Concerned about water parameters

ollyUK

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ok folks so noticed one of my kuhlis seemed a little energetic last night, and as these fellas are sensitive I performed a test.

I was surprised to say the least!

PH 6
Am 0?
Ni 0
Na ~5

It has been running about 6 months fully planted now. stock is about 80% of potential at the moment. I put a question mark over ammonia because I actually wonder if there may be small amounts. I have some beard alage growing on plants nearest the light and yes I am having slight CO2 flow problems but that is another issue with my reactor slowing flow I think. Last water change was Sunday,

I also suspect PH is likely less than 6.

So about to do a water change, should I consider buffering the water a tiny amount with Bicarb? It comes out of our tap at 6.8, and I remember testing the Kh about 10 years ago which came out about 1-2.

Any advice appreciated.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
@ollyUK Where do you live? and can we have a full tank shot? That should give us a bit more idea about your tap water and your tank.
should I consider buffering the water a tiny amount with Bicarb?
You can, but with potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), rather than sodium bi-carb. Plants and sodium don't tend to get on.

cheers Darrel
 

ollyUK

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After the last water change. I have since cut the plants back to allow for water movement but that is another topic I guess.

I will have to do another test if you want to see the API results...
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
After the last water change. I have since cut the plants back to allow for water movement
Plant growth looks pretty good. I don't think you should have any problems with hardness or water quality.
I will have to do another test if you want to see the API results...
You can just get the results from your water supplier, they will be a lot more accurate then you will get with a test kit.

cheers Darrel
 

ollyUK

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Hi dw, something has definitely happened with plant growth. The leaves on the large plant became distorted and the other stems (green hygro I think) have started with beard algae. I have since cut the stems right down to allow for more flow.

I am also going to re-evaluate my E.I. but I am pretty certain everything should be ok with that.

Anyway, just more worried about the very low PH but if I should not be too bothered then I'll keep an eye on the energetic Kuhli. Maybe it is just a little unsettled for some other reason...
 

ollyUK

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ok folks still trying to get on top of things here. I just wondered if you could check my video out for flow etc.. and give me any suggestions... I know many here do not advocate testing but I want to include all the info I can while available. Just concerned as I am getting staghorn and there has been a small loss of fish...

A quick reminder of the above - 180ltr tank, EX1200 filter Maxmix CO2 reactor, in-line sunsun heater @25C, 6 Khulis, 7 BPT's 15 Cardinals 3 Hatchets. dosing 75ml NPK Tues, Thurs, Sun (after water change) and 50ml trace Mon Wed Fri. Saturday rest day. This is an Aquarium Plant Food UK EI kit.

Test results:

PH 6 or below, ordered an active PH meter to determine the exact value, if nothing else, for curiosity!

Ammonia is showing 0.5ppm despite a 50% water change yesterday, at the current PH levels I am not too concerned but a couple of my Khulis do occasionally show signs of stress by swimming erratically. I have also lost two hatchets in the last month (newly added), with 3 left and one of my BPT's looks poorly, constantly hiding. None of the Cardinals show signs of stress.

0 nitrite and 0 nitrate so my filter is no longer working clearly due to low PH. Again I can be happy about this if only I can get the plants to take up the Ammonia!

BPS I have reduced to about 3 (from about 5) as I suspect my reactor was not able to process and taking well over an hour to clear after turning off.

The reactor is large and seems to process all CO2 without any visible bubbles in the water column. CO2 checker shows apple green but never goes blue as discussed above unless I remove from the tank. I tried increasing water surface agitation and this did nothing either and only increased algae.

I have also removed a lot of plants to try to increase circulation. I am surprised to see Vallis getting staghorn in the highest flow area.

Incidentally, my frogbit is doing much better since keeping out of flow now. Of course, stems below frogbit are showing reduced algae.

I am just unsure what else I can do within my budget. I think the reactor takes a lot of flow from the pump. I am considering an inline diffuser instead which of course will increase flow. I do not want too much flow on the surface as I don't want to upset my hatchets. It would be nice to increase their numbers back up again too.

Perhaps the spray bar should be replaced and flow changed. Again, I do not want to upset my surface-dwelling fish/plants.

Not sure what else may be relevant right now.

Staghorn is also starting on bits of my moss and I want to stop this now before it gets worse!

Hopefully, the video gives an idea of flow, but you can also see some of the algae, this I missed during the water change yesterday!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kNqUDJgsCvEkBam97

As a last note, I am tempted to buffer the water slowly until I see PH rise above 6, but would rather not.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
@ollyUK did you ever get the water parameters from your water supplier? They are going to be fairly accurate and give us a bit more to go on.
0 nitrite and 0 nitrate so my filter is no longer working clearly due to low PH.
I wouldn't worry too much. It is actually fairly unlikely to be the filter, and you have <"good plant growth">, so it is much more likely to be your test kit.

There are now known to be many ammonia oxidising micro-organisms that will grow in acidic conditions. Have a look at <"Will filter bacteria .....">.
Ammonia is showing 0.5ppm despite a 50% water change yesterday
If you use <"Prime, or similar, as a water conditioner?"> it is likely to be a false positive reading, rather than an actual ammonia level.
but a couple of my Khulis do occasionally show signs of stress by swimming erratically. I have also lost two hatchets in the last month (newly added), with 3 left and one of my BPT's looks poorly, constantly hiding. None of the Cardinals show signs of stress.
I'm not a CO2 user, but I wonder whether your BPT may be showing signs of high CO2 levels in the video. I'm not entirely sure about this, so others (who are CO2 users) may be able to pass more informed comment.

cheers Darrel
 

ollyUK

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Analysis Typical value UK/EU limit Units
Hardness Level Soft
Hardness Clarke 3.22 Clarke
Aluminium <9.25 200 µg Al/l
Calcium 13.9 mg Ca/l
Residual chlorine - Total 0.95 mg/l
Residual chlorine - Free 0.89 mg/l
Coliform bacteria 0 0 number/100ml
Colour <0.719 20 mg/l Pt/Co scale
Conductivity 130 2500 uS/cm at 20oC
Copper 0.0063 2 mg Cu/l
E.coli 0 0 number/100ml
Iron <16.1 200 µg Fe/l
Lead <1.96 10 µg Pb/l
Magnesium 2.61 mg Mg/l
Manganese <1.01 50 µg Mn/l
Nitrate 2.16 50 mg NO3/l
Sodium 9.31 200 mg Na/l
 

ollyUK

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I do use freshstart with a water change, but this has never shown in ammonia tests. Always found the test kit to work ok if followed to the letter. Yes the BPT is gasping a little. I reduced CO2 partly in case this is the reason.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Hardness Level Soft
Hardness Clarke 3.22 Clarke...
Conductivity 130
Calcium 13.9 mg Ca/l
Magnesium 2.61 mg Mg/l
Nitrate 2.16 Mg/l
Yes, nice soft water, which actually makes things a lot easier.

You can add a little bit of potassium carbonate (K2CO3)/potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), details are at <"James' Planted Tank">. The other possibility is a small amount of one of the more soluble forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Have a look at <"Oyster shell chick grit">.

cheers Darrel
 

jaypeecee

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I know many here do not advocate testing but I want to include all the info I can while available.

I am in favour of testing water parameters.

A quick reminder of the above - 180ltr tank, EX1200 filter Maxmix CO2 reactor, in-line sunsun heater @25C, 6 Khulis, 7 BPT's 15 Cardinals 3 Hatchets. dosing 75ml NPK Tues, Thurs, Sun (after water change) and 50ml trace Mon Wed Fri. Saturday rest day. This is an Aquarium Plant Food UK EI kit.

Test results:

PH 6 or below, ordered an active PH meter to determine the exact value, if nothing else, for curiosity!

What do you mean by an 'active' pH meter? What have you ordered? A narrow-range liquid reagent pH test kit may have been a better choice.

Ammonia is showing 0.5ppm despite a 50% water change yesterday, at the current PH levels I am not too concerned but a couple of my Khulis do occasionally show signs of stress by swimming erratically. I have also lost two hatchets in the last month (newly added), with 3 left and one of my BPT's looks poorly, constantly hiding. None of the Cardinals show signs of stress.

If it really is 0.5ppm, this would be fatal to most fish.

Hopefully, the video gives an idea of flow, but you can also see some of the algae, this I missed during the water change yesterday!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kNqUDJgsCvEkBam97

As a last note, I am tempted to buffer the water slowly until I see PH rise above 6, but would rather not.

Hi @ollyUK

My comments in blue above.

JPC
 

ollyUK

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WEll my PH meter came today. Quick test without calibrating shows 5.3! Soo I suspect this could be killing my Hatchets off. Incidentally, lost another one last night so down to two now. So gonna try the buffering shown in James' planted tank but will take it real slow, mostly concerned for sudden realisation of ammonia spikes alongside increased PH but hopefully, the plants will take the ammonia up.
 

Conort2

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WEll my PH meter came today. Quick test without calibrating shows 5.3! Soo I suspect this could be killing my Hatchets off. Incidentally, lost another one last night so down to two now. So gonna try the buffering shown in James' planted tank but will take it real slow, mostly concerned for sudden realisation of ammonia spikes alongside increased PH but hopefully, the plants will take the ammonia up.
I think marbled hatchets are a black water species so probably enjoy the low ph if anything. Marbles hatches are always wild caught and often known to come in with parasites and have a high mortality rate for the few weeks until they are settled. Just keep up with the water changes and don’t mess about with your parameters too much. If the cardinals are fine I would imagine that your water is too.

cheers

conor
 

ollyUK

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Cardinals are the one fish I haven't seen any problems with! Hmm, that's a shame as the Hatchets are very healthy looking but just become listless and dying. I have had them for a few weeks now and have never lost fish after such a long period in the past :-/
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I think marbled hatchets are a black water species so probably enjoy the low ph if anything. Marbles hatches are always wild caught and often known to come in with parasites and have a high mortality rate
I've <"had them a couple of times">, they are definitely a black-water fish.

They've always done all right for me, but they aren't an easy fish keep and <"I've never managed to breed them">.

I've always fed them quite a lot of live food, including <"vestigial winged Drosophila melanogaster">. I wouldn't keep them without fruit-flies. This is the <"culturing method"> I used.

cheers Darrel
 

jaypeecee

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WEll my PH meter came today. Quick test without calibrating shows 5.3!

Hi @ollyUK

As mentioned above, which manufacturer and model of pH meter did you purchase? It would be wise to check the calibration before making any changes to the tank water. Was it supplied with pH buffers?

JPC
 

ollyUK

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Hi @ollyUK

As mentioned above, which manufacturer and model of pH meter did you purchase? It would be wise to check the calibration before making any changes to the tank water. Was it supplied with pH buffers?

JPC
It is a cheapo, and yes I have got buffers but until I head over to my nearest dry salters I have no access to cheap Distilled water to make the buffers with.

Out the tap it does show about 7 though which is as the waterboard reports.

Interestingly the water I removed from the aquarium has taken nearly 24hours to head back up and is only just showing about 6.4. Will do more tests once properly calibrated.

Thing is I kept all the same fish at my previous address in the same tank, same water source without problems, PH always between greater than 6 (I have a log somewhere must dig it out!). the only difference being the internal Jewell pump vs this external pump which is more powerful.

I also kept two dwarf Gouramis, 6 peppered corries, and cherry shrimp that used to breed out of control!

Anyway, despite staghorn still appearing but not too quickly atm, I will let things settle for another week to see what happens.
 

ollyUK

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Will do. I can't help feel buffering the water is going to help a little, especially with the Vallis.. Gonna have to start cutting the Lilaeopsis back as staghorn is taking hold on the runners. It started off well but since aiming a 1/3 of the water at the surface I think I must be losing too much CO2. Interestingly, my moss is pearling towards the end of the day. Not a huge amount but definitely noticeable.

I have given the tank and filter a real good clean with 50% WC. Determined to crack this!
 

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