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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Lido 07-06-2012 Follow Up

Following on from the comments in the previous post i carried out a General Hardness test to see where the water quality was currently at.

I've been doing this for a while now after learning that a high degree of General Hardness in the water can help contribute to some algae problems, namely Black Brush Algae.

When i first purchased the kit i found my water was well off the scale with a huge 16dGH! And after seeking advice it turns out that regular tropical fresh water species and live plants prefer around the 3-6dGH mark. So i had a way to go, and as a bonus hopeful decreasing that value would be a benefactor for curing the BBA problem if it does indeed feed from the high nutrient/low quality (which ever way you want to look at it) from having all the “stuff” dissolved into the water.

The issue was, how would i get the GH value down in the aquarium? If i kept adding tap water it would seemingly continue to get worse. So i did the easy thing and resorted to the old favourite… RO/DI water.

This obviously gives a baseline to work with, with 0 TDS and 0 General and Carbonate hardness. I wasn't looking for Discus quality water, but this is a step in the right direction.

So since the middle of March this year, i have been replacing my water changes with straight RO/DI water of the highest quality and the results are in and impressive. In pretty much dead on 3 months, the water columns dGH value has dropped from a massive 16 down to a more respectable 4!

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I'm happy with that, as its landed within the 3-6dGH range i was after.

So the water quality is substantially softer, plant growth has been great (until a recent drop off, more on that shortly) and both the BBA and the green algae that festoons the glass have both really began to suffer, although that may also be down to other factors.

From now i will be doing a ratio mix of RO/DI and tap water to maintain a balance as i want to remain within that range. Just using the pure stuff may cause it to dip lower and out of those values, so i will experiment for the next few months and find a balance, starting with a 3:1 RO/DI to tap water mix.

As said previous, plant growth has dropped off quite a bit as of late and i have been hoping that its not been down to just using RO/DI and i have inadvertently ended up depriving said plants with any nutrients they may have been gaining from such a source.

That said i did recently return activate carbon to the filter box after not using it for a while due to using a potion for curing the hair algae, which ill be honest, was working, but working very slowly.

Using Seachem Flourish and Flourish Excel recently seem to have really helped too, but i am concerned that the introduction of the carbon may be sapping them back out of the water!

Sadly changing a few things within a short period of time hasn't allowed me to nail down the source. However i will of course monitor the results now the carbon has been removed again, the GH is at the point i want, and will continue to use the Seachem products.

Interesting i did i Nitrate test today too, and was quite taken back at the fact it seems to be registering very little if any at all! I normally have a distinct 10-20 on the scale but i was struggling to call this anything other than zero!

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I actually called this as 2.5ppm as i felt it wasn't as yellow as the 0 or had the orange tint of the 5.0ppm!

This drop has been quite interesting, and I'm wondering if the Flourish Excel has been contributing to its demise. If you didn't know Excel is a liquid carbon source, could you argue its like dosing Vodka to a salt water aquarium?

This low nitrate level may also be  factor of my plants demise… i will have to monitor the situation closely…

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