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My tap water is coming from our well- so its highly mineralized with no chlorine. However, its lack of regulation has me scratching my head as to how to get my tank into my desired parameters.

I am trying to cycle my tank and my numbers are bouncing all over the place. Im going to just sit back and have some patience and see how it goes since my plants look decently healthy for only a week old. But I don't think a complete cycle will correct some of these other issues.

Im a bit concerned about baseline levels for when I stock my tank. My PH is consistently at 7.8. Of course most of the fish I was looking at prefer levels between 6.0-7.5. So my goal is 7.0. If I opt to add Co2 to my tank, I was under the impression that might PH should go down a bit. However, to appropriately dose Co2, should I be testing some other levels in my tank? My KH is sitting at 8dkh and my GH is sitting around 8-9dgh. In addition I have very high TDS - its averaging around 430! Would high Phosphates be influencing any of those readings? Wondering if I should test that since I read that high Phosphates can affect Co2 readings. Or is that just some random BS I read on the interwebs?? Will the high TDS be a problem for fish?

I am also getting a base reading of 40ppm nitrates from my well water. While I know this is the least toxic of the issues- it is still a bit concerning for me as I can't just do a water change to reduce them. Unless I go and purchase Deionized water and then start adding minerals back in (which frankly is not ideal to me). My plants should use some nitrates, but once I start to add stock Im afraid it could quickly get out of control with no efficient way to lower it. Would something like the API Nitra-zorb cannister filter pouch be a reasonable option (after cycle is complete) to give me a little help in keeping the nitrates down? If not API, is there another product line that does the same thing?


45 gallon tank, eco complete substrate, will be moderately heavily planted once they take off.
Day 9
Latest test:
PH:7.8
Ammonia:2ppm
Nitrite:2ppm
Nitrate:80ppm
KH: 140-200; 8dkh
GH: 140-200; 9dgh
TDS: 443

Thoughts, suggestions, and input greatly appreciated!
 

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Your TDS is as insane as mine. And man, 40 ppm Nitrate coming out of the well! That's frustrating. I was going to say treat the water with activated carbon but then I remembered how expensive that stuff is. You're probably going to have to get an RO unit. Hauling 25 gallons of water from the water store once a week would be a lot of work. I only have to get 10 gallons a week. At least the water store is on my way home from work. Maybe you can set up a water treatment container with a separate canister filter and use your Nitra-Zorb idea on it. I have a little wide mouth 5 gallon bottle to mix RO water. It's currently being used to cycle some biomedia. A separate container can be used to do different things. I've put fish and plants in buckets for maintenace. Set up a water treatment system. Have fun. This is a great hobby.
 

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It looks like you’ve accounted for your TDS number, which leaves you with: what to do about it, and you have pretty much answered that question as well.

As @Savetheplants mentioned, you are probably faced with having to buy an RO unit to address all these issues IF you truly want to lower everything. You can still maintain a nice planted tank with these relatively high numbers, but lower numbers do allow greater flexibility. If you decide to stay where you are, just make sure that you have a good balance of all necessary macro and micro nutrients (test PO4 and iron). You will probably need to dose potassium in the ~20ppm area and traces once you have an idea of what trace levels already are (doing this will raise your TDS further). I use ICP-Analysis.com to get a complete picture of my tank water, now and then, and, I would think, you would want such a test anyway for your well-water drinking peace-of-mind.

At 40ppm NO3, you are barely below the EPA guidelines for drinking safety. Once you start feeding your fish, and get other organics going, your NO3 is going to climb. You will be tempted to look at nominal de-nitraters (such as what you mentioned and many others), but these have negligible effects. Purigen can help to absorb the nitrogenous organics before they become NO3, but it will not remove NO3 once it is present. Many members successfully maintain their tanks at 40ppm NO3 and higher.

Your TDS is ok, albeit on the high side. Fish are affected by it mainly when it changes suddenly. I use the guideline of never changing TDS, at once, more than 50ppm or 10%, whichever is less. PO4 won't affect CO2.
 
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