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Old 12-04-2016, 11:15 PM   #11
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I only use strips for hardness. I use an API test kit for
Everything else. I feel very confident about having an ammonia reading from well ahead of softener, well water out of tap and sample from tank. All show light green. If I test bottled water it shows bright yellow.
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Old 12-04-2016, 11:47 PM   #12
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I only use strips for hardness. I use an API test kit for
Everything else. I feel very confident about having an ammonia reading from well ahead of softener, well water out of tap and sample from tank. All show light green. If I test bottled water it shows bright yellow.
Hmm, then I go back to my original possibility that your bacteria bed is out of sync but not bad enough to effect the fish. Check out this article and see if anything pops out at you. Nitrifying Bacteria Facts
You might have a dissolved oxygen issue and that can effect the front end of your biological filter as I described. Maybe? See if your LFS can also test for dissolved O2.
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:50 AM   #13
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Hmm, then I go back to my original possibility that your bacteria bed is out of sync but not bad enough to effect the fish. Check out this article and see if anything pops out at you. Nitrifying Bacteria Facts
You might have a dissolved oxygen issue and that can effect the front end of your biological filter as I described. Maybe? See if your LFS can also test for dissolved O2.

Thanks Andy. That was a good article. Hopefully I can slip away from work for a little while today and visit the lfs.
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Old 12-05-2016, 06:06 PM   #14
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Well....my trip to the lfs has confused me more. He tested and while not as pronounced....saw similar ammonia positive. He didn't have a definite answer but believes something in my well is messing with the test. When he checked hardness his test showed it off the chart hard. My strip shows very soft which makes sense to me since all water that has been put in the tank has been through my softener. I'm trying to locate a liquid hardness tester for myself. Hopefully won't have to order. I know there Is gh and kh. Which should I be worrying about? Or both?

The other thing that he saw and didn't like was my ph of 7.8. He thinks I need to get that down and suggested I start mixing ro water with my well water.
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Old 12-05-2016, 08:12 PM   #15
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GH is considered general hardness (as it sounds, basically how 'hard' your water is) and KH is carbonate Hardness (which is a measure of how resistant your water is to pH swings). If you're only getting one, I'd probably get the GH and keep a close eye on your pH for awhile.

As for adjusting your pH, I wouldn't worry about it; especially since your fish have been fine for 2 years! My tank runs about 8.3 on average, and my cories and RCS couldn't care less.
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Old 12-06-2016, 09:05 PM   #16
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API makes a GH / KH combo test kit ( 2 separate testers in one box) and it's cheap enough that I wouldn't look for them individually. I'm with Scrape on not adjusting your PH continuously. That can have more effect on the fish than it being as high as it is. Most FL shops don't really adjust their water and in S. FL, where I was, the PH is very high because the water is extremely hard down there and only if we were getting wild S.A. fish would we alter the water.

What it sounds like is that your well is not as clean as you think it is. Why, is not clear but considering the area you live near, I would suspect it is coming from North of you and filtering down the aquafer. Just to be curious, think about having some of your soil tested for PH as well. I'm almost thinking that you are getting massive runoff from the farms or even the Cape effecting you. Acidic soil would leave a real good hint that I am correct.

Something else you can do with your well water prior to going through the softener is to get a zeolite filter ( Culligan used to rent them) and that should remove the ammonia from the water then it goes through the softener and then to the tank. That way, you should be getting clean soft water to use for your tanks ( and even yourself. Don't think you really want to be drinking ammonia. )
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:40 AM   #17
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Good idea about the filter. I paid a visit to another lfs and besides getting the test kit got some more info that I feel is real. Based on that information...I've pretty well decided to quit messing with live bearers until such time as I set up another tank with better water that I have to buy. He showed me some alternative fish with great color that should get along well with both my water and other fish. I have 4 platies left and will do all I can to keep them alive but think I may be fighting a loosing battle. I got back late so haven't tested with api gh/kh kit. Plan to do that today.
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Old 12-07-2016, 05:42 PM   #18
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I just tested gh and kh. It came out in line with what I expected. Gh is very low....below 17.9 ppm. Kh is 143.2 ppm. When I checked the well water ahead of the softener....it went off the scale towards hard. That helps explain why tetras do well since I'm told they are ok with softer water. Even for them I could make the water harder if I could come up with a way to do that. One other time I started down this path and tried mixing some drinking water. It instantly went way hard and it scared me. I haven't messed with it since.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:05 PM   #19
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SeaChem makes a product called Equilibrium which is designed to bring R/O water to reasonable GH/KH levels; could be worth a couple bucks to see how it plays with your softened water.
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Old 12-11-2016, 08:15 AM   #20
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Thanks. I'll check that out
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