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Re: Sudden rise in pH
David Martin is concerned over a sudden rise in the pH value of his tank. He
told me, in a pvt. email:
is a 25 gallon high (24" wide and pretty high). I have an Eheim 2322 with
heater integrated into the filter. The tank is set at about 76 - 78
Fahrenheit. On top is 110 watts of CF. I have to DIY CO2 bottles feeding
into the Eheim. On the bottom, I have Onyx sand. I do not have any fish
"My water parameters straight out of the tap are KH 4, GH 7, PH 7 and NO3
10. As of two minutes ago, my KH was 7, GH 11, PH 7 (all done with Tetra
test kits) and NO3 10 (my NO3 spiked to between 20 and 50 according to my
Red Sea test kit)."
First off, it can sometimes be deceptive to measure the pH of water straight
out of the tap. Depending upon the source of your water, and the time of
year, there can sometimes be an increased level of CO2 in it, which will of
course depress the pH measurement. I find that it is better to draw off a
quantity and then let it sit, exposed to the atmosphere for about 24 hours
to let any excess gas leave. Then run your tests on the water - you might
find that the "natural" pH level wasn't 7 at all.
Onyx sand WILL affect the hardness and the alkalinity of the water, but not
in a way that seems to bother any plants or fish. I have a 30 gallon tank
with an Onyx substrate and it grows plants beautifully. Dwarf Rams have bred
and raised fry in this tank. Far too many people spend far too much time
worrying about not having soft, acidic water.
Check the connections on your CO2 bottles - it is very common for them to be
leaky. Silicone doesn't make a very secure seal with the plastic used for a
lot of bottle caps. - you think you're adding CO2 when in reality the
majority of might be bleeding off into the room. For a 25 gallon tank, one
2L bottle of yeast/sugar/water, changed regularly, ought to be enough - IF
it is actually producing any CO2. Use fresh yeast, not something that has
been on the shelf for years.
With 4 watts/gallon of high quality lighting, it is going to be vital to
have a reliable, steady source of CO2. Start saving your pennies for a
compressed gas system. With those light levels, DIY is for the birds.
"I have not added any ferts in over a week so the only
reason I can come up with the NO3 spiking is the hair grass came planted in
the wool substrate that must have had fertilizer in it. I did do a water
change that brought the NO3 number back down to the usual 10."
A fine pair of tweezers can be an invaluable tool to pick off that rockwool.
That's probably the source of the NO3 spike. (Unless you had added something
else to the substrate that you haven't mentioned - it might have gotten
disturbed when you planted the new plants).
"I have a
little algae in the glosso (which looks like gray fuzz). Some of the rotala
wallichii has something on the fine little leaves. Some of them do not. The
anubias nana are getting a lot of brown algae on them. Also, I did notice
some green algae on the Christmas moss. I'm just wondering if this is just
a normal break in period (considering I don't have my maintenance fish) or
can anyone see anything wrong with my parameters?"
This tank has only recently been set up, correct? If so, relax a bit and
stop worrying. The "brown algae" you see is a coating of diatoms and they
often "bloom" in newly setup tanks. It will pass. Get some Ottos, a couple
of SAE's and perhaps some Amano shrimp and feed them all VERY sparingly for
a while. They should soon have things spick and span in a few weeks. If the
Christmas Moss has long threadlike algae in it, I'd suggest that you get a
pair of tweezers and pull it out manually (the algae, not the moss). This
stuff can be murder to eradicate and you have to stay on top of it. The best
defense is a large mass of actively growing higher plants. Maybe I'm old
fashioned, but I always like to plant a "new" tank with a lot of fast
growing stem plants at first. After a couple of months I replace them with
slower growing species. Also, I have found that the much maligned duckweed
can suck up a LOT of excess nutrients very quickly - but then you have
mounds of duckweed to deal with. Its easier to deal with duckweed than it is
to deal with algae.
Start to fertilize your plants - slowly.