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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Newbie here-
I'm trying to set up my first planted tank in a 30 tall, and I used Eco Complete Planted Tank substrate in black. I already added a a half dozen plants, and do not have a CO2 system. I also have a seperate freshwater tank with regular fake-looking colored gravel, plastic plants, and a few tetras. I use tap water for both, conditioned with AquaSafe plus. Here's the problem:

My tap water and the tank with fish both have a pH of 7.4, a GH of 4, and a KH of 3.
My plant tank has a pH of 6.2, a GH of 2, and a KH of 1.
????
Is it possible the substrate is making the water more acidic? Or could it be the plants? I have used a few live plants in the past with no effect on pH, so I am confused. =)
 

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I've had the question of whether eco-complete affects water chemistry as well. Since it's inert, it shouldn't affect the water chemistry.
 

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can you tell me how long the planted tank has been set up?
how many if any and how large the water changes have been?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I set up the tank over a month ago. I started the cycling process, and then due to several stupid mistakes (resulting in first a minor nitrite spike, then a terrible ammonia spike), I ended up crashing the tank, putting the starter fish in a "hospital" tank, and starting over. During the about 3 weeks that I was messing up my nitrogen cycle, I was doing 30% water changes every 1-2 days, adding bacteria (Microbe-Lift Nite Out II and Special Blend) and adding AmQuel Plus.

Now I have been about 2 weeks with the re-done setup, and am going through my initial ammonia spike (but at reasonable levels). I am doing ~20% water changes twice weekly, as needed. Strangely, when I tested my pH today, it has increased to 6.6. During the 3 weeks of my severe error, it was pegging below 6.0 and not increasing with nearly daily water changes. Now it seems to be stabilizing - perhaps my goofed up nitrogen cycle resulted in an onslaught of hydrogen ions? Either way, the problem seems to be slowly correcting itself.
 

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without fish in the tank I won't change water at all until the cycle is complete.
it ends sooner that way.
 
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