PH dropping too low at night. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-11-2017, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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PH dropping too low at night.

I have a 6.5 gallon high tech, Co2 solenoid injected, aquasoil Amazonia, EI dosed heavily planted tank with Boraras and I've been watching my PH with a meter the past week to fix a problem I've been having.

I noticed the PH of my tank water in a cup outside the tank (without Co2) is 7.0 (same as the RO water I use), during the day the 8 hour injected Co2 lowers that down to 6.05 (Co2 comes on 30 min before lights off and turns off an hour before lights off).

Between lights/Co2 off in the evening and in the morning when I wake up the PH has dropped from the Co2 lowered 6.05 down to 5.20s! When the light comes back on the PH rises again. I know this is because the plants release Co2 at night but my drop checker doesn't change at all over night to reflect this happening. The fishes gills are moving more rapidly in the morning too and sometimes they are gasping at the surface (plenty of rippling flow and I have a surface skimmer). Turning on the light almost immediately solves the problem cause plants start using up Co2 instead and fish start breathing slowly again. I'm already using a solenoid what else can I do to keep it from going this low? I've been experiencing nitrite mini spikes (low ph affecting bacteria maybe) along with the lower ph swings the past few weeks and it's been exhausting the crap out of me with lots of 30-50% WCs (carry 5 gallon tubs back and forth with my car) and even drove home from work one day to save all my fish. Normal for ph to drop this low after Co2 injection at night?
Any thoughts? Thanks
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post #2 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 03:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chel-dorado View Post
I have a 6.5 gallon high tech, Co2 solenoid injected, aquasoil Amazonia, EI dosed heavily planted tank with Boraras and I've been watching my PH with a meter the past week to fix a problem I've been having.

I noticed the PH of my tank water in a cup outside the tank (without Co2) is 7.0 (same as the RO water I use), during the day the 8 hour injected Co2 lowers that down to 6.05 (Co2 comes on 30 min before lights off and turns off an hour before lights off).

Between lights/Co2 off in the evening and in the morning when I wake up the PH has dropped from the Co2 lowered 6.05 down to 5.20s! When the light comes back on the PH rises again. I know this is because the plants release Co2 at night but my drop checker doesn't change at all over night to reflect this happening. The fishes gills are moving more rapidly in the morning too and sometimes they are gasping at the surface (plenty of rippling flow and I have a surface skimmer). Turning on the light almost immediately solves the problem cause plants start using up Co2 instead and fish start breathing slowly again. I'm already using a solenoid what else can I do to keep it from going this low? I've been experiencing nitrite mini spikes (low ph affecting bacteria maybe) along with the lower ph swings the past few weeks and it's been exhausting the crap out of me with lots of 30-50% WCs (carry 5 gallon tubs back and forth with my car) and even drove home from work one day to save all my fish. Normal for ph to drop this low after Co2 injection at night?
Any thoughts? Thanks
What is your KH level? Low level could cause PH swings. When you say plenty of ripping how much are you talking? You should be off gassing most of the night causing almost all to be gone by the time the co2 comes back on. How long is your co2 off for? I would either use a airstone or another powerhead ripping the surface pretty hard after co2 is off. This will help off gas the co2 more.

Its not the plants releasing co2 at night but its the off gassing causing the co2 to leave the tank. The more surface movement the more will off gas.

Also your aquasoil Amazonia will try and buffer your ph to what level I am not sure as I do not have experience with it so hopefully others chime in but this could be causing your PH to swing like this especially if you have very low KH. What is your KH level?? Remember the less it is the more it can cause ph swings.
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post #3 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 04:27 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chel-dorado View Post
I have a 6.5 gallon high tech, Co2 solenoid injected, aquasoil Amazonia, EI dosed heavily planted tank with Boraras and I've been watching my PH with a meter the past week to fix a problem I've been having.

I noticed the PH of my tank water in a cup outside the tank (without Co2) is 7.0 (same as the RO water I use), during the day the 8 hour injected Co2 lowers that down to 6.05 (Co2 comes on 30 min before lights off and turns off an hour before lights off).

Between lights/Co2 off in the evening and in the morning when I wake up the PH has dropped from the Co2 lowered 6.05 down to 5.20s! When the light comes back on the PH rises again. I know this is because the plants release Co2 at night but my drop checker doesn't change at all over night to reflect this happening. The fishes gills are moving more rapidly in the morning too and sometimes they are gasping at the surface (plenty of rippling flow and I have a surface skimmer). Turning on the light almost immediately solves the problem cause plants start using up Co2 instead and fish start breathing slowly again. I'm already using a solenoid what else can I do to keep it from going this low? I've been experiencing nitrite mini spikes (low ph affecting bacteria maybe) along with the lower ph swings the past few weeks and it's been exhausting the crap out of me with lots of 30-50% WCs (carry 5 gallon tubs back and forth with my car) and even drove home from work one day to save all my fish. Normal for ph to drop this low after Co2 injection at night?
Any thoughts? Thanks
What is your KH level? Low level could cause PH swings. When you say plenty of ripping how much are you talking? You should be off gassing most of the night causing almost all to be gone by the time the co2 comes back on. How long is your co2 off for? I would either use a airstone or another powerhead ripping the surface pretty hard after co2 is off. This will help off gas the co2 more.

Its not the plants releasing co2 at night but its the off gassing causing the co2 to leave the tank. The more surface movement the more will off gas.

Also your aquasoil Amazonia will try and buffer your ph to what level I am not sure as I do not have experience with it so hopefully others chime in but this could be causing your PH to swing like this especially if you have very low KH. What is your KH level?? Remember the less it is the more it can cause ph swings.
Haha sorry I meant surface rippling / agitation. I run two small eheims and have a surface skimmer AND run a AC adaptor computer cooling fan across the top 24/7 and have an inline chiller so no problem there.

GH is between 3-6
KH is always 0 cause of the aquasoil removes it.

I've read as much as I can on this forum about worrying about KH, PH and CO2 injection and looks like the consensus leans toward not over worrying about it and the GH minerals and KH levels matter more but some people agree or disagree with use of crushed coral or baking soda cause they cause problems with PH swinging and CO2. Such a messy balance.

My Light/CO2 schedule

Co2 on at 11:30 am (any earlier fish start gasping cause it's a small tank)

Lights start ramping on between noon and 12:30 pm

Co2 reactor off at 7:00 pm
(Switching from reactor to inline ceramic atomizer this coming week because of issues with Co2 being trapped in the reactor over night and insufficient flow, but I "burp" the leftover co2 out of the reactor ever night now and this doesn't stop the PH drop.)

Lights start ramping off from 8 to 8:15 pm

So the lights are off from 8:15 pm till noon the next day. Does seem like a while but I'm afraid to run the light longer than 8 hours cause I've been slowly winning a rhizoclonoum algae battle and don't want to bring it back. I'll emergency turn one light on ignore fish are gasping and it solves it then i turn into off after an hour till lights on at noon

Recent PH meter results (calibrated in a Lab at my work):

Monday through Friday:
6.7 PH before co2 came on
5.5-5.7 after co2 ran for 8 hours

Saturday:
6.05 PH before CO2
(Cleaned canister filters-tank water only rinsed and new tubing added fresh small pyrogens bag and nothing else but a water change to the tank)
PH dropped to 5.5 during the day

Sunday (today):
Woke up to PH 5.27
PH 5.17 drop as day went on

Tested PH meter on clean RO water and seemed to work ok. Will recheck in lab at work tomorrow but I'm pretty sure the problem isnt the meter.

I've never seen it drop this low.
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post #4 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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I might try a few small water changes throughout the week and see if it raises the PH and see if the PH stays later after the WC.
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post #5 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 05:15 AM
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With Aquasoil buffering down,+R/O,+ CO2 injection, I'm not sure problem would be unexpected.?
What is tap water GH,KH ? If the tap water is moderate to hard,I might try mixing it with R/O in a bucket to get the right mix.
Lot's of folk's claim they NEED R/O water (wish I had a dollar) ,while other's use it cause someone told them they needed it.
If your neighbor's can drink the water from the tap,animal's can drink it,fish store maybe uses it, then you can keep fishes in it.
Just need to select the right ones for GH.
Can also maybe decrease light intensity with shading or raising the light fixture? and this would allow you to decrease CO2 level's a little at a time till fishes are more comfortable.
Another option in such a small tank is to tear it down and replace the substrate with inert substrate,or soil perhaps.
something that does not influence the water to such a degree.
With EI dosing mentioned,,a lack of nutrient's from the substrate would not be too big an issue from plant's perspective.
They will happily draw nutrient's from the water column and or substrate.
My two cent's.
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post #6 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 05:18 AM
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Are you using a bubble counter and can verify that the solenoid is shutting completely off?

What PSI are you running your Co2 at? If your running at 35-40 psi and have a longer run of tubing it can continue to add Co2 for quite some time after the solenoid shuts off. You can try bleeding the Co2 line itself to ensure all pressure is out. Or disconnect the Co2 line from the bubble counter after it shuts off and see if that makes a difference. Also soap the bubble counter output to check if your solenoid is leaking when it shuts off.

Your KH with a PH of 7 would be 1 not exactly testable unless you double the volume tested and count each drop as .5 and should not be an issue. There are 2 kinds of nitrifying bacteria, aerobic and anaerobic. I'm not sure about anaerobic bacteria but yes at a PH of 5.5 you can definitely affect the aerobic bacteria causing mini cycles, PH's below 6 inhibit aerobic nitrifying bacteria (see link) Nitrifying Bacteria Facts If your PH without Co2 is 7 then I would be shooting for a PH about 6 (about 30ppm) and that should be plenty sufficient for plants while not wreaking havoc on your nitrifying bacteria and fish.

Just my thoughts and opinions.

Dan
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post #7 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadmaster View Post
With Aquasoil buffering down,+R/O,+ CO2 injection, I'm not sure problem would be unexpected.?
What is tap water GH,KH ? If the tap water is moderate to hard,I might try mixing it with R/O in a bucket to get the right mix.
Lot's of folk's claim they NEED R/O water (wish I had a dollar) ,while other's use it cause someone told them they needed it.
If your neighbor's can drink the water from the tap,animal's can drink it,fish store maybe uses it, then you can keep fishes in it.
Just need to select the right ones for GH.
Can also maybe decrease light intensity with shading or raising the light fixture? and this would allow you to decrease CO2 level's a little at a time till fishes are more comfortable.
Another option in such a small tank is to tear it down and replace the substrate with inert substrate,or soil perhaps.
something that does not influence the water to such a degree.
With EI dosing mentioned,,a lack of nutrient's from the substrate would not be too big an issue from plant's perspective.
They will happily draw nutrient's from the water column and or substrate.
My two cent's.
The tap water here is Very hard (GH is too high) and causes unsightly unremovable hard water residue on aquarium glass and also has high level of phosphate that cause algae in aquariums (know from experience using it). Also I use re mineralized RO water so I can add what I want to the tank without over dosing trace elements because I know what's in it already. The tap water is unknown and untestable for somethings and fluctuates on a daily basis leading to who knows what bad thing could happen. I prefer RO water so I can control what's in it. I've tested the RO water PH and it's ok before being added to the tank.

I agree with the inert substrate part but since I've re-scaped this tank twice in the past year and leave for two week vacation in August i don't want anymore dramatic changes to the tank for now. I am setting up a new tank just using inert sands so I'll definitely get to see If that frees me from aquasoil drama or not haha.
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post #8 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dman911 View Post
Are you using a bubble counter and can verify that the solenoid is shutting completely off?

What PSI are you running your Co2 at? If your running at 35-40 psi and have a longer run of tubing it can continue to add Co2 for quite some time after the solenoid shuts off. You can try bleeding the Co2 line itself to ensure all pressure is out. Or disconnect the Co2 line from the bubble counter after it shuts off and see if that makes a difference. Also soap the bubble counter output to check if your solenoid is leaking when it shuts off.

Your KH with a PH of 7 would be 1 not exactly testable unless you double the volume tested and count each drop as .5 and should not be an issue. There are 2 kinds of nitrifying bacteria, aerobic and anaerobic. I'm not sure about anaerobic bacteria but yes at a PH of 5.5 you can definitely affect the aerobic bacteria causing mini cycles, PH's below 6 inhibit aerobic nitrifying bacteria (see link) Nitrifying Bacteria Facts If your PH without Co2 is 7 then I would be shooting for a PH about 6 (about 30ppm) and that should be plenty sufficient for plants while not wreaking havoc on your nitrifying bacteria and fish.

Just my thoughts and opinions.

Dan
I run a paintball co2 rig with a custom built reg using a Fabco needle valve and a brass bubble counter. No leaks in the system. I use to have longer tubing between things but shortened it all after a while to solve that issue. The co2 runs inline under the tank right next to the filter so the tubing can be really short. Metal check valve 2 inches before the diffuser/reactor. I always check it at night at different times and morning and it never leaks and bubble counter never leaking bubbles past an hour before lights out in the evening.

The paintball tank runs around 60 PSI and the line to the needle valve and reactor is 35 PSI. The tank will last 6-8 months before the pressure drops. Then I refill it before it starts becoming inconsistent cause it'll cause algae problems.

I realize that I should drop PH from around 7 to 6 with objecting CO2. My point with this post is saying that my PH is mysteriously going even lower than that the past couple days for No reason and I've even turned my co2 down and PH continues to go down. I haven't added anything new to the filter or tank other than a few new plants that are transitioning (I remove dead leaves in a daily basis to keep things stable)

Around 6.8-7.0 down to 6.05 is usually what my PH does with CO2 injection but changed regardless of lowered co2 bps. And drops occur over night and into the morning. As in I'm not choosing for this to happen by blasting CO2 too high :/
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post #9 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 11:39 AM
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If you are suspecting overly high CO2 levels at night then run an airstone.
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post #10 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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If you are suspecting overly high CO2 levels at night then run an airstone.
I agree but my drop checker is darker green/blue color at night so PH swing doesn't seem to be caused by It.
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post #11 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
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I just re calibrated my PH meter and it was off by .19 which could change things a little. My RO water filter at work read 7.0 dead on but the PH I measured of my seachem equilibrium boosted RO water plastic tub read close to 10.0. Seems odd. Sitting in plastic tub too long affect PH?
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post #12 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Also read my PH after lights out yesterday and it wasn't 5.7-5.8 range and this morning it was 5.8-5.9 (after a 20% water change) so that's definitely an improvement over 5.17 I picked up yesterday morning. I'll re check with the re calibrated meter after work. Whatever random fluke caused the super low PH is beyond me burn hopefully won't come continue. I don't want anymore nitrite mini spikes. It gets tiring dealing with it and I'm stressed out 24/7.
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post #13 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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I honestly would not care that much about these swings If I didn't have fish in there. Trying to keep it consistent between 6-7 with a school of chili rasboras. I don't overfeed and only feed a little bit and test for nitrite/nitrate almost every day and twice a day lately cause of the problems I've been having.
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post #14 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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I keep forgetting to clarify, I'm really sorry for all my wordy responses! When I re calibrated the PH meter it read the lab grade 7.0 PH test solution as 7.19 so I had to lower it back down to 7.0 to calibrate. Which means I was reading higher than it actually was...... scary?!!
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post #15 of 45 (permalink) Old 06-12-2017, 03:16 PM
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Here is what you need to do to get consistent readings of everything at the times that matter. Forget the PH pen and use the good old fashioned api ph test. Take a test as soon as lights come on. Take a KH reading at same time to get your co2 level. Then as soon as co2 gets turned off do the same thing. Although you should not need to take another KH test as it should be the same. Then 4 hours later take another PH test from your API ph test kit. It seems that your ph pen is not right and at this point I would not trust it. Do this the old fashioned way but you will know its more accurate. As long as your co2 is getting shut off and you are having surface movement as you say then there is NO way you would have this much co2 in the tank by the time co2 turns back on. Sorry to say but your testing is OFF.
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