Active substrate and KH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
Del
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Active substrate and KH

I have a nano tank with Tropica Aquarium Soil Powder.
I'm using Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ to reminerlise my RO water, my water stats are PH 6.52, GH 7 and KH 2.

I was asking around about why my KH is so low and someone said it's because I have an active soil and would be better of switching to Salty Shrimp GH+, since my soil is removing any additional KH.

Is this true? Should I switch to another product?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 08:40 PM
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It's true that your substrate is lowering your kH - along with your pH.

What kind of critters are in your tank/will be in your tank?
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Only some neocardina shrimp and nerrite snails at the moment.


I was using Seachem Equilibrium before, but my PH was under 6.
So to stop using a product that doesn't affect my KH/Akalinaty, sounds really silly. But I've always been confused by KH and PH.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 11:20 PM
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But I've always been confused by KH and PH.
Your not alone on that. I still get baffled and confused myself.
Luckily, you have some help here...


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 08:33 PM
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Only some neocardina shrimp and nerrite snails at the moment.
Your substrate is reducing your kH and your pH to levels lower than necessary for neos. You can fight with it and eventually the buffering capacity will be exhausted, but if you want to keep your parameters in line for neos, you should just change the substrate. Or go with bee/tiger shrimp, which you're already set up well for.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 09:50 PM
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Your substrate is reducing your kH and your pH to levels lower than necessary for neos. You can fight with it and eventually the buffering capacity will be exhausted, but if you want to keep your parameters in line for neos, you should just change the substrate. Or go with bee/tiger shrimp, which you're already set up well for.
Are these levels that the OP has : PH 6.52, GH 7 and KH 2 too low for neo-caridina?


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 09:58 PM
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Not at all, but I suspect that KH is going to drop as the soil does its work. It brings KH to 0 in my tanks. I have Neos living in more acidic parameters in Caridina tanks. They're very adaptable buggers. Yes, your water softer and more acidic than ideal, but Neos will thrive in it if all remains stable. I would definitely stop adding KH to a tank with KH absorbing soil. There's no winning that fight, and things will be much more stable if you don't try to.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 10:14 PM
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Not at all, but I suspect that KH is going to drop as the soil does its work. It brings KH to 0 in my tanks. I have Neos living in more acidic parameters in Caridina tanks. They're very adaptable buggers. Yes, your water softer and more acidic than ideal, but Neos will thrive in it if all remains stable. I would definitely stop adding KH to a tank with KH absorbing soil. There's no winning that fight, and things will be much more stable if you don't try to.
Im using Controsoil in my Fluvel Flex with Neo's and the KH will get to 1, but not 0.

Ive stopped adding KH- because I was doing that for a short while before I understood that I shouldn't be doing that.

The Bloody Mary's are not reproducing that prolifically and I have lost some along the way of learning; but, seem to be stable now.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 11:08 PM
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I should point out that I've not used the Tropica product OP is using, and am just going off the literature that it seems to buffer similarly to ADA. Haven't used Controsoil either, but seems Jake had mentioned that he got a batch that didn't buffer the same as previous he'd used. I'm likely not giving enough consideration to the variability of these soils, and should have put a few asterisks in my reply. If this Tropica powder only buffers to a KH of 2, then I would think it should be pretty darn perfect for Neos in a planted tank. A lot of sites recommend 6 or 8 KH, but I've kept Neo colonies in my tap for a decade and it comes out right about 2 KH. I'm of the belief that consistently close (to care sheet recommendations) is better than occasionally perfect but fluctuating. An awful lot of people have healthy colonies on active soils.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 11:25 PM
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I should point out that I've not used the Tropica product OP is using, and am just going off the literature that it seems to buffer similarly to ADA. Haven't used Controsoil either, but seems Jake had mentioned that he got a batch that didn't buffer the same as previous he'd used. I'm likely not giving enough consideration to the variability of these soils, and should have put a few asterisks in my reply. If this Tropica powder only buffers to a KH of 2, then I would think it should be pretty darn perfect for Neos in a planted tank. A lot of sites recommend 6 or 8 KH, but I've kept Neo colonies in my tap for a decade and it comes out right about 2 KH. I'm of the belief that consistently close (to care sheet recommendations) is better than occasionally perfect but fluctuating. An awful lot of people have healthy colonies on active soils.
Thank you for elaborating on this. It helped with my confusion.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2019, 11:48 PM
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I'm of the belief that consistently close (to care sheet recommendations) is better than occasionally perfect but fluctuating.
Agreed. I've learned that consistency is far far more important than perfect parameters.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-2019, 02:51 PM
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Yep, I've found some of those buffering products to be hit-or-miss over the past several years. Only consistent product? ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia. (Also provides for the best plant growth in a low-tech shrimp tank but I digress...)

That's not to say other products aren't perfectly fine. They're just not as consistent as claimed.

.....

As far as Neocaridina go, I've kept them with Caridina several times in the past - generally beginning when they're young - but successes aren't as great as when they're in a tank with at least a bit of carbonate hardness. Most live just as long as you'd think and they do reproduce. Just takes time, stability, keeping up with water changes, making sure there's enough to eat.

Putting adult Neos into typical Crystal parameters doesn't always work out swell. There are often molting and shell development issues. If they reproduce, subsequent generations usually do pretty well.

Most of my Neos have been kept in kH 1-2, as I almost always have some sort of driftwood or leaf litter releasing tannic acid that lowers it by about a degree from my tap source of 2-3. I try to aim for a gH of 7-8 but they're definitely fine at other degrees of hardness. It's just that whole stability thing. Keep everything in similar parameters and it's easier to move them from tank to tank as needed in my personal world.

My next batch of (new) Neos will go into tanks with lower kH and pH because I just can't stop using driftwood in my setups.
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