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RE: Lowering pH when adding hard water nutrients to soft water

> Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2000 17:47:52 -0400
> From: Susi Barber <wanderer35 at operamail_com>

> I live in Vancouver...have very small tanks, a 3 gal and
> 6 gal Eclipse...plants initially grew well...
> <need to> get rid of thread algae

You are in luck.  Vancouver is a great place to grow aquatic plants.  You
indicate that the soft water is problematic, but it is a considerable
attribute.  I never had a problem with the lack of calcium in the water
there, but I also never had a tank under 10 gallons.

It is not unusual for plants to grow well initially if the water is lacking
certain nutrients.

> After fiddling round with
> dolomite in the filter and on the substrate, adding calcium
> via bits of ground up calcium tablet, and Epsom salts

If you are sure that calcium is a problem for you, dissolving dolomite in
your tank is probably a terrible choice.  It dissolves too quickly to
control.  Perhaps putting a small shell in the filter would be more
workable.  It is easier to grow plants in soft water, so, if you must add
calcium, moderation is the key.  Also, don't use anything that will bring
your pH over 7; a pH of around 6.7 if fine.

I would try the following:
Use a good aquatic plant fertilizer in the water.  Consider using pmdd as
per the articles at http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Fertilizer/. This will
help ensure balanced nutrients and less algae.

If you do use C02 in your tanks, then consider buffering the water with a
small amount of baking soda.  Be very careful when doing this.  It can cause
the pH to skyrocket in a very short time.  Do Eclipse tanks have filter
wheels?  If so, they will strip C02 from the water.  This would likely make
growing plants difficult.

Change your water fairly frequently.  With your small tanks, changing 1/2
tank per week is not too much.

See if the above works without adding calcium separately to the water.

-- Darrell