Once going pressurized, where to set pH? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Once going pressurized, where to set pH?

I've been running DIY co2 in my 100g since I set it up about 10 months ago, but I'm planning on going pressurized very soon, within the next month or two.
Because I've been using DIY co2, I'm sure the co2 content of the water, and the tank's pH, have been all over the map. My tap water pH is 8-8.2, so any added water during water changes, and my tank water when my DIY co2 runs out, is probably at or near that pH. The pressurized system I'm getting will have a pH controller, so I need to know at what pH reading I should set it, and what should it not drop below or climb above?

I'll test my current pH level and post it below.
Thanks!

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 04:05 AM Thread Starter
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My pH is currently at 6.6 or 6.8. Is that quite a drop??? Is it something I should be concerned about if I'm adding water with a pH of 8-8.2 ever week?

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 05:04 AM
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Hey Wonder Woman, it would help if you can tell us what the KH is.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 06:07 AM
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Just use the ph/kh/C02 chart and set your C02 to 30ppm

http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/kh-ph-co2-chart.html

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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ATM, I'm not sure, but the water's pretty hard. It has been 9.5 in the past. We have pretty hard water down here in So Cal. And I just tested my tap water- it's at 7.8 right now.

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 07:41 AM
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My KH in Laguna Beach is 4--I doubt yours is 7.8

John P.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 12:37 PM
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When testing tap water pH you must let the water sit for a minimum of 12 hours. And many times 24 hours is best. Also if you don't know your kH you are sitting your self up for a disaster. You have to know the kH to be able to determine how much CO2 is in your system. Just picking a pH is dangerous. Also if your tap water is hard and you are topping off the tank with tap water you are constantly raising the kH, gH, and TDS. You should only top off the tank with RO or distilled water.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 08:45 PM Thread Starter
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John P.-
Let me clarify- the pH of my tap water is at 7.8 right now. In the past, it has been at 8-8.2.
The kH of my planted tank in the past has been at 9.5. I just tested it right now, and it's 12.5 (12 and 1/2 drops to turn solution from blue to yellow). I live in Anaheim, our water supply might be completely different from Laguna Beach.
Rex Grigg-
I appreciate the concern, and I will definitely start testing on a more regular basis once I go pressurized. I haven't in the past because I have very little co2 (DIY, 1 1-gal. jug for a 100g tank), and haven't had any problems with my water quality. As for topping off the tank, I don't. I don't need to because I don't have evaporation of a noticeable amount. I do water changes, during which I remove about 20-25% of the tank water every week, and replace with tap water. Lots of other people with planted tanks do the same thing. I have neither the money nor the time nor the space for an r.o. unit, and if having a planted tank means I MUST have one, then I'm in the wrong hobby. You have to draw the line on fancy equipment somewhere.
I have also read that distilled water is best only for soft-water plants and fish, and is not as good as tap water because it does not contain trace elements or essential minerals.

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-31-2004, 11:39 PM
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If you are in a situation where you need to top off your tank, like I do every few days, and you have hard water then you are increasing the hardness and TDS when you add more water. You are losing pure H2O to evaporation and then adding more minerals with the WC.

My 55 gallon tank loses about 5-10 gallons a week. But then again I no longer need to run a humidifier for my birds during the winter.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-02-2005, 12:09 AM Thread Starter
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Rex-
The only time I've needed to top off my tank was during this summer, when I had fans cooling off the water surface. It got pretty hot without them (our a.c. wasn't functioning). I know how important it is if you have hard water NOT to let those minerals, calcium, etc. accumulate. But like I said, I do weekly water changes of 20-25%, so I think I'm okay. I've seen what that stuff in our tap water can do to faucets, not to mention the cover glass of my tank! Nasty stuff.

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-05-2005, 03:26 AM
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Wonder woman:

Congrats on stepping up to pressurized!

Find yourself one of those CO2 charts floating around on the web (I'm sure that they are even on this site). Assuming that you're not using any kind of weird buffers in your water then go ahead and locate your tanks KH on the chart. Follow this over to the CO2 PPM range of 30 and then look at what the PH it is under. This is the PH that you will want to set your controller at.

For the sake of your fish do frequent KH tests, clean and calibrate regularly. Remember the controller is not set to maintain C02 levels, it is set to hold a PH level. If you KH is rising your controller doesn't know that (It will just see a higher PH)and will be having to put more and more CO2 to maintain the PH you set it at. If unchecked you can get the PPM of Co2 at lethal levels, so not something to be paranoid about, but just something to watch out for and be aware of.

It raises a flag in my mind when I read that your KH is normally 9.5 and now it's 12.5. Perhaps it is just a fluctuation of your source water, which is ok if compensated for, but I'd be concerned that something is in your tank that is causing the KH to rise or it's rising from what Rex is talking about. Can you check that your KH from your water source is the same as your tank. If not then something is causing the KH to rise in your tank and if I were you I'd look into it or else you'll be constantly having to re-adjust your PH setting to match the new KH readings.

Jeff
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-05-2005, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Jeff-
Unfortunately, haven't gone pressurized...yet. But it is imminent, my goal for this year is to have pressurized co2, and increase my lighting from 2.4 wpg to 3.5 or thereabouts. The co2 will come first, as it is the most affordable, probably in the next couple of months. The lighting will take lots more $$, as I need to buy a canopy, and then several retrofit kits, probably 2 96's and 2 65's.
Let me clarify about the kh. The last reading I recorded in my journal was 9.5, but that was a few months ago. I'll admit I haven't done much testing since then. When I did test again the other day, the kh was 12.5. I would say probably that that is due to the source water. I don't think there's anyTHING in my tank that's raising my kh level (no strange rocks or anything), and I don't think I have a build up, because I don't have to "top off" the tank. I just do weekly water changes of about 20%. That wouldn't cause a build up, or would it?

I haven't been doing my tests until now because my tank's very low-tech, and in the 10 or so months I've had the tank set up, I haven't had any plant, water, or fish problems. I know some would say that's flirting with disaster. And I hate the unpredictability of DIY co2, but that's why I'm so determined to go pressurized.

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 02:00 AM
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OK, it sounds like your on the right track, but I don't know about your KH readings of your tap water they just seem off for some reason. If indeed your source water's KH fluctuates so much, I would get in the habit of testing it before adding it to the PH controlled tank; however, in your current situation it's not that big of a deal because the CO2 levels are not linked to the KH levels like they are with a PH controlled system. The only way you are going to over do the CO2 with DIY is to increase the bubble rate from what is "normal".

It's probably nice having a lower light tank and DIY CO2 in which you can, like you say "flirt with disaster" I ran a tank like that for a year and it was pretty good, but now that I'm higher light I find the results to be much more rewarding and fun, even though it can be a little more to worry about. (things go faster) When you go pressurized you'll never look back and then wonder why you didn't do it sooner, especially now since the prices on all the stuff has really come down compared to a year or so ago. So have you decided on what pressurized system you are going to get?
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Actually, having a lower light tank for me is frustrating. My tank's 5' long, and I only have a 48" light unit (JBJ Formosa) over it, so the corners are fairly dark. And the jungle val and huge sword (can't remember the name, but the new growth leaves are reddish) block out a lot of light. The only other plants that do well in my tank are crypts, tiger lillies, anubias, and hygro. I can't grow the really pretty red stuff, like red myrio, or some of the other fine-leaved stem plants. I tried sunset hygro (love your avatar, by the way), but it wouldn't grow red, only whitish veins, and very leggy. That, and I hate the inconsistency of DIY co2. My fish don't seem to like when I hook up a new bottle- it's probably that they get used to dwindling co2 levels as the last bottle runs out, and then they have to deal with a fresh burst of full-on co2 from a new bottle. Don't get me wrong- I haven't lost any fish due to this, but the morning after I add a new bottle, (before the lights come on) I can see a lot of my fish hovering at the surface, and they look almost like they're gasping for air. I was told before I went DIY that there was no way that one bottle of DIY co2 would effect my tank enough to shock the fish, but sometimes, I wonder...

I already have an Aquamedic 1000 co2 reactor, and I've got my eye on the controller/regulator kit from Glass-Gardens (they also have it listed on Ebay). I don't remember offhand if both the controller and regulator are Milwaukee, but I think so.

-Christina-
MEMBER: #15 Eheim Pimps Club, Cory Addicts Anonymous, COAST, AGA.
550g pond= koi, comets/shubunkin, water lillies.
165g RES turtle pond in progress.
100g planted tank= 240 watts c.f., 1 DIY 1-gal co2 jug, platies, angels, lace gouramies, congos, black neons, otos.
30g= cories, platies, platy fry, ghost shrimp.
18g= platy fry
10g= baby RES tank- Turtlebuddy
30g= temp. adult RES tank- Myrtlemamma
20gL= temp. juv. RES tank- Tweak and Mertle
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-06-2005, 11:11 PM
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I have the same reactor as you wonder woman. I've found it to run more efficeintly with the CO2 comming in from the top. How did you set your's up?

I've never used millwaukee, but I hear it's pretty good stuff. I almost went this route, but the check valve was not included so I ended getting a JBJ regulator online from the Aquatic Store instead. The only thing was that the output pressure is fixed.

I find that the Hygro suset gets the reddest for me when I let the Nitrates and phosphates go lean, but only the leaves closest to the lights get red the others always stay green.

Fish don't like change and with DIY the PH kind of swings all over the place from low in the beginning to high when it starts to run out. It's probably the PH swing more than the actual CO2 itself that your fish are reacting to.
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