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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I'm really close to setting up my new 75 gallon. The substrate I chose is safe-t-sorb.

I've been reading about the KH and pH drops and was wondering how many of you switched to this substrate and had fish loss because of it.

I'm a bit nervous because I will be moving my current stock into this aquarium and I would hate to loose any of my fish.



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Will you have plants in this tank?

Here is a precharging recipe I came up with.
If you cannot measure all the ferts or are unsure skip them.
Use just the baking soda and MgSO4 (Epsom salts) to keep it stable.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8895434-post23.html
No guarantees but it stopped the GH & KH from sinking.
I still dose MgSO4 in small amounts weekly, my GH always drops to 1.
Not sure if this is due to plants or not.
Hope this helps some.
 

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Hi Pauliewoz,

As with any new tank with new substrate you have to be conscious of 'new tank syndrome' (aka the nitrogen cycle). Since this will be a new tank it is possible for the ammonia, then nitrites, then nitrates will spike if a sufficient beneficial bacteria population has not established itself to handle whatever population of fish you are adding. When I set up my 75 gallon with Safe-T-Sorb #7941 (STS) two years ago I used some filter material from an established tank in my new filters to kick start the beneficial bacteria.

Yes, I did experience a drop in dKH and dGH in the new STS tank and adjusted the water parameters* of the 75 gallon closer to those in my established tank prior to moving the fish. I also took extra care when transferring the fish. I used the drip acclimation method over a two hour period. At the end of the two hours the fish were in 3X the water volume compared to where they started. That way any change in PH/dKH and dGH were minimal and I suffered no fish deaths as a result of the transfer.

*changing water parameters
1/4 teaspoon of NaHCO3 (aka baking soda) will increase 3 gallons of water approximately 3.0 dKH
1/2 teaspoon of Seachem Equilibrium will increase will increase 3 gallons of water approximately 3.0 dGH

Hope this helps!

75 gallon with Safe-T-Sorb #7941
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tips guys.

It will be a planted tank and I am precharging part of the substrate as we speak. But I only added micros and NPK. And I kind of eyeballed it.

When adding baking soda and equilibrium, how long does it take for the change to happen? And long does it last?

And is the regular arm&hammer baking soda OK to use? And when you say that a 1/2 teaspoon increases 3 gallons by 3.0 dKH, do I need to increase the amount by about 23 in order change about 70 gallons of water?

My current parameters are:

PH: 7.8
Dkh: 6
Dgh: 10



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I am precharging part of the substrate as we speak. But I only added micros and NPK. And I kind of eyeballed it.

And is the regular arm&hammer baking soda OK to use?
N & P seem very mobile in a high CEC substrate such as STS.
As quick as they are obtained they may be released though.
I have no way of measuring K.

Harm & Ammer is fine.
 

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The recipe for baking soda:
1 teaspoon in 30 gallons will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness.
I teaspoon in 3 gallons will raise the KH by 20 German degrees of hardness.
.5 tsp in 3 gallons will raise the KH by 10 German degrees of hardness.

You can adjust the KH in the tank to suit the fish (whatever KH makes the pH correct).
To pre-treat STS it does not matter how much you use- it will soak in as much as it can, then stop taking it in. If you want a certain ratio of minerals in the STS I would go with more of the plant specific nutrients, and just enough baking soda to stabilize the KH.
 

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Let me throw this in the mix as I have been debating using sts for a native setup I am working on. I have generally hard water. Ph 8 gh 8 kh 11 or so give or take. So my thought is to pre-charge with ferts as described by @Maryland Guppy and agricultural limestone which in my part of the country is readily available. My reasoning behind this idea is our village water comes from limestone wells. Our water will plug up a coffee pot with lime deposits in no time. So if I pre-charge sts with nutes and lime I should be able to avoid any drop in gh or kh when placed in the aquarium as the sts will already be at equilibrium with the water. Thoughts?
 

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That is a good idea.
You could simply soak the STS in tap water, since it is so hard. Monitor the GH and KH in the water, and do a water change as it drops. When the STS no longer removes the minerals and GH and KH stabilize, it is ready for use.
 

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Thanks for the tips guys.

It will be a planted tank and I am precharging part of the substrate as we speak. But I only added micros and NPK. And I kind of eyeballed it.

When adding baking soda and equilibrium, how long does it take for the change to happen? And long does it last?

And is the regular arm&hammer baking soda OK to use? And when you say that a 1/2 teaspoon increases 3 gallons by 3.0 dKH, do I need to increase the amount by about 23 in order change about 70 gallons of water?

My current parameters are:

PH: 7.8
Dkh: 6
Dgh: 10

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Hi pauliewoz,

I apologize, my post above was incorrect; approximately 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda will raise dKH by 3.0. I corrected the post above.

The 'charging process' takes place almost instantaneously, when I poured my pre-mix solution into my dry STS I could literally see the fluid level drop as the substrate absorbed the solution. After I pre-charged my substrate then I did a regular washing to remove the dust and 'fines'. I wasn't worried about washing out the pre-charge solution since it was absorbed first; I figured at most I may have diluted the mineral levels in the STS but I suspect not much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for everyone's help. I thought I would get the new aquarium up and running last weekend but the STS rinsing took a lot longer than expected.

Maybe I'll get to do it tomorrow and I'll let you know how it goes.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So I finally got around to setting up the tank. It's not completely done, but almost there.

I just can't wait for the cloudy water to clear. Using STS and sand is definitely not helping the situation.

I tested my pH this morning and it did not drop too much over night. So it looks like precharging with baking soda helped. I didn't have time to check kH, I'll do that after work.


Here are some pics.











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I'm curious after having been sitting what your parameters are now. Would you be willing to share ph, kh, and gh now vs when you started? I have been considering using sts and this has been one of my concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm curious after having been sitting what your parameters are now. Would you be willing to share ph, kh, and gh now vs when you started? I have been considering using sts and this has been one of my concerns.
That was my concern as well. But the very helpful people of this forum told me to precharge STS with baking soda before hand. So that's what I did in a bucket for a few hours. I just dumped a whole bunch of the baking soda without measuring.

My ph, kh and GH still dropped a bit but not much. I have the results written down at home but if I remember correctly my old tank was:

PH - 7.8
Kh - 6
Gh - 10

New tank with STS was:

PH - 7.2
Kh 5
Gh 8

I did add a teaspoon of baking soda to the tank to match the parameters to my old tank so that my fish don't get shocked.

Maybe if I would have charged it with more baking soda for a longer time I wouldn't see any drops at all.

The one thing that I'm not too crazy about is the amount of dust that settled on my plants and driftwood. I thought I rinsed it good, but I guess not good enough. Next time I would definitely take more time and rinse it through a screening.

It's also pretty light, but not too bad. Plants with small roots might have to be anchored down somehow.

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