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re: Substrate problems

<lotta snips in here>

>Date: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 18:44:45 +0800
>From: Roy Cheok <roycheok at cyberway_com.sg>
>I've ran into a potential problem with my substrate...or rather my gravel, 
>as I've started my 30G tank before I started articles & postings on
>The tank is heavily planted with :
>- - Anubias Barteri var. nana (about 10 rhizomes)

You have what I would consider to be a huge number of different species for
a 30g tank.  I wouldn't worry about it now, but in the future, you may
that this and that work better, and these others can go elsewhere.

>The problem and bad news is 
>I can't seem to get my PH down....and it hovers between 7.0 - 7.5 PH, 
>and I would like to get it down to about 6.5 if possible. I then bought 
>a KH test kit and started keeping tab on this, and it hovers between 
>7 dKH after a 30% water change to 17dKH inbetween twice monthly water 
>changes. This is without any buffering and I know that my tap supply is
>Now the issue is should I tear down the tank and discard the gravel, or 
>should I just continue since it appears to be a natural buffer for KH..and 
>if I perform weekly water changes, I would be able to keep the KH to about 
>7 or 8 dKH. And, how can I ever get the Ph down to a preferred 6.5, since 
>IMO the gravel would almost certainly cause it to go upwards?. Also,
>I start testing for general hardness as well....?

I would test your general hardness, but I'm not really very concerned about
it anymore.  My GH was around 22 recently and my plants were all quite
happy with it.  If everything works well and you're pleased with the
appearance, you might just leave it.  If something gets sickly and you
suspect the alkalinity, you can always tear down the tank then.  If the pH
is way too high for your tastes, you might try adding another CO2
generator.  Either way, with CO2 injection and frequent water changes, the
carbonates in your gravel will decrease slowly.

David W. Webb           Texas Instruments
(972) 575-3443 (voice)  http://www.dallas.net/~dwebb
(214) 581-2380 (pager)  2145812380 at alphapage_airtouch.com