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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Check this out:

This tank is so alkaline that it's off the chart.

The tank is a seldom-trimmed 3-gallon Eclipse System 3 with a 28W 6500K Home Depot lamp on the back. Substrate is 1/2" of new, fine sand on top of 3/4" of Flourite from an old tank.

Yes, I know the substrate combo was a mistake, especially now that I've read John Hiscock's book. This tank was purely an experiment and I'm about to redo it.

There used to be another rock, and I think the rocks slowly leeched stuff into the water. Between friends and I we have six tanks, three of which have rocks: one has this gray slate-like stuff, another has petrified wood, and another has that white/pink artificial-looking striated stuff. The three tanks with rocks have absurdly-high pH levels, all >8.0.

There is ONE single red cherry shrimp in there, and he seems really happy despite the astronomical pH. There were a few others but they died off many months ago.

Redo plans: 1/2" heated fine sand under sloped Flourite Red substrate, driftwood + peacock moss, narrow-leaf small java fern and nano anubias.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That pH meter is old, yes, but fresh test strips confirm it. The pH is... well, was... somewhere above 8.5.

The tank has been redone, and the one Ultra Shrimp was slowly accumulated in over two hours to a pH of 7.2ish.
 

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That pH meter is old, yes, but fresh test strips confirm it. The pH is... well, was... somewhere above 8.5.
Personally, I don't trust pH test strips because they are extremely sensitive to handling and storage conditions.

The tank has been redone, and the one Ultra
Shrimp was slowly accumulated in over two hours to a pH of 7.2ish.
Acclimated, maybe? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
(cross-post)

Followup: I had three tanks with recurring high-pH problems (like, pH 8.5 or above). The tanks had petrified wood, some kind of grey rock, and white-pink-striped rock, respectively. I took the rocks out of all the tanks and replaced them with driftwood. All the tanks now have perfect pH. However, while in separate buildings, all tanks are within the same town and still are subject to the same water supply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Eclipse 3 is doing well. The plants started to get cranky, but I added some SeaChem root tabs and the plants have perked up again. The plants are doing so well that, aside from some green spot algae, the tank is crystal clear.



Contents: cryptocorne wendtii, cryptocorne crispatula, various anubias, various java fern, weeping moss, 4 x galaxy rasbora (captive bred), a few bee shrimp.

I put a sponge prefilter on the filter intake because I had hoped my shrimp would breed. Unfortunately, the scarlet badis (who has since been traded away) liked to pick at them, and there are only two or three shrimp left.

Substrate is 1" of Flourite Red on top of 0.5" of sand. I thought I'd need to heat the tank so there's a flat heater underneath (and the sand would heat it nicely), but it raised the temperature too much. Ambient temperature in the office stays around 74 degrees F.
 
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