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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I think I may be confusing myself....

I did a round of tests on my water just to see what I was starting at. My PH is sitting at 8.4. Nitrates starting at 40 ppm. The KH test came in at 100-200 ppm 8dkh . Then I got to the GH test and got completely confused as my water never started at orange. 0-70 ppm 0-4 dgh. Then it dawned on me, we put a water softening system on our well because of how hard our water was.

So....... should I test water straight from the well and lug water in for the tank that way? Or would the softened water be reasonable to use? Our system is salt based...

Thoughts?
 

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Hello,
firstly, Is your tank cycle?
your nitrates seem a little high, so does the ph, Driftwood can lower the ph. I think you should add some and the tannins will bring it down to a proffered pH unless you have fish that need a certain ph.
Do you have any fish in the tank and if so then what fish do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello,
firstly, Is your tank cycle?
your nitrates seem a little high, so does the ph, Driftwood can lower the ph. I think you should add some and the tannins will bring it down to a proffered pH unless you have fish that need a certain ph.
Do you have any fish in the tank and if so then what fish do you have?
Thank you- No, no cycle yet. This is my starting point. Just cleaning my tank and putting my canister filter together today. Plants should be arriving tomorrow and thats when I will fill. I won't be going for fish for at least a month or two I am sure.

I’d get a TDS meter to see how salty your softened water is, along with testing your well water for GH, pH, etc. Your softened water may be too salty for some fish and plants.
Thank you- I'll order it today. Testing the plain well water today ... will see.
 

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Ok. I hope your cycle goes well! Your pH will probably drop to 7.5 or something like that tomorrow, I know my tap does. If you ever need to lower the ph then katapa leaves work great, might color the water a bit yellow/brown though.
my tap ph is at 8.2 but now I have a problem with it being too low lol.
hope everything goes well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After testing my well water, I opted to go that route. Im currently sitting at a PH 7.8; (Amonia, Nitrite and Nitrate all at 0) KH is at 8 dkh; GH also at 8 dgh; TDS meter read at 361. Anyone see anything that would be a big giant red flag or issue I need to correct as I move forward?
 

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Looks good to me!
Thats better than my water lol Source Lol.
The water is has plenty minerals and ph is good.

All the parameters are good. 👍🏽

Oh, whoops I mixed up the gh and kh.
I thought it was 8 gh.
But yes the water kh is perfect.
to harden the water cuddlebone will do the job especially if you have species like shrimp or snails in there. Though the water looks good to me!

edit: I also just realized your gh was at 8 gh too.
sorry about this, parameters are still perfect though,
PS, I like that there is no nitrates in it already so its not confusing where they are coming from
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh, whoops I mixed up the gh and kh.
I thought it was 8 gh.
But yes the water kh is perfect.
to harden the water cuddlebone will do the job especially if you have species like shrimp or snails in there. Though the water looks good to me!

edit: I also just realized your gh was at 8 gh too.
sorry about this, parameters are still perfect though,
PS, I like that there is no nitrates in it already so its not confusing where they are coming from
Thank you!!! I thought it looked pretty good, but I was like.... nooooo there's no way .... lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've not used a water softener before, but does it make sense for the water from your well to have 0 nitrates and then get 40 ppm after the water softener? If those numbers are right, you might have something funky going on.
Actually my well had the 40 ppm before and after the softener. My filter system reduced the 40 down to 0 in the tank though. Im assuming either the bio-media or the carbon.
 

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Ok, I misunderstood you, but that still doesn't check out. Carbon and ordinary bio media doesn't remove nitrates. You don't have a lot of plants, right? If you have the API nitrate test, double check to be sure you're following the directions exactly - the second step is notoriously finicky and prone to give false 0s if the bottle isn't shaken enough. (I have done this myself.)

But 40 ppm from your source water is a lot. Not unheard of unfortunately, but the EPA cut off for drinking water is 10 ppm. It also has implications for your livestock. I'm not an expert in exactly how high you can have the nitrates without health consequences, but with a floor of 40 ppm you're going to want to look into that. Consider growing pothos or something that will help consume them (obviously your plants will help too), and being conservative with stocking levels and feeding will help keep a lid on nitrate levels, but it's going to be something you have to keep a close eye on. Also the nitrate levels in your well might change with time if year and rain, so maybe it's unusually high right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, I misunderstood you, but that still doesn't check out. Carbon and ordinary bio media doesn't remove nitrates. You don't have a lot of plants, right? If you have the API nitrate test, double check to be sure you're following the directions exactly - the second step is notoriously finicky and prone to give false 0s if the bottle isn't shaken enough. (I have done this myself.)

But 40 ppm from your source water is a lot. Not unheard of unfortunately, but the EPA cut off for drinking water is 10 ppm. It also has implications for your livestock. I'm not an expert in exactly how high you can have the nitrates without health consequences, but with a floor of 40 ppm you're going to want to look into that. Consider growing pothos or something that will help consume them (obviously your plants will help too), and being conservative with stocking levels and feeding will help keep a lid on nitrate levels, but it's going to be something you have to keep a close eye on. Also the nitrate levels in your well might change with time if year and rain, so maybe it's unusually high right now.
Thank you- I will definitely keep my eye on it. I just planted... so hopefully it will help. I'm going to be running every other day water tests for a while just to learn. I didn't think about the recent rains we had. That DOES affect our well water - I've seen visual changes (wasn't gutsy enough to test). Our land was previously used in agriculture, so Im a bit afraid of our water. We got the softener and a filter system in order to even cook with it. LOL. Thank you- I will definitely be vigilant. No fish stocking for at least a month was the plan to start with.

OK... so not even one full week into a fishless cycle attempt and my numbers are going all over the place!!!
PH sticking between 7.8 and 8.0. (8.0 is my well water, so no surprise). Ammonia- started at 0, went up to .25 the day after I after I got the hardscape and substrate in. Expected. Put in the plants, all week it hung in at .25 until Sunday when I did a water change and it dropped to 0. 48 hours later, I test and Ammonia is at .5 ppm. Nitrites are bouncing between .25 and .5. Nitrates I am at a starting point of 40 from well...when it bounced up to 80 I did the 40% water change and it dropped back to 40. So.... ammonia and Nitrites both bounced up by 50% in 48 hours. But Nitrates did not. Today the KH went down. ?? GH is still pretty even, but the TDS meter is getting larger and larger. Up to 449 today.

Is this normal?!?!?

I am honestly thinking of getting the Dr. Tim's stuff and testing with the ammonia. I didn't think I needed to test daily at this point (too early) but I was trying to learn what changes result from each factor. But its not making alot of sense to me.


1027468
 

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It usua takes about a week and a few days to have the ammonia converting to nitrite.
My other tank didnt start the cycle correctly so I can’t remember what happened with it but thankfully I have a tank I JUST set up like two days ago.

maybe I could see if the same thing happens.
there could be a lot of causes.
could this be a test malfunction?

I can’t go further on about this as I dont really know much about this problem but I’ll keep you posted about what happens with my tank.
 

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Thank you- I will definitely keep my eye on it. I just planted... so hopefully it will help. I'm going to be running every other day water tests for a while just to learn. I didn't think about the recent rains we had. That DOES affect our well water - I've seen visual changes (wasn't gutsy enough to test). Our land was previously used in agriculture, so Im a bit afraid of our water. We got the softener and a filter system in order to even cook with it. LOL. Thank you- I will definitely be vigilant. No fish stocking for at least a month was the plan to start with.

OK... so not even one full week into a fishless cycle attempt and my numbers are going all over the place!!!
PH sticking between 7.8 and 8.0. (8.0 is my well water, so no surprise). Ammonia- started at 0, went up to .25 the day after I after I got the hardscape and substrate in. Expected. Put in the plants, all week it hung in at .25 until Sunday when I did a water change and it dropped to 0. 48 hours later, I test and Ammonia is at .5 ppm. Nitrites are bouncing between .25 and .5. Nitrates I am at a starting point of 40 from well...when it bounced up to 80 I did the 40% water change and it dropped back to 40. So.... ammonia and Nitrites both bounced up by 50% in 48 hours. But Nitrates did not. Today the KH went down. ?? GH is still pretty even, but the TDS meter is getting larger and larger. Up to 449 today.

Is this normal?!?!?

I am honestly thinking of getting the Dr. Tim's stuff and testing with the ammonia. I didn't think I needed to test daily at this point (too early) but I was trying to learn what changes result from each factor. But its not making alot of sense to me.


View attachment 1027468
Hello!
So I have tested my water after about a week or 8 days and It was 2-4 ppm ammonia (because I added more) and 2 nitrites (Because the ammonia is starting to convert.)
I think that if you had it under great conditions for the bb to thrive like above 7.0 ph and warm temperature.
And canister filters are probably the best filters out there (debatable) so maybe your ammonia was growing really fast under the right conditions and so the ammonia was converting quickly.
I have my tank under great conditions and it converted in 6 days - a week.
I think that’s it’s just your ammonia converting fast
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am thinking you might be right. I'm still sitting at high nitrite spike. Just did some major gardening and pulled all the melted/melting leaves. I am seeing some algae start, nothing major- but it is there
 

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I am thinking you might be right. I'm still sitting at high nitrite spike. Just did some major gardening and pulled all the melted/melting leaves. I am seeing some algae start, nothing major- but it is there
That’s very good.
Im thinking the leaf melt has something to do with the ammonia after water change.
and algea is super common during the cycle especially diatoms.
The nitrite spike is normal and it will be there for awhile.

I think it looks good right now and I’m still thinking it’s just the bacteria that’s thriving
 
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