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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, everyone. I am looking to get into the hobby and I have a few questions regarding adjustment of water chemistry. I dabbled in the hobby a bit when I was kid but I wouldn't say that I knew what I was doing. Please correct me if my understanding on any point is wrong. I'd appreciate any answers that clarify these for me. Also, if there is anything pertinent that I am missing, please do mention it.

- Is it correct that filtering with something like peat together with say, coral shells, will strike a balance of PH while at the same time providing ample alkalinity/buffering if the the right amounts are used?

- Will keeping both these materials, peat and coral shells, in my filter continue to alter the chemistry of the water, such that if the rates at which they leech into the water are different - or if they run out of juice at different rates - the PH balance will become skewed towards acidic or alkaline? Is there a point at which they stop leeching into the water even if they are kept in the filter - like a point of saturation?

- If I were to do this in a drum of pre-treated water and leave the peat and coral shells in only until I get my desired PH, KH, and GH, then remove them from the drum, will whatever buffering agents (like tannins and carbonates, I guess) introduced by the peat and coral shells continue to alter PH? Also, will these buffering agents eventually "run their course" and deplete given that I am not leaving the peat and coral shells in the drum?

- How would you use peat and coral shells (or buffer powders) to adjust PH, KH, and GH to the desired levels? I am thinking of doing this in a drum to make pre-treated water that matches my aquarium water, then using the former for my water changes.

Thank you!
 

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That seems like a very over complicated plan in my opinion.

First, you would have to determine what your source water will be. Tapwater, RO water or a blend of both.

Then you need to measure your kH, gH and degassed pH (let the water sit out for 24 hours before testing to allow CO2 to off-gas and give you a correct pH reading).

From there you can make a plan as to how you would like to adjust your water parameters, if you need to adjust them at all. The majority of tapwater can grow plants very well and provide good parameters for loads of fish / shrimp species.

Coral and peat will directly work against each other, essentially speeding up the lifetime of each. One step forward, one step backwards.
 

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I agree with @Quagulator: that's a lot of running in place. Since you are not set up yet, why don't get some test kits that you will use regularly once you are set up, test your tap water and post the results for us to comment upon. In all likelihood, your tap water will be fine. The initial test kits / devices that I would recommend are:

NO3: Salifert
PO4: Salifert. Note: above 3ppm, dilute 5:1 with RO or distilled water, then multiply result by 5
GH/KH: API or Sera
Total ammonia: Salifert
PH: use a pen such as Hanna or Apera

While you await your test kits, you will need to decide what type of substrate you want: inert or active. An active substrate will have the potential to dramatically alter your water chemistry along the lines you were thinking, above. I prefer inert, as many do, but there are many highly knowledgeable people, on TPT and elsewhere, that prefer active substrates ...and for good reason. Also, learn about cycling a new tank. Although you can find info by searching this forum, as a general learning tool you may want to buy this guide from TPT: https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/PlantedTankGuide.html to help with all of the aspects to a planted tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Quagulator @Deanna Thanks for the replies, guys!

Our water is very hard and alkaline. I am thinking of mixing RO water with tap water then adjusting using peat and/or crushed coral. But you say that they will just negate each other until both are spent?

Could I use both peat and crushed coral so that they strike a balance of PH, KH, and GH and replenish them every so often? My thinking was along the lines of putting in more peat than crushed coral to tip the scales a bit towards soft and acidic, but still having some crushed coral in there for buffering. Would this be advisable? Is there any other way to adjust my water chemistry?

Thanks again!
 

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[MENTION=229041] Is there any other way to adjust my water chemistry?

Thanks again!
Yes, you can use more RO water in your RO/Tap mix or you can use 100% RO water and then remineralize.

KHCO3 for kH
CaSO4 for gH (Calcium)
MgSO4 for gH (Magnesium)

Or you can use an active substrate and then you'll only have to dose gH (CaSO4 and MgSO4, no kH).

That's probably your best bet if you want slightly acidic water. ADA soil, Landen soil, Contra soil, Tropica soil.

If you don't want an active substrate, I would recommend all RO and then dose:


Per 1 US Gallon:
0.386 Grams CaSO4 - 30ppm Ca, 4.2 degrees gH
0.384 Grams MgSO4 - 10ppm Mg, 2.3 degrees gH
0.135 Grams KHCO3 - 14ppm K, 1.0 degrees kH

Or, simply mix 85% RO water into 15% tapwater (or whatever ratio works) to get you decent parameters, you can always use those same compounds to get exactly what you're after.

Here is a website that will do the math for you:

https://rotalabutterfly.com/nutrient-calculator.php
 
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