Lowering pH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 12:22 AM Thread Starter
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Lowering pH

I'm looking for some advice on lowering my pH in my freshwater planted tank. My pH out of the tap is around 8.5. I've been doing small changes with RO water (didn't want to change the pH too much at one time) and then did a 50% water change with just RO water but my pH is still at 8! (frustrating) I would rather not do peat...mainly looking to do a mix of RO and tap (but have yet to achieve the lower pH). I have cardinal tetras and looking to get some rams.

Should I do a larger water change with the RO water? If so, do I need to use the Kent RO Right with it then or will the tap that's already in there act as a buffer? I'm just using RO water from the grocery store..not sure where else I can purchase that (not looking to buy an RO unit at this time).

Thanks for all of your help!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 01:42 AM
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Do you test GH and KH?
RO Right will raise your readings Including pH.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 02:41 AM
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i use these things. they work well for me

http://www.petco.com/product/4134/Ju...k-Buddies.aspx


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 02:57 AM
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Have you checked the pH of the tap water after it sits out in the open over night? Sometimes the pH will drop quite a bit, but sometimes it goes up too. I think you would do far better to just use tap water, and ignore the pH. Fish adapt very well to any pH, far better than they can adapt to major changes in TDS and KH that result from treating the water to change its pH.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 03:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Have you checked the pH of the tap water after it sits out in the open over night? Sometimes the pH will drop quite a bit, but sometimes it goes up too. I think you would do far better to just use tap water, and ignore the pH. Fish adapt very well to any pH, far better than they can adapt to major changes in TDS and KH that result from treating the water to change its pH.
I agree. Plants and nursery raised fish will adapt to just about any pH your tap can throw at you. Once your tank has been established for some time the pH will naturally drop so I wouldn't mess with it now, especially at the risk of depleting your calcium/magnesium level with RO water. I don't even test for pH anymore, just general hardness and KH. I get better growth in tanks with hard water, even with soft water plants. I believe soft water plants are just plants that have adapted to less than idea soft water environments. Given the proper hardness they usually thrive.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 03:38 AM
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if your looking for lower PH without a major chemistry project I'm suprised you hav'nt considered peat under your substrate or maybe the ADA substrates ??

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the replies!

I completely started over with the tank and went to a low light planted tank. It's been up and running for about 3 months so I would assume the pH is stable at the 8.0 at this point. I have Eco Complete as the substrate, 2 anubias and a bunch of crypts. I didn't want to mess with the substrate since everything is well set. I've lost some Cardinal Tetras along the way and the ones I do have left seem stressed. That was my main reason for trying to lower the pH. I want them to be happy! I have 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites and 0 ammonia. My GH and KH is through the roof so that's why I'm assuming my little guys aren't happy.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2010, 08:03 PM
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Agree with Hoppy!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2010, 02:48 AM
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What temperature is the tank? Cardinals like it warm. Maybe your heater is having a problem?
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2010, 04:20 AM
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Fish want low GH, the pH is not the issue. Cardinal Tetras, for example can get a build up of calcium in their system and die. GH measures Ca (and Mg), pH does not.
Repeat your experiment with RO, but measure the GH and ignore the pH. If the GH out of the tap is so high you might end up with around 75% RO and 25% tap water to drop the GH enough for these fish.
Then add peat moss to the filter.

Once you find the right recipe introduce the change slowly. The goal is to change the GH by not more than 2 degrees at a time, less is probably safer. You could make such a change twice a week. Give the fishes' metabolisms a chance to adapt to the reduced TDS.
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