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Have you tried Anubias, Java Fern, Java Moss or some low light crypts? These should work for you with what you have.

You are headed in the right direction, but I don't think that all of your plant selections matches your lighting and your aquarium size.

Here's a list of low light plants:

I wouldn't use any part of the Jungle Fizz-Factory for CO2. Here is a much better solution:

Or, you can use Seachem's Excel as a carbon source somewhat like CO2:

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Hi Sterling919

We live about 175 miles from each other. I'm in Burlington.,+NC&saddr=Burlington,+NC&rl=1

We are fortunate to have low GH and KH levels in our tap water in our area, but the nitrate and phosphate levels can vary based on a number of factors. Most of the time though, the nitrate and phosphate levels are low and I rarely test my tap water. You can find out your tap water parameter easily by doing what Cheryl mentioned.

Many people use Prime. It's good stuff!

Your Flourish will work as a starting fertilizer, but more various nutrients are needed as well. Let me give you some Seachem articles that have very good information. This one is a good one to start with:

Here's more:

Doing DIY CO2 on a 10g is OK, but it would be hard on a 40g. You can get a pressurized system that will run both of them. You would need:
1 regulator
1 manifold
2 needle or metering valves (metering valves are more consistent, but they are more $)
2 bubble counters
2 diffusers or reactors
CO2 tubing
Solenoids are optional (these allow you to turn the CO2 off and on electrically by the use of a timer or pH controller)
1 CO2 cylinder filled with CO2
2 drop checkers/CO2 indicators with 4 dKH lab certified carbonate based solution
Plus you'll need a few other odds and ends

I wrote an Excel 2003 based dosing calculator using Seachem's plant line. Its fine on a small scale, but it can be expensive on larger aquariums. There's a conversion to using dry fertilizers on the thread as well. Here it is:

Here's another dosing plan that works well for some people:

I use the following dosing plan because my aquariums have high light and CO2.

This dosing plan works well too:

Rex Grigg's site has a wealth of information:

Lighting is another long discussion and there's much info about it that relates to plants' needs.

I hope this helps you some.

Left C

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I'm pretty sure that your water is soft like mine. I add Seachem's Equilibrium for a GH Booster to raise my GH by 3 degrees. Plants need the calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron that's in it.

Some people just dose a little Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate MgSO4∙7H2O) to increase the magnesium level. Soft water usually doesn't have enough magnesium in it. You can find Epsom Salt at most pharmacies. A big container is just a few dollars.

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Hey Tex, guess what's rearing it's ugly head again.... NaHCO3!! I know I'm such a :nerd:, LOL. The CO2 guides assume that the only buffer is the carbonate ion. It makes an equilibrium that can shift pH up or down with the CO2 concentration in the water. That's why so many people are afraid when they have soft water (low KH). The buffering capacity is much lower and you can get big pH swings when injecting CO2. ...
My KH is very low. It's around 1 to 2 dKH. I don't add any buffers to my aquariums. All but one of my aquariums has CO2 going into it.

The following agrees with what you are saying, jmontee.

There's too many variables in aquarium water to use the pH/KH/CO2 chart/calculator. There are phosphates, tannins, acids, bases, etc. that will give you a false CO2 measurement which, in most instances, indicates that you have more CO2 than you actually have in your aquarium. A drop checker is the best way to monitor your CO2 level unless you spend $$$ for testing equipment.

This is the section that contains the information to help people understand this relationship a little better.

"The pH-KH-CO2 Relationship
pH, KH, and CO2 have a fixed relationship as long as carbonate is the only buffer present (no phosphate buffers like pH-UP and- DOWN, Discus Buffer, etc). There are some parts of the country that have high levels of phosphates in their water supply. For those cases, determining CO2 levels will be difficult, as the phosphate will throw off the pH-KH-CO2 relationship, which means the CO2 charts and calculator below won't work. Note that the commercially available CO2 test kits will also be invalidated by the phosphates.

NOTE: If you aren't adding CO2 to your water, and the CO2 level based on the pH and KH indicates more than 5ppm, then it is very likely that some other buffer (such as phosphate) is present in your water. In an inhabited aquarium, the amount of CO2 produced by the fish will not have an effect on CO2 levels in the water. Any excess CO2 created by fish will dissipate into the air, leaving a fairly constant CO2 level of about 3-4ppm. If you test your pH and KH, and without adding any CO2, the chart says you've got 20ppm CO2, don't believe it.

In some cases, water coming right from the tap can contain very high or very low levels of CO2. This can result in tap water with a high KH, and low pH. But, in just a few hours, that excess CO2 will dissipate from the water, leaving the normal 3-4ppm, and the pH will rise. Sometimes, the water might come from the tap with extremely little CO2, which can result in tap water with a low KH, and a very high pH. Again, after a few hours, the CO2 level will equalize, and the water will end up with 3-4ppm CO2.

CO2/pH/KH calculator and chart
NOTE: This calculator (and the chart based on this formula) will only work if your water is carbonate buffered. If your water contains high levels of phosphates, it will alter your water properties, and invalidate these CO2 calculations.

You can not alter the KH levels other than by adding or removing carbonate. You can not alter the CO2 levels other than by adding or removing CO2.

Adding certain "pH altering additives" can cause much confusion as well. Additives like "Proper pH 7.0" which force the pH to a certain value completely invalidate the CO2 / KH / pH relationship. This is because these pH altering additives contain phosphates. Phosphates replace the carbonates in the buffering system. And the CO2 / KH / pH relationship is only valid in a system that is buffered by Carbonates.

There is one case I've seen where the addition of CO2 resulted in an increase in KH. This can happen when you have something in the tank that dissolves carbonate into the water. Seashells, crushed coral, and many gravels and rocks will do this. With the addition of CO2, the water turns more acidic, which will increase the dissolving of the minerals. It appears that increasing CO2 raises the KH, which isn't really the case. The dissolving minerals raise the KH, and the increase in KH results in an increase in pH. In a system using a pH probe and controller to regulate CO2 levels, this can have fatal consequences, since the pH controller will keep trying to lower the pH, but as more CO2 is dissolved, it lowers the pH, which raises the KH, which raises the pH. So you now have more CO2, but the same pH. So the controller adds even MORE co2. And it will keep going. So it's important to know your KH whenever using pH to judge CO2 levels."

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Left C - This is one of the BEST explanations of how things work that I've read in a long time. It lets a layman like me understand what you're talking about!!! Thank you!!
Thanks! Many people just look at the chart or the calculator and they don't read the parts that tell you what doesn't work and what does work.

??? time - SO if I have low KH and almost 0 GH and I want to raise my GH level do I need to add some baking soda to that I am raising my buffering level of the water so the pH won't continue to go crazy?
Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate NaHCO3) doesn't change the GH at all. It only effects the alkalinity of the water which changes the KH and pH.

Calcium Chloride Dihydrate CaCl2∙2H2O and Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate MgSO4∙7H2O (Epsom Salt) are two of many products that will change the GH of the water.

Calcium Carbonate CaCO3 will increase both KH and GH. It dissolves slowly in water though.

AND - if I want to keep snails and get my pH up a little will Equilibrium and Baking Soda, and Crushed Coral be what I need to do?
Baking Soda wouldn't help. It doesn't contain calcium.

Snails need the calcium compounds found in GH for their shells to be healthy. Equilibrium only affects the GH. Crushed Coral is mostly Calcium Carbonate and it will affect both the KH and GH.

Here's a few references with a lot of good information about KH, GH, CO2, pH, Alkalinity, etc.:)

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Left C - I guess I thought you could read my mind!:rolleyes: I was thinking that I needed the Baking Soda as a buffering agent. Hence I would put in the equilibrium to bring up the GH and the baking soda would bring up the KH and the pH and act as a buffering agent. I thought, what if I added the equilibrium to bring it up (with water changes, slowly) and then just added some of the coral in my filter to keep it up, as ada aquasoil absorbs is back down, along with the baking soda as a buffering agent. What happens then? Am I on the wrong track?
OK, I understand now what you are saying now. I gotcha (sp?).:)

Your responses and questions confused me a bit. I know that you know about KH and GH. It seemed very odd to me. I just went ahead and answered them as if there was confusion because many of the newer people have some trouble with KH and GH and some of them may benefit from reading it.

I still don't understand how all these others use the ADA AS and keep the briggs, and nerites without consequence. I can add the Ca for the snail in the form of a cuttle bone or ca tabs. but don't know what to do about the acid water melting their shells.
I can't help you with a first hand experience with AS. I just received the last bag of Amazonia (original) yesterday. I didn't order enough to do two tanks. I'm just now getting ready to test drive it in a 37g and a 20L.

In answer to your question, I know that Amazonia lowers KH and pH. I don't remember reading anything about anyone adding baking soda to increase the KH and pH even though it surely would. Doesn't it settle down after a while? Adding Equilibrium will be fine. I know people dose potassium and Equilibrium has a good amount of that, plus it's calcium will help with your invertbrates.

BTW thanks for the links. I'll read and see if I can keep up with the info..... :rolleyes:
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