Natural means to lower pH to 4-4.5?
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Old 07-29-2005, 05:29 AM   #1
TommyBoy
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Natural means to lower pH to 4-4.5?


I am looking for a natural means to lower the pH down to a target range of 4-4.5 so that my pair can breed. Anyone have any ideas?

I don't want to use pH buffers (acid & alkaline like SeaChem's) if I can help it.

Set up is:
+ Tank: 8L "Alife" brand cube (yes, a pico-tank).
+ Substrate: "Black sand" over a little boiled peat & APS/Laterite.
+ Water: Already peat filtered (via small proprietary external impeller filter). Source is RO.
+ Planted: with Anubia Nanas (well-rooted on wood) & Indian Watersprite. Frogbit, Riccia, & Java Moss suspended/floating.

Current Parameters (appears to have become stable @): 6.5 pH; 40 ppm KH; 25 ppm GH.

I've also heard one can use dried Eucalyptus leaves which I have near & around my place (or White Oak? or Plane? which are not in my neck of the woods). How many leaves would that take? What kind of volume are we looking at? (I hope not the whole 8L)

Finally, I'd like to know the CO2 content down at that pH. NO charts that I've looked at go that low. Is there a chart or calculation to determine the CO2 down at a 4-4.5 pH ?

Any and all help is appreciated.

TIA,
--TommyBoy
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Old 07-29-2005, 11:24 AM   #2
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if you're filtering using peat and starting with RO water, then dropping the pH that low should be a piece of cake. *in a separate container* add some hydrochloric acid (miniscule amounts will do... one drop if its a solution, or the tiniest of tiny pinches if it's a solid. you might just have to double or triple the volume of water vs. whats in your tank to make tweaking the values easier. I have a few questions for you, though.

1. pair of what? i'm not aware of any fish commonly kept in the hobby that *require* a pH that low to spawn. *most* blackwater fish will spawn in a pH of 5 - 7.0, and from what I understand, pH isn't as important as conductivity, or TDS.

2. are you injecting CO2 into this setup? if not, then I'd just leave the CO2 chart out of it for now, just confusing the issue for no real reason. if you are injecting CO2, then reaching a pH that low shouldn't be very hard with the water source you're using. water with no kh, like RO, distilled, rainwater, etc., has nothing in it to neutralize acids added to the water (HCl, CO2, etc.), and will drop VERY QUICKLY with the addition of acids to the water.

3. how do you plan to test a pH this low? do you have a special kit or an electronic meter? anything below 6 would be tough to keep track of with most commercially available kits / strips. (there are low range ph kits from specialty sources, and would serve you well if you don't already have something on hand).

I'm interested to hear what you're keeping in a tank that small that likes a ph of 4-4.5. If it's apistos, then the tank is probably pretty small for them. I hope some of this info is helpful to you in your endeavors to breed your mystery pair keep us updated on progress, and methods used so that others can duplicate your success and learn from your experience. Best of luck!

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Old 07-29-2005, 11:33 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyBoy
I am looking for a natural means to lower the pH down to a target range of 4-4.5 so that my pair can breed. Anyone have any ideas?

I don't want to use pH buffers (acid & alkaline like SeaChem's) if I can help it.

Current Parameters (appears to have become stable @): 6.5 pH; 40 ppm KH; 25 ppm GH.

Finally, I'd like to know the CO2 content down at that pH. NO charts that I've looked at go that low. Is there a chart or calculation to determine the CO2 down at a 4-4.5 pH ?

Any and all help is appreciated.

TIA,
--TommyBoy
TommyBoy:

In reverse order: there will be almost NO CO2 at that pH level - when you acidify a sample that far, the CO2 will bubble out.

Second, all your kH will be gone - getting the pH down that far will destroy it. You will probably not have a stable pH.

I don't know what you are breeding, and I have NO successful experience breeding egg-laying fish, but IF you want/need to lower the pH that far, you could make a dilute HCl solution (from Muriatic acid - purchased at your local pool supplies or home improvement store) and add it slowly (drop by drop) to lower the pH. I would strongly suggest you do this WITHOUT the fish in it - in case you overshoot and end up with a pH of 2!

Kevin
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Old 07-29-2005, 02:42 PM   #4
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I agree with the others. There is no fish that requires a pH that low.
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Old 07-29-2005, 04:52 PM   #5
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Im gonna guess he thinks his discus needs a Ph that low.
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:23 PM   #6
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keeping discus in a tank that small is beyond silly. i'm guessing a dwarf cichlid, or blackwater characin... who knows, it might be a fish i've never heard of that does require super low pH. i'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

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Old 07-29-2005, 08:30 PM   #7
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Default some more info... Hope it helps.

1st: Sorry. Didn't mean to get you^all started or keep you guessing, nor do I want such guessing to side-track you from my question. ...I am trying /maybe breeding B. rutilans.

I have a "compatible pair" (as they say), and I've been advised by a number of experienced breeders to get the pH down to that target range to improve their chances for their next spawn [NOTE: They just attempted their 1st spawn. But they're still learning.].

2nd: Concerned about CO2 because I've been dosing that cube with Excel, and want the plants to continue to live well when I lower the pH. BUT I don't want to harm this breeding-worthy pair either.

3rd: You are correct. Thank you for checking. I have pH meter which I use religiously. I am wondering though, since you mention TDS/muS, whether I ought to consider measuring that as well at some point (should they continue to have such errant spawns). Not "on the RADAR" yet.

BUT, what I am reading for you^all so far is that I will have to use a chemical means (e.g., HCL/Muriatic acid, SeaChem buffered Acid + Alkaline ratios, etc.). Correct?

...as a BTW note about breeding pH: Based upon my experiences, I would have to disagree with grandmasterofpool. Some fish can be FINicky (pardon th PUN-ishment). For example: our Nanochromis T's eggs never hatched until we got their pH down (from 6.5) to where the books say they like it for spawning (4.5-5 pH). Now they are fecund. We use SeaChem for them since it includes acidic and alkaline buffers to help keep the pH stable. I was just hoping to find a natural means this time for my Rutilans.

--TommyBoy
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:05 AM   #8
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When I recently setup my soft water 10 gallon to grow some demanding plants, I used peat at the bottom and mainly RO water. I got ph to 4.8 with DIY CO2, kh<=1. Cherry shrimp died. Snails hated it.
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Old 07-30-2005, 01:56 PM   #9
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If you really think it might be TDS that's a factor as well you could always use RO water. With a tank that tiny you can just buy a couple gallons at the local grocery store for a couple bucks.
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