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Hi from Belgium

darua

Member
Messages
31
If you haven't already, you may want to ask for help about your diatom issue on the UKAPS forum, which has a lot of plant experts. This forum tends to focus more (not completely, but more so) on the fish's needs.
Thanks, I'll definitely take a look!

I'm not being funny but you need a much longer lighting duration than four hours, I use twelve hours (the duration of a tropical day ) and I wouldn't recommend any-one uses less than eight hours. For example Christel Kasselmann also uses a 12 hour light period <"https://www.christel-kasselmann.de/buecher-2/aquarium-plants/">.
I know you are just trying to help but hearing some ppl say longer & others saying keep the time always below 8. Very difficult to know which person gives the best advice, I think changing the light from 3,5h of light to 8h in 1 day isn't a good idea either so I've to slowly build up my hours of light.

I do also have a general question for anyone here, I'm looking to buy a RO system (prob. ARKA myAqua 180 or 360) but I do have taps in my house where there is rainwater coming from my rain pit or taps with just city water, does it matter which water I use to make RO water from? I cannot find a clear answer about this online...
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
I do also have a general question for anyone here, I'm looking to buy a RO system (prob. ARKA myAqua 180 or 360) but I do have taps in my house where there is rainwater coming from my rain pit or taps with just city water, does it matter which water I use to make RO water from? I cannot find a clear answer about this online...
Arka units have shown to be faulty lately, producing permeat with EC of 40 to 60, which is much too high. I like the Osmotech stuff, but I don't know if you can get these in Belgium.

So you have rainwater at your disposal? Test it! If it has (as I would expect) really low EC and the piping is neither lead nor copper: Use the rainwater and keep an RO unit for the dry months when the cistern is empty. Rainwater is basically also distilled water and has all the properties you can wish for. Just if it is a cistern system the tank and/or piping can be compromised by the materials used. Because often they are set up for non-drinking purposes.
 

darua

Member
Messages
31
Arka units have shown to be faulty lately, producing permeat with EC of 40 to 60, which is much too high. I like the Osmotech stuff, but I don't know if you can get these in Belgium.
I think I don't need a system that can theoretically produce more than 360L/Day for my case. Other brands besides ARKA with RO systems I find more commonly in the web shops I visit are Dennerle & Aqua Medic but I wouldn't go above €100 for a RO system...

I do find osmotech gpd50 for €90, same price category as the dennerle systems. ARKA was only €36 for the 190l/day version.
Use the rainwater and keep an RO unit for the dry months when the cistern is empty
It's Belgium, I usually have 10 months a year rainwater in my cistern ^^

But it's interesting that I could rainwater directly instead of using rainwater for a RO system (I said that because using rainwater as input for my RO is even more cheaper than city water). I think the parameters of my rainwater can also vary a lot depending on how circumstances when it rains (after a big drought, lots of dust comes in it). I suppose testing with a teststrip isn't sufficient, a drop test would be better or do I buy myself a PH/TDS-meter, but there again, same questions, I think there's a lot of difference between the brands and some aren't even accurate.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
It's Belgium, I usually have 10 months a year rainwater in my cistern ^^
I know, I live an hour from the Belgian/German Border. But you know just as well, between May and August/September we get quite the drought. The past years. Luckily 2023 has refilled the ground water, otherwise a drought this year would mean trouble (as in water rationing).
I think the parameters of my rainwater can also vary a lot depending on how circumstances when it rains (after a big drought, lots of dust comes in it).
Correct.
I suppose testing with a teststrip isn't sufficient, a drop test would be better or do I buy myself a PH/TDS-meter, but there again, same questions, I think there's a lot of difference between the brands and some aren't even accurate.
There is not much difference between the brands. Many just sell the same product branded with their own name. The drip tests all come from the same manufacturer. I'd say a strip for Nitrogen, because rain can contain nitric acid from air pollution and a EC/TDS-meter are the best combination for your purposes. Concerning the meter: Simple one for 20€ is all you need. They come sufficiently calibrated and barely need any recalibrating. Additionally I'd let a store test a sample for copper and lead once.
I think I don't need a system that can theoretically produce more than 360L/Day for my case. Other brands besides ARKA with RO systems I find more commonly in the web shops I visit are Dennerle & Aqua Medic but I wouldn't go above €100 for a RO system...

I do find osmotech gpd50 for €90, same price category as the dennerle systems. ARKA was only €36 for the 190l/day version.
Dennerle is overpriced. Basically the same system (clone from the exact same parts, just different labels) as Aqua Medic and Osmotech. For your tanks a 190/day is all you need.
 

dw1305

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
Messages
2,791
Location
Wiltshire UK
Hi all,
I know you are just trying to help but hearing some ppl say longer & others saying keep the time always below 8. Very difficult to know which person gives the best advice, I think changing the light from 3,5h of light to 8h in 1 day isn't a good idea either so I've to slowly build up my hours of light.
You have to make your own decisions, but Christel Kasselmann wrote the most respected book on Aquarium plants. I'm not a plant physiologist, but I have degrees in Botany and Horticulture and I think that should count for something. I can tell you, absolutely unequivocally, that 20 hours of darkness and 4 hours of light is not going to work.
So you have rainwater at your disposal? Test it! If it has (as I would expect) really low EC and the piping is neither lead nor copper: Use the rainwater and keep an RO unit for the dry months when the cistern is empty. Rainwater is basically also distilled water and has all the properties you can wish for.
I'm a rainwater user. It is all limestone here and our rainwater varies between about 20 (winter) - 140 (summer) microS. Our tap supply is hard and alkaline, ~700 microS and 18 dGH, 18 dKH.
I suppose testing with a teststrip isn't sufficient, a drop test would be better or do I buy myself a PH/TDS-meter,
I'd get a conductivity (TDS) meter, they are pretty much "plug and play". <"Hanna is a good brand">, and you want a low range meter (0 - 999 microS). Cheaper pH meters are useless but cheap conductivity meters will still be fairly accurate.

cheers Darrel
 

darua

Member
Messages
31
Additionally I'd let a store test a sample for copper and lead once
Ok, I'll have to check if I can do that at my lfs or somewhere else.
I'd say a strip for Nitrogen
Same as NO2 & NO3 on the test strip
Basically the same system (clone from the exact same parts, just different labels) as Aqua Medic and Osmotech. For your tanks a 190/day is all you need.
I'll try to find a system around the €50-€70 price range that isn't ARKA but most of them are close to €90-€100. The ARKA is so cheap in comparison with the others that I'm triggered to buy it (at my lfs they also sell the ARKA brand, but after all our conversations, I do know not everything at a lfs is correct).
You have to make your own decisions, but Christel Kasselmann wrote the most respected book on Aquarium plants. I'm not a plant physiologist, but I have degrees in Botany and Horticulture and I think that should count for something. I can tell you, absolutely unequivocally, that 20 hours of darkness and 4 hours of light is not going to work.
I'm willing to believe anyone with the correct arguments and/or reputation. I'll get some floating plants at the end of the week or next week, slowly increase my lighting every day and maybe swap the dimmer so it doesn't shine at 100% for the entire length.

I do have to say that complete darkness isn't true either because my tank with the diatoms is close to a window (never direct sunlight) so it has some sort of light I think even when my twinstar is turned off.
I'd get a conductivity (TDS) meter, they are pretty much "plug and play". <"Hanna is a good brand">, and you want a low range meter (0 - 999 microS). Cheaper pH meters are useless but cheap conductivity meters will still be fairly accurate.
I'll get a cheaper TDS meter, Milwaukee CD 600 TDS Meter or ARKA TDS meter are the ones I'm finding right now. I just have to find some good articles of what the results of TDS mean, lower = better I think but I'm new to the concept of a conductivity meter and the correlation between TDS & GH, KH... (the normal parameters I get from a test strip).
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
I just have to find some good articles of what the results of TDS mean, lower = better I think but I'm new to the concept of a conductivity meter and the correlation between TDS & GH, KH... (the normal parameters I get from a test strip).
The lower the better. There is no direct correlation of TDS and GH/KH. Indirectly you can say 1° hardness is about 17.8 mg/l. While you can accordingly say that 3° GH equal roughly 55mg/l on the TDS meter you will neither be able to tell the GH just from a meter-reading nor how much of the GH is KH. The T in TDS stands for "total", so no chance in that direction. But: once the EC/TDS are under 40mg/l you can very confidently say that GH and KH are negligibly low and virtually at 0.
 

darua

Member
Messages
31
The lower the better. There is no direct correlation of TDS and GH/KH. Indirectly you can say 1° hardness is about 17.8 mg/l. While you can accordingly say that 3° GH equal roughly 55mg/l on the TDS meter you will neither be able to tell the GH just from a meter-reading nor how much of the GH is KH. The T in TDS stands for "total", so no chance in that direction. But: once the EC/TDS are under 40mg/l you can very confidently say that GH and KH are negligibly low and virtually at 0.
Ok, can I use full RO or rainwater now for water changes or still do 50/50 with tap water so my KH/GH/PH doesn't decline too fast? I know the seiryu stones will bring it up slowly but at least it's a bit better than only using tap water like I did in the past.
 

MacZ

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Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
Of course it would be ok to change with 100% Ro. BUT: As long as the rocks are in there it is just utter nonsense. It takes 2-3 days to get back to the original concentration.
 

darua

Member
Messages
31
Of course it would be ok to change with 100% Ro. BUT: As long as the rocks are in there it is just utter nonsense. It takes 2-3 days to get back to the original concentration.
Oh okay, didn't knew it would go back up that fast, thought it would take at least 1 or 2 weeks...
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
the softer the water the faster. But you will not be removing much anyhow so... yeah... I'd remove the mineral source then switch to RO. Otherwise it's just a waste.
 

darua

Member
Messages
31
the softer the water the faster. But you will not be removing much anyhow so... yeah... I'd remove the mineral source then switch to RO. Otherwise it's just a waste.
I'll see how it goes and how fast it rises, I don't really want to remove the rocks from my tanks tbh (but I certainly respect all your advice).
Also for my next big tank I've still got quite a lot of seiryu stones already in stock (came along with the aquarium I had bought from someone who quit the hobby after 20 years) and the fish I've in mind for my setup also prefer softer and more acidic water :/
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
Also for my next big tank I've still got quite a lot of seiryu stones already in stock (came along with the aquarium I had bought from someone who quit the hobby after 20 years) and the fish I've in mind for my setup also prefer softer and more acidic water :/
Having all the stones and planning for fish that'd do better without them..
 
Last edited:

darua

Member
Messages
31
Having all the stones and planning for fish that'd do better without them..
It depends on my findings the upcoming weeks when I'll start using RO or rainwater in combination with my stones. But it would be a waste if I don't use them, they don't really have another purpose besides going into the aquarium. I can't even use them all, I think I've got 20-30 pieces left.
 

MacZ

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,198
Location
Germany
I think the combination is the bigger waste, to be honest. The RO would be at least, rainwater doesn't cost anything at least.
About the rainwater: City dweller or rather rural area?
 

darua

Member
Messages
31
I think the combination is the bigger waste, to be honest.
RO & seiryu stones or RO & rainwater?
City dweller or rather rural area?
Rather rural area

I've just used 2 jbl proscan strips to compare my tap water & rainwater:

tap water:
NO2: 0.25 mg/l
NO3: 25 mg/l
GH: > 14° dH
KH: 10 ° dH
PH: 7.0
Chlorine: 0.8 mg/l

rainwater:
NO2: 0.25 mg/l
NO3: 25 mg/l
GH: < 3° dH
KH: 0° dH
PH: <6
Chlorine: 0.8 mg/l

I know parameters such as PH aren't accurate at all with these tests but the ph is def. lower of my rainwater in comparison with my tap water
 

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