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  1. sparkyweasel

    Cloudy Water Hazy Water and Algae!

    Those are Platies; Blue Mickey Mouse Platies to be precise. :) I would try increasing the size and/or frequency of your water changes while your tank matues some more. hth
  2. sparkyweasel

    Methylene blue purity issue ?

    I've had methylene blue in powder form and it was bright blue, not even a tinge of any other colour.
  3. sparkyweasel

    Water Hardness Correction

    Not a silly question at all; but I have a question for you; Is the hard water causing a problem? Are you trying to grow a certain plant or keep/breed a certain fish and having trouble because of the GH? Or have you read, or been told that hard water is 'bad'?
  4. sparkyweasel

    Maq's experiment 23b

    When I started fishkeeping a 'normal' tank was planted and not (artificially) filtered. 'Planted tank' was not a separate category. Filters were for cichlid tanks or others where plants would get destroyed.
  5. sparkyweasel

    Nitrate Myth?

    I wondered why the USA had a much lower limit than many other countries. It appears to be because of measuring it differently and the actual limit is about the same if measured in the same way. "The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for nitrate in public drinking water supplies in the United...
  6. sparkyweasel

    KCL won't dissolve

    You should always add the powder to the water.
  7. sparkyweasel

    are oxygen test kits useful?

    Great news; thanks for letting us know. :)
  8. sparkyweasel

    water hardness woes

    According to books I do a lot of things wrong - but I have a cunning plan; I don't let my fish read my books. :)
  9. sparkyweasel

    water hardness woes

    I wouldn't mess with it. :)
  10. sparkyweasel

    Permanently lowering KH, questions for chemistry wizard

    Or buy it already diluted, which would be a bit safer.
  11. sparkyweasel

    Bleach Stains?

    You could test each of the suspect substances on an undamaged area of one of the ruined garments.
  12. sparkyweasel

    KCL won't dissolve

    Did you get it from a reputable source? KCl should dissolve readily, my first thought would be to suspect that it's not KCl.
  13. sparkyweasel

    are oxygen test kits useful?

    There is a risk of cross-contamination, but probably quite small. Some people would treat pre-emptively, some (like me) prefer to wait and see, it's personal preference. If you have enough medication left, may as well use it. If you would need to buy more, might as well wait and see. :) Most...
  14. sparkyweasel

    are oxygen test kits useful?

    If the others are breathing normally, I would suspect gill flukes (or perhaps a gill infection) making it harder for the affected fish to obtain oxygen. Low oxygen in the water is likely to affect all the fish of a species equally. I would try treating for flukes. hth
  15. sparkyweasel

    are oxygen test kits useful?

    What symptoms are they showing?
  16. sparkyweasel

    High ammonia on established tank

    And some information about it, and anything that's changed recently. Maintenance and water changes? Tapwater conditioner? What test kits are you using? Are the other fish looking and behaving normally?
  17. sparkyweasel

    150 ppm co2?

    The plant fragments were observed at different pH and CO2 levels, for only 30 minutes at each combination. I do not think we can assume that we would see similar results in an aquarium situation. We know that; Plants can adapt to various conditions, within limits. Plants take time (often more...
  18. sparkyweasel

    Testing kit recommendations

    It can be worse, because when I used to test I followed the instructions on the kit. I have seen shop staff who ignore things like "shake well and wait 30 seconds before adding reagent 'B' " Just chucking it in seems OK to some of them. And I'm sure there's a reason you're supposed to measure...
  19. sparkyweasel

    Ph down buffer.

    You would have to remove the resins from it to make it fit to use. I don't know if that is possible. Most people just avoid it and use other woods that only need a bit of a soak to prepare them.
  20. sparkyweasel

    Ph down buffer.

    They usually have a lot of resin in them, I don't know if you could remove it all before use. Same with other true cones, like fir etc. I think people generally just avoid resinous material rather than try to treat it.
  21. sparkyweasel

    Ph down buffer.

    You won't have much luck with Elder cones, Elder doesn't have cones. You need Alder cones. :) Technically Alder doesn't have cones either, they are actually dead, dried up catkins. They look like cones, so the name stuck. Quite different to actual cones from coniferous trees like pines and firs.
  22. sparkyweasel

    Ph down buffer.

    You know what 'driftwood' means. :) A lot of people call any old wood driftwood if they are using it for decor. Or selling it. :)
  23. sparkyweasel

    Expected RO reduction in PH

    And this time next year you'll be millionaires. :)
  24. sparkyweasel

    Nitrites don’t drop to 0 in 24 hours

    And your Betta will like some floating plants for shade and cover too.
  25. sparkyweasel

    R.O Water on big tanks

    I've never known a shop say that you don't need to buy the stuff they sell to fix problems that may not exist. :)
  26. sparkyweasel

    R.O Water on big tanks

    Is that an Asian Arowana? I don't know about those; a friend raised some Osteoglossum bicirrhosum in our hard tapwater from babies to three feet long. I've had Clown Loach grow from an inch to over a foot in tapwater. Another friend had various Datnioides spp, he used tapwater, but some species...
  27. sparkyweasel

    R.O Water on big tanks

    Hi @Glen Adams I suggest you don't believe all you've been told about nitrate and hardness. A lot of 'information' out there is just wrong. If you fancy using the search box you can find a lot if good info on here, much of it is backed up by links to modern scientific research. And it comes from...
  28. sparkyweasel

    Low KH, high TDS ?

    17GH alone will give you 304ppm. If you measured 240ppm your meter could be inaccurate.
  29. sparkyweasel


    I wouldn't add salt to the main tank as a treatment either. A short salt bath can be effective against some external parasites, but a therapeutic dose is stressful to most freshwater fish, and harmful in the longer term. Modern treatments are generally better, and allow you to dose the whole...
  30. sparkyweasel

    Raising KH with limestone

    I haven't seen any German Rams for years. But I see plenty of poor-quality far-eastern Rams labelled as German.
  31. sparkyweasel


    £6.59 :)
  32. sparkyweasel

    Nitrate Tests?

    I wouldn't wory about anything else. :) That sounds good.
  33. sparkyweasel

    Aquatic plants are plants with C4 or C3 photosynthesis?

    Apart from Egeria densa the only other true aquatic C4 plant currently known is Hydrilla verticillata. Ref; C4 However some aquarium plants are not considered aquatic by botanists, such as some Eleocharis and Cyperus species which are C4. At least one species, Eleocharis vivipara uses C3 in its...
  34. sparkyweasel

    measuring GH and water board problems

    Have you checked the calibration of the meter?
  35. sparkyweasel

    Phosphate in tapwater

    If they were really good with fish, they would know that the best home for most pet fish is a planted tank. :)
  36. sparkyweasel

    Water parameters during cycling

    Welcome! :) I would suggest having a look at this thread; Cycling. and the other ones it links to. That should give you a better idea about 'cycling' your tank in the light of modern knowledge. I think we need more details about your tank to see why the pH is rising. First I would stop adding...
  37. sparkyweasel

    Does Alkaline Water Favour Cyanobacteria (aka BGA)?

    :) Neither am I; in some tanks I use catappa leaves and alder cones in moderation, but not enough to noticably tint the water. I have tried tea-dark water but I didn't grow to like it.
  38. sparkyweasel

    Does Alkaline Water Favour Cyanobacteria (aka BGA)?

    Hi @jaypeecee :) I came across this paper when I was looking for something else, and thought you might be interested if you haven't come across it already. It suggests that humic substances inhibit cyanobacteria more than they inhibit green algae or macrophytes. As humic substances are usually...
  39. sparkyweasel

    NT labs ammonia test kit- tank cycled yet?

    Prime interferes with many ammonia tests, giving a false positive. If your fish are healthy I wouldn't worry, just dose your water-change water with Prime.
  40. sparkyweasel

    High nitrate

    I seem to remember that they used to simply claim that it reduces nitrate. But they are currently claiming that it reduces dissolved organics, which can lead to increased nitrate. That might be more accurate, or a better explanation, and could explain why people who bought it to 'reduce...
  41. sparkyweasel

    High nitrate

    From the journal thread that @John q kindly linked to; "Thank you - I increased the light to 80% over a month from 50%. I might reduce back a bit then." What is the light at now?
  42. sparkyweasel

    High nitrate

    After reading those posts you know that nitrates don't cause algae. It's possible that you have too much light, or your CO2 distribution isn't right. Could you post more details of your tank? eg; Tank info guidelines
  43. sparkyweasel

    RO unit worth it?

    Not only an assumption, but there's also a huge amount of marketing aimed at selling us ever more expensive and complicated filters.
  44. sparkyweasel

    Can someone help me understand what's causing my GH to increase?

    Yes that sounds like a swim bladder infection. Possibly a neurological condition, but that seems unlikely across many fish of different species. Swim bladder infections are difficult to treat, but an 'internal bacteria medication' could help. Lots of people are keeping all the fish species you...
  45. sparkyweasel

    Can someone help me understand what's causing my GH to increase?

    What kind of fish? And what happened to them? What were the symptoms when they were sick?
  46. sparkyweasel

    RO Water Nano Tank Mix Quantities

    "Perfect is the enemy of good." Voltaire. WikiP Remember your goals. For me; Healthy plants and livestock. A tank that is pleasing (to me) to look at. A tank that doesn't demand more time or money than I can justify spending on it. Hardness, pH etc are not goals in themselves. And most...
  47. sparkyweasel

    Potassium test?

    That's the conclusion they reached in the paper, with it being the only fatality, especially with "no obvious proximate cause of death".
  48. sparkyweasel

    Potassium test?

    It is surprising, especially when there is so much interest in the effects of fertiliser run-off into waterways.
  49. sparkyweasel

    Potassium test?

    This may be of interest; KCl Salmonids Extract; "Minimal mortality (one fish) occurred across all KCl exposures. . . . The single mortality was a Chinook salmon tested at 200 mg/L KCl at low baseline water conductivity. The mortality occurred at the end of the trial, and was noted at the...
  50. sparkyweasel

    Potassium test?

    @dw1305 , would it be easier to to test the untreated tapwater for hardness and calculate the potassium from there?
  51. sparkyweasel

    TDS always increasing

    Yes, it must be your rocks, whatever the seller says.
  52. sparkyweasel

    TDS always increasing

    Should that say 'REmineralised'?
  53. sparkyweasel

    Dechlorinator with RO water

    If the RO system is designed, built, operated and maintained properly, it should de-chlorinate the incoming water. Chlorine damages the RO membrane. If your shop RO water has TDS of 8, it may not be from a well-maintained system.
  54. sparkyweasel

    Cycling with ammonia,seachem prime

    We've got quite a few threads on 'cycling' this one's a good starting point; Cycling especially post 15 and the links from it.
  55. sparkyweasel

    Anyone used the JBL SiO2 test?

    Hi @jaypeecee , I know you won't give up in your quest. :) On the subject of iron in the substrate, that was very 'fashionable' for want of a better word some years ago. Before the trend for fancy substrate, a layer of iron-rich material, such as laterite clay was popular, under inert sand or...
  56. sparkyweasel

    RO Water, Remineralizers and pH

    Seachem Equilibrium? I don't think that affects pH.
  57. sparkyweasel

    Anyone used the JBL SiO2 test?

    That's something interesting to think about. But won't the nutrients in the substrate dissolve into the water? Although the 'wanted plants' might get the lion's share due to having their roots right in the substrate, I think there will always be some leaching into the water column, and we know...
  58. sparkyweasel

    Anyone used the JBL SiO2 test?

    (from op) so a 'high' silicate test reading certainly doesn't mean diatoms are inevitable.
  59. sparkyweasel

    Anyone used the JBL SiO2 test?

    You could dilute your tapwater with RO water and see how the kit reacts to the lower level. You could also get a tapwater report to see what level you should expect.
  60. sparkyweasel

    TDS / GH / KH query

    Welcome! :) I would suspect the TDS pen too, especially as it reads your RO water at 22ppm.
  61. sparkyweasel

    GH and KH question.

    That sounds like a good reason to leave things as they are. :)
  62. sparkyweasel

    Household water softener water usability

    High sodium is generally considered a bad thing. Could you use the unsoftened tapwater from your outdoor tap mixed with RO? eg; 50/50 to give you 10DGH which will be fine for most fish and plants.
  63. sparkyweasel

    Using Peat To Lower Water pH

    Unfortunately we only have the tables and no information about the experiment. It's possible that he measured the pH of freshly-drawn tapwater which then warmed to room temp in the course of the experiment, causing offgassing of CO2. We also aren't told how many leaves in how much water resulted...
  64. sparkyweasel

    Using Peat To Lower Water pH

    A weaker acid sounds more suitable, especially an organic acid such as might occur in the natural habitat of your plants and livestock, - humic acid springs to mind. Peat is a contentious issue in horticulture, some producers claim that their product is sustainable and ethical, eg; Evergreen Peat
  65. sparkyweasel

    Perplexed about extreme TDS readings

    And, Welcome! to @MichaelJ :)
  66. sparkyweasel

    Perplexed about extreme TDS readings

    Neither do I, but I wonder if acid and alkaline buffers would interfere with its reaction. I will try to find out. I used to know exactly who to ask, but he is no longer with us. :(
  67. sparkyweasel

    Perplexed about extreme TDS readings

    That would be my prime suspect too. Apparently it contains lots of things, but we don't know what they all are, how quickly it releases them, or what factors affect the rate of release.
  68. sparkyweasel

    Perplexed about extreme TDS readings

    If that includes the 17 elements necessary for plants (maybe 14 as C, H and O are available from the water and its dissolved air) I wonder what the other 13+ (or 16+) are for? :)
  69. sparkyweasel

    Test results

    There's a lot of info there, and a lot of it isn't very relevant, but hidden in it are a few useful bits. If you can post the report we can tell you if there's anything worrying in it.
  70. sparkyweasel

    Water changes bad for beneficial bacteria

    Quite right. But we may have heterotrophic nitrifying bacteria. Once again it's annoying that we don't have much idea of what species we have or are likely to have. Heterotrophic nitrifying bacteria can be found in marine and waste water environments, I haven't (yet) been able to find...
  71. sparkyweasel

    Water changes bad for beneficial bacteria

    I don't know why they call it a 'pack checker' but it seems to be ADA's version of an ammonia test. 5 tests for 11.90 Euros at; ADA I wonder if it's any better than, eg API's kit, 130 tests for £8.18 at; API
  72. sparkyweasel

    Water changes bad for beneficial bacteria

    Without fish waste there shouldn't be any ammonia. If using substrate that leaches ammonia, follow the maker's recommendations for timing. If adding ammonia to 'cycle', stop. :)
  73. sparkyweasel

    Test kit for dummies

    "Test kit for dummies?" Yes, they are. :)
  74. sparkyweasel

    Water changes bad for beneficial bacteria

    So, if you reduce the amount of ammonia (by water changes) the population of BB will reduce. But with less ammonia you need fewer BB to deal with the ammonia. No problem. If the ammonia creeps up again the BB will enjoy a population explosion. Some bacteria can double their numbers in 20 minues...
  75. sparkyweasel

    Tetra 6 in 1 test strips

    And I've got aquariums filled with pond water. I wonder how long it takes to transform into aquarium water. :)
  76. sparkyweasel

    Does Magnesium add a secondary chemical?

    You could go a long way. :)
  77. sparkyweasel

    Bleddy Nitrate test kits!

    Well, it looks like your API nitrate kit is dodgy, maybe you can't trust the API nitrite kit either.
  78. sparkyweasel

    Bleddy Nitrate test kits!

    That sounds more likely to be somewhere near accurate. Why are you testing? Is there a problem you are investigating?
  79. sparkyweasel

    Bleddy Nitrate test kits!

    Have you tried the Tetra kit yet?
  80. sparkyweasel

    TDS getting lower

    That's an active substrate, appears to remove hardness and possibly other things. There's some discussion about it here; Aquasoil Merry Christmas. :)
  81. sparkyweasel

    TDS getting lower

    What substrate are you using?
  82. sparkyweasel

    TDS Rise from topping off.

    I think that when @AverageWhiteBloke tops up it returns the volume to 50l, and would return the TDS to 127 if the top-up water was 0TDS, so it will actually be; 127 + the TDS in the top-up water, which is 12 (TDS) x 4 (litres added) / 50 (total litres), ie 0.96, call it 1 and we get the same...
  83. sparkyweasel

    Success with tap water

    You've read that right, - it's the people that insist on writing it that are wrong. :) Often the source is some-one trying to sell you some magic potion they claim removes nitrate. Nitrate is an essential plant food, we don't want to remove it.
  84. sparkyweasel

    Cycle help - Nitrite

    That was an even worse idea than adding ammonia. :) I shouldn't criticise it, not having tried it, but I don't like the idea. I have tried ammonia, and the old 'pea and prawn' idea. Neither seems to offer anything useful in a planted tank.
  85. sparkyweasel

    Cycle help - Nitrite

    I suspect that's because it was 'borrowed' from marine aquarists. Especially as the one above is marked 'after Spotte'.
  86. sparkyweasel

    Cycle help - Nitrite

    It's also not traditional. :) For three hundred years or so aquarists didn't do that. They set up the the equipment, and when they were happy it was all working and not leaking they planted. When the plants were settled in and growing nicely they started adding livestock. It worked. It still...
  87. sparkyweasel

    Can old tropica soil exposed to hard water raise the KH of soft water?

    I love inert substrates: nothing to go wrong.
  88. sparkyweasel

    Dr Timothy Hovanec's comments about Bacterial supplements

    Shhh, we're not supposed to say that. The thousands of people that had great success were doing it wrong, just ask those kids you mentioned. :)
  89. sparkyweasel

    Dr Timothy Hovanec's comments about Bacterial supplements

    Yes, it is. It was always the way before we were told we had to 'cycle' a tank.
  90. sparkyweasel

    Dr Timothy Hovanec's comments about Bacterial supplements

    It's usually explained in a way that sells products. :(
  91. sparkyweasel

    Thoughts on my water parameters

    It seems that Tropica Soil Powder can/does release ammonia. See these posts; Soil Soil Soil
  92. sparkyweasel

    Strange pH Reading

    If you have a bit of soil left over, you could put some in a jar with some rainwater and see if it raises the pH. That should tell you if it's the soil or something else.
  93. sparkyweasel

    Water parameters problem

    IF those reading are right you need to reduce the nitrite, check if it returns, and if so, find out why. If there was any nitrite when PAH tested your water, I'm sure they would have flagged it up, and sold you some magic cure. :) Water changes will help. opinions are divided on filter boost...
  94. sparkyweasel

    Water parameters problem

    I just had time to be shocked at the 180 degrees GH before I thought of that. :)
  95. sparkyweasel

    Do Healthy Plants Release Organics?

    For what it's worth: I'm finding it interesting to follow your thoughts and research on this. I just don't have much to contribute, more like trying to keeep up. :)
  96. sparkyweasel

    Test reading not what i expected ?

    Also. if you write it out in full (at least the first time in each post) it helps any-one who isn't familiar with the abbreviations.
  97. sparkyweasel

    Study on adaptability of wild caught fish

    Nor the conditions likely to be encountered in shipping the fish (which is what they were investigating) or in aquariums.
  98. sparkyweasel

    Study on adaptability of wild caught fish

    How very diplomatic. It's not quite the word that sprang to my mind. :)
  99. sparkyweasel

    Nitrogen gas in aquarium?

    Every-one should read that, especially the comments on marketing departments and science fiction. :)