help me limit my chemicals! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-12-2011, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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help me limit my chemicals!

i have kept aquariums for a very long time but only in the past four years have i gotten serious and tried to make them as natural as possible....everything i have read on this forum stresses not using chemicals in the fish tank...resorting to solving most problems in the tank with water changes....i have done this to the best of my ability in the past ...... but my tap water is really hard at my new apartment and i took me longer then normal to cycle my tank after this recent move.....with that said i have tried to limit my chemical use in my recent aquarium setup to try and follow these rules..... here is my current list.
- liquid plant fertilizer
- water conditioner (from what i have read everyone uses this)
- acid buffer salt (i have a very hard tap water and has a high ph of 8.2.....too high for my tetras and corys using this buffer gets it down to about 7.2

is this still to many chemicals?

15 years of fishing/ fish tank experience that sometimes I learned the hard way....... but I'm always still learning.

29 Gal Tall - Amazonian (Driftwood & Live Plants)

3 - Peppered Corys

10- Neon Tetras

3 - Asellus Puffers

2 - Otto Cats



75 Gal - underway!
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-12-2011, 10:40 PM
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The first two are a must. The third probably doesn't have too much of a negative effect(not 100% sure about this) but an alternative would be to put peat in your filter, since peat is natural. Also, driftwood in your aquarium also helps lower the pH.
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post #3 of 11 Old 03-13-2011, 02:54 PM
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Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I agree with amazon21, and would suggest another option which is probably the best, and that is using rainwater [depending where you live and how you catch it] or RO (reverse osmosis) or distilled water mixed with tap water.

I don't know what specific fish you have (species), some are more tolerant than others of harder water.

What is the specific brand of buffer you are using? And how is it working over say a week? And while we're asking questions, what is the hardness (GH and KH if possible) of your tap water (your water supply board can tell you this, they may have a website with these numbers)?

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-14-2011, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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the fish i have in this tank are in my signature....tetras , and corys for now ...plan on adding amazon puffer in the future.....i have alot of drift wood in the tank currently....and i do add filtered water from my britia filter which lowers my ph to 7.2 .....which is the current ph of the tank....and it has held at 7.2 for two weeks now with the use of the buffer. the buffer is "acid buffer by seachem" i'v used it for two weeks now and its been great .....no ph changes as of yet.......i'll have to look up the hardness of my water here but i know that i have calcium deposits on everything water touches

i have thought about peat moss but am discouraged by the information on it discolorating water

15 years of fishing/ fish tank experience that sometimes I learned the hard way....... but I'm always still learning.

29 Gal Tall - Amazonian (Driftwood & Live Plants)

3 - Peppered Corys

10- Neon Tetras

3 - Asellus Puffers

2 - Otto Cats



75 Gal - underway!
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post #5 of 11 Old 03-14-2011, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnsheehan21 View Post
the fish i have in this tank are in my signature....tetras , and corys for now ...plan on adding amazon puffer in the future.....i have alot of drift wood in the tank currently....and i do add filtered water from my britia filter which lowers my ph to 7.2 .....which is the current ph of the tank....and it has held at 7.2 for two weeks now with the use of the buffer. the buffer is "acid buffer by seachem" i'v used it for two weeks now and its been great .....no ph changes as of yet.......i'll have to look up the hardness of my water here but i know that i have calcium deposits on everything water touches

i have thought about peat moss but am discouraged by the information on it discolorating water
My issue with peat is the fact that it only lasts so long and then must be replaced. The time depends upon the hardness of the water, the harder the water the more peat it takes and the quicker it becomes exhaused.


The advantage of the buffer (Seachem can be trusteed, but of course over time it is expensive) is reliability and constancy.

A pH of 7.2 is fine for the fish mentioned. Is this attainable by diluting the water without using buffer as well?

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-14-2011, 03:57 PM
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You can't really get around using Prime (water conditioner) and a comprehensive fertilizer, but you could cut out the acid buffer if you mixed your tap water about 50/50 with RO. My water comes out to the tap at between 8.0 and 7.8 and settles at about 7.8 after a day or so. I mix it 50/50 with R/O for my planted tank and it stays around 7.2-7.0 Occasionally it is a hassle because I have to get R/O from my LFS, but it's not too bad. Depending on the size of your tank and the effort you want to put in this may or may not be an option for you.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-15-2011, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
My issue with peat is the fact that it only lasts so long and then must be replaced. The time depends upon the hardness of the water, the harder the water the more peat it takes and the quicker it becomes exhaused.


The advantage of the buffer (Seachem can be trusteed, but of course over time it is expensive) is reliability and constancy.

A pH of 7.2 is fine for the fish mentioned. Is this attainable by diluting the water without using buffer as well?

Byron.
Your right about it being expensive thus another good reason to find a way around using it....but thus far it has worked great.....i'm still experimenting with using filtered water to dilute tap water .....it is fine for replacing evaporation loss but the problem i have run into is when i do a water change.... it would take forever to filter that much water( i even tried it once and took over an hour to fill the tank back up)

15 years of fishing/ fish tank experience that sometimes I learned the hard way....... but I'm always still learning.

29 Gal Tall - Amazonian (Driftwood & Live Plants)

3 - Peppered Corys

10- Neon Tetras

3 - Asellus Puffers

2 - Otto Cats



75 Gal - underway!

Last edited by rnsheehan21; 03-15-2011 at 08:26 PM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 03-15-2011, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lorax84 View Post
You can't really get around using Prime (water conditioner) and a comprehensive fertilizer, but you could cut out the acid buffer if you mixed your tap water about 50/50 with RO. My water comes out to the tap at between 8.0 and 7.8 and settles at about 7.8 after a day or so. I mix it 50/50 with R/O for my planted tank and it stays around 7.2-7.0 Occasionally it is a hassle because I have to get R/O from my LFS, but it's not too bad. Depending on the size of your tank and the effort you want to put in this may or may not be an option for you.
i have thought about using R/O but i'm not to familiar with it other then what i have read..... is it expensive?.....would bottled or distilled water have the same effect of lowering ph if mixed?

15 years of fishing/ fish tank experience that sometimes I learned the hard way....... but I'm always still learning.

29 Gal Tall - Amazonian (Driftwood & Live Plants)

3 - Peppered Corys

10- Neon Tetras

3 - Asellus Puffers

2 - Otto Cats



75 Gal - underway!

Last edited by rnsheehan21; 03-15-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-15-2011, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rnsheehan21 View Post
i have thought about using R/O but i'm not to familiar with it other then what i have read..... is it expensive?.....would bottled or distilled water have the same effect of lowering ph if mixed?
The initial RO units is expensive, a few hundred dollars; but that's the end of the expense. Distilled water will work, so will rainwater. All of these have basically no mineral content. I've never had to go down this road, having very soft tap water, but if I did have hard water and wanted the wild-caught soft water fish I have, I would get a RO unit or use rainwater. But then, I have 7 tanks running and this would be much more economical if necessary, compared to the buffer preparation.

The idea behind mixing water is that it dilutes the hardness and this allows the pH to naturally lower as the water in the aquarium acidifies. The higher mineral content in the tap water acts as a buffer, preventing this natural acidification. So once the tank pH is lower, it is easier to keep it there by using mixed water for water changes.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-15-2011, 09:02 PM
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I get RO in a 5 gallon jug weekly from my LFS. It costs about 35 cents a gallon. If you have a way to keep it hooked up all the time, something I cannot do in my apartment, an RO unit is the way to go. Until I move I will keep paying 2 bucks a week for water.

Oh also, I have used Distilled water in a pinch when I had to but it is 2-3 times more expensive than RO
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