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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks to a friend I changed my gravel substrate for a much better one... (1 inch peat/pumice, 2 inch Akadama).. now after redoing the tank my readings are very very different from what I had.

AFter changing the substrate I added tap water, dechlorinator as per the bottle and have a carbon filter on my penguin filter (no bio-wheel).

I used to read my PH around 7 and my KH around 8, now I am reading a PH of 6.0 (aquarium pharmaceuticals test kit) and a KH of 0 or 1 (water turns yellow with the first drop of solution using an aquarium pharmaceuticals test kit)

I read my nitrate and phosphate at 0 tonight after I bought a Nutrafin test kits.

What is going on in my tank!?!? :x

Any suggestions?
 

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peat tends to lower the PH level of your fish tank thus 7 to 6 some fish such as discus and most tetras thrive better in a more acidic ph level it also makes water softer which is also good for most south american fish it makes them more comfortable and they are more willing to spawn in lower ph levels with softer water.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I understand that, but isn't 6.0 too low? I have guppies and they like water a bit less acid, don't they?

I guess my biggest concern was the low KH...
 

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Benicio,

Your substrate has peat and Akadama soil. The combination will lower your GH/KH substantially for a period. In addition, your pH will be lowered to around 6 for a while. Please compensate for this by increasing your GH/KH manually for a couple of weeks. After a couple of weeks, the Akadama will no longer pull on your KH and it will be stable from then on.

What happened is that the Akadama had a very acidic pH; that means that a large proportion of the CEC in the clay was occupied by hydrogen ions. If it was hydrogen ions, then calcium and magnesium in the water was exchanged for hydrogen on the Akadama. This is a common reaction -- the same reaction used in the cation exchange part of a deionizing water filter. The hydrogen ion was released into the water where it combined with the bicarbonate and lowered the KH. The calcium and magnesium was bound to the Akadama particles.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Art,

thanks for the info. How do I increase my KH/GH manually? What do I add?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did a search... I should have done that prior to my last post... I am going to add baking soda to the column to increase my KH.

I found this on thread which also contained the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation... I had found a different equation, which I have been using to calculate CO2 in my tank.. but know does not seem right... it is:

CO2 = 3*KH*10^(7-PH)

This equation is supposed to take the KH in dH rather than FW, but even though they have similarities (the formulas) they do not appear to represent the same relationship amongst the elements.

Any idea on how use the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation with KH readings in dH which is what my test set gives me?
 

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I think if you multiply the dH by 17.9 you will get you hardness in ppm, which is the same as mg/l also. You should be able to find a chart for calculating your co2 fairly easily by doing a search. I have never heard of that equation before.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have the graphic but I have an excel file where I keep a log of my tank and it automatically calculates the CO2 when I enter the KH and PH readings, plus the formula gives me exact readings rather than approximations that I can get from reading the chart.

I was, however, using the formula above, which know I do not believe to be correct.

I will try them both and compare to the chart to see which one gives the right readings. I'll post my findings here.
 

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Benicio,

Sorry it took me so long to reply. You can also try the following:

Eckerd Drugs: epson's salt (magnesium) 1/4 teaspoons x 6.5 per 50 gallons
Eckerd Drugs: calcium carbonate (calcium) 600 mg tablet x 4.5 per 50 gallons
Winn Dixie: baking soda 1/4 teaspoons x 4.5 per 50 gallons

Let me know if you have any questions.
 

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Art_Giacosa said:
1/4 teaspoons x 6.5 per 50 gallons
600 mg tablet x 4.5 per 50 gallons
1/4 teaspoons x 4.5 per 50 gallons
Art,

Do you mean 1/4 tsps --> 6.5 times in 50gallon tank ? How often ?

Just trying to figure out what Ca/Mg ratio you shooting for
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks art,

I will try the Magnesium and Calcium... I added 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda to my 20 gall tank yesterday and my KH is still the same. i will try adding more Baking Soda today.

I also added KNO3 and KH2PO4 my NO3 is now 5, and my PO4 is .25, I am getting there.
 

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bms said:
Thanks art,

I will try the Magnesium and Calcium... I added 1/2 tsp of Baking Soda to my 20 gall tank yesterday and my KH is still the same. i will try adding more Baking Soda today.

I also added KNO3 and KH2PO4 my NO3 is now 5, and my PO4 is .25, I am getting there.
Have you made sure you KH test kit is reading properly? 1/2 TSP of baking soda in a 20 gal should indeed raise the KH. 15ml of Baking Soda in my 55g raises the kh by a few degrees. I would test that kit for accuracy before adding more baking soda to your tank. Try adding some baking soda to a gallon of water in a bucket and see if you can bring up your KH on that test kit that way. If it doesn't register I would look at the test kit. Of course if you have already determined that the test kit is valid, then there is something fishy why the baking soda didn't raise your KH.

Matt
 

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Corigan said:
15ml of Baking Soda in my 55g raises the kh by a few degrees.
Matt,

This is a blank statement. How much NaHCO3 do you have in your 15ml ???.

"Rule of Thumb" --> 1 teaspoon of NaHCO3 in 100 liters will raise your KH by 1º
 

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Jay Luto said:
Matt,

This is a blank statement. How much NaHCO3 do you have in your 15ml ???.

"Rule of Thumb" --> 1 teaspoon of NaHCO3 in 100 liters will raise your KH by 1º
I guess I should of said that was dry dosing 15ml of NaHC03. Usually raises my overall total of my aquarium by a few degrees (2-3). I was just stating that the ammount he added should have atleast registered on his testing kit.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I added Baking Soda to a test tube with tap water and the test kit did measure the KH properly... so I guess it is the new substrate that is still "soaking"...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I found a product on sale (99 cents) at my LFS... Raise Hardness by Wardley. It supposedly raises Calcium and Magnesium... but I have found no reference to the actual contents of the product.

Is anyone familiar with it? It has a formula to calculate the amount you add to the tank based on the ppm of hardness you want to raise... but I do not have a GH test... how would a safe ppm raise be?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Got it from a friend. This is my first "real" tank so I can't really compare it to any substrate other than .5" of gravel... here is what I can tell you:

1) it is heavy enough to hold plants in place easily, not even my clown loach has been able to manage to loosen any plants from it, yet planting is relatively easy as compared to gravel where you have to struggle to drive the plant down.

2) I have a lower layer of peat/pumice so magically my pH is at 6.4 with no effort

3) I have managed to raise my KH to 4 by adding Baking Soda and the "Raise Hardness" product, so I guess that is under control. Apparently Akadama does "suck" from the water in the initiall stages.

4) I have not yet managed to raise my PO4 avobe .25... not sure if this has anything to do with the AKADAMA soil.

5) Aesthetically is great, its brownish color is very natural.

6) All the plants I have are collected from the wild. I have L. Repens, B. Monnieri, Bladerworth, Some hairgrass, moneyworth, Hydrocotyle verticellata, all of them doing good at this point. I have not seen any out out of the ordinary growth yet.

7) Right after setting the tank up, I had a couple of bunches of l. repens disappear in a couple of days... I was not testing for Kh then, so maybe that's what happened.

There are people with much more experience using AKADAMA than me... hopefully they will read this and add their experiences..
 

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I would use Calcium carbonate to raise KH. Sodium is not so good to have in high levels in the tank. Plus Calcium addition seems to be all the rage right now. Thanks for letting me know about the AKADAMA. BTW are you sure you have hydrocotyle verticillata and not umbilata? I cant find my verticillata around my area (Orlando/winterpark)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I am not sure, I collected it locally... from the pictures it seems like verticillata is totally round while umbellata has more of a heart shaped side to it... mine is completely round.... now that you mention it, I think I have both.

I'll try and post some pictures when my camera is back from its trip... (wife took it with her to Mexico)
 
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