Can I plant heavily with low kH?

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VikingMummy2015
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Can I plant heavily with low kH?

Post by VikingMummy2015 »

I’m looking to properly get into aquascaping my next wee tank (probably a 57L Fluval Flex) as I have the funds, the time and the inclination/obsession 😉. I managed to keep a few plants alive in my previous tanks (when I kept up the twice weekly water changes....200L each week all done with a kettle and a 10L bucket!). So I know it’s technically possible....just would like to feel a little more confident.
Tested the cycling 29L tank (will be a kitchen tank) and kH and gH are both 2 (API liquid test kits, confirm what I already knew from Scottish Water). pH is 6.4-6.6 but I remember my big tank regularly dropped to 6 before I started the twice weekly w/c. My main concerns:
1. Every YouTube video starts by saying decent aquarium soil will lower pH etc. Obviously that’s a bit of a problem when the pH is already this low!
2. Everywhere suggests a kH of 3-4 is best for plants. I know I could use pot bicarbonate as I know I used it for a bit previously, but can’t remember if I used it for long or if it seemed to do anything (it was 2018 and a stressful time).
I won’t be using CO2 but i’ll happily daily dose a decent fert and twice weekly water changes.

Also....cycle with plants in or cycle tank then plant it? After losing my final minnows last week from a filter error on my part, i’m not totally sold on George Farmer’s method of scaping it then just adding fish and some form of bacteria in a bottle, trusting in the plants to take care of it all. Especially if that soil is leaching ammonia as i’ve heard it can do to start with?

So much stuff i’ve forgotten and so much new stuff to learn with plants!

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Re: Can I plant heavily with low kH?

Post by AshLawson »

So I’m by no means an expert but my approach was to cycle fishless with the plants in. I’ve got an extremely low KH, like one drop of API Test turns immediately so I basically have no KH. I’m feeding and dosing with seachem liquid carbon and lighting for 8hrs and my plants are thriving even ones labelled “medium” in terms of difficulty to keep.
200l 1000x500 planted Amazonian, 24 x Paracheirodon innesi, 10 x Hyphessobrycon megalopterus, 6 x Corydoras Sterbai, 1 x BNP. Still to add a pair of Angels
2 x Fluval U4 internal

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plankton
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Re: Can I plant heavily with low kH?

Post by plankton »

Plant during the cycle, they have time to settle in before fish come along.
The ammonia, and the cycle, will act as a fertiliser, so there there shouldn't be much need for more ferts.
I'd be loathe to use CO2 or the "liquid substitute" during the cycle with the ph already low - if it goes below 6 it will likely stall as the munchers tend to go dormant.
@Vale! grows plants below 6.0ph, have a look at his threads. ;)

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Re: Can I plant heavily with low kH?

Post by AshLawson »

plankton wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:02 am
Plant during the cycle, they have time to settle in before fish come along.
The ammonia, and the cycle, will act as a fertiliser, so there there shouldn't be much need for more ferts.
I'd be loathe to use CO2 or the "liquid substitute" during the cycle with the ph already low - if it goes below 6 it will likely stall as the munchers tend to go dormant.
@Vale! grows plants below 6.0ph, have a look at his threads. ;)
I would add that I'm only adding the liquid Carbon now I'm cycled I wasn't during the cycle! I also test PH as regularly as Ammonia etc for that exact reason although mine seems to be stable at 6.6
200l 1000x500 planted Amazonian, 24 x Paracheirodon innesi, 10 x Hyphessobrycon megalopterus, 6 x Corydoras Sterbai, 1 x BNP. Still to add a pair of Angels
2 x Fluval U4 internal

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