Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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catzmuze 11-17-2013 01:36 PM

help planted tank & CO2 water chemistry please!
I have a 29 gallon tank. Recently had an UGF, removed that. Small gravel substrate, DIY Co2. 200tgph hob filter, and finnex ray II (strong light). I wanted to try a planted tank. I don't mind doing the co2 I think some of the plants need it.

Problem is my ph is so low. I think it is about 6 or so. I put aragonite in a media bag hoping to raise the ph, gh and kh. I think that really hasn't helped much except probably keeping the ph steady. I think the ph was lower before the aragonite. The only thing that has really suffered is my java moss. I am worried it is just to acidic. I dont want to add buffers every water change, was hoping the aragonite would cure all. Maybe not enough in the media bag?

I would appreciate some help. I kind of rushed and changed my tank. I was using amquel for ammonia spike. I continued the amquel to condition my water during changes. The guy at the lfs said he thought that could contribute to the acidity.

I have had a little trouble with staghorn algae and silk or hair algae. I trim whatever it is on and cut back on feeding. I read that was from too much light and not enough co2. So i added another bottle of co2 when i added the aragonite. My GH is about 80 and kh 60.

neon tetras
red cherry shrimp

dwarf baby tears
flame sword
java fern
african fern
banana plants
java moss
horn wort

DKRST 11-20-2013 07:21 PM

First question is, how's your tap water (assuming that's wat you use)? Can you check the pH and GH of that and post it?

Next point, if you have an HOB, then you are not getting much, if any, benefit from your DIY CO2 setup. To maximize CO2 in the water, you want a minimal surface agitation.

On the tank pH, I've never used aragonite so let's not worry about that issue yet. Do you have any rocks or driftwood in the tank? Those can impact pH.

Regarding the algae, please identify what type of light and the bulb as well as the hours/day it's on. That will help with recommendations.
Here is the address of a thread that discusses various lighting issues.
You'll need to cut and paste it into a browser I think it will work:
There is also a thread there on setting up a CO2 system.

I'm certain there are multiple threads on TFK here tht also will help address your issues.

catzmuze 11-20-2013 09:19 PM

My light is a finnex ray II dual 7000k. It is pretty bright. I assume that the co2 is having some impact because my tap ph is like 8 and the kh is 60. My ph dropped off the scale before i added the aragonite. It has broght my ph up. My alk is still low. I submurse the co2 hose under a dome shaped rock. The rock hold alot in the water i figured that was working. So I would say that plus the glass canopy catches and recycles some into the water via the surface agitation. So I opened the canopy a bit. That is just a guess on my part of course. Seemed logical.

The rocks are frome a spring. Mostly gravel and slate. I don't think I have anything that could lower the ph except for co2.

Everything is growing well and propagating on it's own. So I hope all will be ok. I have a branching algae i think is staghorn. Seems to have stopped spreading so fast. Also a silky type that my platy eats pretty well. I added a second co2 bottle and put my lights on a 2 hr break in the middle of the day. 5hrs on 2 off and 5 on. Seems to have helped with the algae. I don't have any green algae to speak of.

I chose aragonite because it seemed i needed a buffer and i buy the other ingredients via ferts for the plants. I cut back on ferts. If you look at my pics you can see the growth. I keep some trimmed to stop algae.

I will read those link you gave and thank you. I didn't post this correctly or something. I didn't think anyone would answer. :-)

The sword in the middle has changed to red in the second. I have trimmed the leaves that were on it when I bought it.

catzmuze 11-20-2013 09:23 PM

Also, if the co2 makes carbonic acid. That eats the aragonite into the water. The plants use some i think. But my alk is the same. My gh is about 100. Where does the aragonite go? lol

Sorry, but this just amazes me a little bit.

DKRST 11-21-2013 08:06 AM

Just a quick response before I head off to work - cut your total light to about 8 hours/day. That will help the algae issue. Do you know what type of bulbs you are using (T8, T5NO, T5HO)? I'm not familiar with the Finnex fixture. The sword turned red because you've got plenty of light. That's normal, but could indicate a little too much light for a DIY system.

catzmuze 11-21-2013 09:39 AM

They are led. the temp is 7000k. And recently I put in some duck weed incase it was too bright. Just watching to see what happens. Thanks and have a great day.

DKRST 11-21-2013 09:43 AM

LED... I'm afraid I won't be able to provide any specific advice in terms of light intensity, I'm just not that familiar the the output of various LED systems. The duckweed will certainly help reduce the light levels.

I think you are doing exactly what you should be doing, try something, observe, give the change a month or so, and then try something else if it's not doing what you want.
Still need to figure out the pH issue, although many common aquarium plants should be ok down to a pH of 6

catzmuze 11-22-2013 09:34 AM

The algae seems to have stopped growing. I threw a couple of slow growing plants away. They seemed to just be food for the algae. I will let it go with regular water changes. I cannot afford to keep testing the water. It seemes to be stable for now although soft.

Thanks sincerely for you input. I have cut the lights back, but do you think it is better to keep them off a couple hours in middle of cycle? I read somewhere that it would be bad for the algae and good for the plants.

DKRST 11-22-2013 11:52 AM


Originally Posted by catzmuze (Post 3455210)
It seems to be stable for now although soft.

Thanks sincerely for you input. I have cut the lights back, but do you think it is better to keep them off a couple hours in middle of cycle? I read somewhere that it would be bad for the algae and good for the plants.

I've tried the "mid day break" light cycle and got thanks that don't have it. I've never seen any good scientific study to support the "light break" in terms of decreasing algae. I use the light break to allow my lighting time to be shifted to times of the day when I'm in the room(s) enjoying the tanks - hard to do when the lights are off!

Keep an eye on the water pH, but don't obsess on it. Just plan on keeping fish and plants that are compatible with your water - it will aggravate you a lot less! Soft water is great for South American fish generally.

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