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Newbie....a few questions

Discussion in 'Are you new to aquatic plants? Start here' started by GKFISH, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. GKFISH

    GKFISH Junior Poster

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    First off I want to commend the wealth of information on this site. My return to the hobby after about 30 years has been a delight thus far. My tank includes:

    55gal tank
    Fluval 305 canister. floss, purigen and bio-max along with the sponges.
    3-4''Eco-Complete substrate
    T5 HO lighting with 2 48'' 54 watt life glo bulbs
    Various wood and rocks.
    After much reading I decide not to use Co2, but I do dose Flourish Excel as a carbon source,1 capful daily as directed. I also use Flourish 1 capful per week. My plants include Java ferns,Crinums(Balanse and Natums), Crypts, and Red ludwigia and Green Cabomba. Ive tried other plants that didnt do well but im happy with what I have now. I'm guessing this would be considered a low tech tank. I may have too many fish but they seem happy and thriving, they include a green and gold severum (3-4") 5 blood fin tetras, 3 giant danios (3''), 1 geo juripari (11/2''), 1 pleco, 4 siamese algae eaters.
    Im pretty happy with the tank, but recently my Ph has Started to slide, my parameters are ;

    ph 6 however my kits low end is 6 so it could be lower.
    N02 0 PPM
    N03 15 PPM
    NH3 .25

    My tap water is pretty steady at 7.2 ph, but it does have a good bit of iron judging by my local data. I do bi-weekly water changes of roughly 25-30% total. I change the floss and rinse the sponges with tank water monthly. My first concern is the slow slide of my ph, it was steady at about 7 but has fallen to 6 or less in the last 2 months. Ive tried to test GH and KH but cannot get an accurate reading.
    My main question is the ph slide and Am I reading too much in the GH/KH deal because im lost thus far understanding it? Id rather adjust the ph naturally if possible.

    Any suggestion at all are appreciated.

    Greg
     
    #1 GKFISH, Oct 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2010
  2. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Large Water Change Time

    Hi Greg,

    {Disclosure: The Guru types here do not believe pH has any relevance to anything, I respectfully disagree}
    In my opinion I believe the pH drop is significant and somewhat alarming. :eek:

    Immediately I recommend a major water change, as in 50%, 70% is better. ;)

    Organics as in too many fish/too little filtration is the probably cause of the pH slide, eventual crash. :( It will not be pretty. :( Your ammonia levels are in the range that will cause harm to your critters soon, likely already some gill damage already. :eek:

    In the interim, multiple weekly water changes. :gw

    Zeolite, Purigen, activated carbon such like in your filters might help.

    Your local water authority should be able to give you the general hardness, GH and carbonate hardness, KH from the tap, as well as other pertinent information.

    General hardness, GH has no influence on pH in normal aquarium ranges but for an aquarium like yours, a GH of 5-7-dGH.

    Raising your carbonate hardness a couple of degrees won't hurt. :)

    Biollante
     
  3. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    If you aren't adding CO2, then a pH slide downwards warrants attention. In other words, do what Biollante said.

    I'd have to see what the Fluval 305 is like, but at first glance it doesn't LOOK as though you're horribly overstocked at the moment. You didn't really say how old the tank was or how big the pleco and SAEs were. If you've been running for a month or so, it could be something in the substrate still breaking down and causing the pH slide. Any recent maintenance? Maybe a recent water change where you weren't paying attention and stuck the refill hose too near the cannister intake? ( no need to ask me how I know about this one, or the ammonia spike that will cause ).

    -
    S
     
  4. GKFISH

    GKFISH Junior Poster

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    Thanks for the replys, The pleco is about 5 inches and the SAE'S are 1 1/2 to 3 inches. Hagan claims the filter can handle 60 gallons, if I have to upgrade I certainly will. The tank has been up for about 10 months. I did a water change Sat. I will do the major water change today, but I currently use buckets which will be a major task. Ive seen kits to refill directly from the tap, but how do you dechlorinate before refilling the tank and how exact do you have to be with temp. I think I can get pretty close but just asking. When I use bucket I dechlorinate with API Stress coat. Lastly can I post my town water parameters for comment? Thanks again

    Greg
     
  5. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I May Be Psychotic Rather Than Psychic But I See A 125-Gallon Tank In Your Future

    Hi Greg, S,

    One “geo juripari” being 11.5 inches (29 cm) I will go out on a limb and say, it is a Suriname eartheater, Geophagus proximus as opposed to Jurupari Eartheaters or Demon Fish Earth Eater, Satanoperca Jurupari. Anyway both are big heavy eating, somewhat messy fish. :eek:

    I am not sure what Greg meant by Pleco, but should he mean Pterygoplichthys (Liposarcus) multuradiatus or some such then this is a monster (size wise) fish, growing to 48 inches (122 cm).

    The Severums, Heros efasciatus while not bad now are heavy eaters that grow rapidly to a foot (30.5 cm). :eek:

    I would anticipate a lot of organic waste to be dealt with in a rather confined area. :rolleyes:

    I am also rather surprised that any plant or any object in the substrate stays put. :confused::confused:

    Yes, Greg please post the water information. :)

    Biollante
     
    #5 Biollante, Oct 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2010
  6. GKFISH

    GKFISH Junior Poster

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    What a great excuse to tell my wife why Ineed a bigger tank "Honey the poor fish are suffering."

    Biollante, Thank you for the advice but Ineed to ask, when doing a 50 % water change do I add the dechlorinator directly to tank before refilling. I am in the process of the WC right now. Thanks, Greg
     
  7. GKFISH

    GKFISH Junior Poster

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    Just finished a 50% WC. Keeping my fingers crossed!
     
  8. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Buckets Are Not The Way To Go

    Hi Greg,

    Yes I think most folks just add the de-chlorinator straight in then refill or as refilling. :)

    I really think you are going to need to figure on a series of every other or every third day water changes, I really recommend you get or make yourself a “Python” style http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=3910&ref=4032&subref=AA&mkwid=SXCW4YcgE|pcrid|4166653116&cmpid=PPC-_-G-_-4032 water changer. It beats the heck out of buckets and they are simple enough to make yourself or some of the waterbed refill kits and garden hose work well. If you have, a garden the wastewater is great for plants trees veggie gardens so on. :cool:

    Biollante
     
  9. GKFISH

    GKFISH Junior Poster

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    Hello Everyone, my water parameters as of 10/7 are:
    ph 6.2
    NO3 10 PPM
    NO2 0
    NH3 .25 PPM

    I thought they would change a bit more, but what do I know. I can usually pick up new information fairly well but I'm struggling with understanding GH/KH, etc... I was able to copy this from my water districts website in regards to water hardness Generally the water has a medium soft hardness (34 mg/l as CaCO3 or 2 grains of hardness). Biollante I really need to thank you for your advice "I'LL NEVER TOUCH A BUCKET AGAIN" Can I do another WC tonight ?
    Again Thank you for the help, Greg
     
  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    7-15/Hour Turnover

    Hi Greg,

    Yes another water change is just fine, every other or every third day is just great. :)

    I suspect that the Fluvial 305 is too small for this tank, though it is rated at 185 gph (700 l/h), that is likely with 0 head and no filter materials, in a tank with big fellers like you have I think you are going to need at least 3 or 4 times that. 50-70% water changes every other day should take up the slack. :)

    While changing the water look for and clean-up goop/gunk {technical terms} accumulating, wipe down everything you can.

    I am not a big fan of hobbyist test kits, so I am not sure I would be totally reliant on them, still that ammonia reading is scary, particularly combined with the falling pH.

    Pay attention to how the water smells and feels, it should have a very fresh clean lake smell, no unpleasant, no sharp or acrid smells, nothing off, certainly not even a whiff of ammonia.

    Clean your filter and recharge/replace the Purigen, rinse the sponges in tank water, your buckets are not completely redundant, rinse the canister thoroughly. :cool:

    Biollante
     
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