water levels are off - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-10-2012, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Can you not contact your municipal water suply people? Many now have a website with water data posted. Or if not, they should be able to tell you. Look for general hardness (GH) and the carbonate hardness (KH) which is often called Alkalinity. The GH and KH will not change so once we know the numbers that's it. Get the numbers and the measuring scale, by which I mean something like ppm (parts per million) or mg/l (milligrams per liter), or whatever they use.
Thanks. I called and they said both numbers are typically between 7 and 14 MC (?) per liter. He said we have "very soft" water. He says they test it once a month


Does that help? I also found this: but it's a bit confusing :) http://www.somersworth.com/vertical/...ity_Report.pdf
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-10-2012, 12:57 PM
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Thanks. I called and they said both numbers are typically between 7 and 14 MC (?) per liter. He said we have "very soft" water. He says they test it once a month


Does that help? I also found this: but it's a bit confusing :) http://www.somersworth.com/vertical/...ity_Report.pdf
The chart in the link is mainly concerned with contaminant, understandably for drinking water. They mention at the end of the second page about monitoring pH, conductivity (this relates to GH) and such, but from what they told you already I don't think you need to pursue this.

So, soft water means low KH/Alkalinity. And that is not a problem, but it does explain why the pH lowers in the aquarium. So due to the natural organic processes the pH will tend to lower as the water becomes more acidic. Regular partial water changes of half the tank every week will work to keep this stable.

You didn't mention the fish, but with soft water and an acidic pH, do not have livebearers or any fish that need hard water. Soft water fish will be fine, and there are many to choose with this sort of ideal water. We have fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar, and water params are given for each species.

So going back to the initial post issues: nitrates occur from the organics decomposition in the substrate. Here again, regular weekly water changes work to keep these in check, and you can vacuum the substrate during the WC . With live plants, I tend to leave the substrate alone as this is a major source of nutrients, especially CO2 for the plants.

I would not use baking soda. It is short-term in effect, and increased organics will off-set it. Plus it is detrimental to fish long-term.

Let me know if anything further needs to be covered.

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 youíre going to take it under your wing then youíre 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 #13 of 13 Old 09-10-2012, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you this is very helpful. right now I only have 5 bristlenose/longtail plecos which I think are soft water fish. I'll keep an eye on the levels and do regular water changes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
The chart in the link is mainly concerned with contaminant, understandably for drinking water. They mention at the end of the second page about monitoring pH, conductivity (this relates to GH) and such, but from what they told you already I don't think you need to pursue this.

So, soft water means low KH/Alkalinity. And that is not a problem, but it does explain why the pH lowers in the aquarium. So due to the natural organic processes the pH will tend to lower as the water becomes more acidic. Regular partial water changes of half the tank every week will work to keep this stable.

You didn't mention the fish, but with soft water and an acidic pH, do not have livebearers or any fish that need hard water. Soft water fish will be fine, and there are many to choose with this sort of ideal water. We have fish profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar, and water params are given for each species.

So going back to the initial post issues: nitrates occur from the organics decomposition in the substrate. Here again, regular weekly water changes work to keep these in check, and you can vacuum the substrate during the WC . With live plants, I tend to leave the substrate alone as this is a major source of nutrients, especially CO2 for the plants.

I would not use baking soda. It is short-term in effect, and increased organics will off-set it. Plus it is detrimental to fish long-term.

Let me know if anything further needs to be covered.

Byron.
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