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Discussion Starter #1
My 16L planted tank has been running for 3 weeks now, it's occupants are 3 baby bladder snails. I've slowly been adding more plants while waiting for my test kit to arrive. It arrived today and I immediately tested the tank water and the water from the laundry tap (which is more convenient). I also threw in an indian almond leaf after because I wanted to see how dark the water will get. I ended up testing the pH of the tank, the laundry and the kitchen. Anyway, my test results are as follows:

TANK WATER
pH: 6.4
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrites (NO2): 0ppm
Nitrates (NO3): 40-80ppm (I find it hard to distinguish between the two colours)

TAP WATER (LAUNDRY)
pH: 7.4

TAP WATER (KITCHEN)
pH: 6.8

Now I am worried about the difference between the tank water and laundry water, which I have been using to fill and do water changes the last couple of weeks.
-Will there be an issue of continuing with 20% water changes from the laundry tap?
-Is such a low pH going to be an issue keeping a betta? Though I had 3 other bettas in this house about 4 years ago and it didn't seem to be an issue.
-Should I try to increase the ph in any way?
-Should I give up on using the IAL due to its pH lowering properties?

Any help is appreciated!
 

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You can do more harm than good messing with the pH. I wouldn't worry about it.

I'd be more concerned about Nitrates that high in a tank that's only been set up three weeks.. Preferably they should be kept under 20 but around 10 is good. Are you vacuuming when you do water changes? How many are you doing per week and what percentage? Did you do a fish-less cycle?
 

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I don't think the IAL is the one causing the pH to drop. Are you using CO2? What type of substrate? Do you have rock decor? Can we have a full tank shot?

The pH isn't a problem, I would leave it as is if everything's going well. My betta are kept in a pH of 8.8+; trust me. They are very good about adjusting to parameters. Some people claim that they are the most hardy fish, even above Goldies.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So do I continue using the water from the laundry which is a point higher than the tank pH? I can use the kitchen water which is closer to the tanks pH.

I've been doing water changes once a week, aiming for 25-30% change. I haven't siphoned yet as my old one split, just removing water with a jug. I did buy a new siphon today. There are no fish in there just a few small bladder snails that came with some plants.
I thought the nitrates where a bit high but couldn't remember what was ideal. What is the effect of too much nitrates?

The almond leaf was put in after I took some water to do the testing.
No CO2. The substrate I am not 100% sure about. It was one my LFS produces themselves. It looks similar to fluval stratum in the grain size.
No rocks just a piece of mopani wood. Images attached below.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
After a quick google I'm pretty sure the high nitrates are caused by left over food. I dropped an algae wafer in for the snails and planned to check back in an hour. When I came back it had disintegrated into a powder and a very fat happy snail under it. This is when I found my siphon was broken and in the process, it pretty much just spread the powder all through the tank. I'll do a large water change with the new siphon in the morning.
 

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The aquarium soil is the cause of the low PH in the tank. pH will go up and match the source water pH when the soil gets older. The ideal nitrate level is 20 ppm or lower.

You don't need to feed algae wafer to the snails. There are a driftwood and plants in the tank. They have a lot to eat already. If you keep feeding them, they will reproduce way too fast and you will regret...
 

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Didn't see the part about the snails... Yeah, I would get rid of them. I started out with 5 adults and now I have 2 5.5Gs overrun, a 3G overrun, and a 15G and a 10G that have 10 or so adults. Not worth it...
 

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Where in Australia are you? I only ask because some parts of Australia have very soft water, and I am wondering what the KH/carbonate hardness value of your tap water is. My tap water comes out of the tap at a pH of around 6.8-7.0, but as the KH value is extremely low, after 24 hours it will drop down to 6.0, and in my tanks it can go as low as 5.5.

Because of this, I have to be careful about doing large water changes as the rise and then sudden drop in pH can stress out my fish.
 

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I also find that letting the water sit from the tap helps in finding its actual reading, since it often contains high amounts of CO2 which lowers the ph. Once it has time to equalibriate, it often shows a true reading...

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Ok so no more feeding snails.

I am in north-west melbourne. I don't have any way to measure KH at the moment.

I am skeptical of the result I got from the laundry being so different from the other taps, I'll leave some water out for a while and test again. I feel you may be right about the CO2.
 
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