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Old 03-13-2004, 01:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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I set up a new 40 gallon tank (36"x16"x18") 3 weeks ago with the intention of creating a planted tank. The tank was cycled with BioSpira. Right now it's planted with overruns from a couple of my other tanks, but was planning to add some new plants this week.

Anyway, I was very surprised when my pH registered at 8 after a week. Water out of my tap is 7.4 and very soft (kh is between 0-2). Water from my other non-cichlild tanks is 7.4. I did a little research and found that the bowl rock I had in the tank could raise ph and hardness. So I removed the rock last weekend, replaced it with a large piece of driftwood, and did a 25-30% water change.

Today, I tested again after another 30% water change. Still 8.0. Should I do more water changes? I've got some cardinal tetras in another tank that I was hoping to move to this tank, but I don't want to do that or add any more plants until I've got the ph stabilized at a lower level.

I've got 110 watts of PC fluorescent lighting, so just under 3wpg. No CO2. Eheim canister filter. The substrate is small plain gravel (not crushed coral or anything like tha) mixed with EcoComplete.

Sorry for the long message, but I'm not sure what's important. Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2004, 01:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I set up a new 40 gallon tank (36"x16"x18") 3 weeks ago with the intention of creating a planted tank. The tank was cycled with BioSpira. Right now it's planted with overruns from a couple of my other tanks, but was planning to add some new plants this week.

Anyway, I was very surprised when my pH registered at 8 after a week. Water out of my tap is 7.4 and very soft (kh is between 0-2). Water from my other non-cichlild tanks is 7.4. I did a little research and found that the bowl rock I had in the tank could raise ph and hardness. So I removed the rock last weekend, replaced it with a large piece of driftwood, and did a 25-30% water change.

Today, I tested again after another 30% water change. Still 8.0. Should I do more water changes? I've got some cardinal tetras in another tank that I was hoping to move to this tank, but I don't want to do that or add any more plants until I've got the ph stabilized at a lower level.

I've got 110 watts of PC fluorescent lighting, so just under 3wpg. No CO2. Eheim canister filter. The substrate is small plain gravel (not crushed coral or anything like tha) mixed with EcoComplete.

Sorry for the long message, but I'm not sure what's important. Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2004, 07:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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The light intensity might be too high for a tank that is not fertilized with CO2, but this is just speculation. Also, is the hardness(KH) the same in your tank than in your tap water?
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Old 03-15-2004, 01:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I would suggest you get a kH test and actually measure your kH more accurately. If it is 0-1, the buffering capacity in your tank is virtually non-existant. That could explain your pH fluctuations. Also, as was mentioned in the prior post, with nearly 3WPG, and no CO2, you have major algae issues just waiting to happen. With high light, you need to set up a balance between your nutrients and your plants.

Having said that, you do need to know your kH accurately to add co2. If your kH is below 2 you will need to add something to bring it up before you add co2 or else your pH will plummet. Do a search about this, there is plenty of info on raising kH in your tank.
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Old 03-17-2004, 05:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the replies. I was out of town, or would have responded sooner.

Is 2.75 watts was high enough to drive up ph and require the addition of co2? I thought that wouldn't be an issue until you got up in the 4 wpg neighborhood.

About my kh, I don't know that my test is inaccurate. I said "0-2" because it seems to vary slightly out of the tap. It's usually 1 or 2. (I only measured 0 once, and I think it was actually water from a tank with shrimp who I believe were using up all of the calcium carbonate in the water.)

In any event, the kh in this tank is 5 degrees. The ph hasn't fluctuated at *all* since I set up the tank -- it's been an unwavering 8. Hmmm. It makes me wonder what is in that "generic" bag of gravel I bought at the lfs. I hope that's not it. I hate the thought of having to change it. Ugh.
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