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Hurray for you!. This is one of the best journals on APC and it's hard to believe it's only one month old! Fascinating struggle between keeping the beneficial bacteria uploaded via a filter and keeping the dissolved CO2 from escaping during the day. I'm no expert, but I have found that over time, beneficial bacteria will find a home inside the tank wherever they can get a foothold, so running the filter less and less may be a worthwhile experiment.
 

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Until I stumbled upon Wonder Shells I had an old rock that somehow had become fused to a bunch of clam shells. It was pretty ancient. But, it was a pretty good buffer for my PH and I seem to remember it making my water harder, too. Point being, it doesn't have to dissolve rapidly in order to work. Even Wonder Shell will stick around for months a the bottom of your tank.
 

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Hi everyone,

So the last few weeks my ammonia level went up slightly, not quite .25 but not exactly zero, and nitrites went up smidge as well, between .25-.50. I ended up doing a small water change, which helped but nitrite still giving a reading, now below .25

I decided to do a major plant trim, I thought maybe the plant growth might be stalling. Hopefully in a week the readings will be normalized.

It was fun trimming the dwarf sag, now I can actually see all my Corys again! They were always hidden away within, I couldn't find all of them for the life of me! I'll post a picture later of how nice it looks all trimmed.
That's a very important point to make. That it isn't necessarily how big or how lush your plants look, but the rate at which they are actually growing that counts.
 

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So, wait. You got rid of the driftwood? This looks like a totally different tank.
Personally, I wouldn't touch the trumpet snails. I was worried at first when I first introduced them to my tank (it started with just one!) but I really don't think they represent a huge bio-load. And, they really earn their keep by keeping the algae in check.

EDIT: My bad. It took me a while to figure out that the tank from ten days ago was the so-called, "4th tank" that you and your boyfriend have set up. It might be useful in the future to start a separate journal for different tanks. I'm getting old and it's not easy to remember which photos are from what tank a month later. :LOL:
 

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I saw someone ask about pictures of trumpet snails, but I don't see the post anymore.
Yeah, that was me. I deleted it because I wasn't sure if you were coming back.LOL. Thanks. I'm fascinated by your snail situation. I stand by my first answer. If the pleco is killing off the pond snails, the trumpet snails may be your next best housekeepers. I understand they multiply at the merest hint of extra food, but if they don't turn you off aesthetically, I'd let them alone.
 

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You're going to drive yourself crazy once you go down that rabbit hole of liquid tests versus test strips and different testing results. Pick one method and stick with it. Personally, I find liquid tests easier to read, but they come at the cost of a lot of dripping and shaking. And, of all the tests, PH is IMO (in my opinion), the least important past a certain point. I haven't tested my PH in over a month. The bottom line is always how does your tank look? Are the fish swimming around happily? Are the plants growing? Everything else is just confirming what you can see with your own eyes.
 

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Well, looks like my digital PH pen has died. Tested a water sample last night and it came up with a wildly improbable 5.0 (and, yes, an enormous amount of blinking before settling on a number.) Previous tests had been averaging in the high 7s. This morning, using the same water sample, I broke open the two liquid tests that come with the API Master kit. The only thing I don't like about these PH tests is that if the sample is above 7.4, you are caught in this nether region where your results are off the charts as far as the "regular" test is concerned but may overlap the lower end of the "high range" PH test kit. Bottom line: I think I'm still in the high 7s - possibly 8. But, I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
 

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I've had pretty good success with just potassium gluconate purchased from any vitamin aisle. A 99 mg tablet will dissolve pretty quickly, or you can crush it with a pestle. In my experience, I only had to dose it once before getting results.
 

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Oh, that's interesting! Good technique. I did buy them in tablet form. Is there some sort of recommended ratio of how many tablets per gallon? My aquariums are 4, 10, 20 and 30 gallons.
I have a porcelain bowl that I estimate is about 10 gallons when full; it's probably at 7 or 8 gallons now and 1 tablet was all I needed - and, even then I think I experienced a slight algae bloom that the bladder snails quickly took care of.
 
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