Can you buffer RO water without expensive substrates?
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:28 PM   #1
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Can you buffer RO water without expensive substrates?


I was just wondering if water can be buffered without using an active substrate? The water out of my RO is pH 6.5 (KH/GH both 0) which is what a lot of people are aiming for, can that be buffered allowing me to just use an inert substrate?
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:38 PM   #2
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This is a very interesting question. I'm interested in the answer myself...
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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By buffering, do you mean pH?

Without any sort of KH in the water, it's tough to 'set' pH anywhere. That's why buffering substrates are used.

There are lots of threads here on the forum about using things like peat in order to lower pH and such, so you may want to explore them.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:47 PM   #4
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If you weren't going to use an air powered pump, and aren't going to boost GH, it would be fine.

But I think even doing that may alter the pH since the KH is zero.

You could always go the DK route and drip some hydrochloric acid into the water to bring pH down to where you want it after adjusting your GH.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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How about adding something to bring up kh before air sponge if the desired ph is right from the RO?
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:50 PM   #6
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Also I forgot to mention, if you use hydrochloric acid, you probably have to dechlorinate after you add the acid.

Hydrochloric acid is also readily available at home Depot as "muriatic acid", will be in either with the solvents or cement. I don't know why, but my home Depot has it with the solvents.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:55 PM   #7
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Baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, is a good buffer. It raises the KH and hence the pH. You only need a KH of 1 or 2 to adequately buffer a tank so the pH rise shouldnt be that much.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:58 PM   #8
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So, if you raise the kh by 1 or two, would it hold if aerated?
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:02 PM   #9
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Yes, but raising the kH by 1 or 2 will also raise the pH of RO. The bring back down with hcl
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:04 PM   #10
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Peat, I found inconsistent in the fact that it's hard to filter the water through and have it come in contact with the exact amount of peat. I could take my tap water (ph/gh/kh), roughly 8/8/8 180TDS and get it down to 4/2/0 40 TDS with peat, which was too low, then you'd have to add tap water back and it was a mess to do. The second batch of water that when through my peat-filter would be like 5.5/4/1 80TDS, so that had to be mixed with less tap water. As you can see, lots of testing and mixing and it wasn't worth it in the end.

Currently, I'm keeping around 30 SSS's in just RO water with Salty Bee gH+. No buffering substrate, tank is 2/3 bare bottom, 1/3 flourite and some moss. pH is around 7 and breeding is doing good, babies everywhere.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:49 PM   #11
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i guess i luck out with my tap it has a kh of 2 and i never have a prob with ph swings. but then again i dont use ro water for any of my tanks.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordalphus View Post
Yes, but raising the kH by 1 or 2 will also raise the pH of RO. The bring back down with hcl
I'm not sure this works.

The intent of a buffer is to stabilize pH swings. The only way to change a buffered pH by adding HCL is to add enough HCL to deplete the buffer. Then you might as well not have had any buffer in the first place.

At least thats what I remember from college chemistry class.
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
By buffering, do you mean pH?

Without any sort of KH in the water, it's tough to 'set' pH anywhere. That's why buffering substrates are used.

There are lots of threads here on the forum about using things like peat in order to lower pH and such, so you may want to explore them.
Yes. I would like to maintain the pH. If remineralizing will be enough to buffer, as long as the pH doesn't rise above 7. pH, 6.8 would be perfect I think.

I was just wondering if this was doable. I am thinking hard about doing a nano tank, probably a 12" cube which would be around 7.5g, so if I'm better off with a substrate, I can probably swing that since one bag of whatever would be enough to do the tank twice over I think. But, all I want to keep are some tigers of some sort and maybe some yellow neos or really nice PFR's. So I don't want crazy low pH, mid 6 to 7 would be great.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:09 AM   #14
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Well if you want to keep tigers and neos, I wouldn't even worry about the pH, just adjust your GH and go!
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:29 AM   #15
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Agreed I have oebt breeding like wow in 7.4 ph gh 6 kh 3 tds 200 temp 68. Can't say on baby survival though, about a week and a half away from that. I have a feeling they will do alright though.
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