Back to basics...returning to the hobby - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Back to basics...returning to the hobby

It has been several years since I kept an aquarium, but I finally have enough time to do it again...hopefully the right way.

I have a 20L with a Finnex Stingray 30". The substrate is ADA Aquasoil Amazonia at about 3-4 inches deep. I built the hood and base myself. Once it is cycled and stable, it will be a heavily planted jungle style guppy tank.

The current plant stock is:

PINWHEELEchinodorus "PinWheel" Sword Plant
Anubias Barteri coffeefolia
Crytocoryne wendtii Bronze
Red Tiger Lotus
Microsorum pteropus Needleleaf
Nymphoides hydrophylla
Ludwigia repens

It has been up and running for about seven days right now, and several of the plants are already showing strong new growth. The first batch of crypts have melted, and new leaves are starting, the tiger lotus had a slight melt, but already has three new leaves. The hydrophylla is also putting out new leaves, and the wysteria has really strong crown growth.

I am running a 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 4 hours on then off photo period right now until the tank has cycled. I am half dosing Excel, and half dosing EI with micro's, again until the tank is established, all to try an inhibit algae growth.

All that said, I am already concerned about the parameters. I had done two 50% water changes since setup, and just ran my first battery of tests with the API Master kit this morning.

PH <6
Ammonia 8ppm+
Nitrite ~0
Nitrite ~0
kH changed with one drop, so ~0
GH, 3 drops so about 53

For comparison, I also tested my tap water...
pH 8
Ammonia 0
kH 3 drops so ~53
GH 6 drops so ~107

What this is telling me is that I have typical and decent tap water, but...

I have no bacteria growing, likely because the pH is so low. I really need to get the kH up to help buffer the pH, so aside from more water changes, what else do I need to do to get those params straight?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 06:20 PM
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Once you get your KH up I'd focus on getting ammonia down. 8ppm is probably enough to actually keep bacteria from growing (and to hurt some plants); you want it more in the range of 3-5ppm at the highest. Water changes, as you said, are the way to go. You might look into adding crushed coral to your filter to get KH up. I know Aquasoil lowers KH and pH (and not much else about it) so I'd guess that's what's happening with you. You might look around on the forums to see how others cycle while using Aquasoil.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-18-2016, 09:36 AM
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When Ammonia and Nitrites 0- do a 50% water change. Your ph is high now so if you add something to raise your gh it will probably raise the ph. The ph will go down eventually. It is basically a sit and wait thing.
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