Tap Water pH and CO2 Nutr. Injector
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Old 12-05-2003, 05:47 PM   #1
Fat Guy
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Hi,


I've got a question. I live in the Boston area and the pH out of the tap is around 8.8 and my KH is about 2, or 34.6ppm.

I have a 29 gallon tank and I just purchased a CO2 injector (the Nutr. one from Big Als $24.99) and I was wondering about my CO2 levels. I had been treating my tank with pH down to get my pH to neutral before I bought the injector and now my pH is around 6.8. Now, I guess my question is, should I still add the pH down with each weekly 30% water change because my tap water pH is so ridiculously high? Will the pH down stuff screw up my ability to read the CO2 amounts in my water?

My CO2 injector has just started to crank out the bubbles routinely through the diffuser that it came with. I'm already seeing a slight difference in the growth of my Amazon Sword (which was pretty scrubby in the tank). I add liquid fertilizer every water change and have about five tabs of flourish excel in the substrate.

How should I approach achieving the desired CO2 levels? Is there a way to get my tank down to 6.5 pH so that my CO2 levels will be around 18 without messing up the readings?

Does this make sense? Just got my AGA 55 W compact strip light today. Can't wait to hook it up.

Also, kind of a Newb question too again...How long would you keep this light on for? 15 hours is what I've been doing with the old AquaGlo 20W and AquaGlo15W that are on the tank now.

Is 12 hours a day a good time to shoot for?

Sorry if this question is very routine

Thanks,

FG
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Old 12-05-2003, 05:53 PM   #2
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Give the CO2 time and let it drop the pH on its own. Don't treat your water for pH any more. As a matter of fact, do some water changes to help get rid of some of those pH buffers (probably phosphate based anyway).

12 hours is plenty. 15 hours is for an algae tank, not a planted tank.
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:08 PM   #3
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Thanks GCA.

I forgot to add those buffers last week. Do you know how long it takes for them to be removed from the water? I'll throw in another water change.

Quote:
12 hours is plenty. 15 hours is for an algae tank, not a planted tank.
8)

I know. I always keep it on too long after I get back from work.

I've just got to get off my butt and adjust the timer.

Again,

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:12 PM   #4
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yea, don't use anymore buffers....ime add buffers, BOOM algae explosion
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:21 PM   #5
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Done. No more buffers.
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:24 PM   #6
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hey Sam, is it safe to add that much cO2 to make the ph drop from 8.8 to 7???
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Old 12-05-2003, 06:35 PM   #7
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I'm going to gradually do the water changes to protect my fish. I don't know if the CO2 Injector can lower my pH that much. Is it possible?

It's this one




What about driftwood and tannins?
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Old 12-05-2003, 08:01 PM   #8
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Should I be worried about such a high pH being lowered only by CO2. In other words. Will my plants even be affected by the addition of CO2 in the water if the pH is 8.8 out of the tap and the KH is around 2 or 34.6ppm.

Just by looking at the CO2 Chart that compares pH and KH if my levels are so opposite, high pH, low KH, how should I manage the addition of CO2.

What will be the most beneficial for my plants? I guess is what I'm getting at.
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Old 12-05-2003, 08:07 PM   #9
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First off you need to test your tap water after it has rested for a minimum of 12 hours. I find it hard to believe that your tap water is a pH of 8.8 but only has a kH of 2. Do you know what the gH is?


If your water is as you say it is then starting at a pH of 8.8 with a kH of 2 and dropping it to 7.0 would be fine and still only give you a CO2 level of 6 ppm. Barely above equilibrium. You could go lower but doing so would make water changes harder. You would need to do almost daily 10% water changes to avoid stressing your fish. Don't use any buffers.
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Old 12-05-2003, 08:25 PM   #10
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You will probably still be CO2 limited for the Nutrafin unit you added is at the far limit of the tank volume it can handle. Those are great for 10 gallon tanks, good for 20 gallon tanks, but 29 may be pushing it.

Your low KH has me a bit worried. Normal biologic processes will use up the KH, lowering it over time, and as it falls below 2 degrees, your pH will tend to crash -- very bad for fish.

Rex is right, we need to know more about your tap water.
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Old 12-05-2003, 08:26 PM   #11
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Thanks Rex,

I'll do that.


I called the water company and they told me that my tap water was 8.9ph
and a hardness of 14.3ppm


I tested the water straight out of the tap and the pH was 8.8 and the hardness was 34.6ppm

I haven't, however, let the water sit for 12 hours then tested it. I will do that.

I believe that GH is general hardness and is the measure of primarily calcium (Ca++) and magnesium (Mg++) ions in the water.

Am I wrong?

KH is the measure of bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO3--) ions in the water.

This is what I've been lead to believe.
I'm not an expert about these things and would like to know if I'm on the right path.

I converted the GH to KH using chuck's web page and that's how I got to 2 for my water hardness.

If the water out of my tap was 14.3 ppm, then my hardness would be 0.8.

If you don't believe me then you can give the boston water and sewer commision a call and ask them.

Of course, I imagine that when the water actually gets to my pipes it is not the same as the reading that they told me they took in september, however, I don't expect it to be that different. When I first got into finding out what was in my water, I called them first, then tested it myself and compared. That's how I've come to my numbers. If waiting 12 hours will make a difference for the test, then I'll give it a shot. I hope it makes a difference.

Let me know what I should do next here. How do I lower my pH with my CO2. I don't know how to do that. I know that CO2 will lower your pH,

but I have that cheap system from big Als. My aquarium lid is not airtight sealed, but it has a glass lid. The bubbles are flowing fast.

What do you think?
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Old 12-05-2003, 08:29 PM   #12
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I will take a sample of my water and let it sit for 12 hours.
Then test it and get back to you guys. Probably this weekend.

Does that sound like a start?
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Old 12-06-2003, 01:15 AM   #13
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I find those numbers very hard to believe. Normally with a pH of 8.9 you would expect to see kH in the mid to high teens and pretty much the same with gH. One would expect water with a kH of 2 to actually come in around 7.4 for a pH. Ok, I checked on the web and Boston pretty much hides the total water quality. For the city of Portland OR they have the whole report available on the web. Hardness and everything. But what I found is that Boston is treating the water to preserve pipes. That means they are raising the pH with some type of buffer. I wonder what they are using?
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Old 12-06-2003, 01:24 AM   #14
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Ok, I found the full water quality report. It's pretty interesting reading. Total calcium seems to run in the 5000-5100 ppm range. Hardness seems to run in the range of 16 ppm. They are really screwing with that water. As it enters the treatment plant it has a pH of 7.0-7.3 when it leaves it's around 9.0-9.5, calcium doubles, magnesium doubles, hardness doubles. But I still wonder what they using to raise the pH?
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Old 12-06-2003, 03:59 AM   #15
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So....am I screwed? Should I raise th gh with baking soda? I tested my tank water and it has a gh of 53.7ppm. I have a brand new Freshwater Kit from aquarium pharmaceuticals and three drops changed the color from orange to green. My pH is 7.6 in that tank as well. I've only added 6.8grams of sodium biphosphate since september. My last addition of 1g sodium biphosphate was two weeks ago. I've done two 30% water changes since then. Is it still in the system messing with my gh readings?

I have plants in all my tanks that are growing. They aren't flourishing, but they are growing. My 29g has the nutrafin CO2 injector that's been in there for four days. I have a 55 W compact power strip on it now that I just got.

What do you think my next step should be to set up my tank and still keep my fish living? It's been 5 hours since I filled a glass with tap water out of the sink. I haven't tested it yet, I'm gonna wait till the morning.

Recap:

Am I screwed for flourishing plants and fish (I don't want to do daily water changes, if I did, I'd keep discus (not with my pH though))?

Should I add baking soda to raise the kH.

If my numbers aren't messed in my 29g, then I should have:

CO2 2.261

Raise water hardness?
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