First of all, thank you all so very much for all of your great advice. As @Greggz
pointed out, I need to learn and that is why I am here. I sincerely appreciate all of the great input and advice.
I still have several questions but I think I am starting to getting a handle on things.
First, most on this thread seem to agree that I need to do more aggressive water changes while others on this forum say they never make water changes. I guess I am going to have to do more research on it as that seems like a hot topic for sure with a lot of different thoughts, even just here on TPT there is a huge variation on what people think about water changes. Everything from never to 50% twice a week!. [HERE
], and [HERE
I think overall there is good advice here to start to make water changes more regularly. I did a 10-gallon water change yesterday, 100% RODI, and I am getting ready to do another 20 gallons today, 100% RODI. Nothing is really open today so I can't get the dechlorinater several have mentioned for my tap water. Once I get a handle on things and more fully understand what is happening with my tank I can make a more personally informed decision.
One of my biggest
questions has to do with using Tap water for changes. My gH is already off the charts (16 dGH) in my tank and my tap water is the same. So every time I do a water change, my gH is going to go off the high end, yet several here are telling me to use a GH booster. Is the idea to use RODI until my gH gets back down and then switch to tap? Will the high levels of gH in my tap water cause me issues over time or would I need to cut my tap with RODI to get my gH to 4? Or do I simply continue to make RODI water changes until my gH gets down to 4 and then do mixed tap/RODI water changes that match a 4gH?
My tap water has a really high GH also, and I used to have a RO unit that I made my own water and put the buffers and everything in then I realized I was spending a lot of time, effort and money to achieve what was free in my tap water.
All you really need is a dechlorinater and all in one fertilizer.
- How do you deal with your high GH if you are using tap water for your water changes? Do you have to add something to bring the GH down or do you just not worry about it at all?
Several have said that there is nothing wrong with high GH, I just want to make absolutely certain that I am understanding that correctly. Others have said to shoot for something around 4 GH. I guess I am still confused on this topic. Trying to do more research took me to this page
where they seemed to think that 3 - 8 dGH was where i wanted to be for a planted tank, which echos what several of you have said here. If that is the case and my tap is 16 dGH, I assume that I need to cut it with RODI water to the 4 dGH mark before doing the water change, is that correct? Or do I just not worry about it at all?
Also what kind of bio media did they sell you for canister? Some of them will become a denitrifying filter once established but depends on media type. Really with your fish load IMHO extra bio media not needed really and in some instances actually becomes detrimental to plant growth by robbing tank of ammonium which is most plants preferred nitrogen source, not nitrates.
- I am using Seachem Matrix Bio Media in both of my filters. My 406 is nothing but the Seachem Matrix Bio Media and after cycling my tank initially, I have never seen any traces of ammonia in my tank. My Senseye shows between 0.009 and 0.010 which matches the 0 I am getting from my API test results. I do really want to end up with a lot of fish and a lot of plants in my tank, I just didn't want to add too many fish too soon for fear of losing them if I screwed something up. I was more worried about my fish and less about my plants and I have had no issues with my fish and all kinds of issues with my plants!!
Here are some things I am still unclear about
1) Is it really OK to use just dechlorinated tap water for water changes given that my GH is so high in my tap water?
2) How often (or at all) should I vacuum my substrate?
3) Is there a good spot to learn about the best types of plants that I can put in my tank? I want a LOT of plants and a LOT of fish (within reason for my tank size) but it seems like my LFS is totally offbase on what they are telling me so I no longer trust their advice, which is what I have done to date on plants and fish. Where can I read up on the best types of plants for my tank?
4) I have another Fluval filter (306) that I was thinking of adding in addition to my FX6 and 406. I have read over and over again that the more filtering the better for your tank. What do you guys think? I have the filter already, should I go ahead and add it?
5) What static, pre-co2 pH should I target for my tank? I have heard anywhere from 6 to 8.5, with API's testing guide saying that 7 is ideal. I assume that this 7 ph is before I starting with my CO2 and that I should target about a 1 PH drop utilizing CO2 and cross-check it utilizing pH and KH based on this chart
. I ordered a drop checker as well with my CO2 kit.
Here is what I am going to do going forward to try and get control of my tank:
1) Increase the frequency of my water changes.
Right now I am going to do frequent RODI water changes until my GH is down to about 4 dGH. It seems like all other water parameters are OK for now with the exception of Nitrates which I address below. Once I have control of my GH I guess I will go to doing mixed water changes with TAP/RODI mixed to keep my GH at a 4. I have a 100GPD RODI system so increasing the frequency and amount of water I change will not be an issue either way.
2) I am going to start on the PPS-Pro method of dosing my tanks.
I have ordered all the necessary nutrients from Colin at Nilocg for the PPS-Pro method. I also ordered an automatic dosing pump to manage the dosing. This should (hopefully) address my issue with Nitrates being at 0! I'm pretty sure that I need to get my water parameters inline (GH) before starting this dosing.
3) Install a CO2 system.
After reading Rex's Planted Tank Guide
, I ordered a CO2ART dual regulator setup and I am going to order the Advanced CO2 Reactor from Colin
as soon as I can determine if my Flugal 406 has enough water flow to support that type of reactor. I have an email into him asking about that. I would rather not put it on my FX6, but I can if I need to do so. I know I can build a reactor on my own, but frankly, my time is better spent elsewhere.
4) Spend time on the advancedplantedtank.com
website (thanks @Greggz
5) Start a tank journal here.
Did I miss anything?