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Re: [APD] First Planted Tank: Water Chemistry Problems

To start with you can't put an SAE into a 10 gallon tank.   They get 
much too large.  Second an Ocelot sword will also get much too large.  I 
had one that took up 1/3 of my 55 gallon tank.  Also some of the plants 
in your tank are non-aquatic.  They are going to rot and foul up the water.

Now I know you are not going to want to hear this.  But quit fighting 
the water.  If you feel you must do something about the water then use 
half RO and half tap.  You also really need to study up on water 
chemistry.  Right now you have a toxic soup with what I would guess is a 
very high TDS.  And TDS also affect fish.  If you have 2 degrees of KH 
then your water is naturally going to have a pH of around  7.4 or so.  
The only way you can get the pH lower than that is to add an acid and/or 
remove the KH.

Quit paying money to Seachem for products that while they do work are 
quite expensive for what they do.  Just use tap water to add in the GH 
and KH in the water.  Your Betta and the Cories will tolerate almost any 
standard municipal water parameters you find in the US and most of the 
rest of the world for that matter.

Betsy Linhart wrote:
> Can anyone help an ex-English major who's apparently in over her head here?
> I've set up my first planted tank with the goals of (1) providing a 
> better environment for one very spoiled betta and his dwarf cory 
> janitorial crew and (2) avoiding algae problems that I've had in the 
> past.  It's a 10-gallon tank with 2 inches of Fluorite substrate and a 
> 15-watt full-spectrum light.  I've got plants like java fern, dwarf 
> lily, Japanese fans, Crypt Walkeri, and Red-Spot Ocelot.  I've been 
> injecting CO2 using the Red Sea Turbo CO2 Biosystem (which is really a 
> low-tech DIY system).  I do a 40-50% water change weekly as part of my 
> maintenance routine.
> I haven't put any fish in yet because I'm not happy with the water 
> chemistry.  Because I have very high pH well water with nitrates and 
> (probably) phosphates, I'm using RO from the LFS.  I've built up the GH 
> using Seachem's Equilibrium, and that's OK.  My goal is a reasonable pH 
> (anywhere from 7.0 to 7.4 would be fine . . . my fish are used to water 
> in that range) with enough of a KH for it to be stable.  But even when I 
> use Seachem's Alkaline and Acid Buffers in the recommended ratios, I end 
> up with a pH of well over 7.6.  I was hoping that the CO2 would help 
> bring the pH down, but the system seems erratic and I don't want to 
> invest in a pressurized metered system.
> I've been working on the water, on-and-off, for about a month.  My fish 
> are still in bowls and (gak!) now I'm starting to see algae.  I want to 
> get some SAEs, shrimp, etc before the algae gets a real foothold, but I 
> don't want to dump fish in there if my water chemistry is still swinging 
> back and forth.
> My latest attempt involves getting the KH down temporarily by adding 
> unbuffered RO, and then adding Acid Buffer every day as recommended.  
> I've got the KH at 30 mg/L and have added Acid Buffer for 2 days and the 
> pH is (surprise!) 7.6. 
> Do I need to get the KH even lower?
> Should I keep adding the Acid Buffer until the pH gets down to my 
> range?  If so, should I then add Alkaline Buffer to get the KH back up? 
> * (Which will raise the pH, I know.)
> Should I give up on the whole CO2 injection thing?
> Should I resign myself to a higher pH and just hope that it doesn't 
> contribute to algae problems that the SAEs can't handle?
> Any advice would really be appreciated!
> Betsy
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