KH and PH - new tank start up - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
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KH and PH - new tank start up

I have a new tank i am starting up, and I have Amazonia II Aquasoil as substrate. I am on day 5.

My tap water was measuring a KH of 2 degrees. The water now in the tank is measuring literally near zero degrees of KH. Is that possible?

Also this morning I noticed what I would call a serious PH drop, from 6.3 to 6.0 this morning. fish are okay....at this point.

Does this sound like a situation where I might want to supplemnet the water to get it to a certain KH?

FYI, My drop checker is green. I am injecting C02, but it obviously has not come on in a while. It was leveling out and turning off an 6.2.

Thanks,
Chris
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 04:27 PM
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Aquasoil Am II has a tendency to lower pH and hardness, especially while cycling. I'd wait till the cycle is over and then see where you are? Once you start doing regular PWC things may stabilize more where you want them.





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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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This is very interesting. i have been an avid reef aquarist for many years (even before it was really popular, in the mid to late '80s. I think this is more difficult. Probably just different and of course I am learning....

Thanks for the input.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 06:04 PM
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IMO it's more complicated than most SW tanks due to the incredible variety of FW parameters/ more variables to consider.

Your experience will definitely help you with the learning curve, though!

Did you cycle this tank before adding fish, or is this day five of the entire setup?





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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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I am cycling with fish and plants. Just two dwarf gourami's and some cleaner cats.

This morning the ammonia was at 1.5.

Chris
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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Laura, another question.

I am running my lights 12 hours. I have 4 54 watt t5's over the tank, 2 sunlight, and 2 10k.

I am starting to see some algae on the sand in the front etc. I think I am running the lights too long. I am reducing the lights on to 8 hours. Should I make more drastic adjustments? I am not dosing any fertlizers at this time, just have the CO2 running and the lights. minimally feeding the fish.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 10:45 PM
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I would definitely cut the lights down to around 8 hours, maybe less or more depending on your particular setup. What size is your tank? Given your lighting, I would guess you are going to need to dose fertilizers pretty soon. Try Rex Grigg, he sells dry ferts.

I think your pH drop is perfectly safe, although some may disagree. I'd be careful with the ammonia. I know you're cycling, and I guess these are sacrificial fish, just saying, you might lose em.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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I purchases a combo pack from Rex Grigg's but his notes say he is leaving on an extended period away, so I am not sure I will see those anytime too soon.

in the meantime, what happens if i don't dose ferts? I did purchase some Seachem Flourish, so maybe I can use that?

i cut the lights to 8 hours and turned off one bank. Surprisingly the fish appear to be 'okay' but honestly i am a bit surprised about that.

I have cycled many, many saltwater systems, and have never seen this type of activity. With 'live rock' it is almost a no brainer, just put the live rock in, wait a week, maybe two for the ammonia/nitrite cycle. do a water change, and you are good to go.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-12-2008, 10:59 PM
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In a FW tanks there are other ways to cycle, fishless cycles are best, but since the fish are there already you'll just need to do what you can to keep them alive at this point (unless you're willing to take them back to the LFS now and complete a fishless cycle instead?)

You need to try to keep your ammonia to 0.25 or less with lots of PWC for the sake of the fish. That's going to be really hard- especially since AquaSoil releases tons of ammonia itself while cycling

It's not unusual for a cycle to take a month in a FW tank, especially if using fish. You also risk a mini-cycle every time you add new fish. The heavier the plantload, however, the less risk for a minicycle later on.

With plants and fishless cycling you can go faster, as you can artifically introduce controlled amounts of pure ammonia instead of relying on fish waste.





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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-13-2008, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Laura,

Okay more info. Reading a few other threads here, I think the water may be a bit of green (suspended algae) not just 'cloudy'.

I have turned the lights to only 4 hours, and turned off one of the banks of lights. So I am running 2 54 watt T5's for 4 hours, starting today. I have not yet done any PCWs.

PH last night was 6.2, PH this morning is 5.6 (there is not C02 being inected at this point, it is not turning on...

No fish deaths (amazing). Now I have hit it with some prime a couple times, not sure what that might have been doing (thought it woudl help control the ammonia). But now I am thinking it might just extend the cycle, so I have stopped doing that.

Couple options and questions.

1. I have an unused UV light 10 watt inline, that I could hook up to the filter output. I guess that might kill the suspended algae, but of course would not take care of the problem.
2. Just do a big water change, probably would be Friday night, maybe this evening, but likely Friday evening.
3. Do both of the above.

What say yee!!!
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-13-2008, 11:19 AM
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i think the lights might've been why you got green water. you didnt say how densly planted your tank was but 12 hours is alot of light. i would use the uv sterilzer until the gw is gone then go back to using the t5's for about 8 hours with a little burst effect from the second bank of light. a pcw would help to get rid of some of the algae but unless you're using uv it'll come back. how big is your tank btw?

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-13-2008, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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72 gallon. It is not 'densly' planted but nicely planted about half if I were to measure volume.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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My KH is almost not measurable (reads very much close to zero). Tap was 2 degrees KH, but after running in a tank with Amazonia II, it reads two, even with a more sensitive measurement.

So I think i would like to raise my KH to 2. i have a 72 gal tank. what level of Baking soda would i need to add to raise the KH from zero to 2. would there be a benefit to do this, stabalize PH, or should I just let it go?

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-16-2008, 11:59 PM
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I'm always going to prioritize the fish, so I'm going to tell you to do PWC out the yin-yang until that ammonia gets down below 0.25.

Prime will detoxify ammonia, but only for 24 hours, so it's not a substitute for PWC. It also is one of the newer products on the market that still leaves the ammonia in a form that can be used by N-bacteria and plants, so it does not short-circuit cycling.

IMO I'd do lots of PWC also to see what that does over time to your kH; eventually that is the most stable way to bring your tank water back in line with your tap water stats.





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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-17-2008, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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I did a 50% change yesterday. the water is much clearer.

i am running a PH controller to control the C02. I have been reading some entries by indyboi, who more or less indicates to throw away the controller, and just use my drop check and maybe a timer on the CO2. Would that be a reasonable approach, and better in the long run?
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