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  1. Hello all! I'm diving into my first planted tank (10g) and I THINK I'm on the right track but would love input. Water parameters are my big concern. 1. Before starting, I tested the water right out of the tap: pH 7.0, dKH 10, dGH 2.7. I was surprised as I live in a part of Texas known for its hard water. I have no water softening devices and my faucets/shower stalls all show the hallmark hard water stains. I thought I was doing something wrong, so I retested several times over several days and the results were all the same. I even tested the water from different faucets. As a last check, I took a sample of the water to my local PetSmart and they confirmed I wasn't crazy/dumb/blind. Very well, so I started... 2. I put down Fluval Stratum substrate and treated the water with Seachem Prime and API Quickstart and allowed the tank to start cycling with some bio balls in the filter for good measure. 3. After a week, I retested at pH 7.0, dKH 4.4, dGH 1.2. I assume the substrate was acidifying the water, causing the dKH to buffer and drop. At this time, I boiled some dragon stones and 2 pieces of driftwood and added them to the tank. 4. Three days later, I retested at pH 7.2(ish), dKH 2.1, dGH practically zero. I'm guessing it's the driftwood that cased that drop in dKH, but I don't really know what is eating up GH. I'm now at the present time and my plan is: 1. Re-mineralize the water with some Seachem Equilibrium and (if needed) Seachem Alkaline Buffer to restore GH and KH respectively until levels are appropriate. (Actually, what are good target levels for GH/KH for beginner plants like amazon swords, cryptocoryns, and bicopas?) 2. Balance any remaining pH issues with some Seachem pH magic potion (lol, don't remember the name). 3. Add some plants in about a week assuming the water has balanced out. Is my thought process okay? Also, is it normal to own practically every Seachem product they make? I think I've handed over a significant chunk of change to them this month. I promise they are not paying me to mention their products every other line! Thank you all in advance! Martin
  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. Hi all, I have hard water (at least 300 ppm according to the Tetra test strip). Unfortunately I don’t know what makes up the hardness. I checked the board of water supply’s water report but it didn’t mention either component. I’ve found saltwater tests for calcium and magnesium but not freshwater. Anyone know of any testing mechanism for these two components, or does it matter?
  4. My fridge has a cartridge filter that filters chlorine (we don't have chloramine in our city water either) and other things like heavy metals. I'm wondering if I could use that instead of adding drops to my water change water. I presume it would also soften my water but tap water here is really soft and i add salts anyway. Does anyone already use 'fridge water in their tank?
  5. I currently have a small dilemma, and thought I'd seek some other opinions. My city is in the middle of doing some major work on our water supply sources. As a result, they changed up how much water is being drawn from where. Over the last couple of months, I've noticed my kh and ph have been dropping. Currently, my numbers out of my 55 g read as 150 ppm GH, 6.8 PH, and 80 ppm KH. Previously the numbers ran 150 ppm GH, 7-7.2 PH, and 120 KH. Water out of the tap is currently 50 GH, 6.4-6.6 PH, and 40 KH. Now I normally would not worry too much about this, but since it seems to be a downward trend, and not stable, I'm more concerned. I should also mention that, due to last years forest fires, our current water supply is full of ash and other organics breaking down. I expect that to contribute even more once spring rolls around. Should I start buffering my water?
  6. I’m new to guppies as I just wanted a fun fish in my 7.5 gal planted tank with shrimp. I got a male and female pair from the Co op and after a couple days they started hiding in a cave.. I had people tell me to get a second female in the mix because they might be stressed.. so I did, but when I got back from the store I found both guppies dead with their tail fins ripped apart.. the next day I got another female and a male because the new (and alone) guppy seemed skittish and I figured company would help. And it did. Until a few days later she was randomly dead. I did multiple water tests and changes through this process and my parameters were always good. I cycled for 2 weeks with old media and My tank temp is 78 degrees. I currently have a male and female and don’t want them to kill eachother like the last pair. So I’m at the crossroads of deciding whether to rehome the guppies or just getting another female and hoping it works. are these types of hiccups typical in guppies? If so I might keep trying, or am I seriously screwing up here? Should I separate the male and female? Thanks guys. I attached an image of my tank( with the first pair) and of my newest trio of gups, the yellow female is the one that passed randomly.
  7. 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?
  8. How long does it take for a Wonder Shell to have an effect? Prior to the addition of a small Wonder Shell to a 10 gallon tank, my dGH was ~6 and my dKH was essentially 0. After the addition of the Wonder Shell and waiting 24 hours, my dGH was about 6.5 while my dKH was still essentially 0. Should I expect a rise in dKH in a 24 hour period? Would my plants be absorbing the extra minerals released by the Wonder Shell hence the apparent failure to raise the calcium hardness? Thanks in advance for your input.
  9. Well, after my tilapia nightmare a while back I have left my big tanks full of water and daphnia and some guppy grass to really get all that stuff balanced out. They are outside (tucson arizona), so it does save me a bill this winter for heating all that. From the water come the alge, from the alge come the daphnia, and from the daphnia come the guppies. Well, food chain wise. In plans for the spring i put a 3 something gallon tank on my office desk to breed out guppies and start the fish cycle over again. -- Today I saw little fry swimming around. While I have added guppies to water before and saw more appear, this is the first "up close" experience I have had with the tiniest of fry. I can see why grown guppies would see these fry guys as delicious marshmallows. Hopefully the fry that learn how to hide in some guppy grass will be the strong ones. Currently have a 3.something gallon tank on my desk. It has duckweed and waterlettuce of some variety on top. Guppy grass for low-mid covering, and hydroton (superheated clay pellets) as substrate. Mainly it was a "grab whats in the garden, add water and guppies, mix in daphnia daily" tank. So far the results are pretty good, with some screw ups along the way. Mainly the thing i overlooked coming into a smaller tank environment was that the ph 'style' changes. Outside I will get sometimes even as much as a 1.5 ph swing between dawn and sunset. But the PH in a smaller tank has a harder time 'swinging' back up (less acidic) I think. Some guppies started swimming funny, so I got the test strips out. I had gotten some neat $3 guppies from petsm--err, "not LFS" to make sure I wasn't going to add to potential tragedy by having paid shipping on them if they die. Well, they died. But they taught me that a good pinch of baking soda will help the tank in a few ways, and provide near instant relief for guppies getting "burnt" by people who let their PH get to 6 before they notice the guppies don't look right. I didn't want to just dump a clump of baking soda in there, as crazy ph swings are bad, but i did put in 2gsp (good sized pinches) of baking soda every 12-18 hours or so. This was actually probably more than i should have, but i noticed if i put it in slowly enough for the 'baking soda water' to form on one side, the fish all immediately swam toward it to be in it. So i think there is some truth to the idea of 'it helps'. I had to do this over the next few days, as the ph would come back up to 6 almost daily. Nothing else looked out of place on the test strip, only ph seemed to be stubborn. More daily doses of baking soda. the PH leveled out after about 5 days of this, stays at about 7.4 now, and has a "tiny swing" between morning and night. So, whew, water safety achieved. Id like it to be lower, around 8.2ish as this is better for a few reasons i have planned... I ordered from some place online Dwarf Baby Tears - to carpet the hydroton 2 Marimo Moss balls -- to be furniture on the carpet Wondershell -- because I believe in wonder Easy fry and small fish food, in a convenient squeeze bottle - just in case my fry are more hungry than I anticipate Easy green 'all in one' fertilizer - because I'm sure the plants will need a squirt or two, right now i detect no nitrates. 😕 I can at least go catch "the best" guppies and throw them in this tank to preserve their looks over time. The err, 'fancy breeder box' i guess it is. I put extra daphnia in the tank when i noticed fry. Just to minify their chances of getting eaten. I believe that the guppies do need to eat "some" of the fry as the natural process would allow, but I don't know enough about ethics from the perspective of a fish to know what I am talking about there really. Best I can do is say "they seem to do that" and allow it. I don't want them all to be gobbled up! With the carpeting plant and midrange plants and top floaters I hope that its a good combination for stability. Pictures attached of the tank as it is now. If its not a disaster I will upload it when it gets planted, and when it stabilizes.
  10. My heavily planted livebearer & snail 36g is off to a roaring start! Babies are everywhere (really hope some of them get eaten!) and everyone seems active and happy. I have pretty soft, neutral tap water, so I bought a huge sack of crushed coral at the outset and have been tossing in a small handful with weekly 25% water changes. So now my tank's GH is way higher (about 200ppm) than my tap water (about 80ppm). But the KH only seems to get lower no matter what I do! I just did a water change a couple days ago and I'm already back at about 20-30ppm KH (tap is about 40-50ppm KH), and this is even after adding some pieces of cuttlebone and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda. pH is now about 7.4 so I don't want to add more and risk a huge pH spike. What should I do? Another water change? Just keep chucking in crushed coral and relax? Ironically, my betta tank and my pea puffer tank both seem to have higher, about tap-water levels of KH and I haven't added anything to it. Pea puffer tank even has a big ol piece of mopani wood still leeching tannins. Backwards land out here.
  11. My tap water has ammonia in it around 2. In doing water changes will the bacteria in the established tank take care of that, should I treat the new water first, or other advise?
  12. 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?
  13. 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 🙂.
  14. When I first started the tank the ammonia was low but now spiked into the green zone. I used AmmoLoc on it a few times and Fresh Start water conditioner. I had heard that AmmoLoc does NOT lower the ammonia READING even though it is lowering the amonia. Is that right? I changed 50 percent of the water and tested it and it is still ammonia in the green zone. Does AmmoniaLoc not indicate the right level after using it? This is a bare bottom tank with a medium sponge filter and an AquaClear filter running. How can I lower the ammonia and be able to get a correct reading when I manually check for ammonia? Someone mentioned using sea shell sand?
  15. So... questions for supr nerms on the forum: What’s the deal with “aging water”? Is it to let chloramine gas off? Stabilize pH? Rest so that gasses can surface? Confession... we don’t “age” or “rest” our water before doing water changes. We’re pretty consistent with changing our water on most tanks. Not sure we’ve ever had problems. But I’m trying to learm, so bring on the nerm!
  16. 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?
  17. I’m in the process of it, and I’m currently soaking my 24 hour bleached Purigen in 4 tablespoons of Prime and water. The instructions say to then soak it in a pH regulator for 4 hours before adding it back into the tank. I have one, but my pH is stable and slightly higher than 7. I’m worried that adding it back into the filter will cause my pH to crash. Has anyone had any experience with this?
  18. I just tested the gh & kh in my 5g tank (neocaridina, betta, & snails), as I have been losing shrimp. The API gh/kh test kit showed the kh at 100-200ppm (8 drops), but the gh showed 200-400ppm (15 drops). I know water changes can help, but my tap water is kh 100-200 (6 drops) and gh 100-200 (6 drops). Should I do a 30% water change? Or is my tap water even too off and I should use distilled or something else? Any advice appreciated!
  19. 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!
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Has anyone used this API marine Calcium for adding calcium to your planted aquarium
  23. Does anyone know anything about home water softeners. Mine uses salt in a tank placed in the garage. All our water comes through it. My PH stays a consistent 8.0. Do I need to add anything to my water for happy healthy parrots and fish?
  24. After I boil a piece of driftwood; is it ok to use the tannin water in my aquarium?
  25. Ph 8.2 Gh 2 Kh 12 Does this mean i have soft water or hard water?
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