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Aquarium Advice Regular
Jan 11, 2004
Castle Rock CO

My name is Barry and I live in Castle Rock CO. I've finally convinced my wife that we have room for an aquarium in our home. I've been an "Aquariumist" (is that a word?) for a grand total of 2 weeks now.

I'm currently going thru the joys of learning how to cycle a tank. I have a 6 gallon Eclipse System that I'm using as my "training" tank. It will eventually become my QT as I hope to start a 75 gallon FW tank in another month or so.

So far things are going well for my 6 Neon Tetras. I've become a bit of a fanatic about testing my water and doing almost daily water changes while the tank is cycling. From what I've read about Neons in this forum, I've got a challenge with having them come thru this process unscathed.

Things I've got working for me: our water is very soft (GH <17ppm), and our KH level is 120-140ppm. (From what I've read, that's all good.)

Challenges: PH is about 8.6 out of the tap. It seems to drop to about 7.6 after sitting for awhile, and I've been using some PH Down to lower it more before putting it into the tank. It seems quite stable after that.

This is an awesome site I've learned so much from just reading the forum.

Wish me luck with my fish!
Hi Barry - welcome.

I'm also pretty new to the site - agreed - it's a great place to converse about this great Obsession..... oops! I mean Hobby (Gee I keep doing that).

I think the word is Aquarist. :)

I guess you are pretty familiar with the relations of PH to gKH and dKh. What surprises me about your stats is that your water is so soft and yet your PH is so high. I guess this means that you are likely to see a precipitous drop in PH (become more acidic) as soon as the Nitrates (form of Nitric Acid) build up. This is because with such soft water there is very little buffering. Not sure but may happen. Your Carbonate/bi-carbonate is only mildly soft so perhaps that may help to buffer. None the less I would watch very closely and would be more apt to add an acid buffer instead of PH down (which is usually just a weakened form of Sulphuric or other Acid). I.e., PH down will not adjust your buffering but will bring the acid down quickly so when more acid is added via organisms it may drop even further.

Just a suggestion/chatting. The pro's around here may be able to shed some more light on the topic.

None the less, if you're interested Seachem makes an excellent acid buffer specifically for freshwater.

Yep - As I recall Soft water should be really good for the Tetras. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall that they come from the upper parts of the Amazon which is soft slightly acidic water.

Well - none the less good luck and remember - the more gallons you have the clearer the world becomes :), The more pints you have the worldlier the clarity becomes.


Welcome to the site!

It is tricky to cycle with neons, but if you watch things very carefully they might make it through. Also, it is harder to keep things stable in a small tank like a 6-gal, so you should find the going much easier when you get your 75 (I am jealous!)

No reason those neons should have a bit of trouble with a pH of 7.6, but I am one of those who try to avoid manipulating my tap water, just because it can get frustrating to maintain stability. I am sure there are lots of folks on the board who do this regularly and can advise you. Increasing your buffering capacity can be done with crushed coral in the filter, but that will be hard to do in the 6-gal!

Good luck, and I am sure you will get lots of great advice here. The only dumb question is the one you did not ask! :wink:

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