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My name is Joseph, born raised in Washington. My first aquarium was a 45 gal. fresh water tank at the age of 15. Being such a big tank I got sick of cleaning it. Now being almost 20 I have missed having fish and wanted to start up a new tank. I found a decent looking 20 gal. at the GoodWill and decided to customize it. A week later I have carved a unique wall out of styrophoam and covered it with conrete to give it an organic look. Letting the concrete cure for 3 days totally submerged I emptied the water and replace it with fresh tap water. A day later I buy 4 neon tetra to basically test the water to make sure the styrophoam does not poison the fish. A few days later my four tetra are still alive with large traces of ich. To kill the ich I have added one tablespoon of salt per 5 gal. of water (being 3.5 because of the size of the conrete wall) and raised the temperature to ~80 degrees F. Five days after adding the salt and raising the temp. the ph level is at 8.2 (because of the concrete leaking lime and I am guessing becuse of the salt) and I am typing this intro watching my 4 tetra barely hanging in there with no sign of the ich dying. I have a couple questions. One being, how long will the conrete leach out lime, raising the ph level. Because I really would like to have some tropical fish and plants in my aquarium!
 

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Concrete, to my lack of understanding, will have very long lasting effects on your pH. Get some educated responses in the Paludarium section of this site from folks who have great experience in creating backgrounds and scapes. Generally the ideal situation is to have a sealed background that is effectively made inert to your water.

There are also other toxins in concrete that will stress your tank, which may have an impact on your livestock's ability to fight off infections.
 
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