What a pain..... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
GreenEmber's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Australia, Victoria
Posts: 136
What a pain.....

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the forum, I have recently become interested in having a wicked planted tank, so I have set up a basic 3ft plant tank, that was originally a standard tropical tank.
Now I am having a few issues with some products that I have used in the tank(which came dam close to killing my fish).
I guess I should start from the beginning....so I have a standard 3ft tank, I am running a Fluval 304 for filtration and a old heater plus an undergravel heater, 2 double T5 reflectors with high output tubes, I was running a basic Red Sea CO2 unit, but for now I have taken it off for the time being.
So after a couple of weeks after adding the undergravel heater, T5 lights, CO2, the plants I had in there took off it was awesome!
I made sure that the Ph/Kh/Gh was balanced and it was set to a slightly acidic Ph, also the lights are on for 11 hours a day....so after a period of time I start to get some algae problems, I traced it down to the Kh powder I was using contained Phosphates and there was Phosphates coming through the tap water too, so....I tried Seachem Alkaline Buffer and Acidic Buffer, they state that they don't contain phosphates.....well I used the ratio on the bottle to achieve a Ph of 6.5, it tested this in my tank after adding it to the water.
Well after half an hour my fish were gasping at the surface so I straight away tested everything, Ph was fine, Gh was fine and so was everything else except for the Kh....that tested at 8dKH which was much higher than it had ever tested before, so I added some tap water which is very low in KH that seemed to help alot. My water has been really cloudy since I used these products also...
So that was a few days ago, tonight I tested the Ph and it was reading 7.8 way, way too high for acidic loving tetras...so I had to forcibly lower the ph down to 7.0 using ph down powder, I am going to lower it again tomorrow to around 6.8....I have lost a few fish from this so I just want my tank to be stable again.....
So after this dramatic post, I would like to know is there a Kh powder that does not contain Phosphates other than Seachem Acidic/Alkaline buffer?
Or should I just keep using the Kh powder I was using in the first place....
GreenEmber is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 04:05 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 1,231
If you want your tank to be stable you will need to stop adding ANY of the chemical buffers. They do more harm than good as you are already finding out. It is best to leave your pH alone, the fish will adapt unless you have a particularly sensitive species. If you feel that you absolutely must lower your pH the only safe and truly effective way to do it is to get an RO/DI unit. A lot of folks use pure RO/DI water but you can also mix it with your tap water at a percentage that helps you to hit your target pH.
captain_bu is offline  
post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 04:05 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
waterfaller1's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,310
Send a message via AIM to waterfaller1
Why not use natural methods to lower the PH? RO water, peat in filter...
I use mostly RO water on all my fw tanks. I actually have to use a little tap to raise it in my 20 gal, as I have press. CO2 and Amazonia aquasoil.
WELCOME to TPT!
waterfaller1 is offline  
 
post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 04:06 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
waterfaller1's Avatar
 
PTrader: (70/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,310
Send a message via AIM to waterfaller1
Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_bu View Post
If you want your tank to be stable you will need to stop adding ANY of the chemical buffers. They do more harm than good as you are already finding out. It is best to leave your pH alone, the fish will adapt unless you have a particularly sensitive species. If you feel that you absolutely must lower your pH the only safe and truly effective way to do it is to get an RO/DI unit. A lot of folks use pure RO/DI water but you can also mix it with your tap water at a percentage that helps you to hit your target pH.
Not RO/DI, RO. RO/DI is for sw tanks. RO/DI is totally stripped of everything.
waterfaller1 is offline  
post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 04:16 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
jaidexl's Avatar
 
PTrader: (42/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 33919
Posts: 3,500
The answer to your problems is to stop monkeying with your water parameters. Pet stores will have you believe it's necessary so you dump all your money into the additives. The real killer is when people start fooling around with the water. Fish don't care about pH, don't care about alkalinity either, they care about hardness and steady TDS / conductivity. Read fishbase.org profiles if you want to know what hardness a certain species prefers, dH is the same as dGH and GH. Note that they don't waste time stating pH or alkalinity, the only people who push that are store employees and hobbyists who are still in the dark and listening to everything the LFS tells them.

FYI, alkaline buffer is baking soda. The price of Arm and Hammer is the reason why Seachem's MSDS for Alk buffer won't tell you anything.

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/gh_kh_ph.php

http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-chem.html
jaidexl is offline  
post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 04:29 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
jaidexl's Avatar
 
PTrader: (42/100%)
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 33919
Posts: 3,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by waterfaller1 View Post
Not RO/DI, RO. RO/DI is for sw tanks. RO/DI is totally stripped of everything.
Agreed, using DI in a FW tank is a waist of DI resin.
jaidexl is offline  
post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 05:24 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Bugman's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Hillsboro, Ga.
Posts: 792
Have to agree, stop trying to agressivily change your PH. The fish will adapt. But they cannot handle the stress of the changes you are making. It is the abrupt changes that are usually the cause of death in these cases.

Larry Bugg
Atlanta Area Aquarium Association
North American Discus Association - Vice President
Bugman is offline  
post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 08:07 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (120/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 1,885
Welcome to the forum


I agree with the people above. The reason your fish were gasping is a lack of O2 in the water. Since you do not have pressurized CO2 I kinda doubt thats the issue. Try creating more surface agitation if you see it keep happening.

Don't worry about pH, KH, GH or any of those unless you have very sensitive fish (wild caught) or one of the very few plants that needs soft water (toninas). Even then the buffers won't help it at all, you would need to use RO or tap filtered with peat (but peat turns your water brownish).

Reduce your lights to 8hrs and maybe alternate them so both bulbs aren't on at the same time (do a search on the forum for noon burst).

Phosphate does not cause algae. Having not enough CO2, nitriate, phosphate, of potassium will cause algae. You can reduce the demands for those nutrients by reducing your lighting. I would recommend getting a drop checker to make sure you have enough CO2 (and think about investing in a pressurized setup for stability and controllability), and start dosing ferts in your tank once your sure your CO2 is correct. Not enough CO2 for your light is usually the reason for algae problems.
oblongshrimp is offline  
post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-23-2008, 09:23 PM
Pelvicachromis Lover!
 
Complexity's Avatar
 
PTrader: (34/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 5,090
I agree with all of the above, mostly to stop trying to change your pH. My pH straight from the tap is a solid 8.0, and I have lots of cardinal tetras, two apistos, torpedo barbs, dwarf cichlids (well, they like the high pH), loaches, pleco, RCS, Borasas, and more and more. They are all doing great!

Have you ever jumped into a swimming pool with somewhat cold water? After you get used to it, it doesn't feel so cold. Same with hot water. It's not that either water is too cold or too hot, but it's the abrupt change in temperature that gets us when we first jump in.

This is basically the same for pH and fish. As long as you acclimate them to a higher pH, they're fine. But if the pH starts changing quickly, that will harm them even if the pH is within their "stated" range. Abruptly changing your pH with buffers to go up and down is no different than if we put you in a cold pool, moved you to a hot on, then back to a cold one, etc. After a while, you're not going to feel too good. But if we put you in a pool with your normal temperature and slowly added hot or cold water, you'd adjust to the temperature change without too many problems.

The best thing you can do for your fish is to maintain a very stable environment, and that includes keeping the pH stable. The fish don't care whether it's high or low as long as it doesn't change.

What you'll find in the stores, unfortunately, are a lot of gimmicks that cause much more harm than good. They are there to make money off the beginners. If they can get people to buy a bunch of products they don't need, only for their fish to get sick which brings the customer back into the store for more products and meds, only to have the fish die, so the customer goes back again to buy more fish! And it goes on and on until either the customer gets lucky, learns to stop using the stuff or gives up. For every one that gives up, there will be a new one ready to buy those same harmful products, and it all continues.

Also be very careful when buying any fish or plants from major chain pet stores, such as PetCo and PetSmart. They are not run by dedicated fish lovers who base their entire financial security on the quality of their advice and products, but are run instead by a teenager or young adult who was hired to do a job without any true experience, knowledge or training of the care of aquariums, plants and most fish. The employees may mean well (and I've heard some say they are taught to push their store brand products), but without any real hands on knowledge and experience, they're only regurgitating what they've been told without knowing if the information is true or not.

My suggestion is that you start from the basics and work your way up. I'd keep your light low and use short photo periods to prevent an algae breakout while you're learning more about the proper care of a planted tank. Definitely change your water until you get your pH to whatever is coming out of your tap. To do this, I'd do many small water changes every day. As you do the water changes, your true pH will gradually take over as all the buffers that were put in are slowly removed.

During this time, you can turn your CO2 back on, but watch the fish for signs of stress. If they begin to show stress, turn the CO2 down a notch. If that works, then you've probably got it set right. Make sure you either turn your pH off when the lights or off or you use a pH controller to maintain a level amount of CO2 during the night.

After you have your pH and CO2 going, the next step is to start using fertilizers for your plants. The dry ferts are cheap and easy to use. It may sound confusing at first, but it's actually pretty simple once you get going.

THEN, after you have your pH stable, your CO2 running well and your fertilizers being dosed on schedule, you can inch your light up with brighter light and/or longer photo periods. Just take it slowly as the light is the main thing that can make or break a planted tank. If you begin to get algae, first identify which algae you have. That will give you a clue as to what is needed to stop the algae.

The whole thing is a balancing act. Keep your pH stable at all times. Then offer the plants enough CO2 and fertilizers to keep up with the light you're using. The more light, the more you will need to have your CO2 and ferts going well. Bright light is unforgiving. Low to medium light is easier, especially when first starting out.

I'm sorry you were given such bad advice to have you use the buffering products or that you simply fell prey to the companies making them (I have some pH Down in my cabinet so you're not alone; I should throw it away now that I'm thinking of it). But not all is lost. With just a little help and a step by step approach, you'll have a tank you can really enjoy and that won't be a pain to maintain.

Vicki —Rena Filstar pimp #142 (four XP4s/three XP2s/one XP1) • Eheim pimp #301 (Pro II 2128) • Victor pimp #27 (VTS-253B-320)

• 90g -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Moliwe' —— • 75g -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Pelvicachromis pulcher 'Lagos Red'
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

• 29g -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Pelvicachromis pulcher 'unknown' —-- • 29g - Pelvicachromis taeniatus 'Moliwe'
• 5g - RCS colony —————————————————— • 2.5g -
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Retired
Complexity is offline  
post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2008, 02:32 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
GreenEmber's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Australia, Victoria
Posts: 136
Thank you all for your advice and welcomes , I am an experienced fish keeper and have worked in the aquarium industry for 5 years and kept fish for over 10 years hehe but this is first time I have set up CO2 and proper lighting, sooo I will be asking lots of questions regarding CO2 hehe.

Most of my fish are sensitive and are wild caught tetras mostly but I do have other wild caught fish in there too....so I have to be careful what the Ph does.

It is definately a balancing act, silly thing is the other 3ft tank I have is going great guns and I never stuff with it much lol. The plants which are mostly anubis species and thin val are literally taking over the tank, everytime I water change the tank I have to trim the val back. The fact that I never stuff with it probly why it's going great.

I do know what it is like in pet shops, selling gimicks that don't work or kill fish...I am one of the very, very few that tell people straight up I think they don't need whatever they were told to buy, by other people/pet shops. I manage about 70 tanks at work so I am kept very, very busy with that but I love it. I guess I should of just followed my gut feeling and not bought the Acidic/Alkaline buffer, sigh.

I think the first thing I need to do after I get my ph stable is to invest in proper pressurised CO2 system, even though my plants are still going nuts without the CO2.... the system I am running now is very basic, I can't regulate the CO2 at all and the yeast mix fizzled out after a month.
I forgot to mention I am fertilizing my plants with chelated iron plant tablets.

I know the types of algae I have in the tank too, I have brush algae but the SAE are taking care of that, I also have staghorn algae that one is a bit more of a pain in the butt, I am mostly manually removing it from time to time.

Well I will go back to basics again, and work my way back up again....I'll post pictures of my tanks too soon
GreenEmber is offline  
post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-24-2008, 04:09 AM
Guest
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,150
my ph is 7.8 out the tap, i have tetras in it that are nearly 2 years old, As a general rule FW are less touchy to ph than SW so i agree with everyone above just quit messing with it and add an air stone. If you want to clear the cloudiness try filling a panty hose leg with carbon, tie a knot in the cut off the excess and drop it in. USE NEW PANTY HOSE ONLY!
vance71975 is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome