Co2 and PH Help
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:42 PM   #1
Searth
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Co2 and PH Help


I have a 46 gallon planted bowfront, and I haven't been seeing the growth I desire. Which is disappointing because of how much money I dropped on the lighting, plants, hardscape, and everything to make it look nice. I also notice that the drop checker is a constant blue, which means the co2 levels are too low for the plants, which you all know already (I'm incredibly new at this planted tank thing). So I tested my tap water and low and behold, the ph reads 8.0.

I'm aware that pumping co2 into the tank lowers the ph, but every time I do a water change, won't that bump the ph back up to where it was? And isn't that dangerous for my fish? How should I be doing my water changes? Is there anything I should read to be more knowledgeable about my situation? Thanks in advance.

Edit: I do have injected Co2.
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Old 08-29-2014, 11:11 PM   #2
PortalMasteryRy
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I setup my water from the tap in a separate bucket then dose the prime and use a small pump to aerate the water. I do this the night before the water change so the water is ready the next morning. I also get a ph of 8+ so I sometimes put a few drops of distilled white vinegar to get it closer to water's ph. I also do the water change before the C02 comes on.
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Old 08-30-2014, 02:55 AM   #3
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pH is not the most important parameter.

If the GH, KH and TDS are the same the fish do not mind changes in pH.

Test the GH and KH of the tap and of the tank. If you have a TDS meter, test that, too.
If they are not the same, but pretty close, then go for it.
If they are wildly different, lets find out why.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:19 AM   #4
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I keep African cichlids who are semi-famous for needing high PH. But real world shows me they are not bothered much at all by PH swings. GH/KH are high and stay very steady but the CO2 drives the PH down from 7.8 to 6.8 so when I do a 50% water change it may fly up to 7.4-7.4 for a time while the CO 2 is catching up. During this time there are no signs of stress, flashing, etc. I no longer worry the PH question much.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:02 AM   #5
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Thanks for your replies guys. So if your ph goes from 7.8 to 6.8 after turning on your co2, does that mean I'm not injecting enough co2? Because mine doesn't go down that far. I notice my drop checker shows a very deep green/blue color at best.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:30 AM   #6
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I would say that you are not adding enough CO2.
How do your fish react?

Make a small change, a bit more, and watch the fish. If they are OK, and the drop checker still is not showing enough CO2 then add more.
I would wait at least 24 hours between adjustments.

Many years ago when the only test they could do was pH, they thought that was the important parameter. Now we have so many other tests we are figuring out that pH is not such a big deal. As Planted Rich points out, as long as the mineral levels are stable, the pH can vary quite a bit and this does not bother the fish.
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Old 08-30-2014, 02:40 PM   #7
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I fully agree. What I see is not what all the books and much of the advice says about PH. I find it is NOT a major factor.
I find my fish took a long time to adapt to the change from 7.8 to 6.8 but once there, they have no trouble with me making water changes which bump PH high for an hour or so. I use a controller to monitor PH and CO2 so I can watch it vary as I'm pumping water back in. The incoming water has high PH as well as high GH/KH. The PH can rise dramatically and the fish don't react. I use the full one point PH drop as a "standard" to get the correct CO2 into my tank. I also find that is about the limit that my fish will let me go before they begin to stress. Any more and they act "off". We are told African cichlids have to have high PH? WRONG! They need steady PH!
My only concern on the issue comes when I move females holding fry from the main tank (PH 6.8 GH and KH 300+) to a tank for them to release the fry. They have no trouble going but when they have been in the release tank (PH7.8 high GH/KH) for a week or so and then go back to the main, they struggle for a few hours. They tend to look "groggy" and lay around in the plants which is not normal for them.
No disease or deaths as they are cichlids and hardy but just a concern that I watch.

Last edited by PlantedRich; 08-30-2014 at 02:44 PM.. Reason: correction
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Old 08-31-2014, 07:03 AM   #8
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So I upped the co2 output yesterday and now the drop checker shows a very foresty green color. I'm looking for a lime color right? Also I feel like I'm letting a lot of co2 go. How many bps do you guys have on your tanks right now
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Old 08-31-2014, 01:45 PM   #9
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Can't compare BPS between tanks. It's completely meaningless. It's only good for tracking your own changes.
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Old 08-31-2014, 04:22 PM   #10
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Lots of factors that change the bubble count, tank to tank. Type of fluid used, size of the opening, etc. Size of the tank and how well the CO2 is mixed as well as how well it stays in the water are all things that change the bubble count needed.
Mine on a 125 using a Grigg's style reactor takes a steady stream far too fast to count.
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Old 08-31-2014, 05:07 PM   #11
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Forget about bps. Get a pH controller. Get a full one degree drop , like from 7.8 down to 6.8 and you have 35 ppm co2 level.it is very important to have enough flow to mix the co2 throughout the tank. This is what I am doing and the plants are really growing now. But I had to up my ferts to daily dosing using GLA,s pps system. Really easy once you get it going. I also have a drop checker , but only for a second check point. Lots of people do not like pH controllers , but I love mine and would not be without it. I have a 5 lb co2 bottle. My co2 is running to the point I cannot count the bubbles. It has been running for two and a half months and the gauge showing the quantity of the bottle hasn't even moved yet. So it will last for many months , even a small five pound bottle. I bought the Supreme regulator and a 70mm atomic diffuser from GLA. I put the diffuser directly under a 170 GPM circulation pump. It sucks up the co2 bubbles and blows them all over the tank. I have a 55gallon tank.

Last edited by rick dale; 08-31-2014 at 05:19 PM.. Reason: more info
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick dale View Post
Forget about bps. Get a pH controller. Get a full one degree drop , like from 7.8 down to 6.8 and you have 35 ppm co2 level.it is very important to have enough flow to mix the co2 throughout the tank. This is what I am doing and the plants are really growing now. But I had to up my ferts to daily dosing using GLA,s pps system. Really easy once you get it going. I also have a drop checker , but only for a second check point. Lots of people do not like pH controllers , but I love mine and would not be without it. I have a 5 lb co2 bottle. My co2 is running to the point I cannot count the bubbles. It has been running for two and a half months and the gauge showing the quantity of the bottle hasn't even moved yet. So it will last for many months , even a small five pound bottle. I bought the Supreme regulator and a 70mm atomic diffuser from GLA. I put the diffuser directly under a 170 GPM circulation pump. It sucks up the co2 bubbles and blows them all over the tank. I have a 55gallon tank.
Just be aware that the high pressure gauge is not like a fuel gauge. As long as there is liquid in the tank the pressure remains the same if the temperature remains constant. Once the liquid is gone then the pressure will drop alarmingly fast. The only way to tell how much co2 is left in the tank is to weigh it and subtract the containers tare weight.
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