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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-06-2018, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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New to planted tanks

I’m new to this forum and planted aquariums. I’m very confused by everything I’ve been reading on planted aquariums. I switched my 10 gal. IM nano saltwater tank over to a freshwater planted tank. I elected to go high tech with ADA lighting and a CO2 system. My LFS recommended using R/O water. The tank has only been up and running for about 3 weeks now. Everything is going really well. I’m surprised at how well the plants are doing. They look very healthy and have grown considerably. I’ve not experienced any outbreak of algae that I’ve read about happening. I use ADA Green Brighty Mineral and Brighty K on a daily basis.

Water parameters are pH: 6.0/ammonia: 0 ppm/nitrite: 0 ppm/nitrate: 10 ppm/GH: 0 ppm/KH: 0 ppm.

CO2 is set at 1 bubble every 2 secs. I recently purchased a drop checker and it indicates that I need to increase the CO2 rate. From what I’ve read, increasing the CO2 will lower the pH. My pH already seems too low. Eventually, I would like to add a small (maybe 6 or 8) school of neon tetras. My concern has to do with my pH being so low at 6.0 and GH and KH being near zero. Will the neons survive at this level or will I need to increase the pH to be more neutral and increase GH and KH levels? If so, what’s best to do this with? Also, should I switch away from R/O water even though my plants are doing so well?

Thanks for any help.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-15-2018, 10:27 PM
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I recently had a problem with my GH and KH being very low, and I definitely wouldn’t reccomend adding any animals to your tank until you’ve raised those a bit. The way that I raised mine was by using cuttlebone and Salty Shrimp GH+. I would recommend raising your parameters slowly, so that your plants have plenty of time to acclimate to the change. Maybe a 5% water change with the new water every couple of days. Get an API liquid test kit to test your GH and KH, and mix up your new water until you’ve got it where you want it based on what exactly you’re planning to add to your tank. As long as you don’t change your tanks parameters too rapidly, your plants should be able to acclimate well, and with a more bioactive aquarium they might even thrive better once you’ve got some critters living in there! More fertilizer for them! Just remove a little water from your tank and add your new water little by little every couple of days to give your plants time to acclimate and you should be good. As for what water to use, I suppose that depends on the parameters of your tap. If your plants thrive with what you use now I wouldn’t change it, but if the expense is a problem then I would treat the new water the same way, just mix it in little by little, so your plants can acclimate, and observe the effect. If they start having problems, then I would just stop and resume what you were using before. If you do decide to go with tiny fish like tetras, might I recommend also adding some Neocaridina dwarf shrimp as well? They will help control any algae development, and help manage any waste from leftover food that you give your fish. Neos especially are pretty hardy, so they’re not too difficult to take care of either. I also like to keep a few snails in my planted tanks as well, but that would depend on what plants you’re using, as certain snail species have a tendency to eat some aquarium plants when there isn’t enough food for them. Good luck with your new tank!
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the reply and advice. I was really frustrated with what to do next. The last thing I wanted to do was kill my plants or introduce fish to a toxic environment. I appreciate the advice and look forward to putting your suggestions into action. Thanks again!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 04:02 AM
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Like Shadepelt mentioned make sure you test your local tap water prior to switching over from in Southern California we have a bit of a hard water problem and my average tap water pH is 8.0. If I were to suddenly start using RO I'm sure my tanks would up and TANK on me. But if you enjoy being very hands on (which I'm assuming you do since you went the high tech route) stick with what you've got set up and just be mindful of water quality testing and adding nutrients as needed. That being said I personally really do enjoy the ease (and cost) of using tap water over RO


10 gallon planted low tech
Water changes, water changes, water changes...
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 10-21-2018, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the advice and encouragement. I feel a little more comfortable now with this new endeavor.
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