Chronically high pH... help please? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 05:14 PM Thread Starter
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Chronically high pH... help please?

Hi all,

So my tap water is basically like liquid rock: pH8.6+

I've been filtering the tap water through a peat-moss funnel which brings the pH of the water down to about pH6.6-6.8. However, when I add it to the tank, the pH drifts up until it stabilizes around pH7.6. This is with Indian Almond Leaves in the tank and peat moss in the filter.

I've recently switched over to RO/DI water but the pH is only adjusting down modestly after two 20% water changes (pH 7.4 or so).

The tank set-up is for CRS and has mostly mosses, a small piece of driftwood, and tahitian moon sand.

I'd like to avoid re-doing the substrate (i.e. Aquasoil) or bringing CO2 into the equation... is there anything else that I can do? Do you guys think the RO/DI water will eventually do the trick? I'm just afraid that it lacks the proper buffering capacity to bring the pH down.

Ideally, I would aim for a pH of 6.5 to 6.8 or so. I apologize for the long post, any help and/or advice would be appreciated!!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 05:29 PM
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Unless there is something in any stones or the substrate you have the RO/DI should eventually bring down the pH and alk. 20% WC wont do much if your alk is high to begin with.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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No stones in the tank. I have activated carbon, seachem matrix, and peat moss in the AC20 that I have filtering the tank.

Substrate is Tahitian Moon Sand... which should be inert, yes?

I currently have CRS in the tank so I don't want to change the parameters too rapidly, so I've been doing the 20% WCs... any other suggestions that you think would be helpful?

Thanks so much!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 05:43 PM
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pH Problems

Good morning Mr. ...

Unless you keep rare fish breeds, you don't need to worry about pH, hardness, etc. The majority of fish and plants will adapt to the majority of public water.

I'd recommend treating the tap water for chlorine, chloramine and ammonia and your job is done.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
I currently have CRS in the tank

I don't know anything about the sand or your needy shrimp. lol

I can understand not wanting to make the changes rapidly. I think if the sand is really inert then you will eventually reach your goals with the continued use of RO/DI.

Do you have an idea what your alkalinity is in the tank?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:24 PM
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Ages ago I had the same thing, until I realized the gravel mix was partially crushed coral/shells...

Are you dosing anything? Including magnesium for the plants or anything with calcium for your shrimp though?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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BBradbury: While CRS shrimp seem to be able to survive in a wide range of pH levels, it seems that they don't breed very well, if at all, at pHs above 7. Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong... as I wouldn't be so finicky with my water parameters otherwise.

fresh: Sounds like a plan, I'll just continue doing 20% WC for a few weeks until the water conditions stabilize and see if it's something below 7 by then. TDS in the tank is around 120ppm right now; not sure about the GH/KH.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mxx View Post
Ages ago I had the same thing, until I realized the gravel mix was partially crushed coral/shells...

Are you dosing anything? Including magnesium for the plants or anything with calcium for your shrimp though?
Tahitian Moon Sand, for as far as I can tell, appears to be inert.... so that shouldn't be the problem?

The tap water I'm using I've always conditioned with Seachem Prime following filtration through the peat moss. The RO/DI water I've been supplementing with Fluval Shrimp Mineral which should hopefully be fine.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:48 PM
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Activated soils work well. And yes CRS can survive in a higher pH and some people even manage to get them to breed a bit here and there, but for the most part a lower pH is going to give them the best life/breeding conditions possible.

I use a soil called Netlea soil in my crystal tank, brings my 7.6 tap water down to 6.2-6.4. I'm switching to RO water so I don't wear it out as fast but it does work very nicely. I only use it for my crystal tank. All my other shrimps are just in plain tap water as most neo species can handle it fine.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:51 PM
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I wouldn't worry either, my PH is upwards of 9 and all my fish are more than happy, including otos and the like. Its only my DHG that is suffering a bit...

I am going to keep an eye on this thread though as i would love to lower my PH without spending a bunch of money...


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-09-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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GeToChKn: Thanks for the input. I'd like a way of doing it without having to restart the tank... Had I known this was going to be an issue, I would've probably used either Shrimp Stratum or AS instead to begin with. Hindsight is always 20/20.

Bree: Cheapest/easiest way I've found to lower the water down is to pass the tap water through a peat moss layer first. I've been able to drop the pH by about 2 in this fashion... just trying to get another 0.5-1 more seems to be a much more difficult.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 05:17 AM
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People, the OP clearly stated that he has CRS.... mentioning that your fish and plants do well at high pH is pretty irrelevant.

Mr. Appleton, why aren't you using a full mix of RO/DI (no tap water)? Wouldn't that allow you to set your pH appropriately or would that require CO2 injection (I'm not entirely familiar).
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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astro: The problem is, I started the tank with treated tap water and only recently have switched over to full RO/DI. I've been limiting myself to 20% WCs so as to not change the parameters too much, but after 4 such water changes I have yet to see a marked change in the pH.

I would consider doing 40% WC if I'm sure it wouldn't be harmful to the inhabitants of the tank (CRS).
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 02:16 PM
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I use a TDS pen and record the reading with clean water then every week that reading changes based on what is added. When those change enough I reduce TDS doing a water change, a big one, little ones don't do much. Long story shortened to post here but I proved to myself what environmental engineers giggle about all the time is true, that is;
The solution to pollution is dilution.

Having a 55g tank (actual volume 43g) with several things going on including a new spawn I didn't want to do a large WC. So I did little ones.
(this is where my tank log is handy) 7/1/2009 tested NO3 30ppm.
14gWC with 30ppm prior = NO3 20ppm
another 14gWC = 10ppm
another 14gWC = 10ppm
another 14gWC = 8ppm
and another = NO3 5ppm I changed 70 gallons of water (RO water) into a tank that held only 43 gallons to reduce nitrate levels from 30ppm to 5ppm.

Same tank, TDS 149ppm, NO3 40ppm do a 20gWC (50%) TDS 83ppm, NO3 15ppm.

Water hardness will change given time but it will take weeks of water changes to effect the tank in a meaningful way doing small percentage changes.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-10-2011, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Appleton View Post
astro: The problem is, I started the tank with treated tap water and only recently have switched over to full RO/DI. I've been limiting myself to 20% WCs so as to not change the parameters too much, but after 4 such water changes I have yet to see a marked change in the pH.

I would consider doing 40% WC if I'm sure it wouldn't be harmful to the inhabitants of the tank (CRS).
Ahh, I see. Perhaps just taking the time to slowly acclimate the shrimp to RO/DI water is the way to go. They're thriving, just not breeding so you could take the time to up the % slowly over a month or so.
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