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VerdantGrotto's Fresh-Water Habitat
Old 12-25-2012, 12:52 AM   #21
 
Now all I have to do is figure out how to lower the PH without killing the plants...

Any Suggestions?
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:24 AM   #22
 
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Don't worry. Cloudiness is very normal for the first few days. No matter how much you wash the sand it always seems to cloud the tank.

I know that API has a product called "pH down" that is safe for plants. It comes in small bottles though and can be pricy.

Phosphate based buffers shouldn't damage plants either, though they are infamous for causing algae blooms. (I'm not an expert on these though)

A more natural alternative is sphagnum peat moss. This will lower your pH, though this method is less exact and can be a bit unpredictable in an unestablished tank.
I've also heard that lots of driftwood will lower the pH of your tank over time too.

Given the option, I will almost always pick a natural 'remedy' over a chemical one. I feel the less chemicals/unnatural substances you add to your tank the better. I have no personal experience with peat moss though.

Last edited by AK Fresh Water; 12-25-2012 at 01:32 AM..
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:58 PM   #23
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AK Fresh Water View Post
Don't worry. Cloudiness is very normal for the first few days. No matter how much you wash the sand it always seems to cloud the tank.

I know that API has a product called "pH down" that is safe for plants. It comes in small bottles though and can be pricy.

Phosphate based buffers shouldn't damage plants either, though they are infamous for causing algae blooms. (I'm not an expert on these though)

A more natural alternative is sphagnum peat moss. This will lower your pH, though this method is less exact and can be a bit unpredictable in an unestablished tank.
I've also heard that lots of driftwood will lower the pH of your tank over time too.

Given the option, I will almost always pick a natural 'remedy' over a chemical one. I feel the less chemicals/unnatural substances you add to your tank the better. I have no personal experience with peat moss though.
Thanks for the suggestions,
I found the PH down online and one could purchase it from Petco/Petsmart for about 13 bucks.
I also found the sphagnum peat moss online at home depot for around 5 bucks... I imagine one could put this stuff in a nylon stocking and tie it up really good and then place it in the cavity in the filter unit. This seems to me like it would work well. I will have driftwood in the tank in about a week or two and already have two smaller pieces in it now. In hindsight, I probably should have used all distilled water to fill the tank instead of Tapwater....
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:35 PM   #24
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VerdantGrotto View Post
Planting the tank now... Pretty easy to set these things... and nock them loose

I've got 3 grass like plants (Mondo Grass?)
About the Mondo Grass.. This is not a true aquatic plant, and it will die when submerged in an aquarium. It will take it 2 to 3 months for it to die, and during that time, you will think that it's fine. Some of the box stores sell this, but they don't tell you that you can't submerge it. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

The others are great plants for your aquarium, and it looks like you are off to a great start.

Also welcome to the Forum!
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:47 AM   #25
 
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Also, ph, from my very rudimentary understanding, usually lowers over time. I've also found that having lots of 'organics' in the tank will lower ph, like driftwood and oak leaves.
Again, my understanding of ph, gh, and kh is very rudimentary, so I defer to the experts on this. :)

Anyways, the tank is looking great so far! How is your experience with the playsand? I'm loving your fish selection.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:07 AM   #26
 
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Also from my understanding the 'ph down' product only works for a limited time. Have you tested the water again to see if the ph has lowered or changed at all?
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:53 AM   #27
 
Quote:
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About the Mondo Grass.. This is not a true aquatic plant, and it will die when submerged in an aquarium. It will take it 2 to 3 months for it to die, and during that time, you will think that it's fine. Some of the box stores sell this, but they don't tell you that you can't submerge it. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

The others are great plants for your aquarium, and it looks like you are off to a great start.

Also welcome to the Forum!
I was afraid the Mondo Grass was something of that nature. I will be replacing it with (Valisaneria Speralis?) Or maybe Corkscrew in about a month or two.

Thanks for the compliment on the tank, It's not quite fully established yet because I didn't want to rush into it...
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:01 PM   #28
 
I tested the PH after doing a 20% water change and waiting an hour... No Change , still at 8.4

I will be getting the" PH down" and trying the Peat Moss technique to bring it down for now. I assume the wood that will be in it in approximately a week or two will be sufficient to keep it stable. There will be a large piece of Mopani in the Center of the Tank. I've heard that this type of wood could cause some issues but the look is great and I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately , I don't want to introduce any fish into the tank until I get all the perameters stabilized. Also, In an effort to keep the PH down I use Reverse Osmosis and/or distilled water for water changes. This worked pretty well in my "Trainer" 10 gallon tank. It also seems to be bland Nuetral water with minimal additives. I still add the water conditioner and Bacteria though.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:15 PM   #29
 
Playsand

The Playsand worked great! It was about $3.50 per 50 lbs bag from HomeDepot ( Someone should tell Petsmart and other LFS so they will lower their prices on Substrate ). It wasn't too difficult to use either.

1. Use a clean bucket that hasn't seen any soap or detergents. (NO MOP BUCKETS)

( I used a 5 gallon minnow bucket)

2. Put about 1/3rd of the bag into the bucket

3. Tilt bucket to about a 45 degree angle

4. With a garden hose , point water stream at the top-side of the inside of the bucket towards the back.

5. Water will stir up the sand and pick up most of the Silt and flow over the edge.

6. Water will be cloudy and there will be some waste.

7. When water starts to run clear stick the end of the hose into the body of sand and stir briefly.

8. Place hose flow back into top inside rear position and wait until water flows clear.

9. Use second hand to "Scrape" sand foam off of the top of the water.

10. Drain bucket by leveling it on ground on it's side.

11. Scrape out of bucket gently into empty aquarium to desired level and fill aquarium with water (use a plate so you don't disturb the sand).

The water will be a little muddy and cloudy at first but let it settle and it will look great. One should also wait until sand settles before turning on filter. (Could damage Filter)

The sand also makes planting aquatic plants very easy...

Even with the waste from cleaning the sand I still ended up with a bag and a half leftover from the 3 that I bought... $11 bucks for substrate!!!

Very inexpensive, not too difficult to use and looks great.

Last edited by VerdantGrotto; 12-26-2012 at 12:17 PM..
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:22 PM   #30
 
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Glad to know it was that easy to use. I am planning on going with the play sand also and was worried it might be a messy, involved process to get it clean enough. This doesn't sound do bad.

I applaud you for taking your time, seems a much better approach and everyone including you and your fish will be happier because of it.
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