I measure pH with a wide margin for error with a drip test. Sometimes. A pH meter won't work due to the conductivity being too low. Drip tests need a minimum KH to work, the meters a minimum EC. Both are not given in my tank, but I know how far the drip test is off, so I can work with the results.I assume you don't measure pH electronically then? I've just had a look online and I can find cheap TDS meters including an Amtra model, but no pH meters that seem to be up to standard.
Surprised? The water is almost pure H2O. We take everything out with an RO unit and if I didn't put anything in there, the plants would just melt for good. Frogbit is always the first to dissolve.Wow, I'm surprised floating plants wont grow. I intend to grow floating plants because my tanks lights are built in and pretty bright, I had hoped frogbit at least would grow in a low nutrient environment, albeit slowly.
I posted that in another thread yesterday or so, but: 12 Nannostomus eques and 5 juvenile Dicrossus filamentosus. I'll have to reduce the number of cichlids presumably, when the sexes are clear. I have to be really lucky with that to be able to keep them all.I'm curious, do you mind sharing what you're keeping? I'm currently swaying towards 12 or so Nannostomus sp and a pair of Apistos. If I can find them I'd eventually love to keep Biotoecus Opercularis, but I've never seen them for sale. I'd love to try and keep Copella species as dither fish although I'm not sure I have the space (80 x 40 roughly) and rarely see them for sale.
Biotoecus need a lot of open sand area, Copella like dense vegetation. Maybe not the best combination. The tank footprint would be ok though.
I usually make the extract a day in advance of use. 250 Alder cones is enough for 30-40 liters. You would have to aerate that container to prevent fouling. Because whenever you add organic material to water it will start to decompose. The process of bacterial colonization of the material depletes Oxygen quickly.OK, I assume you remove the cones from whatever you make the extract in after a few days? So if I were to use a 25 litre container I'd add a bag of roughly 250 Alder Cones plus some Rooibus teabags, leave them in for a few days then remove them, right?
Rooibos has minimal impact on pH, but it has some. I use the stuff for economical reasons. It's going towards spring and the places where I usually collect the cones myself has been swiped clean by the river flooding the area an additional time this winter to the usual times the place is flooded. Rooibos helps me to ration the alder cones. It works nonetheless.Are the Rooibus teabags useful for lowering the pH or used simply to deepen the colour of the water as described in your primer?
The primer is written with a different audience in mind, that tends to cut corners, not ask questions and being upset if something doesn't work. That's a problem with the place where I uploaded it. So I edited several portions over the past months and I now realize I might have unintentionally dumbed it down to a degree. At least it keeps people from making the kinds of mistakes that kill fish and me out of trouble. Imagine me being careless in my choice of words and people making mistakes and making me responsible. Not what I want to get into.
Absolute stability is a myth. As long as the TDS and EC are constant you are fine. 50% are necessary in tanks without plants and a medium to high stocking density, mostly as you have additional bioload thanks to all the rotting plant material and no consumers ( = plants). Somewhere all the nutrients and waste products dissolved in the water have to go. If plants won't use them, there is only the possibility of removal and that's waterchanges. That principle applies to these tanks the same way as with other tank setups.I have a question though, in the primer you say "If you decide for a plantless blackwater setup, 50% waterchange a week are an absolute must, with no exceptions and barely any wiggle room." Is this simply because the plants are need to use up some of the nutrients being released? 50% seems high when trying to maintain very stable conditions, especially if I plan on keeping sensitive species such as Chocolate Gouramis one day.
I advise for lower stocking densities, but yet again, in my experience this is a advice many people tend not to listen to. You will be surprised how often I say "Maybe 10-15 dithers and a pair of dwarf cichlids" and people end up against advice with an additional 10 Corydoras, a bristlenose pleco and 5 honey gourami. I think a lot of my frustration with users on that platform speaks from that article and it only just becomes apparent.
Sorry for that. But I'm happy it helped nonetheless.