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beanbag

Water has no buffering

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beanbag

Hello folks,

I have a new 6 gal bee shrimp tank that took about 3 months to finish cycling.   I added shrimp just a few days ago.  The water I add in is SS GH+ with a tiny fraction of GH/KH+ (explained later) for a total tds of 100, GH 5, KH <1.

I also have UNS controsoil.

The baseline pH is right around 6.2 or so, and goes up and down maybe only 0.2 during lights on vs lights off.

Here's the problem:  When I add even a half dose of my all-in-one fertilizer (NiloCG ThriveS) (0.5mL per 5 gal water) it causes the pH to plummet by about half or more points.  I figured out during the cycling that if the pH drops below 6.2 or so, the nitrifying bacteria shut down.  This is why I have added the touch of SS GH/KH, for the tiny bit of carbonate that bumps the pH up by a little.

My older tank uses SS GH only, and for some reason, the pH is a bit higher - like mid-upper 6's.

I know there are many people with Taiwan bee tanks with pH in the 5's, and their bacteria must be working somehow.

Anyway, just wondering what I should do about my pH issue.  Will the pH and buffering capability both rise with time as the tank becomes more established?  Is it a good idea to have even a little bit of carbonates?  I also have potassium bicarbonate so I can increase kH without also increasing GH.

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sdlTBfanUK

I am probably the last person that should advise on this! My PH is in the 5's still, but do you need the ferts, I have never used any and am weekly throwing out weed or giving it away, though I doubt I have anything exotic anyway?

I am well impressed you waited so long to get your shrimps, I probably should have waited longer though I think it is ok now!

Your PH is within the IDEAL parameters so as long as the shrimp are doing well I wouldn't worry and try and keep it as simple as possible as keep messing about with things is the best way to kill the poor shrimp - and that's from my many previous disasters. Most people I am sure just use the product that is produced for their type of shrimp, in your case GH+ and leave it at that and do great, if it needed anything else I imagine the manufacturers would tell you to add it or include it in the product.

The PH in my previous setup did rise over time but I expect that was due to the rock in the tank, which I am not using any more!

Simon 

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beanbag

Yeah, the reason the cycle took so long was that I wasn't watching the pH, and every time I added the ferts (to help plants grow) it would drop the pH and then stall the cycle.  So I got a pH probe and now I know.

Next time, what I would do is raise the bacteria in high pH (where they grow faster), and then slowly lower the pH to have them acclimate.  I looked thru some research papers, and people still aren't sure how these bacteria are able to work at low pH, except to say "perhaps they have developed an ammonium transport mechanism", which in layman's terms means "maybe they got used to it".

Ever since I added shrimp, I stopped trying to add fertilizers.  But the plants stopped growing, and now they are covered with a thin layer of (hair?) algae.

I haven't fed the shrimp food yet as they are still eating the biofilm in the tank.  But now poop is building up, and I sort of need to check for ammonia every few days or so.  I'm kind of worried since the pH is right at the lower level where the nitrifying bacteria are about to shut down, so that's why I was asking if I could give a little kH nudge to keep the bacteria going.

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sdlTBfanUK

Mine has been through the hair algae 'faze' and I did nothing to clear it so just give it time I expect it is just something to do with the tank settling down to balance everything? As long as the plants aren't dying off I would stop the ferts and see if you can do without them. Won't the shrimp poop be a fert anyway, as we use those sort of products for plans in the garden etc?

My PH is between 5 and 6 but that is all I know as the test goes up at whole intervals (it hasn't got above that so far). I had read, as you say, bacteria don't survive if the PH level is too low! So, I don't know whether there are even any bacteria in my tank, but the Ammonia nitrite and nitrate levels are all 0 and the shrimp that are in there seem healthy enough?

I like the saying 'if it isn't broke don't fix it', if your shrimps are fine isn't that all that matters in the end, and the plants will probably pickk up when everything is settled?

I would try and very slowly increase the TDS though as 100 is a bit on the low side! If the shrimps are fine then just mix water change to a higher TDS and drip that in the tank then and creep it up that way!

Simon

Edit - I may have misunderstood but if the soil is doing the buffering maybe it isn't so necessary to have much KH?

Edited by sdlTBfanUK

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beanbag

A lot of shrimp breeders in Asia like low TDS < 100 and GH 3-4.  At least the people I bought my shrimp from claim those parameters...

Also, the soil doesn't really seem to buffer the pH very strongly, as far as I can tell.

Edited by beanbag
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