Fluval Spec 5, first week and some questions - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2016, 10:36 PM Thread Starter
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Fluval Spec 5, first week and some questions

Below is my tank at the end of week 1.

I'm using black gravel and root tabs (for now) and the stock equipment. My levels are ammonia: .5 ppm, nitrites: 5ppm, nitrates: 40-80ppm. The pH has been around 7.8-8.0. I was only able to find the strip tests locally for kH and gH, so I don't know how accurate they are - kH is hovering between 0 and 40 and gH is 150-300. (I've ordered the drop tests, but they won't be here until next week.)

What I don't understand, is the strip test is telling me my pH is 6.8 and nitrates are 20, which conflicts with the drop tests. The nitrites more or less matched. Is it possible for only PARTS of a test strip to be inaccurate?

Also, tonight I dosed with Flourish and Excel for the first time (because my order finally arrived). Should I do that every day? I noticed today the one anubia leaf is getting a yellow tip. Other than that and a few cryptocoryne leaves melting, the plants have been okay.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-11-2016, 01:35 PM
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What I don't understand, is the strip test is telling me my pH is 6.8 and nitrates are 20, which conflicts with the drop tests. The nitrites more or less matched. Is it possible for only PARTS of a test strip to be inaccurate?
test strips are notoriously inaccurate. even lab grade. there is a very short range of environmental conditions and duration for which they are accurate. any kind of moisture exposure kills them dead, so they must be stored in airtight containers, preferably in a cool dark place.

RE: pH specifically, you can improve accuracy by using strips designed for narrower pH ranges. also pH litmus paper is in my opinion far more stable and accurate than strips. the problem with litmus paper however is that it's very broad, it will show you whole pH numbers well, and half pH numbers with some practice, but after that it gets pretty sketchy. using a combination of litmus paper and narrow pH strips can yield the best results, litmus to get your whole pH number, and then narrow pH range strip to get your 0.5-0.1 value. but you'll probably find using the liquid tests is less annoying than keeping 5 pH test kits around. or buy a pH pen, they run about 30$. they're not foolproof either, but if maintained well and used correctly with regular calibration they're very quick and easy and reasonably accurate.

-nakeeta
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-15-2016, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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Update

I added an Indian almond leaf a few days ago. The ph has dropped to between 6.8 and 7.2.

Today my testing kit for GH/KH arrived. KH came out at 35.8ppm and GH at 250.6ppm.

Math and chemistry have never been my strong point - what do these numbers mean? HELP!?


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 11:54 AM
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Update

I added an Indian almond leaf a few days ago. The ph has dropped to between 6.8 and 7.2.

Today my testing kit for GH/KH arrived. KH came out at 35.8ppm and GH at 250.6ppm.

Math and chemistry have never been my strong point - what do these numbers mean? HELP!?
this explanation might help you, it also has the maths to convert ppm to dH (divide ppm by 17.8)

KH, GH and pH in the home aquarium a simplified explanation

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much - that DOES help! I guess I need to add crushed coral to my tank!


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 02:12 PM
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Crushed coral will raise the ph.

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Someone who asks for advice, then does the exact opposite.



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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, but don't I need to raise the KH? The article that was linked above said under 4 dH is concerning. Mine is 3 dH.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ah, nevermind - I see I can add baking soda without affecting the pH.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 07:48 PM
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Ah, nevermind - I see I can add baking soda without affecting the pH.
Uh, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) raises both KH and pH (as will crushed coral). I'm not sure of anything natural outside chemicals that only raise KH. Having said that, baking soda with Indian Almond Leaves, peat moss, etc. can balance out to a desired dKH / pH. Not so sure it is worth the risk of unstable conditions in the tank though
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Ah, nevermind - I see I can add baking soda without affecting the pH.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Uh, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) raises both KH and pH (as will crushed coral). I'm not sure of anything natural outside chemicals that only raise KH. Having said that, baking soda with Indian Almond Leaves, peat moss, etc. can balance out to a desired dKH / pH. Not so sure it is worth the risk of unstable conditions in the tank though
So, should I just leave it, then? I think I'm planning on putting a betta in the tank.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 10:04 PM
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So, should I just leave it, then? I think I'm planning on putting a betta in the tank.
If the leaves can keep you around that 6.8 to 7.2 you tested at, I'd go for stability over too many variables. But that's just me
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 10:32 PM
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3dKH should be fine, really. Some people argue you need 4dKH+ to stabilize your pH but others say you only need 1-2. I have 2dKH water and my pH is stable.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, this makes me feel better. Thanks everyone!


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