afford a high tech setup right now. My wife is pregnant with twins so I'm switching to freshwater b/c I figured it would be cheaper and hopefully a bit more forgiving if I defer maintenance a bit. Should I not do a planted tank and just go with a regular freshwater tank? I'd still use the SMS for now with the plan to eventually go planted if I go that route. I just can't afford a pressurized system now, but I also don't want to have a planted mess on my hands because of that.
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 02:07 PM
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I agree don't mess with the KH, the plants, and fish will be ok.

Check out the low-tech set-up area, lower lights (~ 2wpg), no CO2, no extra ferts, and less water changes. Tom Barr (plantbrain) has posted a few threads about this, and with twins coming, You'll need the extra time. (congrats BTW)

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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentZero View Post
I can't afford a high tech setup right now. My wife is pregnant with twins so I'm switching to freshwater b/c I figured it would be cheaper and hopefully a bit more forgiving if I defer maintenance a bit. Should I not do a planted tank and just go with a regular freshwater tank? I'd still use the SMS for now with the plan to eventually go planted if I go that route. I just can't afford a pressurized system now, but I also don't want to have a planted mess on my hands because of that.

Check out the Low-tech Discussion. You can have still have a planted tank without using C02. It just requires picking the right type of plants.

Currently, I have a 55 gallon tank with 130 watts of light. I have some anacharis, anubias, amazon swords, crypts, and hornwort.

I dose excel twice week and add Flourish. So far my plants are doing well with no major algae outbreaks.
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, I got scared for a second. I've left my reef tank in the care of neighbors while on vacation, so I know all about cyano outbreaks. I've got a 130w dual pc fixture. I guess I can monkey w/ the timing and run only 65w most of the day? I just don't want to stress out the plants and fish. I worry about my stress level after that.
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 05:25 PM
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I hear ya. Yeah, going low tech is definitely going to be the best way for you to go and running 65W most of the day is the best way to do that. Do some reading in the low tech forum section and you'll get lots of ideas. My caution was about trying to maintain sufficient CO2 levels in a 30+ tank w/ yeast assuming you were going high light, high fert. Low tech should be a cinch.

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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Tdon. Should I bother using the yeast/sugar method at all even if I only run 65w most of the day? I guess for now I'm just going to start out with Flourish Excel and see how things go. Now I just need to get some plants.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks Tdon. Should I bother using the yeast/sugar method at all even if I only run 65w most of the day? I guess for now I'm just going to start out with Flourish Excel and see how things go. Now I just need to get some plants.

Sorry, I can't give you any experience on a low tech set up. I'm afraid I'd bugger you up. Do some reading in the low-tech forum and maybe post some questions there.
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 07:25 PM
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I found it impossible to keep diy co2 going on my 32g tank. I ended up scrapping the idea, and then because my plants were used to co2, I had a lot of leaf loss. So if you aren't willing to take lots of extra time and work to try to keep your co2 going, don't do it in the first place. On the other hand, if you do decide to do it, use 3 2L bottles and change out two every week; and use a large tub filled with water with a thermostatically controlled heater on it to keep the temp stable. I think that was where I went wrong, with the cooler temps the co2 just wasn't working well for me anymore. By the way I only have 40 watts of light on that tank.
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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Carissa. I think I'm going to just try to start out using F. Excel and see how that goes.
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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 11:00 PM
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Water parameter

Quote:
kH - 30ppm
gH - 60ppm
pH - 7.5
This is excellent parameter for a planted tank. I think you have maybe a little bit more KH than 30, I guessed around 45 for a ph of 7.5.

Just add some demineralized or distill water to replace the evaporation water from time to time...

People like Diana Walstad are preacher of simple natural setup and seem to have great success and lots of followers.

Some example here: http://www.aquabotanic.com/diana_walstad_gallery.htm
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-12-2007, 11:09 PM
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In my 30gl, I use two separate 2 liters with limewood blocks misting bubbles under the filter flow and have no trouble maintaining ~20ppm CO2 while the mix is strong, the sig pic below can attest to it. It's just annoying to recharge DIY every month. Two bottles makes it easier to keep levels up since you can stagger the mix by 15 days to recharge one at the start of the month and another in the middle. The question is not whether enough CO2 will be generated in this scenario, it's whether your method of diffusion works, and like I said, microbubbles under the filter flow works great for me.


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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-13-2007, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jaidexl. What kind of dosing schedule are you on? I'm going to start out low-tech just to get my feet wet. I have twins on the way so I won't have time for weekly 50% water changes, so the EI method is out for me. Good to know that you can keep the co2 up with DIY though.
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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old 10-13-2007, 09:23 AM
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Although I agree with 99% of Jaidexl's experience and truly respect his advice, please remember that him being able to maintain sufficient CO2 levels w/ yeast is the exception rather then the rule based on the posters you've seen to far. Just a thought.
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