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Old 11-10-2004, 08:04 PM   #1
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Calcium Carbonate = Blackboard Chalk

i know that blackboard chalk (uncolored) is calcium carbonate. i can i used crushed up CHALK to regulate my pH? i have read past threads and like so many others, mine has crashed considerably (tank has been established over a YEAR with no problem EVER). i have checked my county's water report and it seems that my pH averages 7.5; should this be accurate with the test of me waiting 24 hours to get it checked? the hardness also says the average is 104. i have no idea what this number means, but i've seen that KH is necessary in having a stable pH. i haven't had my tank speficially tested for KH, however. 104 is just what comes out of my tap water, allegedly. anyhow, just wondering what the deal with chalkboard chalk is. thanks

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freshwater, 29 gallons.
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2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:57 PM   #2
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Seashells are made from CaCO4, Chalk is made from tiny seashells from thousands of years ago. I would not use chalk as a buffer since you have no idea what else might be in it.

You say crashed considerably, what was the original value, and what is the value now?
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:38 PM   #3
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well, now thati think i can't be completely sure, considering a test that was flawed gave me my first results. i had my first test from a "5 in 1" strip at my local Petco which said both of my tanks were at 8.5 which seemed insane to me, but i thought "well i haven't done a water change in 6 weeks, let's do it." i came back 2 days later after my water change and the strip still ready 8.5 - HA. when i got it tested at another LFS with the drop tests, one tank (live plants) was at 5.0 and my 30 gallon is at 6.5. usually, though, both tanks are 7.2-7.5 and doing my water changes every 6 weeks has kept it stable for more than a year that way on both tanks. thanks for the response : )
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:47 PM   #4
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Stable is more important than anything else. If you want to raise the pH just a bit try adding some seashells or crushed coral.
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Old 11-10-2004, 10:57 PM   #5
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yeah, i'm not worried for the fish in there now cause they're doing great, but i'm looking to buy some more and don't want to shock the hell out of them when i put them into the tank! i will try some crushed coral. i like the fish at my closest LFS but i take anything they tell me with a grain of salt. "use this pH up"... "no, i dont' want to use chemicals, i don't need it.. besides i have live plants and it says not to use with live plants" "oh you can use it just fine with live plants" "ehhhhh...... thanks" -- haha, oh man.
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
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2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

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Old 11-11-2004, 04:35 AM   #6
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When you water change...how often do you vac the gravel?

Solid waste esp. plant material can break down into organic acids.
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Old 11-11-2004, 08:00 AM   #7
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I wouldn't add anything until you're certain of your KH number. If that 104 is what I'm thinking, the KH would be around 5.5. That's plenty of buffering capacity. It's quite common for the pH of a tank to drop from the normal biological activity in it.

I'd suggest you buy some good test kits first. You're going to be much better off in the long run. You'll be able to make daily comparisons of what's happening in your tank, and that will lead you in the right direction.
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Old 11-11-2004, 06:06 PM   #8
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when i do water changes, i only use a gravel vac, so there isn't as much stuff building up (to my knowledge). this is why i was surprised at the sudden tank of the pH. the guy at my LFS said to not use the gravel vac since i had plants and to just do water changes from water at the surface. when i asked him about the stuff that built up at the bottom, he said that it wouldn't have time to get to the bottom if i did the water... when i asked him about the pre-existing stuff in the gravel, he didn't seem to be phased by it. seems like there would definitely be build up. i never trust what those guys say at first, they give nothign but bad advice for the most part
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
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2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 11-11-2004, 06:07 PM   #9
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yeah, i definitely need to get my own test kits. i wonder if my LFS does KH tests. it must only be in request if they offer it because i've never been told what that is in the year i've had the tanks set up. i'll look more into it so i know if the crushed coral is a good idea. thanks : )
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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Old 11-12-2004, 12:27 AM   #10
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Just don't suck out too much near the roots of the plants. The rest does need to be cleaned.... along with any dying/dead foliage.
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Old 11-12-2004, 06:33 AM   #11
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I'd recommend getting some test kits from Bigalsonline.com, Kaelen. You'll save $$ that way. Those 5-in-1s are very unreliable. Have a friend that uses them, and I don't trust the results at all.

Crushed coral, or limestone (e.g. Texas Holey Rock, that can be found on Ebay), is always the best way to go to buffer KH, as it is a permanent or semi-permanent source of CaCO3. If you can't find this, certainly try baking soda (not baking powder, which has other additives) to increase KH.

If Brian and your test kit are right, and your KH is around 5.5, you shouldn't be having buffering problems, though, and your pH should be fairly constant. Check with the new kit when you get it, and let us know.

--Jon
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Old 11-16-2004, 03:26 PM   #12
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thanks jon! long time no talk
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freshwater, 29 gallons.
2 pictus catfish
2 kuhli loaches
1 gold gourami
2 african frogs

freshwater, 10g
live plants
1 otocinclus

125 gallon empty
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