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  1. I did just listen to Cory and Dean's livestream from yesterday - Coincidentally, someone asked a similar question and I appreciated their responses. It may just be that there is something in my water that is interfering with the strip reading. I'll just keep happily using my new strips for everything else, and it might just be that the rare times I'm interested in pH, I'll just double check with my API as well.
  2. Midrange test below - Am I just crazy, reading it wrong, color blind? 😉
  3. Thanks - That's what the chemist husband also said 😉 I probably should have added less baking soda to the test below. Now both readings are off the chart. So the ACO test strips are able to read high, but still wondering if anyone else was having trouble with the midrange pH readings?
  4. Hello - I'm wondering if anyone else has issues/problems with the pH reading on the ACO test strips? This is my first time using them (previously using Tetra test strips or API Master kit) and I seem to be consistently getting a reading between 6.4 and 6.8, no matter which water I'm testing (distilled, tap, any of my 6 tanks which have varying hardness based on population). I've now used the strips about 20-30 times and always get the same reading, no matter what. For instance, I've attached a picture below of the strip testing my tap water which looks like ~6.6, which API master kit reads as 7.6-7.8. (Ignore the other pad readings - I tried to only drip water onto the pH pad to ensure no "bleed".) I then tested some distilled water from my chemist husband's lab to try to calibrate, and both the strip and API read 6.4-6.8. Then I tested my hard water tank which read 7.8-8.0 on API and still reading just around 6.6 on the ACO strips. I swish for 3 seconds, then keep horizontal with care not to let any liquid bleed into the next pad, and read at 1 minute (and again at 1.5 minutes just to be sure). The other readings on the ACO test strips seem to correspond well with my API test kit readings, so I don't think this is necessarily a "bad batch" of strips. And before the discussion starts, no - I'm not trying to "chase pH" so please not looking for answers telling me to ignore the pH if the fish are happy 🙂 I just would like to be able to get accurate readings in case of problems, like with a recent mass guppy die-off after I removed the driftwood from one of my tanks. Thanks!!! Appreciate this forum so much!
  5. Thanks, for the speedy reply Cory - The stalk with the leaves essentially fully separated from the bulb after 2 weeks, which had mostly died at this time so leaving it planted wasn't an option. I do have a few mystery snails (which were enjoying snacking on the dead bulb by this point), but wasn't ready to introduce other snail species at this time. I figured I had messed things up with the dip, but I had used it successfully before. If I try again, definitely will skip the dip.
  6. Hi, there! I recently finally was able to order a Crinum calamistratum (been drooling over this plant for a couple of years) from A-Co-op. It didn't do well, and I'm trying to figure out how I can do better if I decide to try again. Short story is that the leaves melted back hard within a day (not unexpected from what I've learned from A-Coop so I was trying to be patient), then slowly disintegrated within about 2 weeks (bulb and leaves) which was sad 😞 . Longer story: This was my first time ordering plants online and it arrived with other products (no other plants) and was brought inside from the mail within an hour. It had a few melting leaves on arrival but looked healthy otherwise. I debated but then decided to try an alum dip for snails a la Irene's advice (measured and timed carefully and correctly as I've done before, but knowing this might be risky). Melt happened as above. I have about 5 moderately heavily planted low-tech tanks that are otherwise thriving using Easy Green and Flourish root tabs, and have grown from bulbs some other crinum (thaianum?) in a different tank. I have aponogeton bulbs planted in the same place/tank that sprouted and grew 6 inch leaves within the month (several root tabs placed around the crinum and apono), so I think ferts/tank health are not the issue. I have super soft water out of the tap in most of my tanks, but this tank I harden with Equilibrium in measured doses for guppies. pH around 7.8, fertilize to keep nitrates ~20-30. Did I kill it with the alum dip (most likely?). Just bad luck? Too many/too little root tabs? Sorry, I didn't snap any photos during the process. Thanks in advance for any advice. Or if anyone has a good alternate plant that looks similar but maybe hardier?
  7. More info than you probably want.... 😃 Tank 1) A (slightly overstocked) planted 100 g long with angels, Bolivian rams, sterbai cories, black neons, rummy nose tetras, cherry barbs. My main interaction with the tank is in the evenings, so lights go on from 3p-11p. I feed every day, once a day, around 8 pm so that I can watch and enjoy. I feed enough but don't overfeed (much less than what I see people putting in during videos - knowing that's also for the video...). I watch my nitrates for my plants but sometimes hard to get nitrates up over 10ppm (add Easy Green for plants to help). I vary the "overall feeding" food each day: frozen brine shrimp, Xtreme Krill Flakes, Repashy community, Omega veggie pellets, Bug Bites. Each day I also put in large algae wafer or 2 for the cories and a few small Hikari sinking wafers (the rams and angels play keep-away and it's hilarious and entertaining). Fish all fat and sassy. Only 1-2 losses in a year (new tank for 2020 quarantine). Tank 2) Guppyville with tons of fry and some julii cories. I use dollar store salt and pepper shakers to sprinkle a little twice a day (sometimes more often). One shaker has crushed Xtreme Krill flakes and the other has a mix of powdered bug bites and daphnia. Occasional frozen baby brine. A few Hikari wafers for the cories once a day (which the guppies attack as well). 3 more tanks - more of the same, less intricate (like the betta tank and the teenager's tanks 😉 ) Beautiful tank, BTW!!! ❤️
  8. I've converted all my tanks to sand and honestly love it. I have light pool filter sand in my larger 100g and play sand with some gravel mixed in for my 36g. Granted, in the 100g I don't have bigger fish (angels and Bolivian Rams are my biggest) so I don't see bigger detritus much on the bottom (or my filter rocks). I don't have the issue with the pool filter sand being sucked up that people talk about - I wave the siphon firmly back and forth about 2 inches above the sand and it dislodges the detritus without disrupting the sand. In my 36g, I've ended up with play sand - darker, more varied, plus I added scattered tan/brown small gravel which looks super natural and hides detritus well. Now in my betta tank with TopFin black sand it sucks up like crazy! Even with a tiny DIY siphon made with a dropper and airline tubing. But, it hides detritus super well and always looks pristine.
  9. Hi, there! Your son will be SO excited! I gave my 12 year old his first tank last Christmas and he was thrilled! (And now has two tanks in his room). I always hear about vinegar, but I'm always surprised more people don't talk about using Hydrogen peroxide. Safe and inert once it evaporates. I researched it as an equivalent sanitizer to bleach in my medical office and found it cleans most of the same things (although I will admit I was paying more attention to viruses than bacteria).
  10. Thanks! It's great to hear from someone with experience with both (I've asked this question a couple of times and looked everywhere on forums, but no one seems to answer this question directly). Also glad to hear from James Black that his bristlenose ate his BBA (I can't seem to find many answers to that, either). Many thanks!
  11. Hi, everyone! I have had a low grade black beard algae and spot green algae issue that I've been keeping under control manually (lately removing hardscape & spot treating with H2O2 or Excel with mixed results) and feeding less/less light to try to dial in. I have a hard time keeping my nitrates > 5ppm, even with Easy Green (although I started low to half dose and still had to scale back, as the BBA just exploded when I increased to a half-dose). Mildly (trying to get to moderately) planted tank - mostly slow growing but added some faster species recently. OK - the ACTUAL question is: I'm trying to decide if I should add any sort of algae eater (bristle nose pleco, panda garras, or Siamese Algae Eater are on my short list, although I think only the SAE eats BBA) but I can't find much about their mouth anatomy. The 100g acrylic tank was VERY spendy, and I already have some micro scratches on the side from an "acrylic safe" Seachem sponge the first week I got it - very sad. I don't know if any of those fish have a hard rasp that will create micro scratches over time. Tank info: 10 month old soft water tank, pH 7.6, dGH 2/GH 35 ppm, nitrates 5-10ppm, zero ammonia/nitrite. 5 angels, 3 Bolivian rams, sterbai corys, cherry barbs, rummynose & black neon tetras. Have amano shrimp in my other tank keeping that BBA under a little better control, but I heard they make great (and expensive) snacks for angels. Not interested in nerites as I dislike the look of the eggs. TIA!
  12. Thanks so much for the reply, @Cory especially right after finishing a two-hour live stream 🙂 - It seems like maybe they are just more sensitive to transport/shipping parameters? I see this question a lot in forums as I'm searching without a reason on the fish keeper's side. Both times I've bought them shortly after the LFS received them, so maybe it was too much stress too soon 😞
  13. Yes, he bought a bunch and lost a bunch from one of the batches, but I didn't think he had any idea at the time of the video about why one batch did so poorly.
  14. I was about to post this exact same question. I've lost half of my rummynose that I bought from a good LFS a few months ago within a couple of days. Just lost 8 out of 11 from the local big box store within a day. I noticed as well that one of the online vendors states that rummynose are exempt from their extended guarantee - I'm wondering if they are just sensitive with shipping.transport. I have the opposite water as you - 6.4 pH and very soft out of the tap. I did drip acclimation with both sets. Quarantined one and added to community tank with the other, both into established tanks.
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