TMC Sig 600 Twinstar 600s Sump build

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Hi all, You still have soft water.

All the water companies add phosphates (PO4---) and inject sodium hydroxide (NaOH) to raise the pH of tap water. This raises the pH and the combination of insoluble metal phosphates and alkaline pH stops any lead (Pb), zinc (Zn) or copper (Cu) going into solution from old copper pipes, brass fittings, soldered joints etc. At the moment the EU are very strict on heavy metal limits, and they have gone from the WHO 50 ppb limit to 10 ppb and eventually 5 ppb, although I suspect the 5 ppb won't happen in the UK post-brexit.

Because NaOH is a <"strong base"> (it entirely disassociates into Na+ and OH- ions), you don't need to add very much to raise the pH of the water. But it doesn't add any buffering (buffers are weak bases and acids). I wouldn't worry too much, the pH will settle back to a baseline level fairly quickly after water changes. Vegetated soft water <"naturally differs in pH during the day">, due to the changes in ratio of dissolved oxygen and CO2.

In soft water I'm always more interested in conductivity (which you've measured as ppm TDS) than pH. You know that there isn't much NaOH in the water, because the Na+ and OH- ions will raise conductivity, your conductivity is still low, so there wasn't much NaOH added.

cheers Darrel
Very thorough answer Darrel thanks. Kinda get most of that I think haha. Basically you’re saying my water is ok. Is it worth thinking about an RO unit that kinda not OTT but helps with water changes and making the water a bit purer?

So just cycle the Amazonia with the usual tap water? Was mentioned about adding Potassium Bicarb to give it something to bite on before with the issues I had with neons and fish becoming stressed etc. But I’ve now added more wood and Amazonia and not too much rock so if I keep checking ph ideally I want the ph to balance as a set number with the Amazonia if I check it daily - bearing in mind it’s 7.7 when it goes in from the tap.


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dw1305

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Hi all,
Basically you’re saying my water is ok.
Yes.
Is it worth thinking about an RO unit that kinda not OTT but helps with water changes and making the water a bit purer?
I wouldn't, but you would get longer membrane life, and less waste water, than some-one with a harder supply would.
So just cycle the Amazonia with the usual tap water? Was mentioned about adding Potassium Bicarb
You could add a small amount of potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3), it won't do any harm.

The recipe is at <"James' Planted Tank">, and I'd add about "1.8g KHCO3 in 25 litres of water = 2 dKH" (so somewhere near two teaspoonfuls in your tank).
so if I keep checking ph ideally I want the ph to balance as a set number with the Amazonia if I check it daily - bearing in mind it’s 7.7 when it goes in from the tap.
I wouldn't do down that route, I think it will cause a lot of stress and won't really help. I'll put the chemistry bit at the end, and then those who aren't interested, or don't need it, won't have to wade through it.

I would use the TDS meter, instead of a pH meter. Record what the TDS is out of the tap, see what happens in the tank. If the fish and plants look OK record the tank water TDS and then just keep the TDS value in a range of ~35 ppm TDS either side of the datum value.

Chemistry Bit
Unfortunately it is back to <"the chemistry">, but because the NaOH is a strong base, what you get is a very rapid pH change when you "run out" of bases. It is the slope around the equivalence point in the graph below.

tit3.png

If you like the NaOH addition is a black and white world, you have run out of black (more bases) and you go straight to white (more acids), there is no grey.

When your base is a buffer (weak base) you have a grey phase, as HCO3- ions are "used up", more CO3 (from CaCO3, KHCO3, Na2CO3 etc) will come into solution and neutralise the extra H+ ions (H+ + CO3 = HCO3-).

I'm not a chemist (if any-one is interested, I'm a botanist) and I find the easiest way to remember all these chemistry bits is to try and get rid of all the froth and just concentrate on the important bits. When you want to know if a soluble compound is a base, or an acid, I just look at the H+ ions.

If you've gained an H+, it is an acid, if you've lost one it is a base. OH- is a base, because when we add it to water, we've taken an H+ ion to get back to H2O.

The other thing that helps is the position of the elements on the periodic table.

screen_shot_2012-06-09_at_33817_pm1339274349050.png


As a general rule strong bases (Na, K etc) are on the left, and strong acids near the right (Cl, F etc.). In the middle it is weak acids and bases. The properties of Hydrogen (H) are a <"bit different"> from all the other elements.

A salt like "salt" (NaCl) is a neutral salt because it's conjugated acid (Cl), and base (Na), and these are from the opposite sides of the periodic table.

cheers Darrel
 

Parablennius

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I would use the TDS meter, instead of a pH meter. Record what the TDS is out of the tap, see what happens in the tank. If the fish and plants look OK record the tank water TDS and then just keep the TDS value in a range of ~35 ppm TDS either side of the datum value.
This is what I do. Works a treat!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
This is what I do. Works a treat!
I stumbled upon using a conductivity meter because it was the <"only meter where you could dip it in the tank and get an accurate and repeatable reading over the whole range of fresh-water types"> that you were likely to encounter in the aquarium. It wasn't what I'd expected, or what I'd hoped for, but I've begun to understand that conductivity actually tells you quite a lot.

The only real issue is that every-one will have a different datum value, dependent upon how hard their tap supply is.
Yup, I was interested in trying softer water (my tap water reads 1,000 microS) and I found a good rainwater source. I aim for 400 microS but not for any particular reason, just because it's what I have when I mix 60/40 rainwater/tap... The rainwater I harvest reads 100-140 microS. But, as I don't have fancy shrimps or Apistogramma species, I thought 400 microS was 'soft enough' for me and decreases my rainwater needs. Even in my small tanks (all of them make about 85 liters) going from 60/40 to 80/20 makes a big difference in terms of rainwater used that I have to transport, store, etc. so at the end you have to balance all this, it has to be good enough for your critters but also for you. In this hobby, easy means that you will do it often. And you don't want to skip water changes in this hobby...
As mentioned in other threads my medium-high light and C enriched tanks are more easily managed when the conductivity is near this value. For low tech I haven't found any difference. Other hobbyists also agree on this but it seems that nobody can give a good explanation. Jordi
cheers Darrel
 
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Cheers guys I’ll keep it updated in here then! I’ve got a meter so will keep checking and maybe check ph now and then?

Really it just needs to be stable doesn’t it within the tank itself. I only planted it last week and it’s already growing in well.

I added some more Amazonia to it but was already cycled for months and tests are showing 0 Amazonia. Do you think it’s safe for livestock?


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Jayefc1

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Looks really good mate if you only topped it up with amazonia and your filter was already cycled shouldn't take long at all to balance out for the fish depending on how much you put in and how much was in there already cycled I've done a full rescape with the old soil and filter just topped the old off and the fish went straight back in with no issues
Cheers
Jay
 
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Looks really good mate if you only topped it up with amazonia and your filter was already cycled shouldn't take long at all to balance out for the fish depending on how much you put in and how much was in there already cycled I've done a full rescape with the old soil and filter just topped the old off and the fish went straight back in with no issues
Cheers
Jay
Spot on cheers Jay. How’s your tank going?

Yeah 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5ppm nitrates I measured yesterday with no water change for over a week so I think I should be all good!

Cheers


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All three tanks are doing great mate
Yeah your defo ok now especially if you haven't done a WC in over a week your TDS will obvs go up with the ferts your adding through the week
Cheers
Jay
Look awesome nice work!

Do ferts affect TDS badly or just slightly? Wonder if that was making the water a problem before when I was losing the neons.

I didn’t dose much this week as Amazonia has been new so figured it would leech.

I basically want to keep water as soft as I can and keep ph around 6 to ensure fish don’t get stressed again.


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Jayefc1

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My water is hard and run at around 7.2 ph apart from when they drop with the co2 to 6.2 you will see the TDS rise with the ferts through the week mine goes from around 225 from the tap to 350 by the end of the week when I do a big WC i normally do min 70% WC weekly once the tank is settled or if I'm home il do one mid week too but that's cause I actually enjoy the maintenance
Cheers
Jay
 
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Wow ok mate thanks.

Mine is 30-45 from the tap

I’ve just buffed with potass Bicarb and it was 96 when it went in. Will test TDS in and hour and then tomorrow too.

So Knowing my ph is 7.7 from tap due to additives making it an accurate is it worth testing at all ever? I’ve got Capacha leaves in there too which soften and decent wood amount.

Loving how it’s growing in though I must say

Thanks for all the help


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Jayefc1

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Wow your tds is low lol that's almost RO Haha
I never test my ph now I did when setting up my co2 just for the profile to get the drop of one but not since not sure if I should have lol
Tank looks great really nice mate
Cheers
Jay
 
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Wow your tds is low lol that's almost RO Haha
I never test my ph now I did when setting up my co2 just for the profile to get the drop of one but not since not sure if I should have lol
Tank looks great really nice mate
Cheers
Jay
Fair enough mate yeah it’s very low. I think it’s less stable at that level which was maybe why the tetras were upset before. Want to ensure they are comfortable when they go back in.

How’d you find cleaning your white sand in your other tank mate? I’ve got my Ada 90p to set up still and wanted a change from carpets as I’ve got 2 now. Sand appeals but cleaning off a layer of green algae each week seems a PITA


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Jayefc1

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The sand will discolour but I find if you have a good gravel vac that can syphon through it turn it over and keep it clean it's not to much of a issue the tanks been.going about 4 months I've changed the sand twice I think it's more the soil leaking on to it that does my head in the Cory's like to spread it around but with the Turkey baster you can blow it up and catch it with the hose I think it depends on how much patients you have
Cheers
Jay
 
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The sand will discolour but I find if you have a good gravel vac that can syphon through it turn it over and keep it clean it's not to much of a issue the tanks been.going about 4 months I've changed the sand twice I think it's more the soil leaking on to it that does my head in the Cory's like to spread it around but with the Turkey baster you can blow it up and catch it with the hose I think it depends on how much patients you have
Cheers
Jay
Makes sense Jay cheers might consider it or use a river pebble type bed not too sure yet!

TDS id around 150 in the smaller tanks and 190 now in the main one which is interesting.


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