ph and c02 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone I am new to the forum. I have been lurking and learning for a while now and finally have a question.

I dry started a 75 gallon rimless tank about 6 weeks ago, with ADA Amazonia, and several different tissue cultured plants. I flooded it about a week ago, added c02, and started EI dosing. So far my parameters are Temp 78.5, ph 5.95, NH3 0.022 ppm, NH4 1,877.23 ppb, and O2 8.1 and the plants appear to be growing well. The c02 comes on 2 hours before the 6 hour light cycle, and shuts off when the lights go off. My ph drops into the low 5.1 range which to me, seams very low. I have been in the hobby for over 50 years and kept all kinds of fish, including discus at ph 6. I plan on adding the usual assortment of tetras and amanno shrimp but wondered if a ph of 5.1 was too low?

Sorry forgot to include Gh 4-5 and Kh 1

Cheers!...Peter

Last edited by Darkblade48; 06-15-2019 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 75rimlesspete View Post
Hi everyone I am new to the forum. I have been lurking and learning for a while now and finally have a question.

I dry started a 75 gallon rimless tank about 6 weeks ago, with ADA Amazonia, and several different tissue cultured plants. I flooded it about a week ago, added c02, and started EI dosing. So far my parameters are Temp 78.5, ph 5.95, NH3 0.022 ppm, NH4 1,877.23 ppb, and O2 8.1 and the plants appear to be growing well. The c02 comes on 2 hours before the 6 hour light cycle, and shuts off when the lights go off. My ph drops into the low 5.1 range which to me, seams very low. I have been in the hobby for over 50 years and kept all kinds of fish, including discus at ph 6. I plan on adding the usual assortment of tetras and amanno shrimp but wondered if a ph of 5.1 was too low?
That pH is boarding on the area of being a bit too low for some nutrient uptake (but better for others). Since your KH is 1 I assume you have some other acid and/or buffers in your water bringing down the pH. The new ADA could cause some of this. From the pH / KH chart with a KH of 1 and ph 5.1 would indicate too much CO2, but like I said there are probably pH lowering substances in your water. If you animals and plants show no signs of distress, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

If you are worried about it for some reason, you could try adding KHCO3 (potassium bicarb) to raise KH to 2. This would bounce the pH up a bit.

NOTE: i just looked and saw you don't presently have animals in the water? I would be cautious about adding shrimp at first. I'd try a few hardy fish that enjoy low pH. Tetras are good.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:13 PM
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How are you measuring your PH. Are you adding anything other than the co2 or using hardscape that would alter your numbers, otherwise a ph of 5.1 and a kh of 1 would be far too much co2.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Positron, there must be other acid producing elements in my water. When the c02 is on, my drop checker just barely turns green. Thanks for your input!

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How are you measuring your PH. Are you adding anything other than the co2 or using hardscape that would alter your numbers, otherwise a ph of 5.1 and a kh of 1 would be far too much co2.
ph is measured with Seneye, all I have in the tank is ADA and a few pieces of dragon stone from Big Als. Drop checker barely turns green with dkh4

Cheers!...Peter
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:21 PM
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A kH of 1 is quite low, and its consequence is what you are seeing -- fairly large fluctuations in pH.

The bottom line, of course, is how your tank denizens are doing. If they're happy, there's no need to adjust anything.

But if you are worried about pH, the suggestion to add potassium bicarbonate is a good one. Any soluble carbonate/bicarbonate/hydroxide will raise kH, and calcium carbonate is a common choice, but you appear to have enough calcium already.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:27 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kgbudge View Post
A kH of 1 is quite low, and its consequence is what you are seeing -- fairly large fluctuations in pH.

The bottom line, of course, is how your tank denizens are doing. If they're happy, there's no need to adjust anything.

But if you are worried about pH, the suggestion to add potassium bicarbonate is a good one. Any soluble carbonate/bicarbonate/hydroxide will raise kH, and calcium carbonate is a common choice, but you appear to have enough calcium already.
Can I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)?

Cheers!...Peter
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:30 PM
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What is your tap or degassed PH? Is it the 5.95 or is it higher?


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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What is your tap or degassed PH? Is it the 5.95 or is it higher?
Out the tap is about 7.6 I will draw some more and check it after it has degassed and let you know

Cheers!...Peter
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 12:47 AM
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Yeah taking pH readings from different sources will help narrow down what's going on here.

pH from tap
pH from tap degassed for 12 hours (shaking water bottle can speed it up)
pH of your tank a few minutes before CO2 is turned on
pH of tank a few minutes before your CO2 turns off
pH of totally degassed tank water. Take a sample of water, shake it in a bottle and let it sit for 12 hours.

With this data we might be able to figure out what's going on.

For your question about adding sodium bicarbonate:

I'd be concerned about using too much of this. Sodium doesn't do much for plants, and too much of it can be really bad. But you could use rotala calculator and try to figure out a decent dose to use after a water change. Whatever the dose, I'd try to keep Na under 10 ppm.

EDIT: it looks like adding enough NaHCO3 to bring the KH up 1 point will only add 8.2 ppm of Na. I wouldn't add any more than that, and only after water changes.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 01:07 AM
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This thread might be of interest to you Low KH problem or not?.

The user viktorlantos in the thread is one of the founders of Green Aqua which post aquascaping tips and information regularly on youtube.

IMO, it wouldn't hurt to add in the recommended amount of baking soda to raise the KH by 1, but I don't believe it matters all that much. One thing to take note is some finicky plants need a very low KH and the hobbyists who keep these plants keep their KH as low as possible to accommodate them, so it can be done.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Positron View Post
Yeah taking pH readings from different sources will help narrow down what's going on here.

pH from tap
pH from tap degassed for 12 hours (shaking water bottle can speed it up)
pH of your tank a few minutes before CO2 is turned on
pH of tank a few minutes before your CO2 turns off
pH of totally degassed tank water. Take a sample of water, shake it in a bottle and let it sit for 12 hours.

With this data we might be able to figure out what's going on.

For your question about adding sodium bicarbonate:

I'd be concerned about using too much of this. Sodium doesn't do much for plants, and too much of it can be really bad. But you could use rotala calculator and try to figure out a decent dose to use after a water change. Whatever the dose, I'd try to keep Na under 10 ppm.

EDIT: it looks like adding enough NaHCO3 to bring the KH up 1 point will only add 8.2 ppm of Na. I wouldn't add any more than that, and only after water changes.
Okay I start the process of collecting the data and get back to you.

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Originally Posted by Quesenek View Post
This thread might be of interest to you Low KH problem or not?.

The user viktorlantos in the thread is one of the founders of Green Aqua which post aquascaping tips and information regularly on youtube.

IMO, it wouldn't hurt to add in the recommended amount of baking soda to raise the KH by 1, but I don't believe it matters all that much. One thing to take note is some finicky plants need a very low KH and the hobbyists who keep these plants keep their KH as low as possible to accommodate them, so it can be done.
Thanks for the link, I will definately give it a read!

Cheers!...Peter
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Ok the results are in!

pH from tap 7.37
Kh from tap 5
Gh from tap 8
pH from tap degassed for 17 hours 7.33
pH of tank 15 minutes before CO2 is turned on 6.03
pH of tank 15 minutes before CO2 turns off 6.03 drop checker yellow
pH of totally degassed tank water for 12 hours 6.03
Kh from tank 1
Gh from tank 4-5

I feel something is amiss as the ph didn't change when the c02 came on. If you saw the tank it looked like a soda bottle, the plants were pearling, and the drop checker was yellow. I will replace the slide in my seneye and check the numbers again.

Cheers!...Peter
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 03:16 PM
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ADA Amazonia lowers KH and, therefore, pH and it can be by quite a bit. It also lowers GH somewhat. Initially, ADA Amazonia also spews out quite a bit of total ammonia, so be careful about trying to drive pH too high (unlikely, but keep an eye on it) as the NH4 will be converted to NH3.

With every water change and/or addition of bicarbonate (KHCO3 or NaHCO3) you drain the ADA of its’ KH lowering capability. This will happen anyway, but these things will speed it up.

I would focus upon the degassed tank water (forget the tap water), as the tank water will be the control since the ADA is setting the KH. If the KH of your tank water is truly 1, then that is what the ADA is doing to your tank. I would allow several days of degassing, not 12 hours. You can also put an aerator into the sample tank water to speed the process to about 24 hours.

Your numbers don’t make sense. A KH of 1 and pH of 6.03 means that your CO2 is very near the ideal of 30ppm. You are reporting that your pH is not changing following CO2 injection. I also don’t see the originally reported pH of 5.0 in your most recent results. Are you sure that your solenoid is working correctly and shutting the CO2 on and off? Could the regulator system be faulty and injecting variable amounts of CO2 (trying to explain the first pH 5.0 reading)? Describe your CO2 system.

I use my Seneye for light readings only, so I can’t comment on how accurate the pH meter is. Other possible testing issues: DC barely green (may be ok depending upon solution dKH): is the DC solution correct? Do you have a way to calibrate the Seneye pH meter with a known pH control sample? How are you measuring dKH?

You will have to decide if the ~6.0 pH is right for your inhabitants (most should be fine). A pH drop caused by CO2 is not considered to be harmful for most types of inhabitants. My pH is about 5.5 and KH is below 1 (inert substrate) and I have no fish or shrimp issues, but some species can be more sensitive.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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ADA Amazonia lowers KH and, therefore, pH and it can be by quite a bit. It also lowers GH somewhat. Initially, ADA Amazonia also spews out quite a bit of total ammonia, so be careful about trying to drive pH too high (unlikely, but keep an eye on it) as the NH4 will be converted to NH3.

With every water change and/or addition of bicarbonate (KHCO3 or NaHCO3) you drain the ADA of itsí KH lowering capability. This will happen anyway, but these things will speed it up.

I would focus upon the degassed tank water (forget the tap water), as the tank water will be the control since the ADA is setting the KH. If the KH of your tank water is truly 1, then that is what the ADA is doing to your tank. I would allow several days of degassing, not 12 hours. You can also put an aerator into the sample tank water to speed the process to about 24 hours.

Your numbers donít make sense. A KH of 1 and pH of 6.03 means that your CO2 is very near the ideal of 30ppm. You are reporting that your pH is not changing following CO2 injection. I also donít see the originally reported pH of 5.0 in your most recent results. Are you sure that your solenoid is working correctly and shutting the CO2 on and off? Could the regulator system be faulty and injecting variable amounts of CO2 (trying to explain the first pH 5.0 reading)? Describe your CO2 system.

I use my Seneye for light readings only, so I canít comment on how accurate the pH meter is. Other possible testing issues: DC barely green (may be ok depending upon solution dKH): is the DC solution correct? Do you have a way to calibrate the Seneye pH meter with a known pH control sample? How are you measuring dKH?

You will have to decide if the ~6.0 pH is right for your inhabitants (most should be fine). A pH drop caused by CO2 is not considered to be harmful for most types of inhabitants. My pH is about 5.5 and KH is below 1 (inert substrate) and I have no fish or shrimp issues, but some species can be more sensitive.
Hi Deanna, the tank has only been up and running for about a week. Initially when the c02 came on, it would drive the ph down into the fives but appears to now have stabilized at 6.03 My c02 system consists of a 5lb tank controlled by a "C02 Art Pro-SE Series advanced Dual Stage Regulator" going into an large "Ista Max Mix C02 Rector" The dkh solution is a fresh batch that was just made up, I tested it twice both times reading dkh4. I started dosing EI method and will do the suggested 50% water changes. I dont really have a way of calibrating the Seneye ph meter, but I'm thinking I should look into finding some way to do it. It's very early stages right now so I'm thinking I should just give the tank time to settle in.

Cheers!...Peter
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 09:34 PM
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Hi Deanna, the tank has only been up and running for about a week. Initially when the c02 came on, it would drive the ph down into the fives but appears to now have stabilized at 6.03 My c02 system consists of a 5lb tank controlled by a "C02 Art Pro-SE Series advanced Dual Stage Regulator" going into an large "Ista Max Mix C02 Rector" The dkh solution is a fresh batch that was just made up, I tested it twice both times reading dkh4. I started dosing EI method and will do the suggested 50% water changes. I dont really have a way of calibrating the Seneye ph meter, but I'm thinking I should look into finding some way to do it. It's very early stages right now so I'm thinking I should just give the tank time to settle in.
OK. A dc is useful only as a very broad gauge, lacking any precision. Although I no longer use them, I used to use them as a 'canary in the mine' to let me know if the CO2 had run out.

You can buy pH calibration solution powder, which is relatively cheap. Here is an example: https://www.amazon.com/15-pack-Buffe...gateway&sr=8-3.

Concerning KH; when you get into the low regions, it can be hard to measure it. If you are using the API kit (most KH and GH reagent tests like this work the same way), what I do is to use 5x the water (25ml) then divide the resulting drops needed to change the indicator solution by 5. This increase precision substantially.

I think it's a good idea to let things (particularly the ADA substrate) settle in. However, the pH holding steady both before injection and at what should be a peak is odd. The tank won't fully de-gas overnight, but there should be a difference. If you have a bubble counter, you might want to check it when the CO2 should be off, just to be sure that it is off. I'd check right after it should be turned off and again just before it should be turning on.
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