Stabilizing PH - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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Stabilizing PH

How does one stabilize PH without the use of chemicals?

I know that driftwood and Co2 lower it.
I know that crushed coral raises it.

But how do you make it so that it does not fluctuate?

R/O water is not an option.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 09:20 PM
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Buffering substrate probably the easiest way to keep ph water stable.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:11 PM
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how much is your ph fluctuating?

20g platy, , 2 x 10g shrimp, 3 x 20g shrimp, 7.5g shrimp and 1 great dane/mastiff puppy.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Between 6.0 and 7.6. Tank is 6 months old. I want it at 6.5
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 02:32 AM
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Why is it fluctuating?
Are you adding CO2?
Is your tap water variable?

Do not add much (if any) calcium carbonate (coral sand, oyster shell grit, limestone) or other source of carbonates. You might have to add a small amount. Try to maintain a KH of about 3 German degrees of hardness, perhaps 2 degrees.
Carbonates are a buffer that will help to stabilize the pH. Too much carbonates, and the pH will be buffered at a higher level.

Organic matter such as peat moss, oak leaves, Indian Almond leaves (most leaves, in fact) and some types of driftwood can lower the pH.
Some peat moss can act like a cation exchange water softener, and will remove certain positively charged minerals and add H+ in its place. Rising H+, of course, means lower pH unless there is something else in the tank that removes the H+. I keep some Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss (garden sort of stuff) in the filters of my soft water tanks.

If these measures do not help, then we return to the original questions.

Why is it fluctuating? If you can minimize whatever is going on, then you minimize the fluctuations, hopefully before adding the water to the tank.

Are you adding CO2? If the fluctuation is because of the daily cycle of CO2, do not worry about it. If the mineral levels in the water are appropriate for the livestock (TDS, GH and KH), then variable pH because of CO2 is not a problem at all. (Only in the fishkeeper's mind. Fish are OK with it.)

Is your tap water variable? If so, then you may need to prep the water ahead of time. Treatment needed will depend on what is going on with the water. If you are on a municipal water source, talk to the company and find out what is going on. If you are on a private well, you might have to do some testing and figure it out.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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I am using co2! But I thought it lowered the PH permanently. It is great to know that's not true. Time to start testing PH before the co2 is released.

There is a very large piece of driftwood in the tank.

Just got GH and KH test kits. Waiting for them to arrive in the mail.

My tap water has a PH of around 8. Just started using some chemical buffers, but I'd rather avoid chemicals if possible. Then again, I need to test my PH a few times withoiut co2 in the tank to see what's really going on.

Thank you for such a detailed answer
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