New to live plants - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 5 Old 10-13-2011, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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New to live plants

I am in the process of switching from years of fake plants in my freshwater aquarium to having live plants. Initially the plants developed brown leaves which i cut off. Now they seem to be doing OK. I use Fluorish liquid every 3 days. I also put in Fluorish root tabs (2 of them, 1 each near large plant groupings).

My tanks is 40 gallons with 4 clown loaches, 3 cardinal tetras, 3 glow-lite tetras, 4 red eye tetras, and 3 yellow fin tetras. All of the fish are doing OK.

When I made the change to live plants, I also stopped using the carbon filters and the chemical filters in my Fluval system. I just use the sponges and the Biomax.

My tank's parameters have been running steady when I do 50% water changes every week.

Temp 74
pH 6.0 or less (the API kit only goes to 6.0)
Ammonia 0.25 - 0.5
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5
Phos 0.5
GH 5
KH 0-1

I read that in tanks with an acid pH, the ammonia becomes ammonium.

Am I to be worried about the ammonia levels I am finding? I don't want to go crazy chasing numbers since the tank is otherwise doing well and the fish are doing well.

Why is the pH running so low? The water I use for water changes has a pH of 6.4. Are the Fluorish root tabs doing anything? Is the KH to low? S it just what happens? Anyhting to do with the plants?

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post #2 of 5 Old 10-13-2011, 08:40 PM
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The low ph has to do with you KH number being so low. It is nit high enough to keep the ph up so over time as the tank mutures the ph will drop.
Here is a link to an article that explains it better then I ever could.
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post #3 of 5 Old 10-13-2011, 08:41 PM
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LoL one time here is the link
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post #4 of 5 Old 10-13-2011, 08:42 PM
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Also ammonia does turn into ammonium in water with ph of 6 or less. Which is safe for fish.
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post #5 of 5 Old 10-14-2011, 10:56 AM
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I agree.

It would still be interesting to find the reason for the ammonia/ammonium. Live plants use a lot and take it up readily, so one should not normally have ammonia showing up in tests. And by the way, our usual test kits read ammonia/ammonium as "ammonia" even though it is in this case ammonium.

Fast growing plants are beneficial as the faster a plant grows the more nutrients (including ammonium) it takes up. Floating plants are the easiest way to supply fast-growing plants.


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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