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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all.

I’d like to rehouse my betta into my slightly larger tank and provide him with live plants. I’ve had issues with maintaining stable water chemistry (pH, kH and gH) in my current tank and I’d like some advice on providing the ideal environment for both plants and betta.

I have two water sources available, Filtered Rain Water and Tap Water;

Filtered Rain Water:
pH: 6.8
kH: 0ppm
gH: 0ppm

Tap Water:
pH: 8
kH: 180ppm
gH: 30ppm

I’m a little sceptical about using the Tap Water; I don’t know if there is any possible contaminants in it that a dechlorinater that detoxifies heavy metals can’t remove. This source isn’t entirely considered drinkable where I live.

I’ve been using the Rain Water in my tank, remineralising it and adding kH booster. I’ve struggled to keep anything stable though and I can’t get a discernible amount in the water without drastically spiking the pH. So far I’ve just been adding a little pinch to my daily water change which seems to help keep the pH at about 6.8-7.2, otherwise it freely shifts towards acid. I’ve had the tank running for a few months now and I can’t even get algae to grow. I don’t think there is enough CO2 or kH for it to survive.

That pH of 8 in the Tap Water seems as solid as a rock, but not appropriate for a betta. I’ve aged the water as well as had it in a fishless tank for about two months, and regardless it always reads a straight 8.

I’ve been looking into pH buffers and stabilisers, but many of them suggest they aren’t suitable for plants.

Ideally I’m trying to find a way to keep my pH at 6.8-7 and stable, while also having a good amount of kH for plants. I’m not sure if having a low pH and a higher kH is possible though, given how closely the two tend to be linked.

I need some advice and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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I've used the API PH 7.0 brand for years with betta, regular fish, and plants. I add it as needed when I do my water changes. Most plants will do well in the PH ranges from 6.0 to 7.8 Some will do well at 8.0. I add C02 API supplement daily to my water for my plants and even the ones that don't need it do very well. I also use SeaChem flourish once a week as a Fert. I don't use the flourish excel because of the added iron. my water is hard enough. Even with a tap reading of 8.0 The API PH 7.0 will bring the PH balance to 7.0. However with your readings with the rain water of 6.8 - 7.2 There really is no reason to raise the level. With betta a PH reading of this type will not hurt them. As for not even being able to grow algae, my question would be on your lighting. If your tank came as a kit and the hood is LED white light You would have a low light situation and would do well with plants like Anubis, Tropical water fern, Java fern, most bunch plants. If you want a better verity of plants increase your lighting to something like Finnex Stingray or the Finnex planted plus. The site to buy this lighting from is [url]www.aquavivrant.com. Some of the best lighting at a really good price.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Was kind of hoping to avoid CO2 if I could, but probably better to use it to keep a stable environment. I've never kept live aquarium plants before, and my tank is only 9 litres (2.3 Gallons), so I'm not sure how to dose the CO2 without hurting anything. At least a Betta has the benefit of their labyrinth organ if the water becomes depraved of oxygen. Will have aeration though.

Lighting is most likely the problem with my current tank. My tank isn't a kit, but the light I found for it is pretty meek (better than leaving the fish without one). Though the tank does also sit near a window, maybe it doesn't get enough light from indirect sources either. I did try to add a brighter light, but it freaked him out. I think he might have felt too exposed with the fairly limited decor in the tank, which is one reason I'd like to put together a more natural environment for him. He likes his silk plant, but I think he'd love real ones better.

I bought a brighter light for the tank I'm setting up (though I didn't have plants in mind at the time), it's just some cheap thing from China off of eBay, but the algae has been loving it. The Ambullia bunch I acquired unplanned (someone gave it to me, which I then chucked into the tank because I didn't know what to do with it) seems to like it too, as well as the high kH in my tap water.

I'll look into the API buffer some more, and maybe the SeaChem Neutral Regulator as options for stabilizing my pH. From what I've found on Betta, 6.8-7 is close to their preferred range. Stability is my main concern with the rain water.

At the current time, the plants I'm looking to use in the tank are the Ambullia and Anubias Nana. Both of which are fairly easy and undemanding plants that will do well in lower light conditions, from my understanding.

I'll do more research into what I need to do for those plants specifically.
 
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