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About Me

  1. I have been keeping fish and plants in our well water here for 7 years. Until recently my plants either die or don't grow in my aquariums or pond. I have started to mix distilled water into my aquariums and my plants have started to grow better. The trouble is my pond holds too much water to try mixing distilled water in it. I believe my well water has a high ph and is very hard. Anybody have any ideas how I can treat my pond water so I can grow plants in my pond also? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me. Mark
  2. Chemistry done on April 4th 20G Temp 79.1, Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrate 5.0; GH 14 and KH 5 (current load 6 fish 2 snails, 3 shrimp) 5G Temp 77.5, Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0.25; Nitrate 8.0; GH 8 and KH 4 (1 Pea puffer) I was testing my tanks this morning and ALL of them PH and KH have dropped I have had PH in ALL of them consistent 7.4 for MONTHS.. I even did them on April 4th and my PH was 7.4 (in 20G and 5G) and KH 20G = 5 and 5 Gallon = 4. The PH in my tap water is also 7.4 and I use tap water (with prime) to do water changes. Temp is 79 in both tanks I did a water change/clean on the 5 G on Sunday (30%) and 20G I cleaned/changed 20% before I added 5 new fish from QT. Even my QT tank PH has dropped to the mid 6's where it used to be like all the others @ 7.4 What happened? What did I do wrong? Do I fix it? or leave it.
  3. Hello everyone, I'm new here and also generally to freshwater. Feeling reinvigorated to do things right again and was hoping for some discussion. In my living room I have a standard 4x2x2 120g aquarium. Currently running 2x aquafilter 110s with sponge and ceramic media, an airstone, and a Fluval 3.0 light. I believe the substrate is fluval stratum and some inert gravel but I don't recall exactly. Some large spider wood makes up the majority of the aquascape. It has been setup for a little over 2 years now. When I first got the tank cycled I bought a ton of plants from the coop, basically 1 or more of everything they had in stock. We then placed assorted fancy guppies, sterbai corys and a golden ram cichlid in the tank which I ran in the low 80s for temp. Initially the guppies bred like crazy and I was getting worried about the numbers but then they all started dying despite my efforts at the time and I lost the entire colony over an approx. 2 month time frame. I did everything I could think of at the time, even bought an electric meter to test for stray current. The ram died during this time as well. I spent a lot on meds to treat the 120g during all of this as my hospital tank didn't seem large enough for so many fish. It should be said that no visible diseases were apparent to me. Having lost a bit of my steam the tank languished a bit during this time, most of the plants died aside from the crypts, anubias and 2 lily bulbs. But the corys actually bred, about doubling their number and this brought some excitement back to the tank for us. The tank is now stocked with 16 sterbai corys, 12 pencilfish, 30 neons, 20 cherry barbs and 3 honey gourami. Populations are relatively stable with no notable losses or apparent distress. Having maintained the fish now for quite a while I grew tired of growing mostly algae. The plants were growing very slowly and each leaf would be covered with algae not long after developing. Everything looked ugly. I bought and started running a co2 system for the tank last week. I dose easy carbon everyday and easy green sparingly to keep nitrates in check. I placed a few new plants and it's still too early to see if they'll prosper but the algae situation seems to have improved. I would like to be successful with the plants before considering adding any new livestock. I finally bought a decent set of water tests and tested out everything today. I have also learned that my heaters keep the water 81 to 82 degrees no matter what I set them at so have purchased a temperature controller that arrives tomorrow. I intend to slowly reduce temp to 76-78. Values: KH dKH API test is <1 GH ppm API is 3 drops = 53.7ppm PH API, no change, 6.0 or less TDS Digital Meter 67ppm Nitrate 10-20 ppm Co op Test Strips Generally in agreement. Anyways, I have an idea why I lost the guppies now. I also suspect temp as the main culprit for my difficulty with plants? I was considering adding a small amount of crushed coral to my filter just to get the PH to at least register at over 6.0? Trying to learn and do my best here, this hobby hasn't been economical so far! The tank is in my living room and I quite enjoy the fish and would like an attractive plant scape. I know I don't have a lot of questions and I wrote quite an essay but I just wanted to introduce myself and be involved. Again, thank you. I've included some photos for interest. I didn't do any particular maintenance so you could see a typical state. A 50% water change was performed approx. 24 hours ago.
  4. I found a basic chemistry analysis from my local water authority that I thought would be informative to post here for people wondering about TDS and the differences in tap water. I live in the middle of Pennsylvania and thus our local water authority draws water from drilled wells in different parts of town and delivers treated water to homes and businesses that comes with very different profiles based on your location. Here's a breakdown of some interesting numbers that are different between two wellfields that are only a few miles apart. My current house draws from one and the house I'm moving to in July draws from the other. Hardness - 115 mg/L vs 251 mg/L Calcium - 24.9 mg/L vs 60.7 mg/L Magnesium - 12.8 mg/L vs 24.2 mg/L Nitrate - 1.48 ppm vs 4.4 ppm Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) - 99 mg/L vs 331 mg/L Total Coliform (bacteria) - ND (not detected) vs. 66.8 mg/L So as I said these wellfields are within a few miles of one another and the house we're moving to is just up the road. Based on this analysis the water I'm using now vs. what I'll be using in my fish room are very different. One well is at a slightly higher elevation and the other is essentially in karst limestone. We're going from water that's perhaps moderately hard to some that creates limescale on every surface it touches (crazy hard water). In the fish room I'll be cutting the water from the wellfield with RO/water so it should make it a better match with the species of fish I intend to keep. If you can find similar analyses for your water I encourage you to look it up because it makes a huge difference!
  5. The pH in my 60 gallon tank keeps dropping. It will stay at about 7.2-7.4 for a while and then, when I check again a few days later, it will have dropped to about 6.0! I add baking soda to get the pH back up and it works for a week or so and then the same thing happens again. Anyone seen this? And how can I stabilize my pH?
  6. I have a well established 35Gal tank that I've converted over to live plants. Fish and plants seem to be happy, but wanted to start tracking water parameters. Have 3 inches of inert pea sized river gravel, and have been using EG and root tabs. Water parameters with Tetra easy strips are reading: Nitrate Nitrite GH Total Chlorine KH PH 20 0.5 150 0 40 7.8 80 0 150 0 120 6.8 The top row of numbers is my tap water, 2nd row from tank. I've done two 25% water changes since 4 days ago and Nitrates still at 80ppm. Have stopped dosing with EG until the nitrates are consumed.. Any other water parameters above I should be concerned with? I'm nervous about the tap water having 20ppm on the nitrates and have thought about installing RO/DI. Thoughts?? I clean the HOB filter media sponges and water polishing cloth as to not build up organic waste. Dechlorinate with API Proper PH 7.0 on weekly 25% water changes
  7. I confess, it is true... I don't: do any cycling on a new aquarium and I put fish in moments after the water goes in to the new aquarium have a quarantine aquarium or think about quarantining new fish rinse my baby brine shrimp Probably the first 2 are much more serious sins than the 3rd one. I think I get away with the first one because all my tanks are dirty and I use a lot of hornwort. I think I get away with second one because most new fish go into their own (uncycled) new aquarium (or maybe it is just luck and I just haven't run out the string yet). I pretty sure @Dean’s Fishroom would give me demerits for the 3rd one, but it is my lazy way of providing trace elements to my fish 🙂.
  8. I have something weird happening: different water parameters with (2) 20 gallon long planted with a few fish, same water source RO/DI, same filtration..... One tank is at 8.2 ph, gh 3, kh 4 Other tank is at 7.8 ph, gh 8, kh 3 Any ideas? Thanks.
  9. Does anyone have experience with water softeners for well water? I’m worried the softener is putting too much sodium in the tap water for plants. May not be good for low/med light plants I’m planning to buy here. I’m confident I can add back the other minerals needed with frets. But no clue about the sodium. My tap water parameters are... 7 dPH, 7 or 8 dGH, KH is high - well over 200 ppm. I’ve not set up tank yet. Will be a 75 gallon tho. Lots of vals, crypts and octopus tho. Anyone with experience in this area? I live in MI. So hard, rusty water if I went straight from well. I don’t want to do that. Happy holidays!
  10. Hey everyone, I'm in the process of buying a house that has very hard water but also uses a water softener. As I have planted tanks I'd prefer to remove sodium from the softened water before putting into my aquariums. I've decided to split my outdoor hose line (which uses the regular hard water) and make it accessible to my sink as well as using some RO/DI filtering on the soft water to cut down on the mineral hardness and hopefully maintain some control over the pH. Does anyone have experience with this process? Has anyone installed an RO/DI to remove sodium ions from softened water?
  11. Hello, I am new to the hobby and long story short I am in the process of doing a fish in cycle. If you would like the whole story I posted that in the greetings and introductions. Last night I purchased this kit because my 5 in 1 strips ran out and this was at the pet store and also a bottle of seed because i assumed my cycle was stalled based on 0 nitrite and nitrate from the test strips. Now this morning I see this I was hoping to get some help reading these results Attached in order Ph Ph high Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate
  12. I really have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I thought I understood the nitrogen cycle but it's clear I do not. I'm seeing ammonia, nitrate, and nitrites all above 0 (which is a pretty dramatic change between 1 week ago and now). I thought I would see a spike of ammonia, then it go down and then a spike of nitrate, and then that go down and a spike of nitrite. I feel like this is just an explosion of everything. What do I do next? Keep waiting? Change the water? I don't have fish. I am very confused!
  13. I tested my water again this evening and everything seemed higher than I had seen before and i performed a water change (probably 30-40% because i was still figuring out how to use the python siphon). I tested my water again and am now second guessing my decision to change the water. the image with the lighter colors are post water change. Am i overthinking this all? Thank you to everyone who has been so kind and helpful to me in this forum as I learn about this hobby.
  14. 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.
  15. I just brought home some new corydora cat fish, and placed them in the QT tank. I decided to check the LFS's water to see what his parameters were. I know that he uses RO water, and also noted a dead fish in the tank (that was alive on Monday) when I picked them up today. See the pictures below. These are no where close to my parameters and I am FREAKING OUT... Are they going to all die? I also did his GH which I got 13 drops before it changed color, and the KH well.. it was NEVER BLUE, and took 4 drops to go yellow (stayed completely CLEAR till it turned light yellow). Is there anything can do? Is it too late? Here are my parameters: PH 7.4 Ammonia, 0ppm Nitrites, 0ppm Nitrates, 0ppm
  16. I’m new to fish keeping and currently have one aquarium with guppies. I am interested in breeding bristlenose and would like to set up my second tank to do so. It is a 20 tall and currently has 4 plants and a couple mystery snails in it while I finalize what to stock it with. Everything I have read/heard says that bristlenose should be kept no higher then 7.8ph, especially when trying to breed them. My water out of the tap has a PH of 8.5 and GH of 300. I’m concerned that any bristlenose I bring in will will either a) not survive or b) not thrive and breed. I’m looking for input on whether or not this could work with my water conditions or would the bristlenose fall apart and not thrive?
  17. A friend offered me some fish today. It was so generous! They are pretty uncommon in our LFS, and my mind began scrambling... (What can I move? What can I sell? How can I make this work?) What I know is that these fish need certain parameters to do well. I’m being non-specific here for a reason: this can apply to many species, many scenarios. One tank option I’ve got would necessitate selling ca. 25 fish. Another option, though less water volume, would require only moving a few to another tank. But it’s water has had some different readings in the past. So... I ran a pH test. Here’s the thing: I use the same tap (city) water for every water change, and I change out 30-50% every 1-2 weeks in every tank. I do the pH test, and it reads almost unchartably low... close to 6.0 pH. I go and test the other tank (with fish that would have to be sold). It reads nearly 8.0 pH. On a lark, I test a third tank. It floats near 7.0 pH. I have explanations for each case, but the big thing I’m learning is that ... you need to know the water in each tank. It’s easy to presume, “My water is such and such... so my tanks are all pretty much thus and thus...” Unless they’re not!
  18. So tested my tap water today. It tested out to GH 120, KH 80-120, PH 7.0-7.5. Was wondering what fish would be the most compatible with these water parameters. Also is there a chart somewhere to check compatibility?
  19. Alright y'all, education time: how can I stabily lower ph and hardness? I'm rocking 8ph and 130 ppm of "hardness" from the tap (I know I need to invest in a real h/kh test kit) and am playing with the idea of a soft-water dark-water tank. I know I can use botanicals and mosses for slowly lowering those parameters, but what are the more stable solutions. The plan is chocolate gouramis, so I'm talking 6.0PH on the high end. It would be a 2 fish tank (if I can find a pair) and a 20L, so I will be trying to keep water changes to a minimum (for the stability) Thanks in advance, keddre
  20. Hi all, I am trying to assess my water balance to determine if I need corrective action. It seems my Ph is on the low side and KH and GH are not quite in sync with each other. I live in Tucson, AZ where the tap water is VERY hard, so I use RO for water exchanges and top offs. Fish (4 Denison's, 1 Congo Tetra, 1 Gold bristle nose Pleco - 60 gal tank) seem to be doing fine, plants look like they could be a bit more vibrant. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Here are my water parameters from the Tank, Tap and RO: Tank: Ph = 6.4 KH = 4 dKH GH = 8 dGH Nitrite = 0 ppm Nitrate = 5 ppm Ammonia = 0-0.25 ppm CO2 = 35-40 ppm Tap: Ph = 8.0 KH = 6 dKH GH = 17-18 dGH RO: Ph = 7.0 KH = 0 dKH GH = 0 dGH C
  21. My guppies are dropping fast. Everything is quarantined and treated before going in the tank, parameters are usually stable but I've had higher nitrates around 40 lately and I'm assuming its because I'm so heavily planted and dont see when they die so they have a chance to rot and now I have ammonia so obviously water change now even though I did 50% of the 55 about 3 days ago. Interesting thing to me is both gh and kh turned on the first drop and we have liquid stone here and even with all the plants its usually 4 and 7. Co2 was added a couple months ago and I admit I dont test ph often enough but it comes out of the tap around 7.6-7.8 and if I'm reading the test right I'm around 6. I added 7 caps of excel yesterday to help me with the black beard algae and lost several since, enough that we actually found bodies and we almost never find them since we have shrimp and snails taking care of that sort of thing and we dont usually have a spike when the population self regulates.
  22. I have been cycling my tank for what feels like YEARS at this point. I did a water change (adding seachem prime with some SmartStart complete as well), and cleaned the plants and got these results today. I have been reading these thing so much I swear I can't even tell the colors anymore (which are not that easy to read sometimes), I tossed the PH before this picture because it was 7.4 and it has been that way since starting the tank. I will not feed the fish (the 3 I have) tonight. But is there anything else I need to do? I have been using the SmartStart complete because my LFS recommended to try it because the Frits Zyme was not really moving anything along 😞
  23. If I leave regular egg shells in my tank... will they dissolve and add calcium to the water? PH is about 6.4ish... My shrimps pick at them from time to time.. just wondering if I should leave them in there or take them out after a time....
  24. So frustrating, I was doing everything right, I cycled my tank for a moth and then for the next two months everything was nice , plants growing , guppies happy .tank looking pretty. About a week ago I did a too big of a water change about 50% I did not have enough dechlorinate water so I topped it with 2 cups of tap water. Dumb dumb The results was a huge bacteria bloom , the bacteria bloom went away but now I have 0.25 ammonia not moving at all . On top of that I see the early signs of hair algae . The guppies seams to be in thier usual happy campers still. I dossed fritz complete and fritz 7 bacteria. But the ammonia still does not change after 4 days. Checking every day with API kit I feed my fish very light so the food is not the problem I only have 4 guppies so they don't poop too much but I do have snails poop . Now it's a race for making sure the guppies don't get sick, the hair algae does not destroy my tank , and the plants don't dye on me if I will change the light . Attached a picture to how much plants I have currently... Where should I start? what should I do first ??
  25. The pH in my tank is steady at 7.6. I want to keep live plants, tetras, and shrimp. I was looking at Seachem Neutral to get to to 7.0 (which is reported as top end for shrimp and tetras) but the review on using Seachem Neutral with live plants and shrimp are a bit sketchy. My other water parameters in week 1 of cycling the new tank are below. Any thoughts on the Seachem Neutral? is 7.6 too high for shrimp and glowlight tetras? Am I going to be fighting the pH forever and should I just pick new fish/inverts? Week 2 cycling water parameters (API Test Kit) kH - 5 gH - 6 pH -7.6 NO2 - 0 NO3 - 0 NH3/NH4 - 0 I got into this situation where my grand plans for this tank have been de-railed by testing my tap water without resting it for 24 hours and assuming I had perfect 7.0 water out of the tap....I started cycling my tank and saw a huge difference when testing. I tried testing for false positives from water conditioner, etc. but I am confident after learning the hard way my water is 7.6. lesson learned - hoping some of the veterans out there can help me salvage my plans of keeping plants, shrimp, and tetras.
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