Change substrate due to Ph?

EH81821

So I have a 5.5 and a 10 gal tank with ultimate nature systems controsoil. What I have failed to understand before getting my tanks going is this soil lowers PH and KH. So now I am struggling to keep my Ph steady and I believe with it lowering Kh it has left me with 0 and it’s killing my fish/shrimp. 10g I had guppies and 5.5 cherry shrimp. What do you all use/recommend. I have plants in both. Along with rocks.

Currently I am using my tap water
Ph 7.6
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

and these will give you a idea of the past 3 days in both tanks.

shrimp 5.5

5th
6.0ph 2amm 0nitrite 0 nitrate 20% change added 1/4 cup crushed coral for KH boost

6th
6.6ph 2Amm 0nitrite 0 nitrate 20% change. Added 1/4 cup of crushed coral and 1-4 cap of fritz 700

7th
6.4ph 2amm .25nitrite 0nitrate 20% change

Guppies 10G

5th
7.2ph .5 amm 2 nitrite 5 nitrates

6th
6.4ph 1 Amm 2nitrite 5nitrates 20% water added crushed coral 1/2 cup along with fritz 700 1/2 cap

7th
6.6ph .25Amm .25nitrite 0nitrate

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Would I be better switching to sand? Fluorite black sand?
 

A201

Maybe just add a chunk of limestone to the hardscspe or put crushed coral in the filter media box.
Changing substrate often ruins the cycle.
 

EH81821

So I dropped 1/2 cup of crushed Coral into the tank and kinda made it make sense with my aqua scape but I haven’t seen any change in 2 days. Will the filter provide better results?
 

A201

Yes. The constant current inside the filter will cause the crushed coral to dissolve faster.
 

EH81821

So the 5.5 tank has a nano HOB but the 10g has a sponge. Should I just add more coral or let it take sometime?
 

SparkyJones

Well neither tank appears to be cycled considering they both are reading ammonia and nitrites.
Yeah if you don't maintain ammonia and nitrites below 1 ppm. 0.3-0.5 mg/liter you are gonna lose fish and shrimp even a bit can shock and kill a fish or shrimp if it affects them.

Yes that soil is going to run KH at minimal levels and a lower stable pH. It's acidic and as that seeps to the water, it's going to consume the carbonates(KH) and the pH is going to lower somewhere between 6 and 6.5.

By trying to boost the KH to counter your PH drop with hard carbonates like crushed coral, you will destroy your soil in the process and render it useless. The pH shifing around as the soil and crushed coral do battle is also going to kill fish and shrimp.

I don't have an easy answer to get you through the cycle with animals in it. Anything you do is going to kill the fish or shrimp because the tank isn't cycled as a step one.

The soil is doing what it's designed to do, but it's going to go even lower because you aren't cycled and cycling is going to produce even more acids to eat up KH than what the soil is doing. Theres plenty of plants, some fish and shrimp that do well at low pH and Low KH, most plants, neon and cardinal tetras, Amazon river fish really, crystal red shrimp. There's species that soil is perfect for.

In a few weeks with that soil and a few water changes a week it all balances out it's the start up that leaches acids heavy that drops the KH initially which drops the PH but by when it stabilizes the KH hangs low, around less than 1dKH and the pH somewhere around 6-6.5 depending on the time of day and what the plants are doing, either photozynthesizing or respiring.

Without the animals you'd let it ride and do water changes and cycle and stabilize then add the animals once it's cycled.

If what the soil does isn't something you intended for and don't want or need,, changing it out would be the best way to get back on track but I'd still suggest surrendering the fish and shrimp to a petstore until the tanks are cycled just so you don't have to watch them die. I'm sure they are stressed beyond at this point from the last couple days, it's not going to get stable any time soon and going to get even rougher with the substrate change.

Just telling it like it is.
 

EH81821

Well neither tank appears to be cycled considering they both are reading ammonia and nitrites.
Yeah if you don't maintain ammonia and nitrites below 1 ppm. 0.3-0.5 mg/liter you are gonna lose fish and shrimp even a bit can shock and kill a fish or shrimp if it affects them.

Yes that soil is going to run KH at minimal levels and a lower stable pH. It's acidic and as that seeps to the water, it's going to consume the carbonates(KH) and the pH is going to lower somewhere between 6 and 6.5.

By trying to boost the KH to counter your PH drop with hard carbonates like crushed coral, you will destroy your soil in the process and render it useless. The pH shifing around as the soil and crushed coral do battle is also going to kill fish and shrimp.

I don't have an easy answer to get you through the cycle with animals in it. Anything you do is going to kill the fish or shrimp because the tank isn't cycled as a step one.

The soil is doing what it's designed to do, but it's going to go even lower because you aren't cycled and cycling is going to produce even more acids to eat up KH than what the soil is doing. Theres plenty of plants, some fish and shrimp that do well at low pH and Low KH, most plants, neon and cardinal tetras, Amazon river fish really, crystal red shrimp. There's species that soil is perfect for.

In a few weeks with that soil and a few water changes a week it all balances out it's the start up that leaches acids heavy that drops the KH initially which drops the PH but by when it stabilizes the KH hangs low, around less than 1dKH and the pH somewhere around 6-6.5 depending on the time of day and what the plants are doing, either photozynthesizing or respiring.

Without the animals you'd let it ride and do water changes and cycle and stabilize then add the animals once it's cycled.

If what the soil does isn't something you intended for and don't want or need,, changing it out would be the best way to get back on track but I'd still suggest surrendering the fish and shrimp to a petstore until the tanks are cycled just so you don't have to watch them die. I'm sure they are stressed beyond at this point from the last couple days, it's not going to get stable any time soon and going to get even rougher with the substrate change.

Just telling it like it is.
I appreciate all the info. I am new to this so I wasn’t pretending I’m not making major mistakes. Do you recommend a substrate for cherry shrimp? I will return to LFS as I would like to do this right and not keep making mistakes.
 

SparkyJones

For the cherry shrimp KH is optimal at 2-4dKH reading. 36-72 KH reading. people do well a degree below, or up to 8dKH reading (145 KH reading) on the lower end of KH pH is also lower. and pH higher on the high side. But you'll get softness of shell and health issues at 1 dKH or lower, or you'll have molting problems (unable to grow and get stuck int he old shell) or unviable eggs that won't hatch above 8dKH.
there's exceptions of course, tank rasied for generations they can adjust to different hardness and pH.

I'd recommend the substrate you have actually for the shrimp, but I'd recommend letting it cycle, doing the water changes and letting it stabilize. Not only this but it takes a good couple months 2-4 for biofilm and algae to build up in the tank, which the shrimp will graze on, which will make keeping them fed a lot easier with food around the tank on demand when they want it they just have to go pick some off and munch. And aged tank is definitely better for shrimp than just tossing them in to brand new water that isn't cycled, no judgement, just saying.

Guppies are pretty forgiving, you can do that water about how you want as far as pH and KH, that tank you could do whatever for the substrate really the controsoil isn't really necessary unless you want difficult plants, pH 6.8-7.8, 4-8dKH for guppies. And it can get outside of these parameters some and no be a big problem, although you might have birthing problems, but it's not like egg layers. People do just as well with guppies in a planter on the porch or a bucket as they do with a stacked out aquarium, but again, cycling is the problem, you really just have to be patient and let the tanks cycle and wait for the Ammonia and Nitrite to go to zero and only getting nitrates. by then the water will be stable also.
If you try to keep fish while cycling you will need to constantly check water parameters and do water changes to keep it safe, fishless is just safer and easier, it requires far less attention. maybe a little boring waiting for it to cycle, but pretty safe for beginners and if you make mistakes, some water changes can fix it and animals don't die and you don't spend the money replacing them all the time either.

Learn to keep water and plants, then move on to the animals in my opinion, if you at least get keeping the water down, the rest of it just takes a bit more effort from there to do it right.

I wish you the best of luck!
 

MasterPython

The PH lowering qualities of aqua soils wears off over time. Especially if you use tap water rather than RO.
 

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