Several questions - pH/KH, safe t sorb, root tabs - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-29-2014, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Several questions - pH/KH, safe t sorb, root tabs

My poor snails's shells are dissolving. I recently switched my substrate to safe t sorb b/c of it's great cec value. Of course, it didn't occur to me that it might impact my water params.
Here's where they stand:
pH - 6.6
KH - 4 deg/71.6 ppm
GH - 5 deg/ 89.5 ppm

I added about 3 tbsp of crushed coral to my filter (over the course of 3 days) which raised pH to just under 7.2 and KH to 7 deg (I didn't check GH). But they dropped back down within 4 days.

I know lots of ppl use sodium bicarbonate. What's the best way to do this without shocking fish/snails?
Also, the very first aquarium book I read warned about the deadly dangers of osmotic pressure so I've always been leery of using too many additives (I even worry about the effects of ferts). Any opinions/experiences about osmotic pressure and baking soda? (My most sensitive livestock are snails - olive nerites and Thiara cf. winter)

Does anyone know how long the KH lowering effect of safe t sorb lasts? Should I do more frequent wc than 50% weekly? Or will that just cause more swings in the pH/KH?
Also, since STS lowers KH so much, does that affect the value of its cec? I mean, if it's absorbing a bunch of calcium and other stuff from my water will it still absorb nutrients from the water column due to osmosis or does it have a finite capacity?

Finally, EI and root tabs. Like I mentioned earlier, I switched to STS bc of the cec value. And I think it was a post by Hoppy where I read that root tabs aren't necessary with EI. But I know it will take a while for nutrients to be absorbed into the substrate. Should I use them for a few weeks for my newly planted crypts and pygmy chain sword?

Sorry for so many questions! I keep coming across new info that spurs new thoughts. Trying not to let it become overwhelming. And my husband wonders how I can possibly spend so much time looking up "fish stuff"
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-29-2014, 11:40 PM
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My last Saf-T-Sorb tank ran for 2 years. My water never stopped being softened. If you dropped 3 inches worth of substrate, you can pretty much kiss hardness goodbye
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 12:30 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pucksr View Post
My last Saf-T-Sorb tank ran for 2 years. My water never stopped being softened. If you dropped 3 inches worth of substrate, you can pretty much kiss hardness goodbye
Whoa. That makes me seriously consider switching to sand since I'd like to eventually try some shrimp.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 01:47 AM
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You can add coral sand, limestone sand or other material directly to the tank. I have one tank with a blend of Turface and Coral Sand. Does not look very good, but the GH, KH and pH are stable with no additives, TONS of plants, but no fish yet.
I ran this one for a couple of years, then took it down, now have it set up with plants only. Fish soon!

But I just did water tests on it, and it is just right for rift lake Cichlids.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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But I just did water tests on it, and it is just right for rift lake Cichlids.
LoL! No happy medium, eh?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 07-30-2014, 03:18 AM
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I am not sure there is, without constant checking.
In tanks were I wanted to maintain GH and KH of around 3-5 degrees the GH was no problem, these materials seem not to remove calcium or magnesium in enough quantity to matter, but they sure did keep crashing the KH. That many years ago I use Soil Master Select. (no longer available)
I was adding baking soda weekly, and the KH was crashing to zero each time within a few days.
After several years of that it finally quit.
That set up was taken down and the substrate reused, but I have no idea which tank it ended up in.
Maybe I will find it when I do some more testing.
(Note to self: look for the Soil Master Select tank that shows ANY KH result above zero.)
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