Guide to Setting Up a Soil Substrate Planted Aquarium- Part 2 - Page 4 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #31 of 123 Old 10-28-2010, 10:20 PM
unfortunately the closest pet store that sells fish to me is a petco and they just use a test stripe for water tests.. :-/ they just tell me the 4 basics.
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post #32 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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The popular test kits API master and Tetra Laborette both test gh and kh I think.

Do you know if you water is 'hard' or 'soft'?
Water hardness = gh

If you call your water company they might be able to tell you if your water is hard or soft... If you're really lucky they can tell you the GH and KH but dont count on it.

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post #33 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 01:04 PM
I have the api amster test kit, it doenst have GH of KH, unless theres a deluxe version i dont know about... i have super soft water, my house runs on a softener system so i know my water is epic fail for inverts
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post #34 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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You should definately add something to the water then...

Dolomite, limestone (NOT LIME!), chalk, would all work to varying degrees.


Chalk would be good to increase the GH (add calcium) for inverts, but to stabilise the ph you need something more.

Are there any garden supply centers around you? If so, look for dolomite gravel or "agricultural limestone". Soil substrates sometimes run out of calcium and magnesium, so it's important that you keep a Gh of at least 3.

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post #35 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 01:57 PM
do i need to go buy a another test kit for GH then... cant i just toss chalk in until my snails look healthy?
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post #36 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 02:02 PM
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I would suggest a kit because you do not want it to get to hard. ; )

Kindest Regards,
Amanda

Keeping fish its not a hobby it is a passion!

55 gallon, 44 gallon, one 20 gallon tank, three 10 gallon tanks, and a 2.5 gallon all with real plants.

I have MTS and there is no cure.

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post #37 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 04:50 PM
Well i can toss chalk in slowly.. i just want my snails to do well, right now all my mts have these stumpy shells because the ends have all dissolved off and the shells are all super thin, if you look really closely you can see the inside a little. I dont want the water to get really hard or have a set hardness i want the water to be at, i just wanna see healthy growth in my snails. Everything else in the tank is doing alright in the soft water.
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post #38 of 123 Old 10-29-2010, 04:54 PM
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Oh no your poor snails! I hope you can get them back in shape.

Kindest Regards,
Amanda

Keeping fish its not a hobby it is a passion!

55 gallon, 44 gallon, one 20 gallon tank, three 10 gallon tanks, and a 2.5 gallon all with real plants.

I have MTS and there is no cure.

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post #39 of 123 Old 11-02-2010, 11:39 AM
So office depot has chalk, except it says 95% calcium carbonate, which i believe, is what i am looking for. However, whats the other 5 percent? This is supposed to be dustless so does that affect the water? harder to dissolve? wierd chemicals in the 5% that might kill my fish..?
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post #40 of 123 Old 11-03-2010, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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The chalk I use is "dustless". While there could be some sort of bonding agent, I haven't had any problems...

I'm assuming it's something as harmless as gelatin if so.

The 5% could also be Magnesium, since chalk is calcium and magnesium....

I've used chalk for several weeks now with no ill affects, and the snails look about the same. (they weren't too bad looking).
The chalk dissolves slowly- try adding a half a stick, and when it's gone add another one. I added limestone to raise the ph to 7.5- so far it's holding.
The chalk also stopped dissolving and is just sitting in the same place. Perhaps the snails will eat it.


Also, I have an update.

My fish have been cruising around at the surface, so I'm pretty sure my oxygen content is low.
I added a filter (but removed all the media) to add some water movement.
I raised the water level up to the filter so there won't be any splashing to drive out CO2.

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^^ genius
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Last edited by redchigh; 11-03-2010 at 10:44 AM.
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