CO2/pH Balance for this Dummy - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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CO2/pH Balance for this Dummy

How do I balance CO2 and pH?

Start:
pH @ 7.6+ . . . too high and plants need CO2!

inject CO2, pH goes down. When pH is 6.8. everybody is happy. (KH @ 4ppm)

turn off CO2 so pH doesn't keep going down (at least I'm afraid it will! )

Next day or so . . . pH goes back up again. . . . Of course it does.

Go back to Start? Ahh . . . No. This is not how it's supposed to work.

What am I missing?


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 11:20 PM
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Turn CO2 on two hours before lights on.
Target a 1.0 pH drop during the photo period.

Repeat next day!

Carbonic acid does not destroy the carbonates in your tank.
It is too weak of an acid.

Steady every day during photo period will be a key factor.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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How does a KH factor into this +/- pH yo-yo?
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZuppaDePesce View Post
How does a KH factor into this +/- pH yo-yo?
It really doesn't and the charts are just a guess.
Using modified RODI water pretty much renders them useless.

KH IMO plays a bigger role in more difficult softer/acidic water species of plants.
As long as a KH of 1 is present a pH crash should not happen.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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It really doesn't and the charts are just a guess.
Using modified RODI water pretty much renders them useless.

KH IMO plays a bigger role in more difficult softer/acidic water species of plants.
As long as a KH of 1 is present a pH crash should not happen.
Interesting. I am avoiding phosphates as a buffer, so I can rely on "the charts" to determine my CO2 levels. What else can I do? Even if the charts are a guess and I just want to get into the ballpark, I don't want my pH going below 6.8. The chart would suggest a KH around 5 or 6. This way I have, at my lowest pH level during the CO2 injection phase during the day, a good CO2 level. Something like that I could live with.


Considering what your are helping me understand, then I have a new question:
How do I narrow a 1 degree pH swing between day and night? That seems like a lot!
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ZuppaDePesce View Post
Interesting. I am avoiding phosphates as a buffer, so I can rely on "the charts" to determine my CO2 levels. What else can I do? Even if the charts are a guess and I just want to get into the ballpark, I don't want my pH going below 6.8. The chart would suggest a KH around 5 or 6. This way I have, at my lowest pH level during the CO2 injection phase during the day, a good CO2 level. Something like that I could live with.


Considering what your are helping me understand, then I have a new question:
How do I narrow a 1 degree pH swing between day and night? That seems like a lot!

De-gas a sample of your tank water, an airstone in a cup for 30 minutes and test.
This will be your high pH level of your water.
Test your tank pH 3 hour into the photo-period (5 hours of CO2).
Subtract 3 hour test from de-gassed sample to target the 1.0 pH drop.

If you are hung up on pH due to "phish" not handling it well, phish are more sensitive to GH & KH swings.
CO2 injection will not affect GH & KH.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
De-gas a sample of your tank water, an airstone in a cup for 30 minutes and test.
This will be your high pH level of your water.
Test your tank pH 3 hour into the photo-period (5 hours of CO2).
Subtract 3 hour test from de-gassed sample to target the 1.0 pH drop.

If you are hung up on pH due to "phish" not handling it well, phish are more sensitive to GH & KH swings.
CO2 injection will not affect GH & KH.
Love it. Thank you. I will do as you suggest this weekend!



I guess it's not going so bad . . . I just found three more Colombian Tetra fry!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 01:09 AM
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Love it. Thank you. I will do as you suggest this weekend!

I guess it's not going so bad . . . I just found three more Colombian Tetra fry!
I'm only offering my observations here, maybe others will chime in too!
Hope this helps. Keep all readers posted. Enjoy!


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 01:15 AM
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+1 on Maryland Guppy points. I would suggest investing in a pocket ph probe if you are not currently using one. The test tube liquid style is just not accurate enough to really dial it in.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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+1 on Maryland Guppy points. I would suggest investing in a pocket ph probe if you are not currently using one. The test tube liquid style is just not accurate enough to really dial it in.
Oh geeze . . . how do you know me? If I do that then I'll really be chasing the numbers! I don't want to do that . . . I love data too much. (am I the only one with an Excel spreadsheet of my water tests??)
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 01:31 AM
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(am I the only one with an Excel spreadsheet of my water tests??)
No, you are not the only one!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-09-2018, 08:18 PM
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Nope got mine going back for over a year


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No Guilt in Life...
No Fear in Death!!!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 03:54 PM
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I love data too much. (am I the only one with an Excel spreadsheet of my water tests??)
Not even close.

I've got a large data sheet tracking pretty much everything in my tank for the past several years.

I'd be lost without it, as I simply can't remember what I was doing when. Really helps to look back and spot trends and make good decisions.

Little discussed but important part of the hobby to me.
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