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Old 09-19-2020, 08:11 PM   #1
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RO nightmare! Not sure what to do now.

Hello everyone. I set up my 65g about a month ago. i wanted a South American planted tank with Angels, Gouramis, Rams, Neon tetras. I filled it with tap water and when I tested it, it was at 8.2.

So after adding cycling fish I did 50% water changes every other day with RO water to bring the PH down to around 6.6 to 6.8. My Ph kept going up. I discovered it was due to the rocks I had in the tank. I pulled them out and replaced them with Dragon Stone. Since then I got it down to where I wanted it. All the while I'm cycling the tank. The fish seemed fine and the cycle was advancing.

UNTIL this morning. I checked the Ph and it had crashed to 6.0. It might have been lower, but my test kit only goes to 6.0. I have already been told that I needed to remineralize the water. So I took out 5 gallons and replaced it with my high Ph tap water (that was probably a big mistake). Now the Ph is at about 7.4 and to make matters worse, my ammonia and nitrites (which have never gone above .5ppm) are now spiking, and I have no RO water for an emergency water change.

I am close to throwing in the towel and just doing tap water with a buffer and go with fake plants. But I don't know what to do for tonight. Help!

BTW: the fish seem to be active and happy.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:41 AM   #2
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I don't have planted tanks, but your seeing why the pros say a steady, consistent ph is more important than a "perfect" ph. It's a constant battle with ph and often other things in the water.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:45 AM   #3
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I keep many ca/sa cichlids and just use my tap water. Ph about 7.6 or so. They all do fine. I would avoid things that make your ph go up and down , ie buffers. Having the optimum ph for your fish types would be great, but it sometimes isn't feasible without pulling your hair out
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:47 AM   #4
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Also, after a change allow the water to get mixed throughly before checking parameters.
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:49 AM   #5
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And just fyi, a gourami is from Asia, they like ph up in the middle 7's
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Old 09-20-2020, 10:51 AM   #6
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Maybe try a 50/50 mix in a bucket of tap and ro, let it set a few minutes, then check ph. Maybe you can find a balance in a certain ratio
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Old 09-20-2020, 03:07 PM   #7
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Get a TDS meter and never test pH again .
pH is a misleading number often associated with hardness.
My tap is 7.6 and 350 TDS
I know others with 8.1 pH and a lower TDS then mine .
TDS is the best way to manage your water hardness.
You can mix some RO with your tap to get the perfect TDS.
I breed my rams , discus and angels in 100 TDS which for me is 3/4 RO and 1/4 tap .
I buy no buffers or remineralizers and have not for years now .
https://www.amazon.com/HM-Digital-TD.../dp/B000VTQM70
^this is the meter I have used for years now ^
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Old 09-20-2020, 04:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by charliebankston View Post
I keep many ca/sa cichlids and just use my tap water. Ph about 7.6 or so. They all do fine. I would avoid things that make your ph go up and down , ie buffers. Having the optimum ph for your fish types would be great, but it sometimes isn't feasible without pulling your hair out
I finally bought a Kh/Gh test kit. I tested the water and found 3Kh and 2Gh. My guess is that 5 gallons of tap water produced those numbers.

I just checked my Ph and its at 6.8. I have taken note of all three numbers and will check a few times a day.

I also added a couple of rocks that are not Ph neutral, but they're not like limestone or coral. I'll test tomorrow and see if the rocks have increased my numbers.

FISH ARE DOING FINE. I PRIMED (5x) THE TANK TO DEAL WITH SPIKING NITRITES.

My LFS has virtually refused to sell me any buffers. But they did recommend the rocks to see it they would add a little hardness. They also told me to stop chasing numbers.

Thank you for the info. I have never done a tank like this one. I've always had African Cichlids which are super easy. But this tank is way more challenging.
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Old 09-20-2020, 05:27 PM   #9
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Yw for the info. I have a 100g of Malawi African cichlids too, that's the only tank I monitor these kind of parameters on. But only by adding crushed coral. Even my discus just get plain old treated tap water (gasp!)
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Old 09-20-2020, 08:27 PM   #10
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RO nightmare! Not sure what to do now.

A great lesson Iíve learned in this hobby.

DONíT PANIC!!!

Fish can adapt, and deal. When things get out of wack, just calm down, and think about the steadiest way to bring things back up.

Big water changes, rapid changes in chemistry, temperature, adding chemicals and all that can stress the fish out, and more importantly US out.

We read and research so much about those ideal conditions, that when we fall out of those parameters we jump right to ďEMERGENCY my fish are going to DIEĒ

Theyíre not, they might if theyíre left in poor conditions, but donít give up, donít panic, thereís a way to get the right balance, and maintain that system for everyone. But in a way, stability is more important than those ideal conditions.
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Old 09-22-2020, 03:50 PM   #11
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A great lesson I’ve learned in this hobby.

DON’T PANIC!!!

Fish can adapt, and deal. When things get out of wack, just calm down, and think about the steadiest way to bring things back up.

Big water changes, rapid changes in chemistry, temperature, adding chemicals and all that can stress the fish out, and more importantly US out.

We read and research so much about those ideal conditions, that when we fall out of those parameters we jump right to “EMERGENCY my fish are going to DIE”

They’re not, they might if they’re left in poor conditions, but don’t give up, don’t panic, there’s a way to get the right balance, and maintain that system for everyone. But in a way, stability is more important than those ideal conditions.
Thank you, I won't panic

I have been spending a lot of time with my LFS and they have said the same. Here are things right now:

I did another 5 gallon tap water change this morning. That brought my hardness up to 4kh and 2gh. My ph is sitting at about 7.2. My ammonia and nitrites have gone down. I have added a long air stone to add a little O2 to the system (will help with the nitirtes).

I added two rocks a couple days ago in hopes that they might slow down the Ph going south, but its going to take a little while before I see any effect from those. I have driftwood and Dragon rock, so there is nothing to push the Ph up. After I did the original 5 gallon tap water change I mentioned in my original post, my test kit registered 3Kh and 2 Gh. The last 3 days I lost a 1kh per day. When I registered 1 drop to yellow on my test kit, I did another 5 gallon tap water change (this morning). I think I'll do that from now until the tank is fully cycled.
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