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Discussion Starter #1
Set the 20 g tank up approx March 23.
Bought a few new test kits since mine were older. Hagen gh/kh was one of them.

Original parameters (on about day 2):
20 gallon high (12x18x24)
Eheim 2026
Eco-Complete as substrate
65 watts CF (10 hour photo period)
Hagen yeast CO2 with bubble ladder (3-4 bubbles per minute)
Various crypts, vals, swords, cabomba, rotala indica, micro swords, anacharis, java fern, sagittaria, aponogeton
No fish (yet)

pH 7.5 (Hanna tester)
GH 120-140ppm
KH 90-100ppm
Nitrites .25ppm
Nitrates 10ppm
Phosphates 1.0
Iron undetectable
Copper .15-.25ppm
CO2 6-7.5 (using Chuck’s calculator)
Ammonia .25-.50
Temp 70’F

To see my original specs and concerns, click here http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/g...8757-newbie-new-20g-could-use-evaluation.html.

Since then, I added another hagen co2 yeast bottle, dosed potass, flourish supp, and iron (all seachem)

New parameters:
pH 7.42 (Hanna tester)
GH 160ppm
KH 120ppm
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0ppm
Nitrates 10ishppm
Phosphates 1.0
Iron .1-.2
CO2 about 18 bpm
Temp 80’F

I've topped off with DO/DI water, but those would be the only changes. Starting to get a little brown(rust) and lime green algae.

Many of the plants are growing now. the swords have greened up. most plants are putting on new leaves and emitting streams of oxygen.

Still no fish until i get things stable.

Questions:
  • What could have caused my gh/kh to rise? Eco-complete?
  • What is going on with my pH? I added the second yeast bottle and thought I would see a significant drop from 7.5.
  • What next?
 

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Eco-complete caused a kh rise of about 20ppm for the first few months it was in the tank. It's since returned to normal levels. Your co2 seems rather low for 2 bottles on a 20 gallon. When did you add the second bottle?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
yoink said:
Your co2 seems rather low for 2 bottles on a 20 gallon. When did you add the second bottle?
I added the second bottle 4 days ago. I have seen a good increase in CO2 bpm. It basically tripled from my initial setup...from 6 bpm to 18. Perhaps the hagen ladder isn't dissolving the co2 as well as it could.

How many bubble per minute should I be getting from a dual hagen bottle, single ladder setup?
 

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I'm going to bet your tank is open top.

Your water evaporates, and you top it off with water from the same source.

That's why your gh and kh are going up.

The only way to stop that from happening is topping off with RO water.

Edit: Nevermind, I see now that you are topping off with RO/DI.
 

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My bet is the Eco is the cause. Notorious for that. I had some pH 6.6 water run up to pH 8.2 after a few days with some brand new Eco. I didn't even bother to check the GH and KH as I knew they were way up. The water started out around 4 dKH and 6 dGH. Nothing else in the tank. I yanked that substrate as I had a sick fish I needed to put in that tank. So much for "inert" substrate advertised.

Your's should stabalize with a lot of water changes over the next month, hopefully. I have two bags of Eco in my garage left over from a replacement of their corrupted batch. I don't think I want to put it in my new 65 Gallon which just arrived. Might use it in the garden. But I ought to start soaking it and see if it improves after a few weeks to leach out any corrupting calcium carbonates, which is what I suspect is the root cause. Caribsea has had a LOT of problems with calcium carbonate veins in the volcanic rock which subcontractors mine for their Eco.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Betowess. I purchased it recently (within last month) so hopefully the batch is not corrupt. Other than that, I do like the substrate. That would a very good...although expensive addition to the garden!

I guess also that as the water becomes more acidic (few dying plants, tannic acids from the driftwood, co2 addition) that some of the calcium carbonate is naturally released. Hopefully, as you mentioned, this would be a short term occurrence. I kinda anticipated a few changes early on...that is why I have held back on adding fish. I don't need to lose some of my prized possessions.
 
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