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About Me

  1. Please correct me where I'm wrong, or where I'm not not necessarily right about something. For context, I am building a 30gal guppy/ghost shrimp in a planted potted aquarium. I am using a liquid plant fertilizer and fish food while I cycle the tank to increase it's nitrite levels until I buy all my plants. I also have a DIY co2 system I'll be using later. I've been doing research the past week or so now, and I'd like some help pulling all these threads I've got going in my head together. There's a lot I mention here, so I don't expect a full response by any means! pH is the measurement of ionized hydrogen particles in the water. The more ionized particles in the water means the pH will be lower. Acidic particles exchange electrons more readily with the alkali particles around them. If a fish naturally has a high metabolism (versus that of a cichlid, for example), then it makes sense that they can more readily process the acids present in the water. Thus, it leads me to believe that fish with a faster metabolism can process more acids with fewer minerals in the water (softer & more acidic water). Cichlids on the other hand, from what I've read, prefer hard water, and don't react well to acidic/reactive solutions -- they much prefer more stable alkaline environments. Is this accurate? From what I can gather, the alkali metals (minerals in the water) are what neutralize the acidic nitrites and convert them into nitrates. It makes sense to me that if fish and plants lack these specific metals then they have no way of metabolizing / neutralizing the acids in the water. This also explains the general malaise of fish in mineral deficient water. KH, as far as I understand it, is both a total amount and also a ratio of carbonates vs bicarbonates in the water. KH describes how hard or soft the water in the aquarium is. Acidic water is often accommodated by soft water, and alkaline is accommodated by hard water. What is the typical golden ratio between carbonates and bicarbonates? What is a healthy total amount of this ratio in an aquarium? GH, as far as I understand it, is, again, the measurement of the ratio and the total amount of magnesium and calcium suspended in the water of the aquarium. Are carbonates & bicarbonates directly relative to the amount of Magnesium and calcium (among other minerals) in the water? From what I have read, carbonate is produced by magnesium, and bicarbonate is produced by calcium (crushed coral). Is it as simple as this?
  2. So I've added coral to my freshwater tank in attempts to raise my ph. I have put chunks of coral in my tank. They are not "crushed " . So I know the coral works from where I tested it in a container of fish tank water. It raised the ph there after sitting for a couple of days. I believe the ph has come up some considering the yellow that used to show after a ph test was pale faint yellow. Now it's a dark yellow, so logic would says its come up some but not high enough. So my question is does it have to be crushed? Would it not work with just chunks in the tank? My ph from the tap is a consistent 6.8-7.0 however even with pwc the ph still stays at atleast 6.0. I use prime water conditioner. it specifically states on the bottle that it does NOT effect ph. So I'm at a loss here. I've also read that sea shells work as well. Does it have to be a certain type of sea shells? Some ph help would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks, Liz
  3. I set up co2 on my angelfish tank and prior to setup ph was 7.2 kh was around 120ppm I believe and after a week of co2 ph 6.0 kh 0 and I'm not sure why, drop checker stays green and I'm running 28ppm co2 4 drops per second 55 gallon aquarium
  4. I have started to fill a new fish tank with some nice communal fish (Danios, Tetras, Cory catfish, Cherry Barbs, Culi loaches). While checking the nitrate/amonia/nitrite levels I learned my water ph is about 8.6. The water from tap and well have the same ph level. Do I need to drop the ph down? Or just keep on keeping on?
  5. Hi all, I'm new here. A few days ago, my family decided to up our aquarium game from a single old goldfish in a 20-gal tank. Here's what we've done so far this week: Fill 55-gal tank with city tap water Add 2 new sponge filters Add appropriate amount of water conditioner Let it bubble & degas for 2 days Add some old substrate & decor bits from the old goldfish tank to kickstart nitrogen cycle (the goldfish will stay in his old tank until the new tank's all good) A day later, add some new gravel & small anubias. Last night, add a dozen black neon tetras to get some nitrogen cycling. Which brings us to today, when the Amazon fairy brought my water test kit. To get more familiar with the contents of the whole test kit, we did all the tests. Unsurprisingly, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate were all nil. However, the pH was 8.4, well outside the range I found for the tetras and pushing the goldfish's range as well. I wondered if it was a factor of the new gravel, but the water in the old goldfish tank tested the same. How worried should I be? How should I find the line between "it's good enough, leave it alone" vs. "it's too high, but give the new tank a while to stabilize before changing things" vs. "ye flipping gods, that's way too high, add acid now!" The tetras all survived their first night in the tank (and the goldfish has survived almost a decade), but I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell whether they're fine or struggling.
  6. So I have done a little research to learn what exactly is in my tap water. The issue that has prompted this is consistently higher nitrates, neutral pH and very low Kh and Gh. Visible symptoms include algae growing on leaves of slow growing plants. Here is what I have found... Tap water API tests: pH 7.0, nitrates 5, Kh 2, Gh 2 Here is some information I found online regarding our municipal tap water... "The Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ Water Treatment Plant uses a pretreatment process called Actiflo, which is a high-rate clarification unit. Micro-Sand, Polymer, and Poly-Aluminum Chloride are added to the raw water as it enters the pretreatment units to begin the coagulation process. After mixing, the solids are removed by the pretreatment process. The water is allowed to settle up to 4 hours and then it is filtered. After filtration, Sodium Hypochlorite, Fluoride and Phosphate are added and the pH is adjusted using liquid lime. Fluoride is added to promote stronger teeth, and Phosphate helps to prevent pipe corrosion in the distribution system. Solids that are removed from the raw water are de-watered and eventually reapplied to farmland in Rowan County." So according to the attached chart... Alkalinity 24.3ppm = Kh 1.3 Hardness 24.5ppm = Gh 1.5 What I need to figure out is how to raise Kh and Gh, or add more minerals to my water, without raising my pH. I read that crushed coral will help, but won't that raise the pH as well?
  7. I guess this sort-of follows Cory's video from 3 years ago comparing API Freshwater Master Test Kit and Tetra 7-in-1 strips. I bought the API GH & KH tests, too. My tank has been set up for almost a month. I'm a scientist, so I test anything and everything (my spreadsheet has 58 lines of test results over a 26-day period). I have consistently found that the API and Tetra tests of water hardness are inconsistent. API: GH = 0-1 degree (0-17 ppm), KH = 2 degrees (17-36 ppm) Tetra: GH = 50 ppm, KH = 0 ppm. Does anyone know why they are so inconsistent? They're basically opposite (I have triple-checked that I'm looking at them correctly). I'm not seeing crazy pH swings in my tank. It's a 17-gallon, running pressurized CO2 at 1-3bps, with ADA Amazonia aquasoil. pH runs 6.2-6.4 consistently. The lowest I've ever measured it is 6.0, and the highest is 6.6. Most of the plants are still adjusting, but the most interesting case is my Pogostemon helferi. I bought a tissue culture and a potted version and both arrived in awesome condition; the former has completely melted over 3 weeks and the latter is slowly petering out since it arrived about 2 weeks ago. I let it acclimate in its pot, and just planted it in the substrate today. I suspect it will die. Cory mentioned once that P. helferi needs hard water. (Darn. I really love that stupid plant.) Other plants seem ok so far: Eleocharis vivipara, Eleocharis 'Belem' (dwarf hair grass), Ludwigia arcuata, buce and anubias, H. pinnatifida, A. reineckii 'Mini', dwarf baby tears (tissue culture version had no roots, Cory's potted version seems ok though). I dose Easy Green (2 pumps once a week), but I am considering adding Seachem Equilibrium (might buy potassium & calcium test kits first, if I can find them). So I guess it is safe to say my water is "very soft" and I don't need to know the exact level...but I just wonder why the two different tests are so different and whether anyone has experienced a similar observation.
  8. Someone please help lol. I have the api master test kit and a gh and kh test. All liquid solutions. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with my well water. Currently, out of the faucet my tests show ph- around 9, when I test gh, I put 2 drops in and it immediately goes green. Never shows orange. And for kh it only shows blue. I can put 30 drops in and it never changes to yellow. All the bottles say they still have 4 years before they expire. I don’t understand my results or if api is just junk?
  9. My water comes out of the tap at 7.2. The only thing I add to it before it goes in my tank is dechlorinator. Just regular bagged gravel from Lowe's as the substrate. I rinsed that extremely well before it went in the tank though. Why then in the tank is my water showing 8.8? This is a 10 gallon tank that has been set up for about 4 weeks now. There are some moss balls, a couple dwarf chain swords, 2 java ferns, and 2 dwarf Lilly bulbs. No fish. I do use seachem flourish in the recommended dosage once a week. Im not convinced the tank is cycled though. Ammonia 0 nitrite 0 nitrate 5. I want to eventually add cherry shrimp but at a ph of 8.8 plus I don't think I'll be able to do that. EDIT: I also use aquarium co op root tabs.
  10. Hello everyone! I had a quick question I was wondering if anyone might be able to give a bit of advice on. My tank has substrate which buffers my pH down to about 7.0, which is ideal. My fish and plants seem to like it. My tap water used to be about 7.2, which was close enough that I didn't worry too much about the difference when doing small water changes. But now my tap water pH has jumped up to about 8.6. That's extremely high, too high to do WC's now. Tap water GH and KH are also higher than the tank water. Realistically it would be difficult to try to pull all the substrate out and put in new substrate and try to slowly have the fish adapt to a pH of 8.6, being so much higher and also even on the high end of what South American fish can adapt to. It just seems like it would stress the fish and plants out too much trying to make them adapt to the huge difference. The pH has been this way a couple months so it doesn't seem it was just a temporary thing. I'm thinking it would be easier to just pre-mix my water and use a product like pH Down to lower my tap water's pH to about 7.0, and also possibly make some GH and KH adjustments. Just trying to match everything as closely as possible. Would that be safe and stable long-term, or would using an acidifying product like that to pre-mix water cause problems? Would it possibly lead to instability and swings in the long term? I need to provide stability, but when my tap water differs so much from my tank water, I'm not really sure how to go about providing that stability and safety. Would RO water be the only safe or recommended option? Thanks and have a great day!
  11. So I am starting a new planted tank and am planning to keep some Neon Tetras, and a single Honey Gourami as a center pice. When I tested my tap water today after dechlorinating it I have a pH: 8.2, kH: 14 , and gH: 3. From what I have researched the gH should be fine but I am not too sure about the pH and kH as I think I want the pH to be around 6~7. Any insight is welcome, Thanks.
  12. I've been rescaping and replanting my 29 gallon. I bought two new pieces of wood to add in and have been bucket soaking them for the last 3 days. I was curious as I watched all the tannins leaching so I tested PH of the wood bucket water against my normal tap water. Tap water: 8.0ph Wood bucket water: 6.4-6.6ph My tank water runs about 7.8 after 3 weeks without any water change, so the difference is obviously nominal. So, my question is: do I need to be concerned putting these new wood pieces in my tank? I'm a bit concerned that the ph will be lowered too much and hurt my fish whom are well used to the much higher ph.
  13. Hello, I just started a nano tank with three male guppies. It is aquascaped with just seiryu stones. I have aqua complete soil (which I hate, but that is another topic) and it is planted. I do not have CO2. My tank cycled and I've been sitting at a pH of 8 with GH and KH of 6. I read the blog about guppies, and realized I needed to raise my GH and KH. I added one small wonder shell, an almond leaf, and the guppies all at the same time. My pH has not changed nor has my KH, but my GH went up to 9. Small victory! When I was at my LFS, they looked at me like I was crazy: there was no way I could have a high pH with low hardness. They wouldn't sell me anything. What are your thoughts? Do I need to get the KH up for guppies, or should I not worry about it? Is there something that can help the tank?
  14. Just a quick question, i want to use my shrimp tank as a growing tank for fry's.I was planning on putting some guppy fry in a fry box so they don't go disturb the shrimp too much. But the thing is my shrimp tank is high PH now i know that's really good for guppies but the thing is if i raise them in that water will they just die if i put them back in a other less high PH tank later? To be fair i think most of my tanks are at the 7 PH range its just the shrimp one as substrate that makes it high.
  15. Can you grow most plants in hard water or is soft water much better for plants?
  16. I am thinking about setting up a tank for multis and I am interested in breeding them. I was wondering how to raid the ph without increasing the hardness too much my tap water parameters are ph-7.0 GH-140 ppm and KH-40 ppm. What would be the best way to raise my ph and hardness
  17. Need help figuring this out - I'm on well water with a water softener. Out of the tap my GH/KH are basically 0. Right from the tap my PH is about 7.5. However after letting water sit/ aerate for a bit my PH goes to 8.2 . I've been having problems keeping some fish that like more acidic water. The only tanks i have that are close to neutral/ below have CO2 injection. I think this may be part of my issue. What can I use to help lower my pH? I'd prefer not to go back to buckets so something I can use with a python while filling would be good. I do use buckets to remove water during water change so i have a rough idea how much I'm removing. The only PH lowering products i've found have directions that discuss how much to dose to remove 1 dKH. Since I have 0 I don't know how much that would drop me. I also need to remineralize and i've purchased a few products to increase GH and/or KH instead of just throwing a wondershell in. Any suggestions from anyone in the same boat? I don't want to/ can't bypass the water softener. TL/DR - Softened well water with PH of 8.2 & GH/KH both 0 - how do I get it neutral and re-mineralized?
  18. Ph 8.2 Gh 2 Kh 12 Does this mean i have soft water or hard water?
  19. Hello, I live in the Midwest and my water is more alkaline. I have plants, American cichlids, and angel fish in my 125 gallon. Ph is normally around 8.2. I desperately want it at a 7.8 to create a thriving environment for fish and plants. I used the lower ph chemical first and it worked for 24 hrs or less. Did some more research and tried a big mesh bag of peat granules in my canister filter. That didn’t do the trick so I bought large catappa almond leaves crumbled them in a mesh bag and put in canister with peat. So, it works well but the tannin colored water is not my favorite look for my tank. I was wondering if I used a product like carbon or clearmax to clear up the tank and remove the tannins, will I also be taking away the ph lowering benefits of these products? Is it the tannins themselves that lower ph? Smart ones, please help.
  20. Help! I'm sorry if I'm putting this comment in the wrong topic. For 10 days, I can't get the pH in my tank water to the right parameters. I have a Betta. pH should be 7 as a goal and KH between 70 and 140. My pH has been 8.5 and KH off the chart high. This morning I added distilled water. I tested just now and no difference..In a panic I just added coral, forgetting that it was for raising KH. Can anyone help me troubleshoot this?
  21. Hello! I have started a 75 gallon long planted tank when I moved into my new house ( 5 months ago). It has Java ferns, jungle val, 3 Angel fish, 8 LG Tetras, 1 Hill stream loach, 5 panda catfish, and some old guppies ive had forever. I am struggling with the water PH and the best way to control it. The home tap water I use is VERY High PH. I did not realize this at first and my plants were struggling and I have a beard algae issues. Once I realized the PH was so high (at first I was not checking the high PH kit I was only using the regular range and thinking I was in the clear) I started trying to treat the water I was adding during water changes to lower it to closer to 7. I test it compared to my tank PH before adding it to try to get it as close as possible to the same ph. Plants are doing better now, have some new growth and in general look less stressed. Far less black algea is growing and some greener algea (minor) has started growing. My fish have never shown signs of stress that I have noticed. Have only lost one Vail Angel fish that I have had for 2 years now and it has happened after I started trying to ph balance my tank before adding it to my change outs. Died about 5 days post water change ( no disease noticeable). Any tips or tricks people have for making the water I add during my water changes a safer PH for my fist and plants? I'm afraid of accidently sending the ecosystem into a ph. rollercoaster since I have to artificially alter it for every bucket of water I add.
  22. Hey, I'm seeing a lot of people on forums saying that stratum will "buffer" ph down to the low 6's. Is this true no matter the water you start with? I have a well established 29-gallon with flourite substrate that has always tested out to 7.2-7.6 ph. I'm setting up a 2nd tank (20g) to grow out a female apisto or two. I'm curious if, when the time comes to move my male, will I be moving him into a dramatically different environment? I'm not really versed on what "buffer" means exactly, but I would think the two tanks shouldn't be too much of a difference because I'm using the same tap water? Or will the substrate heavily dictate the ph?
  23. I have added them in the past haven't noticed any increase or decrease to my ph. Does it do anything to the gh/kh of the water?
  24. I would love to get some advice.. I have a mildly low PH of 6.6. I would like to raise it to a more neutral level. I have a 20 gallon tank with tetras, livebearers, assassin snails, shrimp (unfortunately, they just died. I would like to reintroduce shrimp again) and live plants. I have read that crushed coral is a good solution to slowly and naturally raise the PH. I have a fluval 107 canister filter if that’s helpful. I have black/dark grey substrate and I would like to keep this aesthetic. My question is: 1. what would you recommend to slowly and naturally raise the Ph while maintaining my aesthetic? I know I can add the crushed coral to my filter, but I have read this can raise the PH quickly and it will run through the coral faster. What are my other options? 2. what’s the best way to introduce the added substrate or natural items to my tank?
  25. I know I know, Cory has done a video on this. But I am a numbers and charts person, so I wanted to offer some more data on this topic. I have a background in chemistry and I know a lot of you NERMS on here like this sort of detailed analysis, so here it goes. Once I saw the video, I thought it was genius! Of course! If you are in the ballpark, much better to use those quick test strips (which you will use more often than the liquid kit because they are so easy. As a reminder, you can see Cory's video here: Because I thought this was great info, I went out and bought some test strips to compliment my API test kit. Of course, like any info on the internet, I also wanted to test it. I did a quick test a few weeks ago and got very different results. Whoa! That's weird, and not what Cory's video showed! So today I sat down and did some more precise testing/recording numbers. For this experiment, we have to accept that the human eye just sucks at interpreting color accurately. If we wanted to get super precise numbers, we would want something like a spectrometer, but that's not financially realistic for the average person. (Doesn't mean I'm not looking 'em up on ebay after this...) I have two different tanks I tested this on, but only once each time. One is a planted 60 gallon community tank and the other is a 10 gallon snail tank. I try to keep the gH higher in the snail tank for shell health, so that measurement is particularly important. Both tanks are moderately/heavily planted. The snail tank is overstocked, but I'm pretty diligent about water changes. The Community tank is a little understocked, and please note that I administered some General Cure today to deworm, so that could potentially interfere with results. When I did the test, I had to break my bad habit of not shaking the API test kit for a full minute. You can categorize this under "I am smarter than the sum knowledge of all fishkeepers." arrogance. Surely, not shaking for a full minute couldn't make that big a difference, right? Well, I can get into my previous quick and dirty results, but yes, you need to shake for the full minute. I got very different nitrate results when doing this. Anyway, you can't test the API kit if you aren't going to use it according to the instructions. Please note that I DID NOT USE THE API TEST KIT FOR pH. I have a pH meter which I consider to be the most accurate option available, therefore I compared the test strip to the API kit on nitrate, nitrite, gH and kH. You can see the results below in chart and list form: OK, so what are we seeing? Well first we're seeing that my nitrate levels in my tank are WAY high and I need to fix it, but that's for another day. Within the community tank, everything is pretty much the same between Tetra and API. This is consistent with Cory's results. Now if we look at the Snail tank, we see some variation. Ph and nitrite are looking the same, but gH, kH, and most concerningly nitrate are showing differences. The difference in nitrate could be because of the logarithmic scale it uses to refer to color. Ever notice how the measurement chart jumps from 0, to 5, to 10, then 20, then 40, etc? It's a bigger and bigger difference with each color change on the chart. So if you have a very high concentration that you are reading, and you're having trouble reading it, your mistake matters more than if you were reading something closer to 5. (Ex. Is it 5 or 10? Eh, it's close. Is it 40 or 80? Whoa, big difference!) I did have trouble figuring out the color of the nitrate on the API test kit; I have included pictures of the results here so that others can give input, if you like. Please note that because I thought the API nitrate reading was between 40 and 80 ppm, I split the difference and called it 60ppm. I have no explanation for the difference in KH and GH readings. API results for Snail tank: Tetra test strip Snail tank results: OK so what does all of this mean? I think it means that if your tank is generally healthy and you are just doing regular water checks (once a week, once a month, etc) and you want a heads up on anything that might be an issue, you're probably ok using the Tetra test strips. But if you are having issues with something, you may want to try the API kit. BUT, I would argue that we don't really know which method is more accurate. Within the fish community, we sing the praises of the accuracy of the API Master test kit. But why? What are we comparing it to? Well, we have reports of the test strips going bad very easily, so that's one reason. But ideally, I would want to measure my water parameters with a mass spectrometer (this is me being a super nerd- it is a scientific instrument which gives you VERY accurate reports of concentration. Again, not realistic for the home hobbyist at all! But has anyone every tried it? Ever? Anywhere? I expect API did the testing, but those aren't exactly easy to look up. Why do we choose API as the best? I think it's worth considering. Tl;dr The API Master test kit has fairly similar results to the Tetra strips if you are measuring low concentrations (everything in your tank is going as expected,) but there can be major differences if you have something like nitrates very high. This is because it's tough for the human eye to read colors accurately. I have no explanation for the differences in kH and gH in one tank but not the other. Also, consider that we don't necessarily know that the API Master kit is the most accurate. Everyone says it is, but what are we comparing it to? Thanks for coming to my TED talk. lol I don't work as a chemist anymore so sometimes it's just nice to get this out of my system. I hope some folks find this helpful/interesting.
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