pH Theory from a Biologist - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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pH Theory from a Biologist

This is going to be a controversial topic, but my goal is to help you all simplify the topic of pH because it is overthought remarkably.
If I told you that you didn’t need to worry about it, would that help make this hobby a little bit less of a headache for you?

Basically, you should be as worried about pH as you should be worried about pOH, and who worries about pOH? NO ONE DOES!(:

pH is a water parameter that shows the result of something. Ex: due to the addition of a fertilizer, it may change depending on the properties of that fert being more basic or acidic, but will always head back to it’s ideal 7.0. Same story about adding CO2, all we are doing is adding carbonic acid. This doesn’t affect as much as some research would leave you to believe.

If you’re hesitant to believe my research, just remember how much the pH varies within your own body. I’ve attached a chart for your consideration.

Time for the [censored][censored][censored][censored]-storm, even though this helps every single one of you lol
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 04:56 PM
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Actually, I am very interested in this topic and would appreciate a good conversation about it.
Can you please give a link to your research.


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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 04:58 PM
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I can't wait for your next post on why people don't need to do water changes hahaha!!!!!!

Very interesting aquarium in your image though lol....

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Haven’t published it yet.

Definitely do water changes! Our aquariums aren’t rivers! They need fresh water 🙂 (but yes, tap water with some prime is fine, as long as you don’t let the minerals (GH/KH) build up over time)
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 08:05 PM
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I'm curious how the pH inside our bodies relates to pH that would surround us in water. Our stomach, for example, is an organ designed for digestion and can safely(usually) house acid. Our skin, being exposed to that...
If I go swimming in a pool with a pH of 7, I'll be fine. If I go swimming in a pool with a pH of 1.5, my skin will melt off, my muscles will dissolve, and my bones will break down. I'd be swimming in hydrochloric acid! These are obviously extremes, but what our internal structures are designed to handle is not the same as what our external structure is designed to sustain.

That being said, I think many of us are starting to see that pH doesn't have as big of an impact on our livestock as was previously believed. I don't think it's prudent though to post a claim and then tell us your research isn't published, essentially coming to the table with nothing to offer or backup your claims.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 08:23 PM
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pH + pOH = 14............

So we already measure it..

https://www.khanacademy.org/science/...d-the-ph-scale
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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pH in our blood around the stomach can get as low as 5 after a heavy meal. This is published research. The blood cells are fine in that acidic solution. I’m not saying to dump battery acid or toilet bowl cleaner in your tank, but I’m saying given usual parameters it’s not something to worry about. If you do end up testing it, and it comes back with a screwy result, look at other factors.

The point is: pH is the result of something, not the cause.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 10:53 PM
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If you haven't published your findings yet, are there other published works that you can direct us to that you have utilized in putting your research together?
Thank you.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmach View Post
...Same story about adding CO2, all we are doing is adding carbonic acid. This doesn’t affect as much as some research would leave you to believe.
Can you clarify what you mean here as it applies to a planted tank.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 11:12 PM
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No links, no references, unsourced pic of the human body (lol??), and can't show research, yet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmach View Post
this helps every single one of you lol
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 11:54 PM
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Not worried here. I have tanks that range from a pH of 5.5 to 7.4. The biological system adapts.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:08 AM
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I think that most of us here have long known that pH changes don't matter and are just a reflection of something else that may not be desirable, i.e.; a pH change (if not due to CO2) is more of an early warning system. What we used to think of as pH shock, is now acknowledged to be TDS shock as, I think, you may have been alluding to with the comment on GH.

We do know that pH below about 6 begins to stall BB and, in my case, I have been counting upon that in order to slow the nitrogen cycle and give my plants more access to earlier nitrogen forms. In a lightly planted tank, though, a pH held below 6 might become a problem if NH3 and NO2 build-up results. That's the only 'danger' I can see.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:30 AM
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In a lightly planted tank, though, a pH held below 6 might become a problem if NH3 and NO2 build-up results. That's the only 'danger' I can see.
Even then, NH3 will be in the form of NH4, so not really much of a concern there either... unless you do large water changes with water that is neutral in pH.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:37 AM
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I don't think this is much in the way of news or a surprise to most.

Experienced aquarium keepers learn this from observing their own tanks.

Fish are highly adaptable, and can thrive in a variety of pH levels.

Plants too, that is if you are lowering pH via CO2. High pH via high KH is another story, and does have some effect on some plants.

In general pH in and of itself is of little concern, as there are twenty things more important to keeping a successful aquarium.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
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there are twenty things more important to keeping a successful aquarium.
Just twenty?
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