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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to raise german blue rams in my tank. my tap water is about 7.5 ph and i need to get it to 6.5. its a 42 gallon hex tank and i will be using DIY co2...the guy at the LFS suggested adding fluval peat granules to my canister filter. he said with the addition of the peat and with my co2 then i should be able to keep a stable ph of 6.5 or so which is what the rams need. has anyone tried this before? does this effect plants? the package of peat says that it is wonderful for plants but i want to hear it from an unbiased source. anything special i need to know?
 

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Fish don't need stable pH. They do need stable TDS (total dissolved solids) in the water. If you have plants, and get enough CO2 into the water for their needs, your pH will be around 6.5 every day with the CO2 and lights on, but will drift back towards 7.5 at night, with the CO2 and lights off. That kind of pH changes doesn't bother the fish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fish don't need stable pH. They do need stable TDS (total dissolved solids) in the water. If you have plants, and get enough CO2 into the water for their needs, your pH will be around 6.5 every day with the CO2 and lights on, but will drift back towards 7.5 at night, with the CO2 and lights off. That kind of pH changes doesn't bother the fish.
So are there any benefits to adding peat? Will the peat help keep those night time ph swings in check? i thought that the german blue rams wouldnt survive those kind of daily ph swings? why am i confused?
 

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In a fish only tank pH is a good measure of the "quality" of the water. If the pH swings, it is because something is wrong in the water. pH is easy to measure, compared to most other parameters, so it became the rule that fish need a steady pH.

In a planted tank, pH has other meanings. The plants act to stabilize the water conditions. If the pH changes in a planted tank the first most likely reason is that the concentration of CO2 has changed. The next is that some carbonate is dissolving into the water, or pieces of wood are releasing tannins. Those three things, when they occur relatively slowly are not bad for fish.

The fish said to need low pH really need soft water, with low TDS. Those that need high pH need harder water, with higher TDS.

Any time you add something that changes the water conditions, as peat does, you set up a need to match that water condition every time you do a water change, which can be such a drag that you just delay and delay water changes. But, those water changes are very beneficial to the fish and the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In a fish only tank pH is a good measure of the "quality" of the water. If the pH swings, it is because something is wrong in the water. pH is easy to measure, compared to most other parameters, so it became the rule that fish need a steady pH.

In a planted tank, pH has other meanings. The plants act to stabilize the water conditions. If the pH changes in a planted tank the first most likely reason is that the concentration of CO2 has changed. The next is that some carbonate is dissolving into the water, or pieces of wood are releasing tannins. Those three things, when they occur relatively slowly are not bad for fish.

The fish said to need low pH really need soft water, with low TDS. Those that need high pH need harder water, with higher TDS.

Any time you add something that changes the water conditions, as peat does, you set up a need to match that water condition every time you do a water change, which can be such a drag that you just delay and delay water changes. But, those water changes are very beneficial to the fish and the plants.
so it sounds like adding something like peat can be a pain for water changes. say if i do weekly changes at 50% then the new water that i add needs to be the same ph as the old water. this is for the german blue rams to be happy? so you are advising me to not add the peat and that i can raise the rams with my conditioned tap water and the co2 alone? is there anything else i should be doing to the new water that i add to the tank each week?

i say 50% change because i read on the ferts forum that if i do the EI method then i should be doing a 50% change weekly. when i have raised fish in the past without live plants i would do a 25% change weekly.
 

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The most stable way to maintain a lower pH and hardness than your tap water would be to mix and maintain water for water changes in a separate area. RO/DI water will be easier to control than using peat. TDS are what fish actually are sensitive to, pH is generally a reflection of TDS, but if you're injecting CO2 into your tank you basically get an "artificial" pH reading as far as the fish are concerned. If you want to get very specific with fish needs, measuring conductivity is the way to go, as this measure is a much more controlled measure of the TDS that most affect fish. If you're doing EI and 50% PWC each week, then IMO your ideal main tank parameters should either 1) match your tap water or 2) start using RO/DI water in order to maintain stability.

Personally, I think you're fine with your water and GBRs as you are now. Just acclimate the Rams to your water slowly (IMO drip acclimation is best), and I'd encourage you to QT them for 2 weeks before moving them into the CO2-injected tank. This will give them more time to need to adjust to as few parameter differences at a time as possible.

My GBRs spawn constantly in my 90gal, with moderate hardness and pH about 7.2.
 
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