seemingly low ph - how to interpret/deal with it? - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
seemingly low ph - how to interpret/deal with it?

Hello all -

I've got my ph controller going and have slowly been lowering the setpoint to allow more and more CO2 in the water. Everything's gone fine but last night I seem to have reached the limit as this morning all the fish were gasping and the shrimp seemed pretty distressed.

The ph where that happened was 5.7, and that seems lower than most of the ph values I hear from other people. I just calibrated the controller so I'm fairly confident in it, and I also confirmed the 5.7 with a test kit.

When I do a 50% water change, my ph goes up to about 6.4 or 6.5 highest. I'm wondering, why would my ph seem so low compared to what I keep hearing from others? Is there a lesson to be learned, or some action I can take?

My drop checkers were in the yellow this morning, but really they are just about always in the yellow in order for me to get any positive reaction from the plants. At the 'safest' range that I can find, which is at about ph 5.8 the fish and shrimp seem very happy (great colors, breeding, eating well, active) and the drop checkers are more yellow than green.

Very odd! Why is my ph so low?
Dave



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 07:03 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (29/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Jersey Shore
Posts: 1,167
My two high tech planted tanks are generally in the neighborhood of 5.7-6.4 and the kH is 2-3. IMO, most of the more challenging plants prefer a pH within this range.

I don't use a controller or a drop checker, but simply monitor the health of the plants and fish rather than trying to attain a set ppm value. This works fine for me given the livestock isn't extremely sensitive to dissolved oxygen levels.

Why not set the target pH value slightly higher (say 6.0) and see how the fish and plants react?
snausage is offline  
post #3 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
Well, it's good to know others are in a similar range.

I've had the controller at around 5.9 for a week or so and no problems. I have been bumping it down each week, trying to find the limit and evidently I've found it!



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
 
post #4 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 08:55 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (32/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 1,153
Dave what are you GH and KH values?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Rockhoe14er is offline  
post #5 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
I'm gonna measure them again tonight, and this time I'm going to be extra careful so I can get the most accurate results possible with my little test kit. My dry ferts didn't come today so I still can't eliminate ferts as a limiting factor, but soon I'll be able to.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #6 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-16-2011, 09:16 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
OverStocked's Avatar
 
PTrader: (76/94%)
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SoDak
Posts: 10,732
This particular pH setpoint is completely dependent on YOUR tank and you can't compare it to other tanks. It is based on 1) the starting pH and KH of your tank 2) the co2 tolerance of your fish.
OverStocked is offline  
post #7 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
Turns out, that fish gasping incident was a false alarm. I'm down to 5.5 ph and the fish/shrimp seem fine, HC is pearling as are a couple of stems and no more algae growth whatsoever.

It's interesting trying to understand how ph works. If I didn't have a controller, I wouldn't have thought twice about turning the CO2 up and up, but since the ph reads so low it makes me nervous.

I have read over and over the the ph swings associated with CO2 levels don't bother the fish, and that the gassing effect isn't related to the ph at all, it's because the fist can't respire due to lack of O2 in the water or there being too much CO2. So, does that mean that this low ph reading that I get on my controller isn't really risking the fish at all? In other words, so long as the CO2 and O2 levels are good, I shouldn't care about what the ph controller reads?

Very interesting, and exciting because I am really seeing some progress. Plants are starting to look very healthy, and algae seems to have just stopped growing! The HC on driftwood is amazing - if only I could take a decent photo of the tank

Sean, I've been too lazy to break out the test kit but I will tonight!



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #8 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 05:45 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
jahmic's Avatar
 
PTrader: (11/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 460
Just as a heads up since you mention testing GH and KH...

I was under the impression that a lower KH would result in larger pH swings...but seem to be wrong about that. Here's an interesting read for you Dave.

http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/gh_kh_ph.php

A bit of a heavy read, but I definitely understand the pH / KH relationship better now.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
~~~~~~
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


NIKON Pimp Club #003
jahmic is offline  
post #9 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-21-2011, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
Thanks for the link - that looks like just what I need (some education!). I printed it out and will give it a read asap...



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #10 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 05:21 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
Quote:
Originally Posted by rockhoe14er View Post
dave what are you gh and kh values?
kh 5.5
gh 25



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #11 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 06:06 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (32/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 1,153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave-H View Post
kh 5.5
gh 25
next question what are the units. 5.5 degrees of KH or is it ppm same with the GH.


The pH doesn't matter at all when it comes to fish a pH of 5.5 is still considered safe. I've seen some people that have their fish at pH of 5. Some of the wild caught species of dwarf cichlids live in these type of acidic waters.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Rockhoe14er is offline  
post #12 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockhoe14er View Post
next question what are the units. 5.5 degrees of KH or is it ppm same with the GH.


The pH doesn't matter at all when it comes to fish a pH of 5.5 is still considered safe. I've seen some people that have their fish at pH of 5. Some of the wild caught species of dwarf cichlids live in these type of acidic waters.
I think it's 5.5 degrees of KH and 25 ppm of gh.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #13 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 06:23 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
PTrader: (32/100%)
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 1,153
wow that's crazy to have a lower gH than a KH usually it's the other way around. did you compare your tap water to your tank water?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Rockhoe14er is offline  
post #14 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Guru
 
Dave-H's Avatar
 
PTrader: (8/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Denver, CO & Phang-Nga, Thailand
Posts: 2,415
My tap water tests like this:

KH 4 deg.
GH 107 ppm

Ph tested 3 ways:

1. with API test kit 7.6
2. with API test strips 7.5
3. with my Miluakee probe attached to my controller 7.1

Could it be that my probe is no good? Hmm..



To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
"The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods." Socrates

Dave-H is offline  
post #15 of 53 (permalink) Old 05-22-2011, 09:49 PM
Wannabe Guru
 
Higher Thinking's Avatar
 
PTrader: (23/100%)
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Oregon State Beavers!
Posts: 1,533
The "gasping" would happen at differently levels for every tank, would it not? It is going to be directly related to pH levels, yes, but also the water hardness levels. They have a graph that looks at water hardness verse pH levels and gives you your CO2 concentration. Also, individual fish would react differently I presume.
Higher Thinking is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome