Does this make sense? (spring water) - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-29-2008, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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Does this make sense? (spring water)

Hello. Sorry I've been asking so many newbie questions but I'm a newb so, well, I suppose those are the questions I'm going to ask.

I've set up two new tanks recently. One is going to be planted, the other a non-planted community tank. For the planted tank I am trying to go with a dirt substrate under gravel. The dirt is from a seven year old compost pile so should be very high in nutrients.

Our water source is a very low tech open-to-the-air spring with a very large amount of sediment. Despite this, the pH varies from 7.01 to 7.2 on any given day, the kH is < 4d and the gH is near 0. I honestly thought the kH and gH would be much higher considering the particulate matter.

After setting up both tanks and letting them run for a couple weeks with nothing in them, the non-planted (inert substrate) has a pH of 7.8 and the planted tank (with compost substrate) has a pH of 8.1. Why would the inert substrate tank's pH have risen?

The NH4 in the substrate tank has spiked and is very slowly dropping and NO2 is slowly rising. There are some volunteer sprouts growing out of the substrate! I imagine they are grass seeds and won't survive in the water for long but I thought it was amusing they were growing at all.

I suppose it makes sense that the pH has risen so much with the addition of substrate because the gH and kH are so low. I want to start adding plants though and I'm worried the pH will be too high for them. What are my options here? Should I treat the water as if it is RO and add Equilibrium? I know CO2 would lower the pH but I'm not quite in a position to invest in that yet. Is it pointless to even mess with this until I do?

Thanks very much.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 04:30 PM
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Honestly bro, I don't even check my pH anymore unless I'm checking for CO2, as long as it's between 6-8 I feel safe, but as far as plants, that's a wide range to grow in, and I'm serious it is a wide wide range.

Just let it ride, maybe in your non-planted you have something hard that's making your water harder, and not sure about your dirt in the planted, there's alot of stuff in dirt to play with not really sure how that fares against the pH level.

The drop in NH4, and rise in NO2 tells me your mid-way through your cycling process. I would honestly let this do it's thing before you go and add crap to the tank. Too many people rush this process, and the best way, the quickest way is to just wait it out.

As for CO2, try the DIY method, there's a whole slew of ways to make it, mix it, diffuse it. It's super easy bro, too easy.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 05:07 PM
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Dirt probably is not going to work. You could mineralize topsoil...

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