Does Anyone Measure ORP? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Does Anyone Measure ORP?

Hi Everyone,

The title says it all. From time to time, I do measure ORP in my tanks. Without launching into my rationale for doing this, I'll keep things simple. So, does anyone measure ORP/Redox value in freshwater tanks?

Anon
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 12:30 PM
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Want to just haven’t added a sensor for it.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 03:26 PM
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I've long thought this was likely a crucial value in freshwater. Curious as to your experiences with testing it.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 05:33 PM
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What were your average readings, trends?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 06:11 PM
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Only time I got readings were when I had purchased a “pen” that did Orp but I never wrote those values down.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your replies.

I got interested in ORP as I was trying to decide if there was/were one or two parameters that would indicate the general health of a tank. I found the following web sites:

http://appslabs.com.au/ph and orp in water.htm

https://www.americanaquariumproducts...Potential.html

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/20...ture/index.php

Although the last link is to a reefkeeping site, the article is nevertheless a very informative explanation of what ORP/Redox is all about. And it's written by an acknowledged expert in aquarium chemistry.

So, what have I learned about ORP/Redox so far? Firstly, it's sometimes unpredictable which way an ORP measurement will move (more positive or more negative) in response to something changing in the tank water. Secondly, it doesn't appear to be a case of shooting for the highest (positive) mV reading. Right now, I have a freshwater tank in which there are a few snails, a tiny amount of BGA and a UV-C sterilizer. The ORP reading is +200mV but I need to check the calibration of my Extech meter.

In short, I have some way to go before I can decide on the importance of these measurements. But, my hunch is that it will be time well spent.

Anon

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science." ― Lord Kelvin

Last edited by Anon; 05-11-2020 at 07:00 PM. Reason: URLs were truncated
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2020, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Ridge Reef View Post
I've long thought this was likely a crucial value in freshwater. Curious as to your experiences with testing it.
Hi Blue Ridge Reef,

Have you done any ORP/Redox measurements yourself?

Anon

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science." ― Lord Kelvin
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-12-2020, 09:09 PM
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Only on a reef tank many years ago. I think I might still have O3 and a lighthouse controller buried somewhere in my fish room though. That was part of the stuff that didn't sell with the tank, I remember.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-13-2020, 02:46 AM
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An interesting exchange with Tom Barr from a 2000 update of The Krib usenet aquarium forum, where they're discussing using Hydrogen Peroxide as an algacide. And Tom's input at the bottom is that a balanced chemistry in a planted tank is as good as dosing H2O2 to rid your tank of algae.


https://www.thekrib.com/Plants/Algae...-peroxide.html


It's all about maintaining high Redox rates. Healthy, growing plants will increase the oxygen levels.


Anecdotally my newish 10 gallon shrimp tank has a lot of moss, ferns, and healthy Monte Carlo growth, and my powerhead driven sponge filter starts to blow small, fine bubbles, ( I assume they're O2 coming out of saturation..?) during the last 4 hours the light is on. It's low tech tank with no CO2 injection, just very little surface agitation and good water flow rates in the tank. I don't chemically test for ORP but my understanding is that very turbulent conditions will cause Oxygen at saturation to bubble out.


Amirite?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 06:53 AM
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I measure ORP using an Apex

Yes have been measuring Oxegen Redox Potential (ORP) since I started my tank over 3 years ago. Like you I went nuts reading up on it. Above are some good articles if you want to dig in. I would not go there unless you are a chemist. There are a couple of simple things to understand about it. First it is measuring the waters ability to reduce oxidizers. Oxygen is involved in most oxidative reactions but ORP is not a measure of oxegen. Similar to pH it is measuring + and - ions but in reverse of the pH scale. Regardless of the details, like pH, too much acid or too much base can burn mucous membranes and kill so we keep our tanks at around one pH point from Neutral depending on the native habitat of the fish we keep. Too many oxidizers or too many reducers can burn mucus membranes and kill.
Again like with pH it is important to know what is normal when reading ORP. Is the fish from a lake, pond, slow moving stream or fast moving stream? Most fish live in waters that are in the range of 400 to 450. If you use CO2 you are going to see the pH drop and the ORP go up over the course of the day. This is normal and I control my CO2 with a combination of ORP and pH. You might say I control my pH and my ORP with CO2. I have South American Cichlids so I have a target pH of 6.8 and a target ORP of 450. If either the ORP gets to 490 or the PH gets to 6.5 the CO2 shuts off. If the pH goes over 7.3 I get an email alert but this has not happened yet since I use ground coral and Wonder shells in the tank as kind of a buffer. ORP drooping below 400 also sends me an alert.
Adding too much fertilizer can raise hell with ORP so this is the main point for me to even look at it. I am saying these things in the least technical way so you tech heads out there do not pick on me.

One last thing which is probably the most important thing about looking at ORP. Probes like the ones that come with the Apex get dirty over time causing the ORP READING to slowly increase. If I see a rise in the ORP reading the first thing I do is take the probe out and clean it with a toothbrush to see if the ORP drops back to normal. Thus far it always has. Be careful when cleaning as the glass bulb is very fragile. Most important thing to clean is the small white membranes. Please do not get lost in the complexity of the articles on ORP and simply use it as a way to know what is normal in the tank. Oh and there is no way to accurately calibrate an Apex ORP probe. If it fails to correct after cleaning or acid soaking like they recommend then get a new one. Life is too short to mess with bad equipment.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrampsGrunge View Post
An interesting exchange with Tom Barr from a 2000 update of The Krib usenet aquarium forum, where they're discussing using Hydrogen Peroxide as an algacide.
Hi GrampsGrunge,

The title of this thread is "Does Anyone Measure ORP"? Whilst H2O2 will obviously affect ORP, I couldn't find anything in TB's post that answered my question.

JPC
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon View Post
Hi GrampsGrunge,

The title of this thread is "Does Anyone Measure ORP"? Whilst H2O2 will obviously affect ORP, I couldn't find anything in TB's post that answered my question.

JPC

You may have a point, but Tom mentions in passing Redox as one part of many influences...


"There is a very real danger here and it relates to anecdotal evidence and misidentified cause/effect. Without PROPERLY conducted experimentation, you
cannot be sure that the results you observe are due to the thing you think you are testing. If you improperly credit barley straw, peroxide, ozone,
REDOX, or any of a number of other factors with a reduction in algae growth, without being aware of ALL of the other variables which could play a part, you haven't learned a thing and you run the risk of sending confused newbies off on a wild goose chase."

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 06:15 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allexx46 View Post
Yes have been measuring Oxegen Redox Potential (ORP) since I started my tank over 3 years ago. Like you I went nuts reading up on it. Above are some good articles if you want to dig in. I would not go there unless you are a chemist. There are a couple of simple things to understand about it. First it is measuring the waters ability to reduce oxidizers. Oxygen is involved in most oxidative reactions but ORP is not a measure of oxegen. Similar to pH it is measuring + and - ions but in reverse of the pH scale. Regardless of the details, like pH, too much acid or too much base can burn mucous membranes and kill so we keep our tanks at around one pH point from Neutral depending on the native habitat of the fish we keep. Too many oxidizers or too many reducers can burn mucus membranes and kill.
Again like with pH it is important to know what is normal when reading ORP. Is the fish from a lake, pond, slow moving stream or fast moving stream? Most fish live in waters that are in the range of 400 to 450. If you use CO2 you are going to see the pH drop and the ORP go up over the course of the day. This is normal and I control my CO2 with a combination of ORP and pH. You might say I control my pH and my ORP with CO2. I have South American Cichlids so I have a target pH of 6.8 and a target ORP of 450. If either the ORP gets to 490 or the PH gets to 6.5 the CO2 shuts off. If the pH goes over 7.3 I get an email alert but this has not happened yet since I use ground coral and Wonder shells in the tank as kind of a buffer. ORP drooping below 400 also sends me an alert.
Adding too much fertilizer can raise hell with ORP so this is the main point for me to even look at it. I am saying these things in the least technical way so you tech heads out there do not pick on me.

One last thing which is probably the most important thing about looking at ORP. Probes like the ones that come with the Apex get dirty over time causing the ORP READING to slowly increase. If I see a rise in the ORP reading the first thing I do is take the probe out and clean it with a toothbrush to see if the ORP drops back to normal. Thus far it always has. Be careful when cleaning as the glass bulb is very fragile. Most important thing to clean is the small white membranes. Please do not get lost in the complexity of the articles on ORP and simply use it as a way to know what is normal in the tank. Oh and there is no way to accurately calibrate an Apex ORP probe. If it fails to correct after cleaning or acid soaking like they recommend then get a new one. Life is too short to mess with bad equipment.
Hi allexx46,

Many thanks for your interesting reply. I have some comments below. BTW, I'm not familiar with some of the features of this forum so please bear with me.

1 Firstly, my background is in the physical sciences so I can understand some of the ORP science - enough to be able to apply it to our tanks.

2 You are the first person that I've 'met' who uses a combination of pH and ORP to control CO2 injection. It makes sense.

3 You appear to maintain ORP between +400mV and +450mV. That's useful information for me.

Thanks again.

Anon
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"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science." ― Lord Kelvin
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-14-2020, 10:11 PM
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If you are researching Apex gear, just be aware that some probes for freshwater require an extra module that would not be required for marine.

Here is one example:

https://forum.neptunesystems.com/sho...TDS-monitoring

I have an Apex EL, but I have not expanded beyond pH/Temp/Power Control stuff.

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Tech : Small tanks, Fluval Plant 3.0, Top Fin MF10, Eheim Classic 150, Neptune Systems Apex EL
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 05-15-2020, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon View Post
Hi allexx46,

Many thanks for your interesting reply. I have some comments below. BTW, I'm not familiar with some of the features of this forum so please bear with me.

1 Firstly, my background is in the physical sciences so I can understand some of the ORP science - enough to be able to apply it to our tanks.

2 You are the first person that I've 'met' who uses a combination of pH and ORP to control CO2 injection. It makes sense.

3 You appear to maintain ORP between +400mV and +450mV. That's useful information for me.

Thanks again.

Anon
Annon,
You wrote "3 You appear to maintain ORP between +400mV and +450mV. That's useful information for me."

I said that most fish live in environments that are in that range. I have a heavily planted 165g Hi Tech tank with CO2 and lots of big fish. With fertilizers and CO2, both of which raise ORP it is almost impossible to stay under 450 with my probe, so if you read my post again you will see it says I target 450. This is all relative and your tank and probe may read something different. ORP probes are not that accurate and should only be used for measuring what is normal. My fish and plants are all thriving at 450 on my probe so I consider that the normal set point for my tank so I am not fighting it. People are referring to Tom Barr and if you read enough of his writings he is constantly preaching balance. Having a all these probes to measure balance and what is normal is really handy.

Streetwise,
The article you referred us to is from 2015 and is talking about the old Apex. The El is the same "New" Apex I have with fewer probes. You do not need extra modules for it unless you want two of the same probe. The EL will take a Salinity probe and ORP probe with no additional modules. Salinity and ORP are mostly used for Marine Aquariums. You bought the right unit for this hobby. The EL was not available when I bought mine.
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