Dying plants, rising PH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 10:54 PM Thread Starter
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Dying plants, rising PH

I have a 5 gallon tank I set up in September. I have wisteria, pennywort, anubis, moss and another big plant who's name I forget. The plants have never done very well, I've had to replace them occasionally. A good amount of the pennywort has died off starting with the stems, the big plant's leaves are slowly falling apart and now one of my Anubis plants has holes in it. About a month and a half ago I broke up a root tab into pieces and put it in my soil, didn't seem to help.

I have 7 Chili and Phoenix Rasboras, two Nerite snails and 3 generations of shrimp. They all seem to be doing fine.

For lighting I have a Finnex stingray on a timer, 7-9 hours a day with a break in the middle.

My PH has always been around 7.0, maybe a little higher. But the last few months I've noticed a week or so after a water change(I usually change about a 0.5 - 1 gallons every week or two) the PH starts rising and goes back down after a water change. None of the creatures seem to be bothered by the PH changes yet.

Up until today i've been testing my PH with test strips, just today I got a proper test kit and I found that my tap water(and tank water) is around 7.5, so I'm not sure how my tank water has ever been lower. It has me a little confused.

So my question is what should I do about the PH? I'd like it lower and more stable(assuming its changed at all and it wasn't just flaky test strips) as it is out of range for the rasboras.

My other question is what am I doing wrong with the plants?

Here are my current parameters:

Nitrate 5-10 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
PH 7.5
KH 120 ppm
GH 100 ppm

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 02:23 AM
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The fish will be fine at the pH. The difference you calculated is probably due to test strips being pretty bad, I wouldn't worry about it.
Your plants are probably lacking in nutrients since you don't really fertilise. You'll need to dose a little bit, although not a lot since you don't add CO2. You could follow Seachem's dosing regime since it is pretty lean, but their fertilisers themselves aren't super cost effective. Buying the dry salts of them will be cheaper. To get yourself familiar with all of that I would read up on the EI and PPS-Pro dosing regimes.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 05:14 AM
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What he said. Just wanted to add this:

Although pH is/was widely used as a parameter to estimate the conditions in the tank the main reason is that it is easy to test. It is like I would determine the value of a house from length and width alone. While there may be a link, it is hard to be precise. Within a pH range of 6-8 you are pretty much sure to be able to keep most commercially available plants and fish. If you look in 3 different places for the recommended pH for a fish sp. you will find 3 different intervals. These intervals stem mostly from values collected in the area where the fish was discovered /collected. It is not meant to say that the fish will become ill if outside this interval. I even doubt anybody scientifically tested the performance of aquarium fish species at different pH and determined that is the optimal range.

Bottom line, keep and eye on pH but do not obsess over it.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. I am looking in to how I want to fertilize. Should I avoid anything that has calcium or magnesium since my water is already rather hard?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 03:33 AM
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Not really avoid it, most plants don't have any issues with increased GH. I run some aquarium at twice your value with no issues. I would say it might not be a necessity to add Ca or Mg to your aquarium. However, be aware that GH reports the sum of the two and in most natural waters Ca is the predominant part. Mg should be enough but that is not sure, therefore some add small amount of Mg to our mix.

Here is a nice reading for fertilizers The Estimative Index of Dosing, or No Need for Test Kits - Aquarium Plants - Barr Report

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