PH has dropped, KH is 0 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
Del
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PH has dropped, KH is 0

Did a 50% water change on Sunday and turned my CO2 back on today, had it on really low. CO2 had been off for a few days to let my shrimp acclimitise.
Tested my PH and it's dropped down to 5.7, KH is 0, GH is 6.

Not sure what's gone on, I did my normal water change, RO water with Salty Shrimp GH/KH+, I did top it off with a little straight RO, but I would say that it was less the 5% of the water change.

I've turned off my CO2 to see if my PH rises, but why has my PH dropped so low and where has my KH gone?

Is this something to do with my Tropica Aquarium Soil?

Tanks 55l, only things in it are plants and cherry/amano shrimp.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 05:23 PM
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You posted another thread where others (myself included) explained to you that this would happen.

Here's a direct link to that thread.

Your substrate is lowering your kH and pH.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del View Post

Is this something to do with my Tropica Aquarium Soil?
Is this the first time you have tested your ph and kh since the soil has been in the tank for a few days? Because if so.. you got it in one.

All aquasoil type substrates are buffering. They will all lower ph and kh at least till they reach 'capacity', however long that takes.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 05:26 PM
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How old is the tank? According to their website tropica soil does lower the pH and "affects the water chemistry" which I assume means it leaches ammonia for awhile. They do recommend water changes at least twice a week for the first few weeks.

Having said that I had drift wood similar to yours and it leeched tannins for almost a year. My tap water is extremely soft with basically zero buffering capacity so the wood also dramatically lowered the pH into the 5-6 range.

If the tank is reasonably new it could be a combination of the soil and driftwood leaching acids that have used up (bonded with) all the carbonate ions you added. If you just had fish I wouldn't worry about it but I have definitely had trouble raising snails and shrimp in my more acidic tanks. You may consider switching out the driftwood for a branchier, less tannin rich piece or even better a piece of dragons stone which will not effect the chemistry of the water at all.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
You posted another thread where others (myself included) explained to you that this would happen.

Here's a direct link to that thread.

Your substrate is lowering your kH and pH.
What's the solution?

Remove the soil?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 06:44 PM
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The soil is doing what it's designed to do. Plants grow great in 0 KH water, and there are many fish and inverts that will thrive in it. The key is to keep soft water species when using these substrates.
Edward likes this.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 08:01 PM
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What's the solution?

Remove the soil?
You could if you wanted to but honestly its pretty unneeded. A lot of folks mix their RO water with regular tap water to get the desired water chemistry. This mix will change over time as your soil reaches capacity, as your plants take up more nutrients, etc etc.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
The soil is doing what it's designed to do. Plants grow great in 0 KH water, and there are many fish and inverts that will thrive in it. The key is to keep soft water species when using these substrates.

Isn't that dangerous though?
I though a 0KH would make the PH unstable?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 08:48 PM
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Your substrate will keep your pH stabilized. Read up a bit here on the forum about buffering substrates. ADA Aquasoil Amazonia, Controsoil, Fluval Stratum - a few additional brands to make searching easier.

Buffering substrate like yours is what Caridina shrimp keepers use for healthy shrimp.

A note about mixing tap water with RO/DI water: Not a good idea to do that with shrimp unless you can identify via testing the mineral makeup of your tap water.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-03-2019, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by somewhatshocked View Post
Your substrate will keep your pH stabilized. Read up a bit here on the forum about buffering substrates. ADA Aquasoil Amazonia, Controsoil, Fluval Stratum - a few additional brands to make searching easier.

Buffering substrate like yours is what Caridina shrimp keepers use for healthy shrimp.

A note about mixing tap water with RO/DI water: Not a good idea to do that with shrimp unless you can identify via testing the mineral makeup of your tap water.

I'm starting to think that maybe my sudden drop in PH is because I didn't correectly dose the right mineraliser on my last big water change.


Wish I wrote all this down, my RO water PH is 5.2, the remineralised water with salty GH/KH is around 7.3.
I did a small 10lts water change around 3 days ago, wanted to make some test water to see the PH, and I put it into the tank.
I did a PH test yesterday on my tank water and it's now around 6.3, which is making me think I didn't dose correctly on that last big water change.


If I can get my PH up to 6.5, which it was, I'll be happy, because I was looking into replacing the substrate!


Geting back to Salty Shrimp GH/KH+ versues my substrate.
I understand that the shubstrate is "eating" my KH, so I've been recommended to switch to Salty Shrimp GH+, but from my limited understanding, GH won't increase the PH of my RO water.


Is there a way to increase the PH of my RO water without using KH?
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 02:45 AM
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-07-2019, 03:31 PM
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You already know why your pH dropped suddenly. And you also know that your substrate will remove kH and thereby lower your pH. There is nothing you can do about it at present unless you start your tank over from scratch and use an inert substrate. That would require finding a home for your existing livestock for several weeks (or even a month+) while your tank rebuilds the bacterial colonies currently living in and on the substrate.

Stop trying to alter pH because you're ultimately going to kill the shrimp you keep in the tank with parameter instability. Leave it alone. They'll be fine if your parameters are stable.

Read through some threads here on the forum to understand why you need to stop messing with pH. Would also be worthwhile to read through several tank journals of shrimp keepers here on the forum to get a better idea of how several people keep shrimp - what works for them and why, what doesn't, that sort of thing.


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