pH fluctuation hardness around 3 - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 13 Old 10-05-2010, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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Did a 60% water change on Sunday and haven't added anything except recommended dose of Flourish. Here's what is going on:

pH seems to have returned to its prior levels, generally hovering around 6.8. Tap water pH seems to be changing as well; from 8.0 to 7.6. GH is 3 degrees, and KH was 3 all week long but this morning is measured at 1!

This is really helping me zero in on some issues. I read that plants with use CO3 in the absence of CO2 and that this can cause diminishing KH. That does seem to be my problem. After a water change my KH is at 3, but after a few days it sinks to 1. GH stays at 3.

So, my question is what to do? Should I supply Excel as a CO3 source for my plants? They apparently aren't getting enough carbon to grow as they wish... I provide CO2 but at a very low rate (about 3 bps).

Maybe this should be a new thread, but since it is a follow-up of my old problem I left it here for the convenience of those interested in helping me out. Appreciate any advice. I have 6 nerite snails and more plants (4 Echinodorus, 8 E. tenellus, 3 pennywort, 3 Althernanthera roseafolia) on the way so I'm trying to get these issues squared away. Thanks in advance!
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post #12 of 13 Old 10-05-2010, 12:39 PM
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My first comment is that you only have one issue of any significance, and that is the fluctuating state of your tap water. And since this is rather out of your control, the only way to handle the issue is keeping water changes minimal rather than maximum with respect to volume, or, test the tap water before every water change.

With live plants, and provided the fish load is moderate and balanced with the plants, water changes can be very minimal with no detrimental effect on the fish (or plants).

The KH is all of my tanks is, and has for 15 years been, < 1 dKH. This has caused no harm whatsoever. KH has absolutely no effect on fish. As for plants, if they are growing then they are getting sufficient carbon. I would not add a liquid carbon supplement like Excel, particularly if you are dosing CO2. CO2 is supposed to be all-sufficient. There has to be a balance between light and nutrients, all 17 nutrients; if any one of these is missing or inadequate, the plants cannot photosynthesize. The more carbon you inject the more light and other nutrients will be needed to balance. Keep it simple, there will be less to go wrong.

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]

Last edited by Byron; 10-05-2010 at 12:41 PM.
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post #13 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! Sorry I'm extremely late on this...worked had been tied up all week.

You're right...less is definitely more! Thanks, as usual, for your advice! I'll leave things alone for now and do less frequent water changes and change a lower percent of water when I change it. I've added more plants so that should help with the water quality and allow me to do less frequent water changes.

Thanks again!
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