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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey y'all, still cycling a tank at the moment but nearing the end from what I can see but I've been seeing some spots where the plants were... burning/melting? I've had these in the tank since the start of the cycle about 3 weeks (1/20) and these started appearing a few days ago. They seem to randomly appear in spots and it seems to affect any nearby plants (as seen in the AR) and the leaves that have them can be pulled off easily. I just started doing the full EI this week after waiting out the cycle a bit (I was dosing only phosphates and potassium from K2SO4). Nitrites are doing down by about 0.25~0.5ppm in a 24 hour cycle. I just dosed another 2ppm of ammonia today.

Measurements:
12G long (9~10gal actual)
Ammonia: 0ppm (but just dosed back to 2ppm)
Nitrites: <0.25ppm
Nitrates: 5ppm (but dosed 1/16tsp this morning and didn't get a chance to measure yet)
CO2: ~30ppm (according to DC w/ 4dkh) On 2 hours before start and off 1 hour before the end of the photoperiod
Temp: 75F (fluctuates from 73.4F~75F from controller)
Current Satellite Pro Plus (Full spectrum @ 70% was 8hrs but backed down to 7hrs today)
Oase filtosmart thermo 100 w/ seachem matrix filled in 50% of the canister (I cut the center foam in half)

Dosing (Nilocg dry ferts):
KNO3: 1/16tsp
KH2PO4: 1/64tsp
K2SO4: 1/64tsp
CSM+B: 1/64tsp
11% DTPA: ~38mg

Tap water is a little soft according to my measurements
KH: 1
GH: ~3
Dosed about 1.35g of epsom salt today to bring the total Mg up to around 5ppm
(Tap water analysis)

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Ah, I miss Seattle's soft water.

Yeah, you will want to look into bumping up the Gh to atleast 4. My personal recommendation is to go to 6 since you have a small tank and run co2. I had issues when I ran at 4 dGh. Small tank with co2. But that could just be me. :)

Is that dry Ferts dosing per week or 3x per week?

What substrate are you running on?

I realize you are just coming out of cycling but perhaps take a look at dosing numbers? To me it seems that your K is a bit low?

Here are my numbers on my 10gal (~8 total) pictured below. I dose by the gram into a 500 ml bottle so I'll give ppm for the week.

No3 - 6.26ppm (I have Aquasoil so nitrates are abundant, just now getting down into the 20's)
PO4 - 3.18ppm (I have never tested but doesn't seem to be an issue)
K - 27.59ppm

Hope that helps!


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm dosing those 3x per week on alternating days for macro/micros. The MgSO4 is just once a week after water change (started today), this should technically raise it a bit (like 1dGH?) but should I get a dedicated GH booster instead? Also what about the KH? Since the PH is already around 8.2 out of the tap, apparently boosted by lime?, I'm worried about raising the PH too much D:

The substrate is Flourite black with 10 flourish root tabs spread around the substrate and 2 00 sized tabs of osmocote+ bordering the MC. And yeah K is probably lacking as well since I just started dosing nitrates :\
 

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Hmm.. I‘m looking at the photos. Are you talking specifically about the holes you can see in the leaves of the s. repens? When you dose the dry salts are you mixing it with any tank water or are you just tossing it in. If it’s the leaves on the repens, maybe when you dose some of the Mg or other ferts are landing on the leaves and causing damage to the surface of them which burns through. I feel like I’ve accidentally done this with Mg when some of the epsom salt granules landed on my plant leaves and dissolved on them burning the leaf. anyway. Curious to see what you discover.
 

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I'm dosing those 3x per week on alternating days for macro/micros. The MgSO4 is just once a week after water change (started today), this should technically raise it a bit (like 1dGH?) but should I get a dedicated GH booster instead? Also what about the KH? Since the PH is already around 8.2 out of the tap, apparently boosted by lime?, I'm worried about raising the PH too much D:

The substrate is Flourite black with 10 flourish root tabs spread around the substrate and 2 00 sized tabs of osmocote+ bordering the MC. And yeah K is probably lacking as well since I just started dosing nitrates :\
Gh will not affect pH. And lime in Seattle? Lol! :)

What's the pH after you let it sit for a bit? Very, very difficult to get pH to stay at 8 with a kh of 1. Maybe the kh reading is off?

From my years keeping fish up in the Seattle area I recall they like to artificially raise the pH so pipes won't corrode. This dissipates over time. Can't remember how long that took though. Not days. But there are many micro "climates" in the Seattle area so you may have something weird going on.

Maybe @Seattle_Aquarist can jump in and correct my mistakes?

The ratio of Ca:Mg is important. You have a little leeway with that but generally it's preferred to have somewhere in the 3:1, to 2:1 ratio Ca:Mg as you see a few people on here do as well as myself. So you would want to compare your existing to what you are adding. I didn't look that hard at your water report. You have the MgSO4. It wouldn't be difficult to add some Ca to roll your own booster.

Ah, osmocote. I was wondering if you had any Aquasoil in there. Aquasoil would keep your nitrates high so you wouldn't have to add as much. Not sure what happens if the osmocote leaches but it doesn't look like it affects nitrates.

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Hmm.. I‘m looking at the photos. Are you talking specifically about the holes you can see in the leaves of the s. repens? When you dose the dry salts are you mixing it with any tank water or are you just tossing it in. If it’s the leaves on the repens, maybe when you dose some of the Mg or other ferts are landing on the leaves and causing damage to the surface of them which burns through. I feel like I’ve accidentally done this with Mg when some of the epson salt granules landed on my plant leaves and dissolved on them burning the leaf. anyway. Curious to see what you discover.
Yeah the holes and melt around it. I mix them with some tank water in a separate container then trickle it in around the lily pipe outlet.

Gh will not affect pH. And lime in Seattle? Lol! :)

What's the pH after you let it sit for a bit? Very, very difficult to get pH to stay at 8 with a kh of 1. Maybe the kh reading is off?

From my years keeping fish up in the Seattle area I recall they like to artificially raise the pH so pipes won't corrode. This dissipates over time. Can't remember how long that took though. Not days. But there are many micro "climates" in the Seattle area so you may have something weird going on.

Maybe @Seattle_Aquarist can jump in and correct my mistakes?

The ratio of Ca:Mg is important. You have a little leeway with that but generally it's preferred to have somewhere in the 3:1, to 2:1 ratio Ca:Mg as you see a few people on here do as well as myself. So you would want to compare your existing to what you are adding. I didn't look that hard at your water report. You have the MgSO4. It wouldn't be difficult to add some Ca to roll your own booster.

Ah, osmocote. I was wondering if you had any Aquasoil in there. Aquasoil would keep your nitrates high so you wouldn't have to add as much. Not sure what happens if the osmocote leaches but it doesn't look like it affects nitrates.

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I'm not sure lol. I just read somewhere on the Northshore water district and seattle's supplier that was how they artificially increased the PH. I haven't tried letting some water sit out then measuring but I'll do that tonight. My PH during mid photoperiod is around... 6.6ish. I see pearling on all the plants throughout the tank so CO2 seems sufficient maybe. Also good to know about the GH booster, I think I was just mixing up Seachem's "gh booster" which said "PH up" which I probably misread lmao.

I could get some Ca to manually mix in some gh booster (1:1:1 or some other ratio?) but I only bought about 1/2lb of the K2SO4 so I figured I'd just get a premix from Nilocg or maybe Seachem equilibrium? The water report says it has a Ca ppm of around 9.2ppm and Mg of 1.08ppm which I guess is pretty low lol so I could just boost everything xD

I moved here last summer from SoCal so I'm used to much harder water haha
 

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Can you post a full tank shot? If you have a bunch of flourish root tabs as well as osmocote AND you are dosing your water column for the EI dosing, then I do not think you have a nutrient deficiency happening in your tank. I’d look at your CO2 and also turn the light down. It doesn’t look (and I’m just going off of the photo you have posted) that your tank is fully planted so I don’t think you should worry so much about the nutrients when they are in way adequate supply. Do you have any livestock in the tank? Seeing your repens leaves melt like that may can sometimes mean too much light. I’ve grown a lot of repens carpets and use it in a bunch of my scapes, so I ‘d turn the light down if it is starting to melt. It is not a high light plant. Yes, you can throw a bunch of light at it and it will grow more compact, but that’s not where it thrives IME. I’ve grown a repens carpet with only 30% output on a fluval 3.0 light without any problem whatsoever. I think your light is too bright and your CO2 could increase especially if you don’t have any livestock in there. Take a break from analyzing the ferts.

What kind of rock is that in there and how many rocks like that are in the tank? If it contains any lime than it will increase your GH and with the co2 increase your KH and lower your pH over time. Having a GH of 4 and a GH of 6 is not a huge difference and I don’t think that should worry you at all about that little difference. Yes, the ratio of CA to Mg is somewhat important, but it is not causing your plants to look like that. Ca and Mg deficiencies look different from what your plants are experiencing. I think it’s very easy to try to pinpoint fert issues when the real problem is the light and CO2. EI is meant, as I’m sure you know, to provide more than enough nutrients for your plants. But it is also meant to be the most effective in fully planted and thriving aquariums. That’s why water changes are so important in the startup of a tank. You want to provide nutrients, which you are, but if you don’t have enough co2 for the amount of light you are putting on the plants than those nutrients are going to waste. hence the balance we talk about so often in the hobby And the desire to find it.

Starting to ramble here...I’m in LA and have switched to RO water because of the Copper that‘s in mine where I live in and the over abundance of Calcium. I do 60% water changes weekly and only use Mg and the Seiryu/ryuoh stones in my tank to remineralize. And then add P and K and a little N depending on how my plants are looking. The micros I get are from dosing Plantex (CSM+B) and some root tabs that I have played around with. And that’s it. My co2 is around 55ppm or higher and I’m running a wrgb2 overhead at around 65% for 6 hours only. Still trying to dial in a sweet spot where all plants are happy, but the one plant that I always look at that tells me where I am in the tank is the S. Repens. Too little N and it starts to show signs of chlorosis, which looks like Mg or Manganese deficiency but it is not...and I know this because they are in ample supply in the water. The best looking Repens I ever grew was after a 3 day blackout a year a go after trying to battle a diatom bloom from adding too many silicates with new soil. When I uncovered the tank the repens was pristine.

I’d turn the light down and give the plant some more time to adjust and then slowly step on the gas with the light and co2 when it turns the corner, and take your foot off the gas when the algae takes over. IMHO. Good luck. -el g
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Can you post a full tank shot? If you have a bunch of flourish root tabs as well as osmocote AND you are dosing your water column for the EI dosing, then I do not think you have a nutrient deficiency happening in your tank. I’d look at your CO2 and also turn the light down. It doesn’t look (and I’m just going off of the photo you have posted) that your tank is fully planted so I don’t think you should worry so much about the nutrients when they are in way adequate supply. Do you have any livestock in the tank? Seeing your repens leaves melt like that may can sometimes mean too much light. I’ve grown a lot of repens carpets and use it in a bunch of my scapes, so I ‘d turn the light down if it is starting to melt. It is not a high light plant. Yes, you can throw a bunch of light at it and it will grow more compact, but that’s not where it thrives IME. I’ve grown a repens carpet with only 30% output on a fluval 3.0 light without any problem whatsoever. I think your light is too bright and your CO2 could increase especially if you don’t have any livestock in there. Take a break from analyzing the ferts.

What kind of rock is that in there and how many rocks like that are in the tank? If it contains any lime than it will increase your GH and with the co2 increase your KH and lower your pH over time. Having a GH of 4 and a GH of 6 is not a huge difference and I don’t think that should worry you at all about that little difference. Yes, the ratio of CA to Mg is somewhat important, but it is not causing your plants to look like that. Ca and Mg deficiencies look different from what your plants are experiencing. I think it’s very easy to try to pinpoint fert issues when the real problem is the light and CO2. EI is meant, as I’m sure you know, to provide more than enough nutrients for your plants. But it is also meant to be the most effective in fully planted and thriving aquariums. That’s why water changes are so important in the startup of a tank. You want to provide nutrients, which you are, but if you don’t have enough co2 for the amount of light you are putting on the plants than those nutrients are going to waste. hence the balance we talk about so often in the hobby And the desire to find it.

Starting to ramble here...I’m in LA and have switched to RO water because of the Copper that‘s in mine where I live in and the over abundance of Calcium. I do 60% water changes weekly and only use Mg and the Seiryu/ryuoh stones in my tank to remineralize. And then add P and K and a little N depending on how my plants are looking. The micros I get are from dosing Plantex (CSM+B) and some root tabs that I have played around with. And that’s it. My co2 is around 55ppm or higher and I’m running a wrgb2 overhead at around 65% for 6 hours only. Still trying to dial in a sweet spot where all plants are happy, but the one plant that I always look at that tells me where I am in the tank is the S. Repens. Too little N and it starts to show signs of chlorosis, which looks like Mg or Manganese deficiency but it is not...and I know this because they are in ample supply in the water. The best looking Repens I ever grew was after a 3 day blackout a year a go after trying to battle a diatom bloom from adding too many silicates with new soil. When I uncovered the tank the repens was pristine.

I’d turn the light down and give the plant some more time to adjust and then slowly step on the gas with the light and co2 when it turns the corner, and take your foot off the gas when the algae takes over. IMHO. Good luck. -el g
Definitely not heavily planted imho since the only fast growing plant I have is the rotala h'ra in the back right (it's growing pretty fast and starting to want to carpet actually). I was originally algae free but ended up getting some when I got a plant from dustinsfishtank 😬 (thread algae) a bit of staghorn from the h'ra (but that's kinda settled down now).

I currently don't have any livestock as well since I'm waiting for the fishless cycle to finish. I've been dosing ammonia to 2ppm and waiting for that and nitrites to get down <0.25ppm before redosing and waiting to see that magic 24 hour cycle conversion.

The rocks are ohko/dragon rock. I've given them all a thorough rinse but there's always going to be some silt in there probably. CO2 I currently have it sitting around the lime green/borderline yellow level for the most part. It sits around green before the lights turn on. I did have the lights on for 8 hours but I backed it down to 7 today. Maybe it's actually too much light? The rotala's want to go down to the substrate and don't really want to grow up as much. The fissidens definitely love it (as well as the green thread algae now 😩)

Plants:
Montecarlo
S. Repens
Fissidens Fontanus
AR Roseafolia (got this at petsmart but it looks more like v. rosanervig?)
Rotala H'ra

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I'm going to differ from @Fat Guy on the details but the end result would be the same.

Lower your lights or get particular about your Ferts. :)

My recommendations were based on tank volume, which is small, and pushing your plants with good light and co2.

At that level you don't want to be sitting at minimums. That's when algae jumps in. Of course lowering your light would reduce the need for exact ratios and dosing regimens.

If you are up for some reading, look up ADA dosing approach. With it's reliance on a nutrient rich substrate it's a bit different then EI dosing. Might fit your scape better as well.

Although I will still say you need more Gh & K, lol! :)





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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's using the Brighty pre-mixed doses and aquasoil right? It seems like it's low on N and P while giving enough K, or something haha. I'll definitely be getting GH booster since I plan on having cherry shrimps.

In terms of light I can always back it down a but to like... 50% or something.
 

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Yeah the Brighty K stuff is pretty much just potassium dosing. The plants are getting the nutrients from the NH3/NH4 in the aquasoil In abundance so they need the K and also an additional P to balance out the Macros. You’ve packed your soil with root tabs and osmocote (which osmocote btw) so you are providing ferts in the soil AND the water column when you dry dose in ample supply . That leaf damage on the repens is in no way from a low GH or KH, especially being so immediate. It’s most likely an environmental response to your tank and the light/co2 change it is experiencing. This plant has a tendency to drop its leaves as well when there is a sudden change in the tank, usually, IME being from CO2

Also, Any type of hair algae is usually a sign of inadequate co2 for the amount of light you are using. Staghorn can show up for a multiple of reasons...NH4..NH3...poor flow...low co2....organic waste...etc It will grow more rapidly under higher light, but I’ve also seen it and have experienced it over the years in lower light as well. For me the staghorn is a combination of a lot of things and if it shows up in an established tank then it’s a red flag that something is off. But Each of these algae can be remedied. Your problem may also be co2 distribution. You may want to invest in an inline atomizer down the line to get the bubbles distributed more evenly. What are the dimensions of that tank? I’m looking at some 12 longs that are like 36” x 8” x 10”. That’s a cool length. Is that what yours is? If it is then yeah, your light too bright. Usually these lights are designed to be at least twice as high above the soil when run full strength...say 18” or higher...So the intensity I think is too much. It causes no harm to decrease the intensity of the light until you get a hang on the other stuff. I like that you used risers to lift the light off the surface. But once you get a hold of the plant issues, then you can increase it, but you are going to have algae problems soon and if you don’t address the light you’re going to be chasing the horizon line for a solution. Get ready for the diatom bloom :)

Keeping cherry shrimp is a great idea. And yes, in that case they will like an additional boost of GH since I think dragon stone is pretty much inert. But getting your KH higher isn’t that big of an issue for me here since it is already present in the water, unless you are using RO. RCS and especially CRS like soft acidic water so having a KH of 1 is fine. Grab some SALTYSHRIMP or SHRIMPKING GH for the tank and dose per instructions. The shrimp need the Calcium in the GH so that’s a must. But since you are using tap water, you are going to want to double check your water quality report from your city. Pay close attention to the Copper. Here in South Pasadena, the copper in the pipes measures anywhere between .3-.5 !! Maybe a really really really hardy amano can sustain that...but not for long, and your cherries sure as heck won’t, so look out for that. If you have any levels like that than you are going to have to change your strategy to keep RCS. Either you go RO or get a filter like a Berkey that will filter out the heavy metals from your water (including copper).

That’s all I got. Of course I’m open to other suggestions for you here and you can do any of the above. IME Light and CO2 are your main problems here. Be patient and listen to your plants. There’s no faking the way that they grow. So try and fail and try and fail and eventually try and succeed. Best, el g.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Yup its 36x8x9 (12g mr.aqua) so pretty long amd shallow. I have 2 drop checkers at each ends of the tank and they're pretty similar at lime green/yellowish. The plants on the left side are pearling too so I assumed they're doing alright 🤔

The staghorn was from another users plants that I got (it's only on their plants) and the thread algae was from plants from dustinsfishtank. The diatoms are definitely from my tank though haha but they're expected from cycling so I'm not worried much.

The thing is that they've been in the same intensity light (70%) for a while so I assumed they'd be fine with it. The only thing was that nitrites spiked past 5ppm (maxed out the api test) and then I did a 25% then 2 subsequent 80% water changes the following 2 days to bring the nitrite levels to measurable levels.

I'll back off the light to maybe 50ish% and go from there possibly.

Also here's the ph, left is tank water after sitting for a few hours and right is tap (which is over the low ph range). I forgot to leave out another for the high ph so I'll do another in the morning 😅

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You are still pretty early in the setup process. New plants often ‘melt’ and then recover. I think that you need to wait a month or so before trying to micro manage nutrients. Instead, I’d go for stabilization. You are just finishing cycling and there is a lot of instability right now.

Focus upon light (which seems good - but set a photoperiod and stay with it) and CO2. Although CO2 seems good, right now, be aware that DC’s and liquid pH tests are going to only give you ballpark readings (same with KH liquid tests). As with light, set the CO2 and stay with it. Fluctuating light and CO2 are going to cause problems. Once you add fish, you can then start pushing CO2 higher by judging the effect upon the fish.

Nutrients (includes Ca and Mg): I prefer to not use root tabs, in favor of column dosing only, mainly from a control standpoint. Since you have decided upon EI, then dose according to an EI regimen and continue with it, again, for a few months. Based upon your report, it looks like you are using a dosing calculator, such as this: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator. If not, you may want to do so.

If tap water is acidic, water companies will often add sodium hydroxide. Contact your water company to see if this is causing the high pH. If they are not, you will need to look a little deeper at the KH measurements.

Incidentally, since nitrites are coming down from a high, you don't need to add any more ammonia. Your cycling is probably complete at this point.
 

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That's using the Brighty pre-mixed doses and aquasoil right? It seems like it's low on N and P while giving enough K, or something haha. I'll definitely be getting GH booster since I plan on having cherry shrimps.

In terms of light I can always back it down a but to like... 50% or something.
I was trying to point out more of a methodology rather than any one specific product, although ADA likes their products, lol!

And yes, it's low on N & P and higher in K, although not so high as EI.

With any methodology you adjust to suit your tank conditions. Which is what makes dry Ferts so practical.

For Gh I know Salty Shrimp was mentioned, which is great. You also mentioned Seachem Equilibrium. If you consider Equilibrium it has extras K and iron in it. That could be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it. Usually that's a minus when dosing EI. But in your case?

As for your pH tests. The one in the left is from your tank? Or tap that was left out to sit for awhile?
Tank water with co2 injected, if not aerated, can take 24-48 hrs to get to a degassed state. If you were trying to get a degassed reading?

I know I would be interested in knowing what you tap water ph is after sitting out for awhile.

I took a quick look at the use of "lime" to raise ph in water municipalities and it's looks like it might complicate things. The thread I found mentioned that after aeration pH drops by roughly 1.0. But YMMV!

Here's the link to that very old thread that came up in the search results. Not sure I would take it as gospel, especially the co2 concentration parts but it does have a cameo by Tom Barr himself, lol!

Effects of Calcium hydroxide in the KH/pH relationship - Fertilizing - Aquatic Plant Central



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Something is weird with your ph / KH readings. With a KH of 1, you would expect your tap to be around 7'ish, which would drop your ph during your photo period to 6 or below. I suspect something is off with your measurements. It's hard to say what, but the numbers you gave just don't make much sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You are still pretty early in the setup process. New plants often ‘melt’ and then recover. I think that you need to wait a month or so before trying to micro manage nutrients. Instead, I’d go for stabilization. You are just finishing cycling and there is a lot of instability right now.

Focus upon light (which seems good - but set a photoperiod and stay with it) and CO2. Although CO2 seems good, right now, be aware that DC’s and liquid pH tests are going to only give you ballpark readings (same with KH liquid tests). As with light, set the CO2 and stay with it. Fluctuating light and CO2 are going to cause problems. Once you add fish, you can then start pushing CO2 higher by judging the effect upon the fish.

Nutrients (includes Ca and Mg): I prefer to not use root tabs, in favor of column dosing only, mainly from a control standpoint. Since you have decided upon EI, then dose according to an EI regimen and continue with it, again, for a few months. Based upon your report, it looks like you are using a dosing calculator, such as this: Rotala Butterfly | Planted Aquarium Nutrient Dosing Calculator. If not, you may want to do so.

If tap water is acidic, water companies will often add sodium hydroxide. Contact your water company to see if this is causing the high pH. If they are not, you will need to look a little deeper at the KH measurements.

Incidentally, since nitrites are coming down from a high, you don't need to add any more ammonia. Your cycling is probably complete at this point.
It's just weird since I've had s repens before (but in socal hard water I suppose) and the melt happens uniformly so whatever this was got me worried 😅 and yup I'm using the rotalabutterfly calculator to dose EI for a 10gal. The tap water is around 7 from the reservoir and then treated up to ~8.2. Tap KH and GH are 1 and 3 respectively. I backed off on the light from 70% to 50% and reduced the photoperiod from 8 hours to 7 hours but I left the CO2 unchanged.

I was trying to point out more of a methodology rather than any one specific product, although ADA likes their products, lol!

And yes, it's low on N & P and higher in K, although not so high as EI.

With any methodology you adjust to suit your tank conditions. Which is what makes dry Ferts so practical.

For Gh I know Salty Shrimp was mentioned, which is great. You also mentioned Seachem Equilibrium. If you consider Equilibrium it has extras K and iron in it. That could be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it. Usually that's a minus when dosing EI. But in your case?

As for your pH tests. The one in the left is from your tank? Or tap that was left out to sit for awhile?
Tank water with co2 injected, if not aerated, can take 24-48 hrs to get to a degassed state. If you were trying to get a degassed reading?

I know I would be interested in knowing what you tap water ph is after sitting out for awhile.

I took a quick look at the use of "lime" to raise ph in water municipalities and it's looks like it might complicate things. The thread I found mentioned that after aeration pH drops by roughly 1.0. But YMMV!

Here's the link to that very old thread that came up in the search results. Not sure I would take it as gospel, especially the co2 concentration parts but it does have a cameo by Tom Barr himself, lol!

Effects of Calcium hydroxide in the KH/pH relationship - Fertilizing - Aquatic Plant Central



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Yeah I'm not sure :\ I'll have to call and see or possibly talk to one of the local LFS' around about the water possibly.

The left side is the tank pH after giving it a shake and letting it sit for 3 hours, the right is the tap (I'm letting another sample sit and I'll retest using the high side but it should be around 8.2).

This was the only thing I could find that mentions what they add to raise the pH but it's from an older quality report.

1025948

Something is weird with your ph / KH readings. With a KH of 1, you would expect your tap to be around 7'ish, which would drop your ph during your photo period to 6 or below. I suspect something is off with your measurements. It's hard to say what, but the numbers you gave just don't make much sense.
The pH out of the tap is ~8.2 based off my previous tests and also the district water report. I retested KH/GH for the tank water and tap water and got these.

Tank
KH: 2
GH: 6 (probably from the ferts today and epsom salt I added yesterday)

Tap
KH: 1 (listed as 1080 ug/l on the report as well)
GH: 3
 

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If the water company is, indeed, adding hydroxides, it can make it very difficult to get a handle on actual KH, pH and CO2 readings.. Additionally, varying levels of CO2 magnify these difficulties. Probably best to start by finding out if the water company is adding hydroxides (Na or Ca) and go from there. If they are, it would be better to add CO2 until fish show signs of distress, rather than relying upon pH-based measurements. A DC with the correct reagent could be more useful in estimating CO2 levels, if hydroxides are involved.Also, if hydroxides are involved and with such a small tank, diluting with distilled or RO water might allow better control.
 
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Gh will not affect pH. And lime in Seattle? Lol! :)

What's the pH after you let it sit for a bit? Very, very difficult to get pH to stay at 8 with a kh of 1. Maybe the kh reading is off?

From my years keeping fish up in the Seattle area I recall they like to artificially raise the pH so pipes won't corrode. This dissipates over time. Can't remember how long that took though. Not days. But there are many micro "climates" in the Seattle area so you may have something weird going on.

Maybe @Seattle_Aquarist can jump in and correct my mistakes?

The ratio of Ca:Mg is important. You have a little leeway with that but generally it's preferred to have somewhere in the 3:1, to 2:1 ratio Ca:Mg as you see a few people on here do as well as myself. So you would want to compare your existing to what you are adding. I didn't look that hard at your water report. You have the MgSO4. It wouldn't be difficult to add some Ca to roll your own booster.

Ah, osmocote. I was wondering if you had any Aquasoil in there. Aquasoil would keep your nitrates high so you wouldn't have to add as much. Not sure what happens if the osmocote leaches but it doesn't look like it affects nitrates.

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Hi @DerangedCorgi

Thank you @pauld738 for the shout out and you are correct. I live in Renton, a suburb SE of Seattle, and the water supply for my area is provided to my local water district by SPU and sourced from the Cedar River. Yes, our water is very, very soft with typically 9 ppm of calcium and 1 ppm of magnesium with other nutrients also very low (potassium 0.6 ppm). My dKh is typically <1.0 and my dGH <2.0. Out of my tap the pH will typically read about 7.8 however after 24 hours the same sample typically reads about 7.0. I used to add Seachem Equilibrium to increase my dGH but was concerned about the high amount of potassium in the product. Also, with a total of 180 gallons of planted tank Equilibrium became a little pricey. Today I add calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate to increase my dGH and bring it to a level of about 20 ppm of Ca and 5 ppm of Mg. Hope this helps! -Roy

30 gallon with very low nutrients, dGH 4.0, Fluval 2.0; F1 Red Spot Green Discus juvies from Rio Nanay (Symphysodon aequifasciatus)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for replying back :p Do you happen to know what they buffer the pH with? I'm in Kenmore and it looks like we're both on SPU (northshore ultility) and Cedar River. Since my tank is tiny and I haven't caught multitank syndrome yet (possibly... LOL) equilibrium wouldn't be pricey for me (but I could always just get some calcium sulfate). I could also just go get a smaller RO/DI unit to hook up to a hose but I'll have to make a reservoir and heat it up since kenmore water is frigid 🥶
 

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They stated, in the water report that you quoted, that they use lime and soda ash. These are calcium hydroxide and sodium carbonate. So, your measurements of pH, KH and CO2 will not be as easily defined as they would without the lime. In fact, I occasionally use a little calcium hydroxide to buffer my own RO/DI derived tank water.
 
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