Unstable ph, in new tank (fluval stratum)

Gage6

(Post edited to most recent details)
So currently I have set up my first tank, a 10 gallon low tech planted tank, with amazon sword, java fern and anubias with fluval stratum as a the substrate. It has been set up for about 2 weeks no fish of course because I have not cycled it. However, I have bought an api master test kit and have been testing the water, other than about 0.50ppm ammonia, which I suspect is from the leaves melting back and decaying in the water although I've cut of the dead leaves now (Not sure if I should do a decent water i.e 50-60% change to remove that.) One thing I have noticed though is that the ph is unstable jumping around between 6.0ppm and 6.4ppm throughout the day. I know that the fluval stratum does lower ph to a significant degree. The water source I use, primo brand purified RO water 5 gallon jugs meant for water dispensers
its 6.8ppm ph (I let is sit out for 24 hours then tested it, Kh is 0 and Ph 6.8 and GH is 0. Now of course there's not going to be any gh and kh because its rodi but I didn't realize it was rodi at the time of adding water to an empty tank

I used this because my tap GH is 180ppm + KH around 80 (I did not intentionally use RO water I just needed a water source that wasn’t my tap) I used api test strips to measure the GH and KH . So, my question is, should I do a very large/100% water change with different water? I don't think I should use my tap as a the GH is so high. Although not changing the water source from the primo rodi will prolong the issue. Any help is appreciated
 

awilkinson871

You do not want to use RO water in an aquarium unless you are remineralizing it. RO water has none of the minerals needed by the plants or fish in the tank. When cycling you want to Ph to be 7 or higher. If it drops too low then you can stall the cycle. What are you using as your ammonia source?
 
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Gage6

Ok, I did not intentionally use RO water I just didn’t use my tap because of where it is located relative to where the tank is. I haven’t added ammonia but I plan to use dr Tim’s as my ammonia source and fritz zyme 7 as my bb.
You do not want to use RO water in an aquarium unless you are remineralizing it. RO water has none of the minerals needed by the plants or fish in the tank. When cycling you want to Ph to be 7 or higher. If it drops too low then you can stall the cycle. What are you using as your ammonia source?
Ok, I did not intentionally use RO water I just didn’t use my tap because of where it is located relative to where the tank is. I haven’t added ammonia but I plan to use dr Tim’s as my ammonia source and fritz zyme 7 as my bb.
 
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awilkinson871

RO water has no KH or GH so it will cause instability with Ph. Some people with high Ph or TDS have used a combination of RO and tap to get a balance, but it is a challenge getting the ratios correct. Since you haven't started cycling yet, I would change out the RO with tap unless your parameters on your tap is crazy.
 
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Gage6

RO water has no KH or GH so it will cause instability with Ph. Some people with high Ph or TDS have used a combination of RO and tap to get a balance, but it is a challenge getting the ratios correct. Since you haven't started cycling yet, I would change out the RO with tap unless your parameters on your tap is crazy.
My tap parameters are as follows (tested after 24 hours of water sitting out
Ph 7.5ppm
GH 180ppm
KH 80ppm
Regardless of the extreme water hardness, I know that stratum will still drop the ph so it will take a while to stabilize if I go ahead and switch it out. I’m just concerned about doing a 100% water change.
 
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awilkinson871

Since you have no fish and plants benefit from minerals I don't see what you have to lose. With those measurements your water is not extremely hard. My water is harder than yours and I had no problems cycling the tank or growing plants healthy. You could start with doing a 50% change, but that just means additional fluctuations once you start doing water changes. Also if doing a fishless cycle you don't do water changes unless the Ph drops below 7. By replacing all the water now you are starting with the Ph high enough that you may be able to get through the cycling process without it dropping too low. It would also give you time to get the Ph stabilized with the stratum. I believe stratum can only lower the Ph so much. Once you see where that number is with tap water you can decide how next to proceed.
 
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Gage6

Thank you for the help. Just making sure I understand, your saying a 100% water change to tap is the way to go? I'm good with that as again my current tank ph with the ro water is between 6.0-6.4ppm and since I can't remineralize it the tank water and it would be a hassle to do that to new water of the same type, which would drop back to a very low ph anyways I don't see why changing won't hurt. I'll have to do some research though as I want to make sure my plants don't get too dried up during the change. thanks again
 
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