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Water properties

I'm having a few problems with one of my freshwater tanks and I'd
appreciate some help from you guys regarding the water properties.

This tank is an open tank with 3 x 50W halogen lights above it (on the
kitchen bench between the dining room and kitchen - it looks very nice and
you can view it from both sides!)

I've been having a problem with algae for a while and most of my plants
(Cabombam, Val, Echinodorus (osiris??), ... are doing OK, but not great.

I add CO2 with the yeast method and my plants do bubble sometimes.  I used
to fertilize daily, but stopped that when the algae became overpowering.

I recently tested my pH for the first time and found it to be >7.4 (the
max. my kit goes up to!)  This corresponds to my tap water too.

I have a Dupla CO2 kit, but I have never been able to sustain CO2 levels
high enough to turn the Dupla Co2 indicator from blue for more than a day
(at the sufficient level of CO2, my CO2 tank runs out very quickly.  I
only ever got the majority of the CO2 to bubble to the surface - I could
not infuse enough CO2 to raise the CO2 levels enough).

Last week, I tried to lower my pH in an effort to raise my CO2, but
despite adding "pH down" (Sodium Biphospate) I could not lower it below
7.4  In the end I added all the pH down I had but still nothing.

My plants have picked up a little, but still no visible change in the CO2
indicator (dark blue = insufficient Co2)

I then became a bit worried about adding "biphosphate" in large doses, so
I checked my phosphate levels.  Sure enough, they're up to about 1mg/l. 
However, I don't know if this is because of the ph Down that I added, or
whether I haven't been doing enough water changes.  I only have 2 native
Australian fish in this tank, so it's not overloaded (tank dimensions 2ft
x 15" x 15".  I have already started some major water changes to get my
phosphates back down, but this is just going to keep my ph above 7.4.

I took the following samples:

	pH 7.4+
	Carbonate Hardness 120ppm (does this equal 6.7dH???)
	Phosphates	1mg/l
	Iron negligible

How does my water hardness compare? Is KH the same as dH.  From an old
table that I found pH vs KH, I figure my CO2 level is around 8ppm - is
this correct?

What do I have to do to be able to increase my CO2 levels?

Any assistance greatly apreciated,

Steve Amor
Any replies, comments or general blurb to Steven Amor:
Steve_Amor at eol_ieaust.org.au

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