Super confused about ADA Amazonia and KH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Super confused about ADA Amazonia and KH

Tried to post this yesterday and it never showed up... I will try again.

First of all I am brand new to the hobby. This is my first ever tank of any kind.

I do not know what information I should be providing here, so I guess to start things off I should list what I'm working with...
Fluval Flex 15 gallon tank. Filter has filter floss and some Seachem Matrix in the first chjamber, the second chamber has the stock sponge loaded with 2 bags of Matrix and under it some Purigen. Third chamber just has my Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 50w heater and the stock pump. I also have a temp. probe in the 1st chamber.

The water at my house is pretty horrid, and I wasnt sure if it was safe to use the post softener system water due to the salt... So I purchased a BRS RO/DI system and have this filling a 32gallon Brute. The storage can has a heater and a pump in it. Water is kept at 76*f and circulating.

Substrate is a base of Powersand Special, topped with Amazonia. Substrate is about 2"-3" deep. I followed the ADA guide as far as planting right off the bat, and I am also following the water change guidelines. 1st week daily water changes, 2nd week every other day... I'm only in that second week, my 2nd week started Sunday.

I dont know if my tank is considered heavily planted, but I did my best without trying to spend too much money. Being brand new I know there is a high chance I'll kill my plants >.<'

My plant list is as follows: (See Pics)
Anubias sp. ‘Petite’
Anubias Barteri 'Butterfly
Ludwigia palustris
Echinodorus Parviforus
Rotala wallichii
Anubias Barteri Golden
Eleocharis parvula
Staurogyne Repens
Taxiphyllum barbieri
Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae

Since I am using RO/DI water I have been adding Seachem Equilibrium to it to bring the minerals and GH up. This is no problem and holds steady. Where I am having problems is with KH and PH. I had done what I thought was a fair bit of reading on the subject before starting to purchase items. However, after doing a bit of searching to answer questions I now have, I am quite confused. For every question I search for information on I am finding WILDLY conflicting information.

I have read that due to the buffering nature of Aquasoil I should NOT be trying to boost the KH and that I should leave it at 0. I have also read that having 0 KH as my RO/DI water has will let the PH swing quite easily and that I SHOULD be bumping up the KH of my rodi water. Okay, great... lets search further. The more I research the more I find people saying both things. DO bump up KH. DO NOT bump up KH. I have also read that having 0 KH will stall the beneficial bacteria growth and halt the cycling of my tank. It seems that for every post I can find that says to do one thing, there are 2 that say to do the other. This persists not only here but also on other websites. I have no idea what to do.

I tried to go to Tom Barrs site and look for information and ... Good lord! Even when they think they are being noob friendly and easy to understand... I think I need a Phd in biochemistry to follow along. So much technical talk, chemical formulas, abreviations... It is simply too much for a true new person to the hobby to follow along with, or maybe it is just me.

I've tried to boost the KH up with Seachems alkaline and acid buffers. If I get KH up it is dropped right back down in 24hrs. The PH also raises. Then after reading some on Seachems forums I see one of their guys post that you can not boost KH up to say 6 (from 0) and keep ph around 6.5-7 without adding C02. Crap.

I do plan to add C02 at some point (see Pic), but I would like to have some idea of what I am doing first.

I am writing a book here... sorry. I just did not want to leave out information that might be needed, and I have no idea what information you would need.

Question: Do I need to be worried about my RO/DI waters KH of 0? If not, great. Easy.
If I do need to be raising the KH up what is my goal, and what do I use to raise it as Seachems Alkaline buffer does raise the KH but the aquasoil will just drop it back down fairly quickly.

Thank you in advance.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 07:37 PM
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I'm no expert with active substrate, but my understanding is that it eats KH and buffers the water for you. So any KH you add will disappear into the substrate within a few hours.

This buffering capacity has a limit though. Active soil needs to be replaced every so often. If you are adding KH to the tank, you are going to drastically decrease how long the soil will last.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by MCFC View Post
I'm no expert with active substrate, but my understanding is that it eats KH and buffers the water for you. So any KH you add will disappear into the substrate within a few hours.

This buffering capacity has a limit though. Active soil needs to be replaced every so often. If you are adding KH to the tank, you are going to drastically decrease how long the soil will last.
Insofar as its buffering capability, but would it also lose its benefits when it comes to providing and holding nutrients?
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 08:19 PM
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Insofar as its buffering capability, but would it also lose its benefits when it comes to providing and holding nutrients?
You're talking about two different things here.

Aquasoil has some nutrients in it which are released over time. These eventually run out.

Holding nutrients is about cation exchange capacity (CEC), which doesn't get depleted.

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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
High CEC just means the particles have large surface areas and are structured so as to attract and hold positive ions like ammonium and potassium so plant roots can access them easily. That capability doesn't wear out or deplete.

The popular nutrient rich substrate is ADA Aquasoil, which contains bioavailable nutrients which are used up by the plants over many months of use. Those can't be replenished, but they can be substituted for with substrate fertilizers.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 08:27 PM
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You're talking about two different things here.

Aquasoil has some nutrients in it which are released over time. These eventually run out.

Holding nutrients is about cation exchange capacity (CEC), which doesn't get depleted.
So would it be safe to assume that these soils buffer the water and remove KH, and that removal of the KH is due to their high(ish?) CEC - and once they absorb all the KH and stop buffering the water, then the soil is essentially "full" and will no longer provide benefits.

Or is it something else entirely that gets rid of the KH in aquasoil?
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 08:30 PM
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So would it be safe to assume...
That's a dangerous starting point haha

I'm no scientist, so I can't help. Sorry!
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 08:39 PM
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That's a dangerous starting point haha

I'm no scientist, so I can't help. Sorry!
lol Fair enough.

It's just something I've thought about. Get aqua soil for the new nano, but purposefully run out its buffering capacity so I can keep the water a little harder for neocaridina, but then that raised the question if the benefits of the soil regarding nutrients (CEC) would remain intact or if it would be rendered inert.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 11:23 PM
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Tried to post this yesterday and it never showed up... I will try again.
This is because your post was caught accidentally in the automatic spam filter. This usually happens to new users, who post long posts or posts with links/pictures (in your case, all three), typically signs of a spambot.

Flagged posts require manual moderator approval, which usually takes about 24 hours (depending on our schedules). If you're concerned that a post is caught, either sit tight, or you can private message any of us and we can see if something got caught.

In any case, once you have a few more posts, the spam filter should stop flagging your posts.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 12:51 AM Thread Starter
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This is because your post was caught accidentally in the automatic spam filter. This usually happens to new users, who post long posts or posts with links/pictures (in your case, all three), typically signs of a spambot.
No worries, I understand the need for those filters. Thank you for the reply though.

The daughter says "I want a fish tank Daddy", and my OCD lead me to this.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Brothermist View Post
First of all I am brand new to the hobby.
This is my first ever tank of any kind.

My plant list is as follows: (See Pics)
Ludwigia palustris
Rotala wallichii
Staurogyne Repens

I am having problems is with KH and PH.
I have also read that having 0 KH as my RO/DI water has will let the PH swing quite easily.

I tried to go to Tom Barrs site and look for information and ... Good lord! Even when they think they are being noob friendly and easy to understand... I think I need a Phd in biochemistry to follow along. So much technical talk, chemical formulas, abreviations... It is simply too much for a true new person to the hobby to follow along with, or maybe it is just me.

I do plan to add C02 at some point (see Pic)

I am writing a book here...

Do I need to be worried about my RO/DI waters KH of 0?
First tank, seems like you have been guided well so far.

The plants I left listed will really appreciate CO2 sooner than later.

KH for our purposes is basically alkalinity.
The higher it is the harder it becomes to move the pH in either direction.
Most plants don't need a high KH, many of us struggle to lower it.

Don't hate @ Barr Report.
In time and with experience one will come to understand the terminology.
It can be a lot to consume @ first.

CO2 from day one is best, looks like a decent dual stage regulator arrangement.

A novel is fine, people will understand your goals and provide better advise!
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 02:59 AM
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I must have missed the Acid and Alkaline buffers part initially. Your aqua soil is already doing the buffering. There’s really no need to use those products unless you’re using 100% RO water with an inert substrate and you want to target a specific pH.


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brothermist View Post
- Fluval Flex 15 gallon tank
- Seachem Matrix
- Purigen
- Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm 50w
- temp. probe
- BRS RO/DI system
- storage can has a heater and a pump
- Powersand Special
- Amazonia


I dont know if my tank is considered heavily planted, but I did my best without trying to spend too much money.
All of that and you skimped on the plants??

Honestly, it does look pretty heavily planted. So no worries there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
First tank, seems like you have been guided well so far.

CO2 from day one is best, looks like a decent dual stage regulator arrangement.

A novel is fine, people will understand your goals and provide better advice!
I agree strongly with the points made by @Maryland Guppy!

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 04:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input everyone. It is much appreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
First tank, seems like you have been guided well so far.
I've been a member here since 2015 and began collecting things while reading. Life got in the way of taking on a new hobby somewhere since then, but I have been reading here and there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
KH for our purposes is basically alkalinity.
The higher it is the harder it becomes to move the pH in either direction.
My concern with adding C02 to the mix is that it may drop the pH too quickly. I've also read that having 0 KH also pretty much makes pH meters inacurate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Don't hate @ Barr Report.
No hate. Mild contempt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
The plants I left listed will really appreciate CO2 sooner than later.
...and...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
CO2 from day one is best, looks like a decent dual stage regulator arrangement.
Looks like I need to wrap up that regulator build, figure out how to test it, and get my tank filled much sooner than I had expected. More research to do.

Again, thanks all.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCFC View Post
All of that and you skimped on the plants??

Honestly, it does look pretty heavily planted. So no worries there.
My thinking: If I kill the plants, money wasted. But the hardware I can use over so not exactly a loss.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MCFC View Post
I agree strongly with the points made by @Maryland Guppy!
Thanks. I am proud of my 1st reg build (not done and untested).
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 04:45 AM
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Thanks. I am proud of my 1st reg build (not done and untested).
Forgive me for being weird, but that is a damn sexy reg build!

What needle valve did you use?

And what's the long brass bit above the needle valve?

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-21-2018, 07:16 AM Thread Starter
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Forgive me for being weird, but that is a damn sexy reg build!

What needle valve did you use?

And what's the long brass bit above the needle valve?
Weird is fun. "Normal" is boring.

The needle valve is a Hoke Milli-Mite 1300 Series (1325 H2B to be exact). Wanted it in stainless, but this one came along brand new for a steal. The long brass bit is a Clippard MJCV-1 check valve.
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