High alkalinity? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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High alkalinity?

It seems my 30 gallon is having an issue with the alkalinity being very high. I've did major water changes with almost no effect. I have been asking around and someone said the problem is my ph buffer. My ph was very low. Around 5. So as a natural way of boosting it, I added some crushed coral. Could that be the reason my alkalinity is so high? I would love to hear it from more than one person before I go armpit deep in my tank and fish out the crushed coral.

Fishy Missy
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 10:56 PM
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its either

1. the crushed coral (not sure why you would have added that)
2. your water is already natural alakline (hard). Test it

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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The water I use is declorinated city water that is very soft but the aquarium tests hard. Not very hard. Just hard.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-04-2013, 11:26 PM
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Can you give us some parameters? We have hard water here (8.2) out of the tap and I have buffered both up and down and achieved both results. Crushed coral can buffer highly acidic water, but not to any insane degree with solid water changes. It must be your source water. I have aragonite in my tang tank and it still requires buffering to achieve anywhere near a 9+

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Well it's a dirted 29 gallon tank with crushed pebbles over the dirt. It's been up for about 2 months now. Cycled empty through the nitrite spike and then once everything leveled off at the 2 week mark, i added lots of plants and some platys and let it continue to cycle. But the ph levels had been dropping since I started the tank and when it got down to 5 I added the crushed coral. Over a few days period, I added about 6 measuring cups of crushed coral and that brought the ph up to a 7. Everything seemed fine for a few weeks after that and then my alkalinity started creeping up and now it's so high my test strips don't measure it even semi accurately. I did a %50 water change and the alkalinity dropped for 3 or 4 days and went back up again. Even so, all the fish seem to be happy and thriving. I've since removed the platys and replace them with skirted tetras and a gourami. My water tests show no nitrite, very little nitrate, no chlorine, hard, very high alkalinity, and a ph level of 7.

Does this help? I realize the tests strips aren't very accurate but I don't have a huge wallet to spend on water tests at the moment.

Fishy Missy
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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My treated city water tests no nitrate or nitrite, ph of 6, low alkalinity, 0 hardness (very soft), and no chlorine.

Fishy Missy
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 01:28 AM
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Hmm, I'm quite stumped. My only guess would be something in the soil leaching into the water column. Though before I did anything drastic, I would acquire a master freshwater test kit. They are not very expensive ($20) online and retest. Those strip kits have been a source of numerous erroneous results and can often give inaccurate readings. Perhaps a fellow aquarist you know could come over and test the water for you or even ask a LFS you frequent nicely and bring them a sample. It might be as simple as that.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 12:56 PM
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Crushed Coral is Calcium Carbonate so naturally will raise your PH and also your level of carbonate hardness (KH); over time less calcium may get into the water, but this usually takes several months. Crushed coral leaches into the water slowly, which is why you may have seen a delayed reaction in your aquarium. 6 cups of the crushed coral is a noticeable amount in an aquarium your size; that is most likely your problem

Switching over to an R/O water source or the like with a proper buffer will ensure a consistent KH and PH level in your aquarium after every water change and in between.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I've began removing the crushed coral. Without tearing down the tank, I can't remove every last bit so I'm hoping just "most of it" will do the trick. I'll let you guys know what the results yield. Thanks for your help!

Fishy Missy
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-05-2013, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imemylee View Post
Ok I've began removing the crushed coral. Without tearing down the tank, I can't remove every last bit so I'm hoping just "most of it" will do the trick. I'll let you guys know what the results yield. Thanks for your help!
If you can get most of it out you should be fine; a little will do little to no harm in an aquarium of your size; once removed, and a water change is done, your parameters will most likely lower back down to a normal or acceptable range.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2013, 03:18 AM
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Since your tap water is probably really soft, then having a small amount of crushed coral in the tank will help. 6 cups is way too much.

To fine tune the amount you need, put some in a nylon stocking and add it to the filter. Then you can adjust the amount as needed until you get a stable KH, GH and pH.

Remember that when you do a water change, the new water has almost no minerals. Adding too much of this water to the tank that has more minerals may reduce the mineral level too much, too fast.
Prepare the new water a day or two ahead of need. Run it into a bucket or garbage can (depending on how much you need) and add the coral sand to this container. Use a fountain pump or power head to circulate the water. When the GH and KH match the tank, go ahead and do as large a water change as needed.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2013, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update. I have removed as much of the crushed coral as possible and replaced it with small river rocks from petsmart. Then did a %50 water change. The effect was immediate. My alkalinity is now, (nearly 20 days later) on the high end of the normal range. My ph is hovering around 6.8 to 7. I want it higher but I'm not sure how to go about doing it without effecting my water levels as I did before. Any ideas?

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