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unstable tank and fish deaths

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I've experienced a number of problems with my tank and I thought maybe someone here could help. In the past couple weeks I lost all my badis, a number of shrimp, and just today I lost my beloved halfmoon betta.

My tank is a 12 gl fluval edge and is close to 3 years old. It's planted but not too heavily. I do 30% water changes every week. For the water change I use 2gls of tap water (that rests overnight and add 2 drops of Prime) mixed with 1 gl of RO water with 1 little scoop of GH Up. I also add 6 drops Phyton Git, 32 drops Flourish Potassium, and 2 pushes of Green Brighty Step 3 to the mix. If I trim plants I add 7 drops of Green Gain. I dose potassium every other day and two pushes of Green Brighty Step 3 every 3 days. Due to the tank's age, I have added Iron Bottom to the substrate.

This routine has worked for me but recently I started to notice that plants appear stimulated by the water change and photosynthesize for 24 hours but then stop and I do not see anymore oxygen bubbles being released for an entire week.

co2 is administered via an inline co2 diffuser at 1 bbl per second. For light I use the Fluval Edge's system that came with the tank plus a Padlite with two LED strips (one white/one roseate). The co2 drop checker always turns yellow just after a few days, indicating a dangerous accumulation of co2.

The temperature is kept steady at 76F. In the past year, I'd been getting cyano blooms and I have added a product called Blue Green Slime Stain Remover by UltraLife every now and then and it seems to do a good job as cyano disappears for 3-4 months but then comes back again.

Just after my betta died I did a number of tests:

PH: 6.2
KH: 30mg/l
GH: 100
Nitrates: 10mg/l
Nitrtites: 0
Ammonia: 0

any ideas what's going on? any tips to stabilize my tank, bring PH to 7.0? why do plants stop photosynthesizing?

Thanks!
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Yes, I can definitely see the oxygen bubbles coming off the plant leaves within an hour or two after the water change. My nitrates were 10mg/l. I'll get a phosphate test kit. How do you suggest I modify KH?

No, the fish deaths have not happened after using the cyano remover. Last time I used it was 4 months ago. The fish deaths have happened when the drop checker turned yellow indicating a co2 overdose.

The reason i put only two drops is because the tap water rests overnight and also the scoop of GH UP I understand primes as well. The whole purpose of adding GH UP is to buffer the RO. I doubt that 1gl RO buffered with GH UP out of 3gl water change would cause such a spike in co2.

For now I turned the co2 off and added an oxygen pump. I will measure KH tomorrow and share the results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's a great point. So 3KH is about 30mg/l?
Would the low KH/PH swing affect photosynthesis?

This is the link explaining GH UP:
http://www.theshrimptank.com/water-conditioners/borneowild-gh-up-90g/

Do you think a 3gl tap water 1gl RO/GH UP ratio instead could make a difference?

I almost seem to think that the new GLA co2 bubble counter I added is letting co2 randomly into the tank. Once I caught it overdosing co2 and tightened the co2 release down. That was last week when all the badis perished...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No the bubble counter is separate from the regulator. What I am trying is to limit the co2 further, from 8-9 hrs a day to only 5-6 hrs a day. This morning my PH was 7 and my KH 20mg/l
 
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