Water: Balance vs Color

Q&A about aquarium maintenance

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Water: Balance vs Color

Post by ionflux101 »

I have been the below average fish hobbist for the last 10 years with a 55 gallon tank. Had a variety of fish. Recently decided to focus on South American Dwarfs. Setting up a 125 gallon tank. My local water is GH 150, KH 300, and Ph 8.0. Been on the internet alot studying. Trying to do this naturally, passing the water through peat moss to soften and acidify. Girlfriend doesn't like the resulting color. Is there a way to reduce this tannic color? Thinking of getting an RO system. Wondering if a quick pass of RO water through the peat might lower the Ph an additional .5 (shooting for 6.5 Ph). But this still leaves the water without any minerals from the RO process, unless it comes from the peat. Looking seriously at driftwood. From what I gather the wood doesn't add any minerals either. Any ideas? Is it possible to use a different light to bring out the colors in these fish if the water has to remain dark. Would your favorite Florasun light work? I'm experimenting on this tank trying to get things right because I am planning on installing a 250-300 gallon tank in the wall of my house next year.

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Post by Pam Chin »

Hi ionflux,

Well the deal is that everyones water is different, so it is a trial and error process. You will just have to experiment with your options to find out what is going to work best. You are on the right track, peat moss is a natural way to lower your pH. However, using an RO system is going to probably give you the same result only your water will be clear. Also consider some of the water conditioners out there that you can add your tank that will lower your pH. Some will color your water and others won't. I do think that drift wood helps, and it certainly looks good.

Because your ph is 8.0 you have quite a ways to go before you reach your desired pH of 6.5. Manipulating your pH can have adverse effects on your fish, lowering it too much too fast can put your fish into stock, and so each time you change your water you have the same issues. This is where you have an advantage with a RO system, because as long as the membrane is intact your pH is not going to being going up and down. Where as using peat moss, you don't have as much control.

It can be complicated and it can be a lot of work but it can be done. Because of this, many people just work with fish that are more apt to do better in their water straight from the tap. So I guess the bottom line is just how hard you want to accomplish this and how much money you want to spend to do it.

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