Stable water conditions, CO2, and hardness questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2003, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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As I said in another thread in the general forum, Im working on a 29 blackwater setup. My water is ph 8, kh 7, and gh 16. Im debating various ways of getting the hardness out, and of course lowering the ph. But since Im only familiar with hard water setups, this is a new ballgame for me. I know the CO2 is going to lower my ph, carbonic acid and what not? But then with the hardness of my water, wont that buffer it to the point of bouncing back if the CO2 supply slacks a bit?

So then I heard peat absorbs minerals out of the water, lowering hardness. Is this true, and if so I wonder how I would ever be able to achive a stable system through fluctuations in CO2 output, water changes, etc.

Sounds like a mess to me, but people do it so it cant be THAT difficult.

Of course I could do DIY co2, no peat, and 50/50 RO/tap or maybe a higher ratio, but it would be nice to not have to pay money for water at a store...that and I dont have much money so a RO system is out of the question at this time.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2003, 02:46 AM
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What pH level are you hoping to achieve?
I think it may be tough trying to get your pH down to some levels by using peat and DIY CO2 alone.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2003, 04:56 AM
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Go read up at the about peat and blackwater extracts.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2003, 05:21 PM
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with the Kh you have you could safely take the PH down to around the 7.2 mark with Co2 and then add a Peat bomb to leech tannins into the water to bring the ph down lower .. I wouldnt use artifical softners as they tend to have Phosphates in them or other chemcials wich in the long term arent very good for you plants or fish ...

Long term an Ro unit or DI unit might be a better choice that way you can reconstitue the water to the perams you want .... it is easier to add Kh and Gh to water than to take it out ....IMOH

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-12-2003, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Well, Im figuring 7.0 would be good...dont plan on going lower than that. Really I would rather just use peat or an extract and accept whatever pH I get from that, but Im thinking CO2 would be a boon to my plants

Any word on peat's ability to chemically trap GH in its fibers or something along those lines?

The biggest concern for me is stability. If I run the tank at 7.5 and its stable, then thattl be low enough for me assuming running it at 7.0 would require daily dosing to keep it constant, then a weekend camping trip would bomb out my whole tank.

If I havent said it already in this thread, Im really only used to setups that involve high GH/KH. So this is new territory for me, and Im still learning the chemistry involved with this stuff. SO If anyone wants to give a good run-down on how these different pH lowering things work and how they relate (if theres a scientific-minded person out there with a bad case of boredom) then by all means, feel free. Ive wrapped my mind around the basics, but still working on the finer points.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-12-2003, 11:37 PM
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You might want to park yourself at the site.

WetmanNY takes the more thorough approach, so it may make your head hurt to try to digest it all. I go back and reread frequently as my ability to understand it improves. My head hurts less and less each time!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-13-2003, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
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Oh yeah, forgot about that link as I had to go somewhere the other day...going there now to soak some stuff up
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 08-14-2003, 12:01 AM
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FWIW, I hope you 'll keep posting as you work out these issues. My water is not quite as hard and a bit more buffered but I start with 8.2 PH. I can drive the pH down to 7.0 to 7.4 with DIY CO2 or a Hagen system in various tanks, but none are particularly stable, and they vary from 7.0 to 7.4 or even 7.6 by the time I cahange CO2.

I do hate the dim look of tannins in the water, had enough of that with new driftwood and I'm glad that cleared. But I am considering adding some peat to the lower levels in this next tank to see what happens. There is a whole group of aquarists who use peat and/or soil to add CO2 for plants. Low tech, no issues to solve, so they don't seem to post much here.

You shouldn't need daily dosing for anything, Unless you need that 7.0 to be rock stable. Have you considered a pressurized system with a pH controller?
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