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Questions regarding soft water areas and 'Walstad Method'.

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Give or take mate. You can easily avoid all these things by hardening the water which is quite simple. On point 3 co2 is a weak acid and not that much of a worry.

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Careful with co2 dosing as it can cause water to 'swing' more acidic

I have comment only on point 3) The rest seems like a fine plan to me.
CO2 has no effect on KH, so in effect it will not change your water chemistry. In other words, pH changes due to injection of CO have no effect on fish. The catch here is that CO2 is the danger itself. It is toxic to fish. The toxicity level depends on the species of fish.
 

X3NiTH

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I use potassium bicarbonate for added KH, I have also been experimenting adding both KH and GH to my water change water using calcium bicarbonate which is a bit more involved to accomplish. To get calcium bicarbonate from calcium carbonate you need to add it to acidic water. My source of calcium carbonate is the scooped out matrix of cuttlefish bone which powders to a flour readily, 1g of calcium carbonate to my 25l water change container should give me a GH of 2.24 and KH of 2.24.

To get the calcium bicarbonate solution I take a Sodastream bottle and fill it with RO/DI water (900ml to the fill line), I then stick the filled bottle in the freezer for it to get it super cold but not frozen, when it's cold enough I use a Sodastream machine to inject CO₂ into the water, two full rounds of gas filling gets it saturated with CO₂, I then quickly add the 1g of cuttlefish bone matrix to the bottle and close the lid (before it fizzes everywhere), I then give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge overnight, by next day about 90% of the powder has completely dissolved into solution. When I need to perform a water change I then add the bicarbonate solution to my 25l water change container (I'm using RO/DI) and it gives me about a GH of 2 and KH of 2. I can also make the water change water in advance and give it time to let the excess added CO₂ to gas off in the water change container without precipitating out the added calcium.

I'm doing it this way because I don't want to add anything that leaches hardness into the tank between water changes.

:)
 
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Hmm, interesting stuff, few options available then. Not sure if I will keep adding the powder I have over the long term. Although it says buffers ph I suspect its mainly like a tonic salt, from what I understand it could be mainly sodium and from what I gather too much sodium in the tank isn't a good thing.
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
As water is extremely soft, very little increase in ions is required for pH increase, I was surprised at that first pH>8 measurement (highest measured during that tank iteration was pH 9) as few fish (corydoras & harlequins) & shrimp in tank went about business as usual
That is it, as you move towards pure H2O pH becomes less and less stable, and changes in the amounts of dissolved oxygen and CO2 cause large swings in pH.

Soft water fish are adapted to this, it happens naturally in soft vegetated water. There is a more complete explanation in <"Biogenic decalcification">.
no quick jump as the coral only dissolves in when ph is acidic so is more gradual.
It's also strange PH as the water company buffer it up to 7.3, quite high in phosphates which is possibly what they buffer it up with? It seems to give the water a false reserve alkinity that quickly gets used up.
Both of these are back to the buffering concept, buffering has a very specific definition and refers to a compound that doesn't fully disassociate into ions. Calcium carbonate is a "buffer", but the NaOH they add to tap water to raise pH isn't, it is a strong base and goes into solution as Na+ and OH- ions.

The phosphate is added to stop lead (Pb), copper (Cu) & zinc (Zn) from pipes etc. going into solution, if the pH did drop below pH7 you would still get insoluble lead phosphates etc formed. There is more in the <"Popping Kettles"> thread.
Slightly understock with fish, keep to softer water species that prefer a slightly acidic pH - SE Asian and South America being good areas to look at?
Yes. Black-water fish need really low carbonate hardness, but fish from clear and white water rivers are fine. I don't know what fish you like, but <"Apistogramma panduro">, is a favourite of mine.
I use potassium bicarbonate for added KH,
This will go into solution, (group one metal carbonates are highly soluble) and provides some potassium as well.
To get the calcium bicarbonate solution I take a Sodastream bottle and fill it with RO/DI water (900ml to the fill line), I then stick the filled bottle in the freezer for it to get it super cold but not frozen, when it's cold enough I use a Sodastream machine to inject CO₂ into the water, two full rounds of gas filling gets it saturated with CO₂, I then quickly add the 1g of cuttlefish bone matrix to the bottle and close the lid (before it fizzes everywhere), I then give it a good shake and stick it in the fridge overnight, by next day about 90% of the powder has completely dissolved into solution.
That will work gases are more soluble at low temperature, and the elevated CO2 levels will dissolve more CaCO3. Cuttle "bone" is particularly spongy to start off with and is the biogenic aragonite form of calcium carbonate, which is more soluble than calcite.
Although it says buffers ph I suspect its mainly like a tonic salt, from what I understand it could be mainly sodium and from what I gather too much sodium in the tank isn't a good thing.
That would be my guess, often the blurb says something about "osmotic balance", but the sodium chloride (NaCl) is really in there as a cheap filler.

cheers Darrel
 
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Was having a look at Potassium Carbonate on ebay, supposedly raises KH without raising PH which would be a benefit for softwater acidic fish like the German Rams I have but strangely it says "will soften hardwater" Go figure!
 
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So Darrel between Potassium Carbonate and Potassium Bicarbonate what are the main differences and advantages?
 

MrHammonds

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I have comment only on point 3) The rest seems like a fine plan to me.
CO2 has no effect on KH, so in effect it will not change your water chemistry. In other words, pH changes due to injection of CO have no effect on fish. The catch here is that CO2 is the danger itself. It is toxic to fish. The toxicity level depends on the species of fish.

Ok, go it. I can continue with the liquid co2 in my other tanks then, I only dose 1ml a day in my quite well planted 46l as it seemed to help (had slow growth initially, now happy.)

I'll be initially dosing my new 180l with liquid carbon until I decide what to do, if the tank starts to stall (plant growth wise) i'll look at upping the co2.
 
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Ok, go it. I can continue with the liquid co2 in my other tanks then, I only dose 1ml a day in my quite well planted 46l as it seemed to help (had slow growth initially, now happy.)

I'll be initially dosing my new 180l with liquid carbon until I decide what to do, if the tank starts to stall (plant growth wise) i'll look at upping the co2.

Liquid carbon has no effect on water parameters regarding PH or KH. Its a chemical plants can convert into a source of carbon with a mild anti algaecide property originally designed for sterilising medical equipment. Could get quite expensive on a 180L, co2 injection is safer (in the right hands) and a more cost effective solution in the long term obviosly once you've bought the regulator. I get 5kg bottles from Solway heaters for £15. Having said that, if you keep lighting down sometimes there is no need for co2. My current setup had no co2 or Liquid carbon and has steady but slow healthy growth because I keep on top of the lighting.
 
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That would be my guess, often the blurb says something about "osmotic balance", but the sodium chloride (NaCl) is really in there as a cheap filler.

Yeah, I think when I bought it that was the intention. I used it in a treatment tank for a fish I had with a fungus problem and to sterilise my nets.
 

MrHammonds

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Hi all,That is it, as you move towards pure H2O pH becomes less and less stable, and changes in the amounts of dissolved oxygen and CO2 cause large swings in pH.

Soft water fish are adapted to this, it happens naturally in soft vegetated water. There is a more complete explanation in <"Biogenic decalcification">. Both of these are back to the buffering concept, buffering has a very specific definition and refers to a compound that doesn't fully disassociate into ions. Calcium carbonate is a "buffer", but the NaOH they add to tap water to raise pH isn't, it is a strong base and goes into solution as Na+ and OH- ions.

The phosphate is added to stop lead (Pb), copper (Cu) & zinc (Zn) from pipes etc. going into solution, if the pH did drop below pH7 you would still get insoluble lead phosphates etc formed. There is more in the <"Popping Kettles"> thread. Yes. Black-water fish need really low carbonate hardness, but fish from clear and white water rivers are fine. I don't know what fish you like, but <"Apistogramma panduro">, is a favourite of mine.This will go into solution, (group one metal carbonates are highly soluble) and provides some potassium as well. That will work gases are more soluble at low temperature, and the elevated CO2 levels will dissolve more CaCO3. Cuttle "bone" is particularly spongy to start off with and is the biogenic aragonite form of calcium carbonate, which is more soluble than calcite. That would be my guess, often the blurb says something about "osmotic balance", but the sodium chloride (NaCl) is really in there as a cheap filler.

cheers Darrel

In regards to the fish, I'm still undecided on what to stock in this 180l. It's going to be well planted, bit of driftwood etc etc... that's all I know so far, I keep changing my mind.

So dwarf cichlids, in general, will suit the water I have with minimal need to alter the chemistry of it? I would prefer to keep fish that I can just do 15/20% maintenance water changes each week and not have to worry about them. It seems to make sense now that the livebearers I've had in the past, I've had mixed success with... the endlers I kept (and still have) in the 46l seem to do fine, but I did have 3 deaths (out of 10) when I first got them. But then again, the swordtails in my 125l community seem to be the most lively and healthy of all my fish in there.

I know it's not the original thread topic but I could do with a hand/ some guidance on what fish would be good for this new 180l now armed with my knowledge on my local water etc. I like the idea of having a South America soft water themed tank (not a biotope since I think it will limit what I can have) or even a SE Asian soft water themed (my fish knowledge is pretty limited since I'm still pretty new to the hobby.)
 

MrHammonds

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Liquid carbon has no effect on water parameters regarding PH or KH. Its a chemical plants can convert into a source of carbon with a mild anti algaecide property originally designed for sterilising medical equipment. Could get quite expensive on a 180L, co2 injection is safer (in the right hands) and a more cost effective solution in the long term obviosly once you've bought the regulator. I get 5kg bottles from Solway heaters for £15. Having said that, if you keep lighting down sometimes there is no need for co2. My current setup had no co2 or Liquid carbon and has steady but slow healthy growth because I keep on top of the lighting.

That 5kg bottle, what size tank is it on and how long 'generally' does it seem to last? I will almost definitely be getting a co2 kit for the 180l just haven't done enough research/ priced it up yet.
 
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The worlds your oyster mate. You can see our water as a blank canvas. I know a couple of Discus breeders round our way who successfully breed with tapwater. A lot of the live bearers are poor stock so I wouldn’t worry too much over losses of them.
 
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That 5kg bottle, what size tank is it on and how long 'generally' does it seem to last? I will almost definitely be getting a co2 kit for the 180l just haven't done enough research/ priced it up yet.

I got through a 5kg bottle about once per year in a 100ltr tank. Liquid co2 is no where near as effective as co2 but good things can still be done with tanks. Only downside is certain plants don't seem to like it.
 
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So dwarf cichlids, in general, will suit the water I have with minimal need to alter the chemistry of it? I would prefer to keep fish that I can just do 15/20% maintenance water changes each week and not have to worry about them.

Co2 injection comes with its own unique set of problems. Without a doubt it accelerates plant growth but it also accelerates all the other processes that go on in the tank. End result is more spade work on your behalf. Tank maintenance needs kept at an optimum, plants, like the fish have waste bi products. Injecting co2 also increases demands for nutrients. You have to be on the ball with co2, flow and nutrient delivery and also be prepared to be doing some large scale water changes. Rule of thumb is generally seen as 50% per week.

If you want low maintenance 15 to 20% per week the slower the growth the less work is required. All of which is governed by the lighting you decide to put over the tank. The higher the lighting the higher the demand for ferts and co2. Coming back to your initial Walsted suggestion, if the lighting is low enough the demand for co2 and ferts can be met by the soil and fish waste. It's a balancing act and done correctly has some great results but requires a good understanding of processes going on in the tank.

High tech tanks on the other hand, like some of the planted tank porn that you see in here you take over those processes. forget if there's enough of this and enough of that. You just make sure there is in abundance and get the plants growing as fast as. It's a fine line to be walking though, pushing plant growth to the max you need to be on the ball as one thing wrong can result in an algae farm.

I've been down that road, bought the T-Shirt and probably will get the hat again some day but my new approach is to see what can be achieved without going down the "high energy" route. There's plenty of room in between, it all depends on your goals. Me, personally, I keep fish long term in a planted tank where the plants are doing the majority of the filtration and all the benefits that come with them. I'm not getting my tank ready for a photo shoot or preparing for a competition. Patience I have plenty of, spare time not so. It's not an either or situation, look at walsted style and high energy as two opposing ends of the spectrum. Start a tank off low tech if it's a long term project and keep lighting down, push the lighting up over time and work out ff a bit extra co2 would benefit and a bit more fertiliser until you find a sweet spot between enjoying the hobby and a full time job would be my suggestion.
 
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dw1305

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Hi all,
So Darrel between Potassium Carbonate and Potassium Bicarbonate what are the main differences and advantages?
The simple answer is that it is a lot easier to store potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), potassium carbonate (K2CO3) takes up atmospheric moisture until it melts, so you need to keep it in an air tight container (or the freezer). A kilo of either is about £7, so they are both cheap compounds to buy.

If you want to add potassium, and raise pH, then potassium carbonate is better, because it has the formula K2CO3, you've added one more potassium (than with potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3)), it is also a base and will raise pH significantly. The actual pH values are <"here: bases follow acids">.

With potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) , because you have one less K+ ion (and potassium is an <"alkali metal">) and one more H+ ion (and acids are H+ ion donors) it is a weak base and will only slightly raise pH, but you've still supplied a carbonate ion, so the dKH is higher (and the addition is the same for either compound, if you use moles as your measure, but not if you use weights, they have different RMMs).

Whether the carbonate ion you've added remains as CO3--, or becomes HCO3- (or CO2), depends upon the pH of the solution. If you don't add CO2 the amount of D/TIC (dissolved/total inorganic carbon) remain the same (it is dependent upon the 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere).

WQassess3bPICT1.gif


Because K+ is a monovalent cation neither compound has raised the dGH (the amount of divalent cations).

cheers Darrel
 
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Hi all, The simple answer is that it is a lot easier to store potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), potassium carbonate (K2CO3) takes up atmospheric moisture until it melts, so you need to keep it in an air tight container (or the freezer). A kilo of either is about £7, so they are both cheap compounds to buy.

If you want to add potassium, and raise pH, then potassium carbonate is better, because it has the formula K2CO3, you've added one more potassium (than with potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3)), it is also a base and will raise pH significantly. The actual pH values are <"here: bases follow acids">.

With potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) , because you have one less K+ ion (and potassium is an <"alkali metal">) and one more H+ ion (and acids are H+ ion donors) it is a weak base and will only slightly raise pH, but you've still supplied a carbonate ion, so the dKH is higher (and the addition is the same for either compound, if you use moles as your measure, but not if you use weights, they have different RMMs).

Whether the carbonate ion you've added remains as CO3--, or becomes HCO3- (or CO2), depends upon the pH of the solution. If you don't add CO2 the amount of D/TIC (dissolved/total inorganic carbon) remain the same (it is dependent upon the 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere).

WQassess3bPICT1.gif


Because K+ is a monovalent cation neither compound has raised the dGH (the amount of divalent cations).

cheers Darrel
Thanks for clearing that up Darrel. Would you suggest Potassium Bicarbonate sounds the better option? For my fish I don't mind the slightly acidic ph. As the water comes out the tap at 7.3 it sounds like I could keep the water slightly acidic with the use of leaves etc but the extra KH preventing any sudden drops.

In the mean time, revert to type. Chucked a piece of Seiryu stone in....it all helps but just looks odd. Will take it back out when I sort which salt to buy.
b8e97cbf7679db1360d9f2413e4bfb28.jpg


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dw1305

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Hi all,
Will take it back out when I sort which salt to buy.
There is a DIY <"re-mineralising mix"> at James' Planted Tank.

I don't need to re-mineralise my rain-water because it already has some carbonate buffering, and our tap supply is pretty clean and ~18 dGH/dKH, but if I did need to I'd just go down the cockle/oyster shell chick grit route, it costs pennies and it gets the job done.

Beach sand could be another option for you? It will have plenty of maerl and shell in it. Anywhere with sand dunes would be ideal, I know it is sandy down towards Sellafield.

cheers Darrel
 
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You obviously have more faith than I do about what's coming out the back of Sellafield :D I don't actually have anywhere to put this stuff though Darrel as I only have sponge filters running so other than sit it on top of existing gravel I guess some powder at water change is my only option.
 
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With potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) , because you have one less K+ ion (and potassium is an <"alkali metal">) and one more H+ ion (and acids are H+ ion donors) it is a weak base and will only slightly raise pH, but you've still supplied a carbonate ion, so the dKH is higher (and the addition is the same for either compound, if you use moles as your measure, but not if you use weights, they have different RMMs).

Just to clear this up @dw1305 which one raises the PH the most? I came across this last night when I was looking to order some which seems to suggest that Potassium bicarbonate raises PH more than Pottasium Carbonate. Not questioning you at all, I think that page maybe wrong but that's the opposite of what I'm reading here. Just checking whether or not I'm reading this right?

upload_2018-2-13_16-0-54.png
 
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