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New 55g tank

This is a discussion on New 55g tank within the Cichlids forums, part of the Freshwater and Tropical Fish category; --> Originally Posted by dylan94 I was planning on making it a blackwater tank, using driftwood and peat moss. If I use peat moss, do ...

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:28 PM   #21
 
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I was planning on making it a blackwater tank, using driftwood and peat moss. If I use peat moss, do I just put it in the tank or mix it in with the substrate, or do I put the peat moss in the filter, or somewhere else? If I want to dye with the peat moss and driftwood: For the filter, if the carbon is inside the blue fibre thing can I cut open the blue thing take the inside out, clean off the inside plastic and the blue thing of carbon, remove all of the carbon and put the blue thing back on with elastics?

To be clear, the RO is a completely separate unit than the tank and I filter tap water through it to get super soft neutral water that can then easily become acidic?

Thanks,
- Dylan
For the filter, I would just remove the cartridge and replace it with a nylon bag if you use peat, or regular filter foam/wool, whatever.

Don't see your tap water pH and hardness mentioned, am I correct in remembering that it is close to pH 8 and fairly hard? If yes, using peat will take a lot, and peat wears out in time and needs to be replaced, so in the filter rather than mixed in the substrate is better long-term. Driftwood will not significantly alter the pH, maybe .2 if lots of wood, but no more that I've ever heard of. RO unit would be preferable though expensive. Others can better explain RO, I've never needed it. But I think normally one uses it to treat the tap water (it removes minerals resulting in basically "pure" water with no hardness to speak of although the pH can be slightly acidic to neutral) for a water change and then mix it with some regular tap water to get the desired hardness and pH. I'll leave this for more experienced members to comment.

Once the tank has de-mineralized water (so to speak), the natural biological processes in the aquarium will cause the pH to lower. My tanks run at pH 5 or 6, because my tap water is zero GH and KH and pH is 7.0 or 7.2 but the lack of any hardness means the pH readily and quickly drops when added to the established tank. The tank at pH 6 is there because I maintain a half cup of dolomite in the filter that slightly hardens the water (it stays at GH 2) and maintains a stable pH with my weekly 50% water changes. The other two are at 5 although I plan on getting more dolomite to buffer them the same. I have mostly wild-caught acidic water fish so this works fine; my cardinals are in their element.

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Old 02-03-2010, 04:43 PM   #22
 
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Is it possible to keep an acidic tank without using an RO unit? Can I buy peat moss in a large bag at the hardware store? Do discus like blackwater? For the filter, I just fill a nylon bag with peat moss and put it where the carbon is suposed to be?

-Dylan
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:00 PM   #23
 
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With very hard water, even using truckloads of peat isn't going to do much in terms of lowering pH. There are chemicals that can lower pH but these can be very tricky to use, often result in pretty substantial pH swings (never a good thing in any tank) and ultimately would be more expensive than just getting the RO unit. An RO unit is basically going to give you the same water that comes out of Byron's tap. It might be safest to use a mix of RO water and tap just so there's some buffer there to prevent your pH from falling through the floor if you plan on using driftwood/peat for the blackwater effect.

For the filter, you could put the peat granules in a filter bag and just drop it in, or slice open the cartridge, dump out the carbon and add some peat inside the cartridge, etc. Discus would look (and feel) great in a blackwater environment. You want to buy peat made for aquarium use as just about any you buy anywhere else is going to be treated with chemicals that will kill your fish.
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:28 PM   #24
 
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Thanks for that info... my tap water is only 7.2, it isnt very basic/alkaline and it is medium hard. So:
-water goes into RO unit
-water comes out pure and neutral into a bucket
-water is mixed with tap water
-water is poored into aquarium
-pure water + mature tank = drop in pH
- Sounds good
:)

So I pretty much have to frequently monitor the pH? Do I have to do a water test after every water change?
What pH level would you recommend for this tank? I was thinking around 6.0.

-Dylan :)
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Old 02-03-2010, 05:51 PM   #25
 
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Those are better readings than I remembered, must have been someone else I was thinking of. The hardness of your tap water is something you should test, the fish store will usually test for you, but make sure they tell you the GH and KH numbers. Once we know the KH it will be easier to work out solutions. Sometimes you can get this info from the water supply people.

One just popped into my head, thinking back to the rainwater. Mixing rainwater and tap water to set the tank up might give you near perfect conditions; the pH would be low 6's and hardness with the mix mighty be 3-5 degrees. Just guessing here, the GH and KH of your tap water will give an indication how successful they might be.
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:23 PM   #26
 
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That would mean a lot of rain and therefore !A LOT! of snow. If the original pH of my newly set up tank water is 6, if I do 2 or more water changes per week, won't the pH go back up to around 7. Wouldn't I have to continuously collect rain and snow?
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:52 PM   #27
 
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That would mean a lot of rain and therefore !A LOT! of snow. If the original pH of my newly set up tank water is 6, if I do 2 or more water changes per week, won't the pH go back up to around 7. Wouldn't I have to continuously collect rain and snow?
As I said, it partly depends upon the KH and GH of your tap water. Once we have that...

In another thread the API faucet filter was mentioned, it allegedly deionizes water which means removes the minerals via the resin cartridges. I asked in that thread if anyone had experience on how well this works. That might be an option, but I've no idea how much the unit costs, how long the cartridges last, or how much they cost.

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Old 02-03-2010, 07:55 PM   #28
 
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So kind of like a BRITA filter type thing for the sink faucet? Would boiling water have the same effects as a RO unit, as of getting rid of all the minerals and thefore making the water 0ppm hardness?
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:17 PM   #29
 
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So kind of like a BRITA filter type thing for the sink faucet? Would boiling water have the same effects as a RO unit, as of getting rid of all the minerals and thefore making the water 0ppm hardness?
Not sure exactly what a Britta does, but I suspect if it did what you're after we would know about it. To my knowledge boiling water won't remove minerals; evaporating water does somewhat, then condensing it again...talk about work.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:20 PM   #30
 
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I would rather not reproduce the whole water cycle in mini version just to get acidic water :) Do you have to refill ro units with chemicals, or are there no chemicals only semipermiable membranes?

Dylan.
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