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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. So I got my tank set up finally.



I'm already running into some issues. :icon_conf

My ph is off the charts. I had it tested at pets mart using a strip test and they said it was seven. Here's what I'm getting from the api master test kit. I've tested it multiple times. They also said GH was 140, Alk was 40.



I thought it would settle out after a while with the drift wood in there, so I started to add ammonia (ace brand janitorial strength) I added about 5 cap fulls and finally got the test to turn yellow, and then it promptly turned greenish blue maybe a minute or so after. Any advice? Here's my specs:

75 gallon
MGOPM 1" Pool Filter Sand ~1.5"
HOB Fluval 110
Circulation pump

The only things in the tank are a piece of Malaysian hard wood and another piece of drift that were both purchased from a lfs.. that has decided to float... I was hoping to start planting tomorrow, but now I'm not so sure..

Any advice or info would be appreciated, thank you.
 

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Fresh Fish Freak
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You may need to test your pool filter sand, another member on here recently ended up with some PFS that apparently was not just inert silica, also had the same issue with shooting the pH through the roof.

I would wait to plant if you can, just to try and make sure you don't have to re-do your substrate. :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Lauraleellbp. I've discussed the sand in a substrate post here. I'm getting the same high reading from the tap so I'm just going to assume petsmart didn't read the strip right or something happened. Not sure. According to my water co.'s website the average for my area is a pH of 9.22. I turned the aerator and filter on max and I'm hoping it will level out. Not sure what that means for water changes though. I'll be taking a sample of both tap and tank water tonight to the lfs and see what they say to do. I don't want to use any chemicals for it since I've read that these things can cause problems too, but, I may just have to.

As far as the ammonia test... after doing some research online it looks like the API kits don't like Chloramine.

Does your source water contain ammonia or chloramine? It used to be that the only chemical used in drinking water was chlorine, but now, both ammonia and chloramine are sometimes used as well by water companies, sometimes alone and sometimes together. Chloramine will register as ammonia to a Nessler reagent, which is what API uses(just like 99% of all the ammonia tests used in the pet industry). Not too surprising as chloramine is a chemical combination of chlorine and ammonia.
It's not likely that you'll find a non-Nessler reagent test for ammonia in anything but a high-end fish store though, the cheapest one I've found even on the internet costs more than an entire API Master freshwater kit, plus shipping.+

As a fish keeper, I really, really hate chloramine.

If your ammonia reading from the tap is 8ppm, it's a good bet that you have chloramine, that's the most common ammonia reading for chloramine. If the water has been treated by a water conditioner that handles chloramine, the ammonia will be bound in a form harmless to fish, but it will still register at that outrageously toxic level.

If you live in the US, check your water company's website. They are required by law to have public access to added chemicals and chemical analysis of your drinking water. Usually, it's posted on their website.
Taken from: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110414154311AAKsghW

According to my water co.'s info we have a MRDL of 4.. not sure what that means, but it's in there. That's probably what's causing the ammonia test to be janky.

Disinfectant/Disinfection Byproducts
Chloramine (mg/L)

MRDL = 4
MRDLG = 4
2.58
2.00 - 3.21
Disinfectant used to treat water

from http://www.stlwater.com/ccr.pdf

Not sure how I'll get an accurate reading from my test kit with all this going on. :icon_neut
 

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You can lower pH by adding a bag of peat moss into your filter, you can get peat from the garden section at Lowe's or Home Depot, I used organic Canadian sphagnum peat moss to great effect, back when I had alkaline water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Would doing a regular water change and then having it level out with the peat be ok for plants and fish?

How long does it last usually? How often should it be changed?

Thanks Guyver.
 

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I'd change it about once every 2 weeks, just like carbon.

Fish can tolerate a pretty broad range of pH, and some pretty broad daily swings as well. You should be able to safely lower the pH with peat moss.

You can also try a black water extract - grab a bunch of leaves and bark from outside, crunch it up, put it in a pot with water and boil it for a bit, then strain out the bark and leaves. The tannins in the solution will help lower your pH, but they will discolor your water.
 
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