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Old 04-15-2015, 06:45 PM   #1
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Hey it's me again,

Unfortunately we had another molly die again. We added pH increase chemicals the night before because the testing strips are reading low pH. I understand now that it is better to use something like crushed coral or baking soda because the chemicals cause a temporary spike, correct?

I also read that the testing strips may not be accurate and could be reporting false readings, I was wondering if it would be a better option to buy an API Master Kit? We've been getting low readings on the strips (Below the chart on the bottle showed it seems) after letting the strips sit for a few seconds. Do they need to sit out longer for the readings to be accurate?

The nitrates/nitrites are also rising, maybe because the acidic water is killing off the bacteria? We may also be overfeeding them, so I will try a 25% water change a few times this week to try to stabilize it.

Let me know if the above sounds good,

Thanks,
- AwesomeMarioFan
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:53 PM   #2
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Hello!

1. Stay away from pH chemicals... Natural remedies like crushed coral, almond leaves, driftwood, etc work much better at keeping a balance on the pH.

2. Yes, I use the master kit myself. It is much more accurate.

3. If Nitrites are showing up the tank likely hasn't been cycled. Have you read up on cycling the tank/in the process of cycling?

Over feeding is easily preventable especially if you use foods like flakes. Just add a little at a time and when they stop eating you stop feeding :p for pellets and stuff just net out the extra.

Caleb

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Old 04-15-2015, 07:36 PM   #3
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I am a fan of crushed coral. I keep a bag of it in the filter box. As I understand it, it raises the KH which will stabilize the pH. And it does it gradually so is not dangerous to the fish.


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Old 04-15-2015, 08:06 PM   #4
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It's hard and complicated to try to change the PH of your water imo. A wise lfs employee told me in the beginning that they are a waste of money. Also that there are lots of awesome FW fish out there that will and can be happy in most water parameters. I need to also add that maybe you should purchase an API masterkit they are way more accurate.

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Old 04-16-2015, 01:10 AM   #5
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Get a master kit and no more chemicals unless its conditioner for chlorine or medication if required.

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Old 04-16-2015, 01:46 AM   #6
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For all the differences of opinion in this hobby I literally don't know a single person who doesn't agree that the API master test kit is the best overall option. Definitely pick one up.

With hardy fish like Mollies you hardly have to worry about pH, just keep it consistent. Maybe add some crushed coral to buffer the water and keep it that way.
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Old 04-16-2015, 10:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinibotia View Post
For all the differences of opinion in this hobby I literally don't know a single person who doesn't agree that the API master test kit is the best overall option. Definitely pick one up.

With hardy fish like Mollies you hardly have to worry about pH, just keep it consistent. Maybe add some crushed coral to buffer the water and keep it that way.

I completely agree, in terms of bang for buck it's the best. There are other test kits that out preform the API, and you can actually distinguish between color too. But as far as bang for buck it's the API liquid kit


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Old 04-18-2015, 04:13 AM   #8
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Water changes are usually the best way to keep pH stable.

The ph up and ph down chemicals absolutely do more harm than good.

IF your KH is really low, you can add crushed coral and other stuff to add more buffering capacity, which keeps ph from dropping in between water changes.

Crushed coral is My least favorite ... Messy, unpredictable, not controllable. I'm in the minority here. But I read a suggestion in a fish book that, if you have extremely soft water, it's easiest and most stable to use buffered Cichlid salts to raise GH and KH. So that's what I do. It's worked so much better than coral.

Don't freak over small ph swings. Our LFS (one of the largest in the country with a heck of a reputation and half the store full of discus and other cichlids and sensitive fish) told me to use a ph test for hydroponics, which only shows 5, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 9 ... They use it in their store and said tests with smaller increments just get people to try to fix what isn't broken.


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Old 04-18-2015, 04:14 AM   #9
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Also ... It's commonly stated that Mollies are one of the worst fish for beginners, contrary to what the stores advertise. Pretty sensitive.


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Old 04-18-2015, 05:39 AM   #10
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I believe crushed coral to be the best buffering method. Yes it is messy and it may not be easy to add to most filters but the best part is that the natural acidity of the water will dictate how quickly the coral will erode and release carbonates in to the water. This will continue to happen until the ph rises enough that the erosion slows down naturally until a balance is achieved. It's a slow process so less harmful to inhabitants. You also get the benefit of additional calcium for plants, fish and inverts.

Salts usually contain various other elements that help to raise ph but will further increase the TDS more so than coral and more rapidly which the inhabitants may not readily appreciate and in my view is far more important to monitor.

Each to their own I guess




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Old 04-18-2015, 07:07 AM   #11
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Lots of ways to adjust water. If you do get a liquid buffer or use crushed coral, then I would suggest getting a kh test. API do a kh and gh test kit.

Kh I find is a pretty quick and easy test that will give you an idea on how stable your ph is going to be. So for example I have tweaked my kh over summer to lift it from 2 to say 4 to help keep ph stable.
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Old 04-24-2015, 03:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliban07 View Post
I believe crushed coral to be the best buffering method. Yes it is messy and it may not be easy to add to most filters but the best part is that the natural acidity of the water will dictate how quickly the coral will erode and release carbonates in to the water. This will continue to happen until the ph rises enough that the erosion slows down naturally until a balance is achieved. It's a slow process so less harmful to inhabitants. You also get the benefit of additional calcium for plants, fish and inverts.

Salts usually contain various other elements that help to raise ph but will further increase the TDS more so than coral and more rapidly which the inhabitants may not readily appreciate and in my view is far more important to monitor.

Each to their own I guess




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Yes. I like precise and consistent, and coral didn't do enough. People with really low KH and GH tend to have really low TDS and I knew I did, and that I wasn't adding that much. In fact the difference in TDS was smaller with the buffered cichlid salts than the coral. Also the author of the book where I first read the idea (of buffered cichlid salts over coral) was also the first place I read the idea of osmotic stress (in fact the only place it was brought up in the best selling intro to Fishkeeping books). That seemed like a sound endorsement. Our LFS also uses buffered cichlid salts in all community tanks, not coral. They caution you can't start using the abruptly but if you understand them, they're more stable and reliable.

That I've managed to acclimate even highly sensitive fish like Otos from stores that do not buffer their water at all tells me something too.

Coral is less likely to hurt anyone, to be sure. But i keep hearing of and reading posts of tanks where it wasn't adequate.

The salts definitely shouldn't be used without testing, as Delapool points out.


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Old 04-24-2015, 01:31 PM   #13
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Most people on this site use API Master test kit, me included.
I buy almost all of my supplies at Drs Foster and Smith. The test kit is a lot cheaper if you buy it online. Deliver only takes a few days.
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