Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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recyclingking52 04-17-2012 08:54 AM

I removed all gravel from my 130 gal aquarium to introduce live plants using plant sustrate. replaced gravel as is no rinsing. Placed plants and put ferric medium in one of three magnum 350 filters to try and keep algea down ( which was and is a problem ). I've been monitering basics, ph,nitrite. nitrate ect. with testing strips. Got everything in order except the color of my strips for alkalinty is a blue-green color which is not close to any color on test chart. This seemed to corolate with me running the ferric 350. I discontinued use a while back but color on test strips has not changed. Can anyone tell me what my alkalinity level is? How can I get this into acceptable range before I add more tetras too my population. All fish currently are not in stress and seem normal.
Thanks all.

SeaHorse 04-17-2012 11:30 AM

Hi Recyclingking52!
Well the first thing most members in here are going to tell you is to get yourself an API freshwater liquid testing kit. The strips can quickly become unreliable due to moisture and humidity. The kit runs from $30 to $50 depending on where you are and how many things it tests for. But it is worth it. If that is not an option, your local municipality should be able to give you your city's water numbers... unless you are on a well.
Look for one that tests PH as well. It is important to know your PH level! A word of caution before you look to try to change your numbers using chemicals. Water will find its way back to its original PH and it is a constant battle. Especially when we need to do weekly water changes, that new bucket of water will not match your tank. All that adjusting is very stressful and in some cases can cause a tank to crash resulting in fish death.
There are some more natural ways to help lower or raise the PH, types of wood and rock I believe can be added.... but you will need to research this as I am not an expert.
What kind of fish do you have or are thinking to get? The more knowledgeable members can helps here. (my PH is at 8.2 and I do nothing to change it. It's wonderful for live-bearers!)

Byron 04-17-2012 12:10 PM

I first want to be certain that we are thinking of the same thing when we use the word "Alkalinity." Technically, this is the bicarbonate hardness, or KH, which tells us the pH buffering capability of the water. It has no direct bearing on fish or plants, but it does affect pH which does affect fish and less so plants.

Or are you meaning a high pH by "alkalinity" as years ago what is now called basic water (pH above 7) was termed "alkaline."

And can you tell me more about this "ferric medium" product? Ferric suggests something to do with iron.

And what exactly is the likely reading (numbers) for GH and pH? Of the tap water (assuming this is your source water) and the tank, if different.

Water chemistry is very complex, and fiddling with one aspect can produce varying results because of the inter-relationship between many different aspects. But I or others can probably offer some guidance when we know the above.


recyclingking52 04-18-2012 10:05 AM

Hi Byron, Thanks for your reply. The medium is granular ferric oxide intended for aquarium use only. It is intended to inhibit alges growth by removing phosphates. I have ordered the API test kit you suggested and I'll be able to get better intel on my water perameters.
Do you know anything about the new API nexx external canister filters? You can add additional canisters for a Nitra foam for amonia, nitite & nitate removal and is capable for removing phosphate and silicates. One can also purchase a 30ppi (pores per inch?) Pre-filter foam for addional mechanicl filtration. I like my magnum 350's but the valve mechanisum is a pain. Thanks for your time.

recyclingking52 04-18-2012 10:12 AM

Hi Jakiebabie Thanks for your reply. I will be adding schools of tetras along with some addional algea eaters not plecos some other type of plant cleaning fish, do you have any suggestions? I'll have more questions but must do some work at this time. Thanks again.

Byron 04-18-2012 11:52 AM

If you have plants, you do not want all that filtration. You will be competing with the plants. Minimal filtration, meaning a basic canister rated to the tank size, contining no chemical media (chemical media being carbon and any material that alters anything like ammonia, etc.), sufficient to create the current required by the specific fish species, is all you want. No filter at all (with lots of plants) would be better than anything beyond what I've described.


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