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  1. Ben Rhau

    2 week color change agassizii

    Unless you manually set such camera settings, your phone makes decisions about how much light to collect and what temperature to render the colors based on context. It’s hard to compare colors in photos taken at different times without processing both photos against a common reference.
  2. Ben Rhau

    Plants in 100% RO water.

    I use 100% RO water, and in addition to mosses, the plants that do best for me are Ceratopteris thalictroides and any of the Salvinia, but particularly S. natans.
  3. Ben Rhau

    Absolute beginner to black water tanks

    I've not seen evidence that flushing the waste side of the membrane does anything. It might, but scouring the membrane requires high velocity, pressure, and volume. However, a DI bypass that bleeds the TDS creep at the beginning (on the treated side) definitely extends the life of the DI...
  4. Ben Rhau

    Absolute beginner to black water tanks

    @MacZ This is what @Joshaeus was doing before he got an RO unit. He shook up the water in a 2 liter bottle with DI resin and then strained it. He also reused the water from his water changes this way. Very water efficient, but does not scale easily. And not cheaper than RO. @Frank Hättich since...
  5. Ben Rhau

    Absolute beginner to black water tanks

    They do have a vested interest in claiming otherwise... You can read more in the reef forums, including Russ Romme, who sells RO units himself and could easily sell this arrangement. Since there's nowhere else for the ions to go besides the membrane, I don't see how you can get around the...
  6. Ben Rhau

    Absolute beginner to black water tanks

    It's technically possible to go to 1:1, but unless you have zero hardness it will drastically reduce the life of your membrane. For example, if you run a second membrane at the waste line, you'll have an extremely high TDS going in. It's going to get awfully expensive to keep replacing that...
  7. Ben Rhau

    Absolute beginner to black water tanks

    if you ensure adequate (but not too high) water pressure and slightly restrict the outflow, you can safely get the reject ratio down to about 1:2.5 or 1:3. Although you can technically get it down to 1:1, it's not economical to do so, and not recommended. I live in a drought area (California)...
  8. Ben Rhau

    Exchanging stocking

    I feel like such a newbie when that happens. Glad I’m not the only one!
  9. Ben Rhau

    Exchanging stocking

    Could you temporarily restructure your tank to accommodate a divider, so that the females can grow out in the display tank?
  10. Ben Rhau

    Black mosquito larvae

    It's hard to imagine a company in the US growing mosquitos on purpose. I occasionally see company listings for frozen midge larvae (glassworms/"white" mosquito larvae) but I've never actually been able to purchase it. I'm skeptical about the UHT product. The larvae are preserved in a "special...
  11. Ben Rhau

    20 gallon long stocking help

    You should be able to find baenschi here: https://band.us/n/aaa773F7T7O1Y JD Aquatics listed them recently, you can ask him.
  12. Ben Rhau

    A question of filtration...

    Agreed, my tap is 25 TDS right now, but there are times in the year when it’s 120 TDS for weeks at a time. It’s good to at least know what it is on any given day.
  13. Ben Rhau

    Apistogramma agassizii Blue Flame

    The agassizii strains are really beautiful.
  14. Ben Rhau

    Can you have low ph with high alkalinity ?

    You would either need to start with a high KH and then have some mechanism to neutralize it quickly, or add carbonate ions and water change it out. It won’t spontaneously fluctuate in a zero KH tank.
  15. Ben Rhau

    Can you have low ph with high alkalinity ?

    Alkalinity is carbonate. If you don't add any supplemental carbonate, there will be some carbonate from CO2 that exists in equilibrium with carbonic acid. But it's so low that the KH (carbonate hardness) still reads zero. So he's saying the fluctuation from one tiny number to another tiny number...
  16. Ben Rhau

    Can you have low ph with high alkalinity ?

    Now, if you add CO2, that will cause the pH to fluctuate. I don't know many people who add CO2 to blackwater tanks. Most blackwater habitats are pretty devoid of plants, but I can still get the really hardy low tech ones to grow. I have a thread about my setups <here>. Since I'm not keeping...
  17. Ben Rhau

    Can you have low ph with high alkalinity ?

    By alkalinity, do you mean KH? The KH of blackwater is zero, so it won't fluctuate. Conventional wisdom says that pH will fluctuate a lot if there's no buffering. In practice, I've not seen this to be the case, for the reason I stated above. Having spoken to many blackwater keepers, The only...
  18. Ben Rhau

    Can you have low ph with high alkalinity ?

    Short answer is no. I'm not sure what an alkalinity crash is or what the effect would be. My tanks have a KH of zero. It goes back to why those fish come from areas of low pH. They don't come from water that's highly buffered at low pH. The pH is low because it's soft. Are you afraid the pH...
  19. Ben Rhau

    Can you have low ph with high alkalinity ?

    Most ways of boosting alkalinity will raise pH. The only way I know of to have both high alkalinity and low pH is through phosphate buffers. However, this will produce a sky-high TDS. Not recommended.
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