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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
No problem Art,

I started adding the Raise Hardness product from Wardley I bought at the LFS... (99cents on sale) after adding that my KH went up to three the very next day.

I have not added more, and as of two days ago my KH was still at three.

Thanks for your input...
~Benicio
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Now PO4...

KH is under control at 3, I am monitoring it closely and adding Raise Hardness (Calcium and Magnesium) every time I see a slight drop. Now the issue is with PO4.

I have added 3/8 tsp of KH2PO4 to my 20 gallon tank over the past week, which, according to chuck's calculator (if I am using it properly), equates to an increment of around 15.67 ppm of phosphate in my tank.

I have some times measured my PO4 (Nutrafin test kit) at .25, but it stays mostly at 0.

Am I calculating the dosage properly? If so, what is going on? Could this also be a cause of the new akadama soil?

I read that you should add phosphate carefully, and also that having to much phosphate in the water can invalidate the CO2/PH/KH relationship... hence I want to make sure I am not adding too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I will not add any more PO4.

As far as my plants goes, the only thing I have noticed is that my L.Repens is not reddish anymore except on the tips of the leaves, everything else is green-yellowish. The plants are pearling, so I assume they are doing fine.

Appart from the PH/KH/CO2 relationship, how can I tell what my CO2 concentration is? Is it necessary?
 
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