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  1. Hi, I’m currently cycling with plants & Fluval stratum. I’m about entering week 2. I just dosed with easy green fertilizer for the first time since I saw some growth on the plants. My KH 0 PH 6.0-6.5 GH 300 ammonia 0 nitrites 5 ppm nitrates 20ppm *just dosed with easy green prior to testing* My question is: does anyone else use Fluval stratum in a betta fish tank with snails? & Has anyone had any luck or experience using Fluval Stratum & Seachem Alkaline Buffer together? What were your results? My Ph seems really low and I don’t have any KH after 24 hours from adding water after my water change. I want to try and raise the ph so I can cycle my tank more efficiently. But from what I was reading I can’t use crushed coral to increase KH & PH because my hardness is already 300 so then I saw Seachem alkaline buffer. I do understand that the FS has buffering but I’m trying to wear it down faster or stabilize the ph. My tap water has nitrates 20ppm, ph 7.5, kh 40, GH 300.
  2. I have a 29 gallon aquarium with Eco-Complete substrate, planted with both an on-back filter as well as a sponge filter. My tank has been setup for about 1 1/2 months with weekly 25% water changes, and seems to be fairly well cycled with consistently 0 nitrites and ammonia, and nitrates maintain between 10 and 25 ppm. I use the Aquarium Coop test strips for daily testing. However, I am consistently getting low KH (40 ppm or less), pH about 6.8, and my water is hard with GH consistently between 150 and 300 ppm. I want to elevate my KH to the moderate range of 80 to 120 ppm, but I am concerned that using crushed coral will also increase the hardness even more. My plants seem to be thriving, as do the fish (after losing my 2 male guppies and 3 otos over the last few weeks. I have minimal algae. So, if I add crushed coral to elevate the KH, will this make problems for my already hard water aquarium? Or, is it best to add the coral to my filter? Thanks!
  3. Hi everyone! I have 2 questions. My tank is established (over 2 years) but the PH continues to stay around 6.6 which when researching seems low. I have Platies, Swordtails, and guppies. Should I attempt to raise it or leave it alone? If I need to raise it how best to safely do that? We have recently had a couple fish die with no signs of disease so wasn’t sure if it could be the PH. We’ve had 4 fry also die all about the same age. Second question, is my tank has been overtaken by rams horn snails. Started with one and now I wish I had taken it out. Didn’t realize how quickly they multiply! How can I get rid of these? Far to many to do it by hand. Thanks for the help as always!
  4. strips say it's <6.4, API pH says it's >7.6, and high range pH isn't a color on the chart is it in between all of them?
  5. Is a ph of 7.4 for a neolamprologus multifasciatus tank bad? Nothing to worry about? I'm starting a shell tank and have a bunch of texts holey rock in it and some Carib Sea Florida Crushed Coral. The Ph has stabilized around 7.4. The tank is a 40 breeder with about 20 lbs of holey rock and inert sand. I have maybe a pound of the florida coral in a medium-sized box filter, bubbling water through that. I was hoping the Florida coral would buffer to around 8 since it has aragonite, but so far I'm sitting at 7.4. I was also under the assumption the the holey rock would have the same effect. My tap water is pretty acidic, has KH lower than 1, and stabilizes at around 6.6 - 6.8 if unbuffered. Any advice? Just roll with 7.4? Do the coral and rock take longer to buffer than I am anticipating?
  6. I am on well water that has been at 6.6 ph and my 2 tanks are usually at 6.8 to 7 ph. I just discovered that my well water ph is now 6 or possibly lower (a very pale yellow on the API Master Test Kit). This discovery was made after I did a 20% water change on a 5 gallon shrimplet tank. They all died within an hour. I am concerned about my 2 fish tanks. I have one 10 gallon, heavily planted tank stocked with 8 CPDs. I also have one 20 gallon long tannin water stocked with 15 chili rasbora and 4 sparkling gourami. They are fully cycled and both test 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5-10 nitrate. I need to do some maintenance. I am worried that the ph difference is too great and will shock or kill my fish if I do a water change. I purchased distilled water, but it tested 6 ph. What do you think?
  7. Hey guys, So I'm trying to redo my dad's 75 gallon tank cause we call it the death trap tank. Everything he seems to put in dies. I've tested his levels and everything comes back fairly ok minus his pH is insanely low. Like 5.0 low. I've rushed out and bought some ph up stuff but it will only rise to about 6.0 and then the next day falls again. We removed the carbon as we read that can affect it too. I'm not sure what to do at this point. The weird thing is that I don't understand too is that I also have aquariums in the same house, and my pH is high compared to his. Mine comes in around 8.0. Any advice? I don't want his fish to keep dying.
  8. Hi All! I just checked my pH in my very heavily planted 5g ramshorn and bladder snail tank and I was shocked at how low it is -- 6.4. Do I need to take action or just monitor it for a bit? Admittedly, I don't check pH very often. It's always so consistent -- 7.6 -- in my other tank that I didn't worry about it. Ammonia: .25 Nitrite: 0 Nitrates: 20 Weekly ~30 percent water change Feed shrimp food a few times a week. Wonder shell added. I have had some ramshorn die off recently. Tap pH is 8.2
  9. I just finished cycling a little over a week ago (at least I thought I did) as I was able to dose my tank with 2ppms of ammonia and 24 hours later ammonia and nitrites were 0. Since then I’ve been dosing 2ppms of ammonia daily and ammonia and nitrites are always at 0 the next day. Suddenly today I test the water and both ammonia and nitrites are at 0.5 ppms? I can’t think of anything that could have caused that? I don’t see any snails in the tanks, I haven’t dosed any anti bacterial medications or anything like that all I’ve been doing is dosing 2ppms of ammonia daily. Is there anything I might be missing? I do weekly water changes every Friday, and during my last water change which was 5 days ago I trimmed and removed some dying plant leaves. Thats the only change I could possibly think of but every day since then the tank was able to process 2ppms of ammonia until now so I don’t think that affected it. Does this mean my tank isn’t cycled? Did beneficial bacteria just die off? Also I’m not sure if this is relevant but my ph was also 7.6 today, which I thought was strange because when I test ph before my weekly water change it’s usually 6.4 - 6.6, I was going to add crushed coral to raise my kh and hopefully my ph too but now my ph is 7.6 and I’m just confused. Any possible explanations or advice would be appreciated 🙂
  10. So, I'm new to the hobby but I've been researching quite a bit. I'm building a 29 gal. Sand, dragon rock, driftwood, and planted with java fern and anubias (16 plants total), as well as java moss and guppy grass. I intend to keep cherry shrimp (already have 30+ in a smaller tank), 10-12 neon tetras, 6 pygmy corys, a clown pleco, and 3-4 nerites. The tank is already cycled and planted but no livestock yet. Keeping temp at 78 and running Aquarium co-op's sponge filter. My issue has been water parameters. I started out just using tap. Out of the tap, it runs 6dKH, 8dGH, and pH 7.8-8.0. I wanted to lower my pH so I got the Buddy+ RODI kit and started doing 30% water changes every week while it was cycling. Apparently I did one too many because my pH crashed down to 6.2. I've managed to get it back up to 6.8-7.0 by doing mixed water changes with RO and tap. My concern is my kH. Current water conditions are pH 7.0, 7 dGH, and 2 dKH. (Aslo, 0 NH3, 0 nitrites, 20 ppm nitrates - adding NH4CI daily until stocked) I tried adding some sodium carbonate in the form of API's pH UP, and that got my pH up to 7 but had no affect on my KH. I'm worried about my plants and pH swings with that low of KH. Am I right to be concerned and if so what should I try differently?
  11. How quickly does kh drop in a fish tank and what causes it to drop? I’ve been doing weekly 30-50% water changes as I’ve been cycling and want to remove the excess nitrates from the tank but before I water change I test the tank water. Usually before a water change the ph is low (6.4 - 6.6) the gh is high (12-13 dgh) and the kh is low (0-1 dkh). I’ve yet to test the water parameters after a water change, but I just tested the sink water last week. The ph was 8, the dkh was 8, and the dgh was 18 (ammonia was also .5 but that’s not relevant). I was considering adding some crushed coral to raise my kh but I was curious as to why my sink water dkh is so high yet my tank dkh is so low? I have fluval stratum in my tank and I know that lowers ph but I hadn’t heard of it affecting anything else. This also had me thinking since the sink water parameters are fairly different from my tank water parameters, would water changes stress out the fish?
  12. Hi everyone, after having my first guppies die on me, I’m trying to figure out my water. I’m showing a pretty big difference between the Coop strips and API test kit. The test kit did expire in January, but even before then it was showing my PH to be much higher than the aquarium coop test strips do (the difference didn’t matter until I tried to keep guppies!) Thanks!
  13. I recently setup a 40 gallon for my 7 Multies. My PH is 7.6 I know Multies will do better in above 8 ph. I am trying to breed them so I have added “Seachem African Cichlid Mix” to the sand and to the HOB filter. I haven’t seen any change in ph after two weeks of adding to substrate and HOB. Anyone have other ideas for buffing my ph? Will Multies breed in a ph of 7.6? Thanks for any help anyone can provide!
  14. Hello, I am testing my water and I was wondering if ammonium being present in my water would contribute to the readings of the ammonia test in the API water parameter testing kit? My tank is fully cycled (tank has been set up for probably 2 or 3 months at this point) and I am working on getting it heavily planted. I would say that roughly a third of the canopy is covered in water lettuce and frogbit, About half or a bit more of the floor is covered in amz sword, moneywort, val, and dwarf sag. I have small tetras that I am feeding regularly to get them grown out. I know that the amount of food is the likely culprit for my increased ammonia levels. I am just wondering if the plant life is converting ammonia into ammonium in a way that is throwing my test readings off? date pH Ammonia Nitrites Nitrates temp Ferts? 09/21 6.4 2.0 ppm .25 ppm 5.0 ppm 74 F dosed 09/20/21 09/22 6.4 3.0 ppm .25 ppm 0 ppm 74 F dosed 09/20/21 bonus question if anyone cares to venture a guess/soluition: I recently started dosing with CO2 and my pH use to sit at around 6.9 to 7.0, its now sitting around 6.4; while i welcome my drop in pH i dont want it to bottom out on me while I am dosing the plants. The tank has tetra in it and they dont seem to mind. My kuhli loach is a bit of a recluse so i dont know how he/she feels about the drop. I am wondering if i should add some bone rock to the tank to try and organically bring the pH back up while still dosing CO2 for the plants. For reference my drop checker is still showing blue/green (i.e. still not sufficient levels for the amount being consumed by the plants in the tank) As always thank yall for lookin.
  15. I have a very basic working understanding of pH, KH and GH. However there's something I don't understand so either I've misunderstood something or there's a gap in my knowledge. So as I understand: pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline the water is. GH is the measure of how much dissolved minerals there are. KH is the measure of how much calcium there is specifically. As KH goes up so does pH and vice versa right? And as biological processes happen (bacteria and plant growth etc) calcium gets used up and therefore the pH and KH goes down right? So here is my confusion, it's often recommended to add sources of calcium such as crushed coral, aragonite sand, wonder shells etc to either the substrate or the filter or wherever. My understanding is this is to act as a buffer to stop the pH/KH getting too low and to make sure the plants and creatures that need calcium have it right? But what then stops this just making the pH too high? As far as I can tell people just add it in without worrying about dosing amounts etc, they just use for example crushed coral as the substrate right? Not weighing it out or anything. I have really hard tap water (like 8.4ish) but it seems to lower fairly rapidly in my tank (lots of plants, wood, algae, aquarium soil) and seems to settle to around 7.2 which I like as it's fairly neutral and most fish seem to do alright in this. I try and do small water changes to keep it stable but say I go away for a few weeks and I want to stop the pH crashing I would need to add a buffer right? But then wouldn't this just make my water too high a pH, at least until the plants etc bring it down again? Or is it like the calcium only dissolves into the water when the pH starts to drop thus keeping it from getting too high? Feel like there's a piece of the puzzle I'm missing here.
  16. Posted previously with a more septic question, this omission just more generalized. I’ve seen online that ph ranges of 6.8-8.0 is safe for fish. My tap water is coming about 8.0. I know it depends on the species of fish, but in general is that range fairly accurate? My tank appears to be doing okay but I’m just worried I’m slowly killing my fish without knowing it
  17. I'm having problems. Brief history: This 10g used to home a betta at 75 F, pH 7.2, KH 40. The water always came from the tap. After he died, I tore down the tank. Bleached. Rinsed. Sun dried. Now I'm putting in a new substrate of baked clay (safe t sorb), with a little bit of laterite. Two small dragon stones. Water came from the garden hose. After a few days of getting rid of the finer particles of the clay, I added prime and a few hours later, I tested the water. 70 F. KH 0, pH 6, and there was about 0.5ppm ammonia, 5-10ppm nitrates. I did a water change, removing water down to the substrate level. Replaced with tap water. Ammonia is just a fraction above 0 (small tint of green that is lighter than the chart). Nitrates 5-10ppm. pH 7.2. KH 40. A couple of hours later, pH dropping. An hour after that, pH still dropping, now around 6.5. KH is still 40. What could be altering the pH? pH out of the tap is 7.2, but I haven't done a test after a few hours of sitting. The substrate shouldn't do this. The stones shouldn't. I wouldn't think laterite would. Could the water supply have changed that much? The nitrates are present in the tap as well at the same levels. That wasn't the case back in February when I was setting up the tank for the betta. I was getting 0 nitrates at the beginning. Why would KH be 0 in one test and back to 40 the next? Faulty test, or can KH be altered? Any suggestions? I'm not sure I can cycle the tank with the pH that low.
  18. So I have decided to upgrade my betta Mr Darcy's tank (plus his tank mates, neo shrimp, mystery snail & nerite), from a 5gal to a 10 rimless (with clear lid). I need some advice before the change over ... My tap water runs at a Ph of 8.0 and Mr Darcy and the snails seem to have done fine, though the plants and the neos I think don't like that ph. So, for the new tank, I've decided to go with the Fluval Stratum, capped with a pea gravel, for a substrate. I read that the Fluval Stratum lowers ph quite a bit, like possibly into the 6's, which might be good for the neos. One of my questions is ... will the Ph lower gradually or fairly quick? I am trying to plan this out. Can I stick the fish/etc in right after scaping? (I have established sponge filters running almost a year in current tank). Or do I need to let the tank sit for a bit without critters then drip acclimate them? I've never used this substrate so I am just a little anxious, as I don't want to harm the critters or the plants. Thanks for your patience in reading this and any advice! ~Jennifer pic of current 5gal for tax
  19. I recently noticed in my 29 gal planted tank the PH was dropping from 7 to 6.4 and my KH was dropping from 80 to 40 in 7-10 days. The prior month it had been fairly stable with PH of 7.2-7.0 and KH of 80 (climbed to 120 when I was on vacation & no water change). NO2 is 0, NO3 is 25-50, GH is 300. Tap water is 300 GH, 7.2 PH and 80 KH. The fish don't seem to be in stress but I was confused as to why all of a sudden this was happening. I have been keeping a spreadsheet of various aquarium activities by date since I started the tank in May. Looking back it seems my PH and KH have been dropping since I started feeding a home made 'snello' for my snails and shrimp. I generally feed the "snello" once a week after a water change with the exception of last week where I made a mistake and feed twice (PH hit 6.4, KH 40). This jello mixture has quite a bit of Calcium Carbonate in it which I am assuming is lowering the KH. I am thinking I will change the feeding schedule to be two days before the gravel vacume/water change to limit the time the remnants are in the tank. That make sense or am I still missing the culprit?
  20. I tested the ph of my 40 breeder twice and both results came back as 8.0. I tested my tap water and it came out to 7.4. I am not running any crushed coral, it’s fairly well planted with a bunch of pogostemon stellatus octopus and duckweed (that I can’t get rid of). It’s stocked with 15 blue cochu tetras, 8 cheery barbs, 8 glowlight danios, 2 red lizard tails cats, 1 honey gourami, 1 peacock gudgeon, 6 bronze corys. I am not running any crushed coral, I have some driftwood in there too. My substrate is innate. The tank has been running for a year already. I would assume that it would get more acidic. Can anyone think of a possible cause? The only other thing I can think of is the rocks I am using. They were rocks I picked up from a Home Depot. I tested them with vinegar but I didn’t see any bubbles. Other than the rocks is there any other explanation for the ph increase?
  21. I'm scratching my head trying to understand how ph works. I've attached a pic of what I'm seeing in my water testing. Number 1 is a ph test straight from my tap. It's high, looks like 8.4. My 2nd and 3rd test are from my aquarium. The high ph test seems off the charts low, while the regular ph test seems off the charts high. What does this mean exactly? I figured the tests showed that my ph in the tank is somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6. But since they're at both ends of their respective testing spectrum I'm unsure. I also tested water that's been sitting for 24 hours and got the exact same readings as #'s 2 and 3. I've tested gh (8-10 degrees) and kh (5-6 degrees) in the past and they always show hard, but not crazy hard, water. Any insights you might have are greatly appreciated. It's been like this for some time, finally got around to fully testing my AQ and sitting water at the same time.
  22. Hello everyone I am in need of some help I’m really confused right now hopefully I can get some answers! I have 3 planted tanks 2 5g and 1 15g all with no co2, fluval stratom and tropica aquarium soil powder mixed for the substrate in all the tanks 2 of the 3 have dragonstone and spider wood the other has seiryu stone. They have all been running for over a year. The ph in those tanks is about 7.6 and the kh3 gh16. About a month ago I set up a new 29g aquarium with the same two substrates and about 40lbs of dragonstone. The tank has been running for a month with no light on and it’s fully cycled. I haven’t added plants yet because I purchased a co2 system and am now waiting for certain plants to be in stock. Here’s the problem I tested the ph in this tank and it’s about 6.4, I then tested the kh which was 0 and the gh10. I use the same tap water for every aquarium so I’m unsure why the new tank is so different! Like I said I am adding co2 and I know that drops ph and then having a kh of 0 can’t be good either! Any help is appreciated I’ll post a pic of my ph in the 3 established tanks and then the ph in the new tank. I’m afraid to spend the money on plants at this point and get it going!
  23. I've been researching how to lower pH, I really don't like the look of tannins and also don't want to use and chemicals to do it. I saw a video from lrb aquatics on using spaghnum moss to lower pH naturally with no tannins. I was wondering if anyone had tried it, and it you have, what did you think of it and did it work?
  24. Hi, first time poster here. Up until now I have just been doing relentless research and watching the YouTube channel but now I don’t know what to do. I have a new tank. 75 gallon tank with 3 small goldfish and 1 plecto that was set up on Saturday and fish added on Sunday. I checked my tank Thursday and had an ammonia reading of 3.0 ppm, oh was 7.8-8.0, and nitrite and nitrates were both at a 0. Due to the high ammonia we did a 50% water change Thursday. Friday we checked levels again, everything was the same but ammonia was still just below 3.0 ppm. Did another 50-75% water change. I noticed that night my smallest goldfish was sitting at the bottom and was until Saturday morning. He is back to normal self. Friday we dosed prime and stability by seachem and have been light feeding once a day to try and keep ammonia levels down. Left tank alone all day Saturday to not stress fish. Today it’s Sunday and I just checked levels which I will upload now. PH is highest it’s ever been and ammonia is not zero but lower. What should I do now is my question. I don’t want to stress my fish but I don’t want to hurt them further. Fish show no signs of distress or burnings, spots, marks ect. Aside from the one sitting at bottom for the night they have not showed any changes aside from hunger due to limited feeding now. I have prime, I have stability, I have another tetra water conditioner. I don’t have anything else and couldn’t get anything else until Tuesday, payday. Please help me I appreciate any advice. I understand now my tank is not cycled and I’m dealing with new tank syndrome. I just need some help to get me through it. I don’t want my fish harmed. Thank you for your time. ♥️
  25. We have a 40g planted tank that has been up for a month. Currently, it has 1 mystery snail, 1 amano shrimp, and 4 neocaridina shrimp. We also have a rice sized pea puffer who is in the quarantine tank, since I wanted to dose it for parasites. Puffer is going in his own tank (that has yet to be set up). The water parameters are as follows: pH: 7.5 gH: 300ish? (co op test strip) kH: 40ppm (2.25~dkH) (both coop strip and API kH test) nitrates: 5ppm (might be due to fertilizer) nitrites: 0 ammonia: 0 According to the water company: gH: 289 TDS: 410 pH: 7.8 We have cast iron pipes and get water mostly from surface water and ground water (from what I can research, but Ohio makes it REALLY hard to find information about your specific water source when you live in an apartment). I noticed over the past several weeks, that the pH drops an entire point with nothing in the tank but plants over the course of a week and from my research, it seems all fish but especially inverts are sensitive to pH fluctuations, but many also need higher kH than I have. I read mixed reporting about using baking soda to raise kH (as it is claimed it doesn't raise pH). I attempted to raise the kH of my tank (before adding the shrimp) to 6dkH, but it most certainly rose the pH of my tank to 7.8. I did a 75% water change to get the parameters back to normal. The stock we have has been here for 8 days. From the initial stocking we have lost 1 amano shrimp and a bamboo shrimp. After the 1st amano died, we haven't seen the second, however I haven't had any ammonia spikes so I have chosen to closely monitor the water rather than stress out the shrimp looking for the amano. Should I be concerned about the lack of kH? Is there something I can do to help stabilize my kH and pH without making it higher than it already is? I have been doing water changes every few days because the pH drops. What pH stabilizer would you recommend? To note, the pea puffer in quarantine has no live plants, substrate. etc in order to facilitate cleaning and making sure not to complicate things further (for me, the new fish keeper). This pH flux doesn't happen, nor does the kH deplete quickly. Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
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