Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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SolaceTiger 11-05-2008 11:40 AM

New 30 gallon cycling journal
I thought I could post this here, since this is the first time I've cycled and would like advice. I've been putting fish food in my tank everyday cause I think it helps it a long a bit? I've also taken the dirty filter cartridge from my 10 gallon and put in the new filter device in my cycling 30. Also, if anyone has any advice for keeping my ph lower... preferably around 7.0 so my otos and tetras are happiest, that would be great. I cannot afford to buy 5 gallons of distilled water every week. And I already ordered Proper Ph 7.0 and am waiting for it to come. What else softens water?

Second day tank setup 11-2

Nitrate 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Ammonia 0 ppm - .25 ppm
High Range PH 8.0 :-(

5th day tank setup 11-5

Nitrate 0 - 5.0 ppm
Nitrite .25 ppm
Ammonia .25 ppm
High Range PH 8.2 :evil:

iamntbatman 11-05-2008 12:05 PM

It's not that adding fish food helps it along a bit, it's that you need an ammonia source in the tank for it to cycle at all. Rotting fish food provides a source of ammonia that allows the beneficial bacteria in your tank to grow.

Softening the water and lowering pH are two different things. Hardness and softness relate to the amount of dissolved materials in your water (calcium and carbonate being the most important ions). pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of your water. Often, the two go hand-in-hand as water that is very hard is also often very basic. However, it's definitely possibly to have very basic water that is also very soft. You can purchase GH and KH test kits to test your water's hardness, or you can have it tested for you at a fish store. Harder water has much more buffering capacity than soft water, and thus if your water is very hard it might be difficult to lower your pH to the range you want. Good ways to gently lower pH include adding bogwood or driftwood to your tank as well as using peat in your substrate or filter. The ability to lower pH of these materials will be greatly reduced by hard water. I suspect that Proper pH 7.0 would also prove less useful if you have very hard water, so it would be worth it to find out just how hard your water is before attempting to lower the pH.

Also keep in mind that pH swings can be deadly. Using a lot of chemicals to mess around with your pH can destroy your water's buffering capacity, which can result in a pH crash that's fatal. Also, even if you do lower the pH of the water in your tank to the desired level, it's important to remember that the water coming out of your tap will still be very basic and thus every time you do a water change a pH swing will occur. You will have to come up with some way of preventing this, such as pre-filtering the water you'll use for the water change with peat or using distilled or RO/DI water in addition to tapwater during water changes.

SolaceTiger 11-05-2008 02:21 PM

Oi, so I might as well just return the proper ph? And what's peat exactly?

SolaceTiger 11-05-2008 02:34 PM

Kim 11-05-2008 07:38 PM


Originally Posted by SolaceTiger (Post 150818)


You can find peat at any gardening store and maybe a place like home depot. I don't really know how to describe it. It's kind of a clumpy dirt, but not dirt :roll:. Anyway, if the bag says "peat moss" that's what your looking for. Just make sure it has no additives.

SolaceTiger 11-05-2008 09:26 PM

Okay, so how exactly would I use it??

iamntbatman 11-05-2008 09:42 PM

Some people mix it in with their substrate, but that can get rather messy. A better option would be to buy a filter media bag (they go for about $1 at Petsmart, nothing fancy really) and stuff it full of peat and plop it in your filter. I'm not exactly sure about the life cycle of peat, so others will have to advise you as to how often it should be replaced.

The main effects it will have on your aquarium are caused by the release of acids into your aquarium water. These tannic and humic acids will gently lower your pH (again, provided you don't have extremely hard water that would buffer the pH change) but will also color (or discolor, depending how you see it) your water. It will become a golden color similar to a weak tea, but will still be clear. Some people like the way it looks but others don't. I, personally, am a fan of it. Using activated carbon in your filter will remove this coloring effect, but might also reduce the ability of the peat to lower your pH. The tetras you plan on keeping in the tank will appreciate the "blackwater" effect the peat will provide as it will mimic their natural environments.

You can see the blackwater effect in my Jack Dempsey tank:

SolaceTiger 11-06-2008 07:42 PM

Sounds good, but complicated. Can I have the filter media bag and normal filter cart in there at the same time?

iamntbatman 11-06-2008 10:17 PM

Yep, just put the media bag in the big empty area of the filter between the intake tube/impeller and the filter cartridge.

SolaceTiger 11-07-2008 09:13 AM

I'm not quite sure I know where that is. In my penguin 150, there are two slots for carts, Can I maybe put my carbon cartridge in the first slot closest to the back, and put the media bag in front of it so the tannin stain isn't caught by the filter?? *ponders*

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