Maybe time for a do-over? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 12:39 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe time for a do-over?

I have this 5 gallon plastic tank that I have been pondering over for about 8 months. I can't keep anything alive in it, besides plants. I think even the pond snails have called it quits. So I'm thinking of ripping everything out and starting over; I have a 10 gallon sitting empty anyway! But I figured I should try to figure out a few things first.

I've done extensive water testing on this tank, and the pH is consistently higher than any other tank I keep. I even have peat in the filter and it's still high - about 8. I have a 20g running at 7.4 - 7.6. I removed the 'lace rock' I had in the tank as that was causing some of the problem.

My substrate so far is a mix of laterite with black exoterra sand. I've tested the sand for its effects on water quality outside the tank, and I'm pretty sure that's not the problem. I've asked on a different forum about people using this in tanks, and none of those people have experienced problems.

I'm using a Zoo med 501 on the tank, filled with lava rock, a bag of peat and the sponge that it comes with. Pretty sure no problem there... unless the peat isn't really peat? I'm using those peat pellets from Home Depot you can use for starting seeds. The ones that are compressed and then balloon up in size when they are wet.

The tank has a couple anubias, a cypress, saggitaria subulata, Brasiliensis mauritiana, and a wack of different crypts. Over all this time the anubias have not put out any new leaves. They aren't dead, just no new leaves. I'm not adding any ferts or root tabs so that's probably a major reason. I'm not really worried, and I've only been dealing with brown algae.

When I redo this tank I'd like to use a dark substrate again (eventually hoping to make this a RCS tank) but I don't want to replace it every year. What should I use? Black Beauty maybe? I'm fine with using root tabs for the current plant list, or even fertilizing the water column if I need to.

Is the current filtration enough for a 10 gallon shrimp tank? If I need to step it up I'd probably go with an eheim canister.

Lighting would be a 10g hood with CF bulbs. I think I have 13 watt right now, but with 2 bulbs maybe knock that down to 9 watts each?

I did test the water if anyone is going to ask about parameters, it's all zero.

Suggest away!!!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 01:58 AM
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If all sorts of livestock have died in that tank I would keep on trying to find an answer.

1) Peat that is intended for gardening, like starting seeds MIGHT have some fertilizer in it. Maybe. Do you still have the package? Can you read the label? Or, if you still have one that that you have not used put that in a glass of water and test the water with all the tests you have. TDS meter would show if there are other things in the water that you do not have tests for.

2) Are there any other things in the tank? You say you have tested the substrate separately, what tests did you use? GH, KH, pH, and TDS would be the obvious ones, do you have any others?

3) Have you ever used any copper medicines in this tank? Copper, no matter why you might add it to the tank seems to linger long after you would think it was gone, and shrimp or snails might die.

4) If you can remove each item separately and put it in a container big enough for a few pond snails or shrimp (those cheap Glass? Ghost? shrimp) see if each item individually kills them.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 11-26-2012, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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1) Before I put the peat in the filter I did that exact thing. I put it in a jar of water and measured pH for a couple of days just to make sure it was going to lower it. I forgot that I did that.

2) I tested pH, GH, KH. I hadn't tested TDS cause my meter hadn't come yet. So I just tested it now. I did a water change on the tank earlier today, maybe 4 hours ago, TDS reads 200. Which is about the same as my tap water, something seems fishy there but I don't what.

There is a piece of plastic in the tank as well. I hadn't thought to test that seperately before but it is the only think in the tank that I haven't tested seperately for. I'll see what happens in a few days.

3) have never used any meds or anything in this tank. Although I did buy it used, so who knows. Tried to give it a good cleaning when I got it.
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