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Old 12-13-2017, 03:01 AM   #1
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New and need some help

Hi thanks for looking. I have a 29 gallon tank I started about a month ago. Started with driftwood and some dragon rock. eco complete plant substrate and a bunch of live plants Iím not sure what they are, random from a lfs. My problem is my ph keeps buffering up high. Like 8.5 high. Iíll do a 25% water change and and hour later it tests at 7.4 or so. Iím on a well but my water is great and comes out of the tap at 7.0 But a few days later Iím back to 8.5ish. Iíve added a few fish , serpae tetras. 3 died 2 are alive. I have 3 Coryís now and one oto. Iím afraid to really add anything because of the ph swings. Someone suggested maybe I got cichlid substrate by mistake, I donít have the bag, but my receipt said plant.
I have a master test kit, never really have noticed a spike in ammonia. And my nitrates and nitrites have always been 0. Iím just at a loss and looking for any help or anything to try.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:38 AM   #2
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Hmmm. Looks like I’m the first to ask if you adequately cycled the tank before adding your fish? Someone will supply a link with instructions if you don’t know how or why. In the meantime, I am hoping this is the preferred link.
Tips and Tricks For Your Fastest Fishless Cycle! - Aquarium Advice
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:25 AM   #3
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I think so. From what I read I did the right things. My lfs told me with the plants in there I might not have seen the spike in ammonia.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:01 AM   #4
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I think so. From what I read I did the right things. My lfs told me with the plants in there I might not have seen the spike in ammonia.
Likely the tank isn't fully cycled, plus massive pH swings and you have yourself a recipe for dead fish . We've all done it, so don't sweat it.

What decor do you have in the tank? Something is buffering that pH way up and it really should be removed. Rocks/substrate are the most likely. Do you have a pic at all?

Your LFS was partly right with plants using ammonium N during cycling, but you would need massive amounts of plant mass and proper conditions for their growth to eliminate all ammonia/ammonium readings.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:44 AM   #5
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I have a driftwood tree and some dragon stone. I'm trying to figure out if I did actually get cichlid substrate on accident.
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Old 12-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #6
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I have a driftwood tree and some dragon stone. I'm trying to figure out if I did actually get cichlid substrate on accident.
It would have to be cichlid substrate causing the pH spike. Try your best to find out what sand you've bought.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:21 AM   #7
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I bought ecocomplete plant substrate. it has been suggested that the company put the wrong stuff in the bag. I have calls into the company to see if theres a way to tell if there was a mistake. I did a gravel vac last night thinking that might help. My plants aren't going to make it anyways with this ph problem.

Its just frustrating because I have no idea what the issue is, if the cycle is related, if it actually did cycle. literally my tap water is soft and 7.0 and I'm afraid these water changes are going to kill the fish with such a big swing.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:22 AM   #8
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Or do I just start a cichlid tank? hehe
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:32 AM   #9
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Or do I just start a cichlid tank? hehe
That does not really look like eco-complete to me. Does arag-alive ring a bell? also a carbisea product but NOT for freshwater plants.
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Old 12-13-2017, 11:58 AM   #10
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I just got off the phone with a rep. He is replacing the substrate. Told me they have had issues with the black eco-complete being processed with the African cichlid substrate in the same facility. Something about when the lines were switching over with cross contamination. He advised me the the new stuff should be fine because they are processed in separate facilities now, but if I wanted to be 100% sure, to switch to the brown and red. I'm not opposed to that so we shall see what happens. Its just nice to know that I'm not crazy and maybe there was an issue with the substrate. Ill probably save the substrate for a cichlid tank!
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