Raising kh for co2 in planted discus tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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Raising kh for co2 in planted discus tank

Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone can provide some advice for my situation. I have a 30g cube tank which is heavily planted, I am currently running DYI co2 via yeast and sugar solution and the tank also houses a few small discus. So far I have been able to keep the ph levels stable at about a 7.2 - I know this ph is not exactly ideal for discus - however the discus are used to this ph level and do not mind the slightly higher than ideal ph. However, I am running into a problem with keeping the kh high enough for co2 diffusion and what would be ideal for my plants (mainly swords and annubias). The kh and gh out of my tap is 2 dkh - so my tap water is already soft but carries a stable ph of 7.2. - My main problem here is raising the kh high enough for co2 without having a major ph impact - in other words I dont want to destabilize the ph or even have a higher stabilized ph - as that would definitely be bad for the discus. - another issue is that within a short time of doing a water change - the kh in my tank lowers to 0-1 dkh. I have a couple of ideas but I'm just not sure which will work best for my needs.

Option #1 is to use alkaline buffer to raise the kh during small water changes to slowly raise the kh without having a major ph increase on the entire tank - I have tried this before and the problem is that it eventually reaches a point where the ph in the tank rises too much.

Option #2 is to use a combination of alkaline buffer and discus buffer to raise the kh but buffer the ph at a more acidic level - the only problem I foresee here is that the discus buffer is going to begin to soften the water - depleting the kh and gh - which brings me back to square one with very soft acidic water

Option #3 is to use a combination of alkaline buffer and acid buffer to raise the kh but buffer the ph at a more acidic level - this is also an option that would benefit the plants since acid buffer helps to create co2 - my only reservation with this option is that acid buffer is very strong and is easily misused. - also the problem I am having is trying to avoid using a method that requires using two competing products (such as acid and alkaline buffer) in my experience this leads to kind of a tug of war between the products and I am constantly regulating ph levels - in other words the ph is not stabilized well and crashes easily. - Please help - anyone - your advice would be greatly appreciated - I would love to finally get a handle on this situation - Thank You!!!!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 03:13 PM
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i am by from an expert on plants or discus but you should really have a bigger tank if you want your discus to grow to the 7-9in mark. a 30 gal tank is would be tight for a pair let alone more... as for the plants i do not think you would even need CO2 for those specific plants. i had swords in my 125 when i had discus and they thrived with no additional nutrients .
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by flukekiller View Post
i am by from an expert on plants or discus but you should really have a bigger tank if you want your discus to grow to the 7-9in mark. a 30 gal tank is would be tight for a pair let alone more... as for the plants i do not think you would even need CO2 for those specific plants. i had swords in my 125 when i had discus and they thrived with no additional nutrients .
I agree - these fish are not in a permanent tank and are under 3" as of now ... my problem rests in my tap water bc it is stripped of nutrients and extremely soft and this is not good for the plants and plants cant thrive without it , the water must be somewhat soft bc of the discus but it is just way too soft - especially since the kh drops to 0 shortly after a water change - the low kh but almost neutral ph out of the tap indicates that the water is stripped and buffered - in other words my local water co is removing all elements from the water and using a buffer to raise the ph since that water this soft would typically have a much lower ph then 7.2 and would not be drinkable due to the acidity. I am also pretty sure the water is stripped since that I have had problems with iron deficiency also - which was rectified with Flourish iron and flourish substrate tabs
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-19-2013, 06:00 PM
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I don't believe you need to do anything at all to your water, except to dose macro and trace elements as necessary, by way of ferts for your plants.
Firstly, you needn't mess with the pH - Discus can thrive just fine in pH up to 8.0 so long as it maintains relatively stable. Using any water buffers whatsoever is not recommended at all for a discus tank.
In my area, the water out of the tap is quite soft - 6.8 - with low or non-existent levels of GH & KH. The lack of mineral content produces no problem for keeping discus, and the plants simply need some ferts to keep them doing well.
Have a look at a couple of sets of pics of my discus set-ups in planted environment.
I've kept my tanks that way for years, using simply root tabs and liquid ferts in the water column.
With discus, one should avoid any type of tank/water treatments with chemicals.

http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/...spaul/Sept2011
http://s1105.photobucket.com/albums/...3RedSnakeSkins

And btw, my tanks are low tech, and you may be running some risks with your discus by using DIY CO2 - chancy at the best of times.
Your pH @ 7.2 is just excellent for discus.
Just my .02
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