Hard Acidic Water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Hard Acidic Water?


New to the forum and have been dabbling in planted tanks for little less than 18 months. My apologies if this is not the correct subforum for such a post. My questions is: Is it weird to have hard acidic water? Right now the parameters are: Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrates 0ppm, Nitrites 0.5ppm, Hardnesss/GH 200ppm, Alkalinity/KH 60ppm, and pH 6.2. In the past my tank have always had similar readings (less the nitrites), except for pH usually around 8.0 and KH 180ppm. Is this something should level out over time? The background story/info for this tank is below. Thank you in advance for any tips, suggestions or advice.

I have a 29g low tech tank that I recently gutted and set back up (was setup since last May). The story about this is that I had a few newts in there that starting getting infections, so I over reacted and put too many almond and oak leaves in there (from Herp forums I've read that the tannins in them help with herp's infections). This resulting in massive plant melting and the tank water turning black, so I gutted everything except the substrate. The substrate is Scott's Miracle Grow organic potting soil, with coarse river sand on top (that was boiled prior to being used). I did several partial water changes after the initial 100% change to be able to vacuum all the debris off of the top of the sand (all in the same 24 hours period). No water changes since except for refills due to evaporation.

It has been up and running for about 5 weeks. The plants currently consist of cabomba/fanwort as the background plans (about 25 stems?) and 8 rosette swords as midground (no foreground yet). All plants have been there for 3-4 weeks and look heathly. Current occupants are just nerite and ramshorn snails that are doing fine (they seem like they can stand a lot of stress some that probably doesn't mean much). I throw a few sinking pellets in there 1-2 times a week for them and as an ammonia source until I had any newts/fish/shrimp. I left the handful of rocks that have been in there to keep any of the beneficial bacteria that my have been on them. It's about a week and a half removed from a bacterial bloom (that cleared up on its own).
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 07:18 PM
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Sounds like your KH is a bit low. When it is low there is not enough KH, pH which can swing with small changes in the water. You can increase KH with http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064GZPU4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00.

GH seems high, but I guess it depends on what fish you wish to keep. Generally, KH and GH should be about equal.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-11-2015, 11:34 PM
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Hard water is usually GH, Calcium and Magnesium. These do not do much about the pH.

KH, carbonate hardness, is the hardness that buffers the pH. Low KH generally means low pH, and it is easy to change the pH. When there is little to no KH, something else controls the pH. Often this is organic matter and decomposing things in the tank. These processes usually create more acidic water.

If your tap water usually has GH and KH roughly equal, but the tank has very low KH, then I would suspect the substrate. Several of them will remove the KH from the water, allowing the pH to be controlled by something else. The high tannic acid materials you added will sure drop the pH! I do not know if that effect lingers, though, once you have done a massive water change and removed the leaves etc. If the substrate removes KH, then it can keep on doing that for quite a while. If you have a little left over try a test in a bucket with a handful or two of substrate and a few cups of water. Check GH, KH, pH when you start, and a day or so later, then several days later.
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