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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I love Walstad method my tank is about 6 months old it's 100L have 7 platies and heaps of fry, red rams horn snails, pond snails and a very sick blue mystery snail. Plants (hair grass carpet transfered from anothe lowtech and a year old, sad looking Ambulia, hydrocotyle leucocephala, happily growing hygrophila polysperma and not yet established (sag plant, echinodorus quadricostatus) a happy nymphoides plant. I added the Vallisneria plant at the beginning of the tank and it was very slow but I left it. Recently I noticed a huge declying of snail population and the very sick mystry snail with rough shell :( actually I had 2 mystries and one died. Trying my best to recover the other one. I added Oyster grit to the tank done numerous water changes but if I don't do at least one 30% water change a week (my tap water is slightly above Ph7) tank PH drops below 6.4.

I have no clue either Vallisneria doing this assault or something else. I'm unable to check KH, GH at the moment and it looks like Oyster grit is dissolving faster. Please, any thoughts you reckon I remove the Vallisneria or something else causing the problem.

No filter, 3V powerhead, heater set to 25C and custom-made LED lights. I'll post a picture later.

Thanks, heaps :p
 

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Welcome to APC!
Sorry for the problems. I can't imagine how the Vallisneria is causing the pH drop. What kind of substrate are you using? And it would help to know the KH and GH of your tap water.
 

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I cannot imagine Val as a perpetrator of such crimes-- lowering pH and killing snails.

I've never had much luck with Apple Snails, Mystery Snails, etc. I don't think that you can just throw them into a community tank and expect them to thrive. If you really want to keep these snails, I think you need to find out what they need and then cater to them. They could have diseases that are killing them or special food requirements or they are susceptible to heavy metals in your tapwater.

If plants are growing well, their consumption of CO2 will automatically increase the pH. My tanks are all alkaline because of good plant growth, not oyster shells or water hardness.

I will have to wait to see a picture of your tank for a better assessment. But consider this... Perhaps the water changes are not necessary. A pH of 6.4 is not that bad--at all. Indeed, it should make CO2 more available and encourage plant growth. Better plant growth will raise the pH or keep it steady. I would let plant growth stabilize the pH, not water changes. Your fish can probable handle a slightly acidic pH.

If your pH keeps dropping, then you could increase water aeration. It will remove CO2 and bring the pH up. (There's more than one way to bring pH up.)

Well, 'nuff said until I see the pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome to APC!
Sorry for the problems. I can't imagine how the Vallisneria is causing the pH drop. What kind of substrate are you using? And it would help to know the KH and GH of your tap water.
The substrate, commercially prepared river soil capped with small gravel. I saw Vallisneria and Ph relationship somewhere online.
 

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Moarnica, welcome to APC! I have one suggestion about your water: Many, if not most water companies have to add a chemical to their water to raise the pH to 7.0 or above. For reasons not clear to me, the pH of the water will drop with time to what it would have been without that treatment. I suspect if you put a large glass full of tap water on the kitchen counter with a piece of plastic wrap loosely placed on top, the pH will start at 7.0 and drop to about 6.4 in a couple of days. If nothing else this might let you stop changing the water so often.

You have quite a few fish in that tank, considering its size. It is possible, but unlikely that they are contributing more ammonia with their waste than the plants can use up. Do you have a ammonia test kit? That would let you eliminate ammonia as a possible problem.

Vallisneria plants can consume carbonate to get enough carbon to grow well, but for that to cause a measurable effect on the tank I think you would need to have a heavy planting of it. And, you apparently don't have that many. Do you have a KH test kit? Monitoring the KH would let you see if the water is losing carbonates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Moarnica, welcome to APC! I have one suggestion about your water: Many, if not most water companies have to add a chemical to their water to raise the pH to 7.0 or above. For reasons not clear to me, the pH of the water will drop with time to what it would have been without that treatment. I suspect if you put a large glass full of tap water on the kitchen counter with a piece of plastic wrap loosely placed on top, the pH will start at 7.0 and drop to about 6.4 in a couple of days. If nothing else this might let you stop changing the water so often.

You have quite a few fish in that tank, considering its size. It is possible, but unlikely that they are contributing more ammonia with their waste than the plants can use up. Do you have a ammonia test kit? That would let you eliminate ammonia as a possible problem.

Vallisneria plants can consume carbonate to get enough carbon to grow well, but for that to cause a measurable effect on the tank I think you would need to have a heavy planting of it. And, you apparently don't have that many. Do you have a KH test kit? Monitoring the KH would let you see if the water is losing carbonates.
Thank you, Hoppy

Ammonia 0 and fish look fine although livebearers prefer more Alkaline. Vallisneria had a growth spout after adding oyster grit (2 plants send one runner each) so do smaller snails. I'll do the water glass experiment and check KH and GH from the local shop on the weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I cannot imagine Val as a perpetrator of such crimes-- lowering pH and killing snails.

I've never had much luck with Apple Snails, Mystery Snails, etc. I don't think that you can just throw them into a community tank and expect them to thrive. If you really want to keep these snails, I think you need to find out what they need and then cater to them. They could have diseases that are killing them or special food requirements or they are susceptible to heavy metals in your tapwater.

If plants are growing well, their consumption of CO2 will automatically increase the pH. My tanks are all alkaline because of good plant growth, not oyster shells or water hardness.

I will have to wait to see a picture of your tank for a better assessment. But consider this... Perhaps the water changes are not necessary. A pH of 6.4 is not that bad--at all. Indeed, it should make CO2 more available and encourage plant growth. Better plant growth will raise the pH or keep it steady. I would let plant growth stabilize the pH, not water changes. Your fish can probable handle a slightly acidic pH.

If your pH keeps dropping, then you could increase water aeration. It will remove CO2 and bring the pH up. (There's more than one way to bring pH up.)

Well, 'nuff said until I see the pictures.
Thank you. Lights on from 6am - 11am then off from 11 to 3pm again on from 3pm to 9pm

At the moment I'm relying on very fine oyster grit to keep ph closer to 7 (chook supplement) After adding that clearly small snail population grew and Valisnaria produced new pups.

Aeration done by a small internal filter powerhead. I didn't replace the filter cartridge when it got old and full just pulled it out and let the powerhead to run.

Mystery snails were with me for two plus years I hope they maybe old. Both died slowly :( Rams horns and pond snails are thriving.

I didn't know about your protocol when settingup the tank. However dirtied tanks are popular where I live. I managed to grow that hair grass over one year without adding ferts co2 or anything. Let me know if pictures not clear and you wanting to see anything specific.

Oh that Ambulia and rotala not growing at all :(
Thanks heaps
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Please let us know how this works out. I know I learn as much from others experiences as from my own.
Checked parameters from LFS they said all normal. Actually I sent hubby who wouldn't question further :( I'm mostly house bound with new born twin babies. I really want this tank to be at or closer to self managing.

Glass of water covrered and sitting on kitchen bench to measure Ph.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi I'm back with more pictures

It's a tank with a roof
Blue test tube - Ph of water sitting in a glass for about 4 days.

Greenish test tube - ph about 6.4 to 6.6 - tank water sample taken at 9.30am

Rams horn snails and other small snails

Filter outlet

Thank you for helping me to figure out what's making the PH fluctuation. If I tell my concern to LFS they'll sell a chemical to fix it which I don't want to do :(
 

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Whatever is going on, the tank looks very good and the hair grass is spectacular. On the mystery snails, the normal life span is only about 1.5 to 2 years, so yours may have simply died of old age.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all. I love my hobby and love my one and only low tech tank. Although I love open top tanks and the look of plants growing out of the tank, folks at home furious that kind of tank causing mold on the ceiling due to evaporation in humid winters down here :(

Latest update; after a month of adding fine oyster grit tank is back to something in between Ph6-6.4. I added more oyster grit (Actually it looks like the previous handful or two has mostly disappeared) And gave away Valisnaria to a friend with pressurized Co2. Fingers crossed and I hope this time Ph will stay stable. :rolleyes:
 
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