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Re: [AGA Member] Soft water management (shift from newbie with some quesitons)

From: "June Olberding" <jdolb1@attbi.com>
> I just expect that the city will dump stuff in the water. We get
high pH
> with the soft water due to addition of Sodium Hydroxide (reduces
risk of

heh.. You wouldn't lye to me, would you?  No doubt there isn't
enough to be meaningful, but that stuff absorbs both oxygen and co2.
You can't remove it or neutralize it with Amquel or anything else
safe enough to then put in the tank - unless lots of vitamin C
(acetic acid) won't hurt anything.. That stuff does accumulate,
especially in closed systems with its tendancy to combine with many
organic/inorganic substances. It would scare me to use that water
long term.

> I do use tests to spot check, especially the KH and pH so I can
tell how
> much CO2 I am running. I also test for Nitrate and Phosphate, but

I'm no chemist, and I don't even play one on TV, but with the pH
artificially skewed by the caustic soda, I would think that this
would skew your tests.. keeping in mind the soda absorbs oxygen and
co2.. Now, how many ppm removes how much O/CO2..  I have no clue.
Maybe the amount in the water treatment has no measureable effect.
But the accumulation in the tank over a period of time..  who
knows.. I just don't know enough to know if this is a red herring or

> are saying. When I test I generally am looking for imbalance
between Nitrate
> and Phosphate. That imbalance will limit plant growth. Eg. if you
have lots

Interesting approach, June.  I think I do the opposite. I don't add
phosphates since there should be plenty, subscribing to the detritus
food chain approach. My worry is too high phosphate, since this
contributes to algae growth. But if the nitrates are low, then the
algae can't use the phosphates. (At least this is my understanding.)
I try to keep nitrates down to 3 - 6 mg/l. In my experience, limited
as it is, I find that this effectively controls both black and hair
algae in my tank, as well as greatly reducing any accumulation of
other algae on the glass/plants/etc..

Right now I'm experimenting with Borax treatments in an attempt to
find a convenient way to both remove unwanted organisms from new
plants we've bought before introducing them to the tank; and to also
find a treatment for older leaves discolored over time by algae. (
Note that this is an out-of-tank treatment. I am -not- adding any
Borax to the tank water.) And in fact the last experiment appears to
have had some effect. I picked up a couple of plants from a lfs with
black algae on them. The last dose appears to have affected the
algae, and the plant itself appears unharmed and even looking a
little brighter.. But we'll see.

> NICE set up. Are you running any CO2? (forgive me if you already
shared all

Thank you, June.  I'm using one of those rare critters - a Jebo
carbon block system. For all the information I can find on them, it
looks like I'm the only one using one. The only brand I see is Jebo,
which is made in China I think.  I only see it for sale in
Asian-owned lfs. So maybe they're popular in Asia and they just
don't have any English language websites I can go read about them.
All the instructions are in Chinese, so I have no clue. I have to
depend on the owner of my lfs to tell me what to do. But I trust him
explicitly. I have found that his advice is always accurate. He
recommends them so that's good enough for me. Although I did find an
old thread at thekrib, I think, where Tom Barr had a dim view of

> What plants are you growing? and are you adding any nutrients?

I add no nutrients at all, except Equilibrium once or twice a month
to the DI water changes.  Plants are still pretty much an ongoing
process, since we really don't know yet what it is we want to do.
We started out with a few different swords/wendts, but had to remove
them because they got way too large and threatened to take over the
tank sending out runners all over. We have an anubias barteri broad
leaf that has to go soon as it is also way too big now and I don't
want to cut it back and just end up with it a monstrous size again.
We have another barteri variant or anubias sp which is much smaller.

We got rid of the original java moss and replaced that with a
vesicularia dubyana in the 15gal. I'm on a fern kick at the moment
collecting various african ferns I find. We're also partial to a
lace watersprite we got as one of our first plants when we first
started the hobby.   Also just got a cabomba juscata which is
growing well and a favorite. That's in the 50gal. A caroliniana is
in the 15 which I juxtiposed with some mayaca fluviatilis.

Also recent are a couple of lobelia cardinalis and Nesaea sp. (the
african variant with the red leaves) which will form a descending
progression in front of some rotala macranda

Lysimachia nummularia, sunset hygrophilia, a couple different worts,
nymphea, and 3 or 4 stem plants whose name escapes me at the moment.
So you can see we're pretty much a mish-mash at the moment.  As we
learn more about this, we'll sort things out and try to something
more coherent.



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