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Hello,

I am trying to figure out what is going on in my tank. I have a newly cycled 47 gallon tank with the following readings:

Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 5ppm

I decided that I wanted to have some soft water fish (german rams). My tap water is generally hard. I have RO installed under my kitchen sink so I figured if I did half RO and half tap that would soften the water enough to home these beautiful creatures. So I went to work doing just that. I took out half of the water in the tank and then added RO water back into it. My tap water readings are as follows:

Tap Water
GH 11
KH 8
PH 8.2

After I added the RO..

1/2 Tap & 1/2 RO
GH 8
KH 4
PH 7.6

So I finished up last night figuring everything was okay and put the little guys in. I checked the water this morning and the readings were as follows:

GH 8
KH 8
PH 7.2

Then this evening I noticed the fish breathing hard and floating at the top of the tank so I measured again:

GH 9
KH 4
PH 7.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5ppm

What am I missing? Why are my fish not doing well? Is there anything I can do to save the little guys? I have theories but nothing concrete. Could it be the KH and PH fluctuations?

Any help is much appreciated. They are going downhill fast.

Thanks!
 

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Substrate, rocks, driftwood, etc... What is in the tank?

What is the temp on the tank? Should be between 80 and 82.

Try putting an airstone in while figuring this out.
 

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What sort of water were the Rams living in before you bought them?

Here is how I do this:
Test the water in the bag.
Make the tank water parameters match the bag.

Is there anything in the tank that could be making the KH go up and down? That is not normal.
 

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Newly cycled tank + rams, there's your problem right there.
Ya that is probably part of it also...with me Rams are real hit or miss even in very established tanks,

BUT...

I have NEVER gotten good consistent results with the API GH and KH test kits.
 

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My test results vary by Tank due to the differences in the tanks. But they are consistent per tank. I use the API test kits. I have been looking at other options but any other option that may be more reliable is also a lot more expensive.

Sent from my XT1575 using Tapatalk
 

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I have always loved Read Sea tests, I don't see too many people mentioning it here often.
I also don't fall into the much testing category. It is just an excuse to postpone water changes for me.
When in doubt, throw the water out.
 

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It is a lightly planted tank with manzanita wood and aqua dirt as a substrate. I have an ayirstone in :)

Do you mean aqua soil ?
If so,this sometimes depending on type, contain's organic matter that can give rise to ammonia and or buffer the water depending again, on what type of the aqua soil was purchased.
Some info on the specific brand/type would be helpful.
Would still use dechlorinator for the volume of water the tank hold's, at water changes,and mix water for water changes in tub or rubber maid barrel ahead of water change day.
Not sure R/O unit's remove chlorine or ammonia from chloramines so good dechlorinator such as PRIME is good insurance.
Could be ammonia from aqua soil if the soil is new,and or buffer's in the soil giving unexplained ( to me anyway) rise in GH,pH, after 50/50 mix of R/O and tapwater .
Maybe R/O membranes/cartridges need replaced?
Just spit ballin here .
Maybe try 60/40 mix of R/O tap water in bucket and test after 12 hour's/24 hour's.
 
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