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kjacks 11-29-2012 10:26 PM

Ph ponders.
I am currently running a ph controller on my 75 and i noticed today when i got home from work my ph was 6.5. my drop checker showed green still. I wondered should i be using something to raise the ph? How do u maintain an equal ph with just a bubble counter and drop checker if no ph controller is present.

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PlantedRich 11-30-2012 12:37 AM

This is one of those cases where we have to decide what we will believe!
Most of the info and reading we see says PH is VERY important. But then there are many who find it is just not that way. I Keep mostly African cichlids and everyone knows they HAVE to have high PH hard water. WRONG!
As I started to move into planted tanks, I was concerned with PH dropping when I added pressure CO2. I currently have a tank of Africans who have been gradually moved from 7.8 PH down to 6.4 PH over a period of months. They are all fine with this. My current problem is a protomelas that is rowdy when his female is ripe.

I keep the GH/KH high and don't sweat the PH as it goes down as I raise the amount of CO2 . Steady PH is good but at what number seems to matter very little.

If it suits the fish---it suits me!

Diana 11-30-2012 07:23 AM

Do not be so concerned about the pH.

I do about the same as Planted Rich:
Keep the mineral levels appropriate for the fish.
Set the GH then the KH in the right range.
Use peat moss for fish from black water rivers, or coral sand for hard water fish.
Let the pH do whatever it wants.

When I want to raise the GH I use Seachem Equilibrium.
When I want to raise the KH I use baking soda. This will almost always raise the pH.

However, if I was more concerned about the pH I would still start with the right mineral level (GH) then alter the KH enough to adjust the pH.

kjacks 11-30-2012 03:06 PM

so what is a good GH and KH to try to maintain for most plants? And should i be using the PH controller or a bubble counter and drop checker to maintain good co2 levels?

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Diana 11-30-2012 03:38 PM

Most aquarium plants are quite adaptable to a wide range of GH and KH.
There are a few that are very specific and demand soft, acidic water.
Roughly half the plants we grow can utilize carbonates as a source of carbon, but they only do that when there is no CO2 available.

Nitrifying bacteria use the carbon from carbonates, so I would not allow the KH to drop to 0 degrees.

I would aim to keep the GH at the right level for the fish or shrimp. Then make the KH fairly close to that.
Soft water fish that are wild caught or you are breeding probably need GH and KH not higher than about 3 German degrees of hardness. Research the livestock to be sure.
Soft water fish that have been bred in captivity for several generations can easily handle GH and KH up to 5 degrees, and often as high as 9 degrees.
Hard water fish that will tolerate a range (Many livebearers, Rainbowfish) usually do best with GH and KH between 5-15.
Hard water fish such as the Rift Lake fish will do better with even higher GH and KH. Match the lake, but this could be 20 degrees or more. (Lake Victoria is not quite so hard water).

For stabilizing the pH and CO2 it used to be thought that 3dKH was a good target, but recently people have been posting that a KH as low as 1 degree is enough to maintain a cycle of pH that is acceptable to the fish. Usually this means (without a controller) that the pH will cycle around 1.0 higher in the afternoon (when the plants have removed a lot of CO2) than in the early AM (CO2 is highest after all night or at least an hour or so of CO2 added). So if the pH changes from about 6.5 to 7.5 and back over a 24 hour period that is just fine.
With a controller that is adding more CO2 as the plants use it, based on the pH of course the pH will stay the same. If there is some variation, though, that is OK. The fish won't mind.

PlantedRich 11-30-2012 04:03 PM

In my case, I have tons of buffering from high GH/KH naturally in the water. When I got a PH controller with my used equipment, I went with using it. It has worked so well that I now would not want to operate without it. I never try to change the GH nor KH but it does not drift in any way that I can measure. As I started plants in African tanks, I just continued as it seemed to work. As I moved to larger and what I had read would be more difficult fish to keep with plants, there have been very few problems, so I continue.
I am one who believes in very slow changes so that the fish can have the best chance of adapting. I am also not very picky about algae. I use limestone as my primary structure and the algae tones down the garish white look in a way I like.

If you have the controller, I would go with using it to ever so slowly increase the CO2. I find it much easier to do than monitor a drop checker. The most meaningful check for me is the fish. Know your fish and watch carefully as you increase the CO2 over a month or more. If you see your GH/KH doing things, then you may need to do something to adjust it but that is something you have time on. If the fish begin to gasp or do strange things, adjust quickly to relieve them. This process may lead to some algae problems or a look you don't like but that can be dealt with over time and as you see the need.

I like the challenge but I want it fun so I try to keep stress levels down. Both mine and the fish! It's not fun if I have to think tooo hard<

kjacks 11-30-2012 09:37 PM

Im getting green hair algae on glosso is why Im asking. Does it not flourish in high light and co2?

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kjacks 11-30-2012 09:53 PM

I am also running a bubble stone at night.. Just trying to grow lush plants with small fish like neon tetras and corydoras... I've done it before years ago with compact fluorescent, but having trouble with new t5ho. I've read hoppys chart, but every light is different... Just want a direction to start with. I appreciative of any help you guys can give me...

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wkndracer 11-30-2012 10:05 PM


Originally Posted by kjacks (Post 2094420)
so what is a good GH and KH to try to maintain for most plants? And should i be using the PH controller or a bubble counter and drop checker to maintain good co2 levels?
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3-5dGH is plenty of general hardness for 99% of the plants tanked.
2dKH is enough buffer to avoid pH crashing even injecting CO2.
My injected tanks are all kept with 3-5 & 2, I use RO and add what I want back. Using American Marine controllers, bubble counters (but wondering why LOL) and one or two drop checkers per tank w/4dKH solution.
Running the tanks at 5.7 to 6.05pH depending on where I set the controller.

Regarding fish and pH (imo),,, fish swim in the mineral content not the resulting pH which is driven lower based on CO2 content.

Algae problems is having to much light energy or not a completely supporting the light provided. NPK, trace, CO2.

kjacks 12-01-2012 06:11 PM

with high lighting frets should i be injecting daily?

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kjacks 12-01-2012 06:12 PM

which ferts?

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PlantedRich 12-01-2012 06:59 PM

For deeper info than we can give in a short time, I might suggest reading up on EI dosing for starters. It will give you much more info. It is a way to estimate what is needed and then one can change the amounts of each fert as you see how your tank uses it. Different fish/plant/tank combos can use different amounts. of each. I favor dry fert so that I can easily shift as I see different results.

kjacks 12-01-2012 07:26 PM

Thank you.

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