Buffering soft water and adding co2 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-01-2005, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Buffering soft water and adding co2

I need to buffer my water to raise my kh because it is under 1 degree. My ph is about 6.8-6.9 from the tap.

How much of a ph swing can fish such as cardinals and rams handle over a period of time, cause if I buffer with baking soda all at once the ph will go to about 7.5-7 in a matter of minutes. Should I do it over a matter of days?

And then what about adding the co2, can the fish handle the drop of .7 over a day?

Co2 will be diy, two pop bottles to a 42 gallon.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 01:09 AM
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PH swing is always a bad thing, let's say if your DIY CO2 bottle has a leak your pH could quickly rise and your fish will suffer. In your case I would just add acid to drop water pH to around 6, cardinals and rams will love slightly acidic water, also at this pH CO2 won't alter your pH much. Make sure you don't use any phosphate based pH down product, you can use diluted HCl, H2SO4, potassium bisulfate etc, there are this pH decreaser solution made by jungle labs is also good.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 01:33 AM
 
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You need to raise your KH to at least 3 degrees. Your Gh is probably low also, you should increase that to at least 3 degrees GH, 5 degrees would be better. SeaChem makes a product called Equilibrium that will increase Gh with calcium Magnesium and pottasium. The extra Pottasium in Equilibrium will negat the need to add extra potassium when fertilizing. Adding any kind of acid to lower your PH is not a good idea and it's pretty much pointless. Adding CO2 will lower your PH and will allow you to do a KH/PH calculation to find your CO2 levels. Adding acid will throw the Kh/Ph relationship out the window.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 01:37 AM
 
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increase your kh by 1 degree per day till you get 3 degrees Kh. Then begin your CO2 dosing. Gradual ph shifts are harmless to fish so long as they aren't radically different. Increasing your kh will give you that buffering capacity needed to keep ph within a .5 range.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-07-2005, 06:14 AM
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Adding a strong acid such as HCl, H2SO4, KHSO4 will not change the pH/KH/CO2 relationship, it will be shifted but it's still there. Using CO2 to moderate pH is not always a good idea especially for DIY CO2 + alkaline water, at the end of CO2 bottle there are often large pH swings. Ideally you should add baking soda plus acid to have a good pH and buffer capacity with or without CO2 addition. However, if you adjust your pH to 6, CO2 can't really crash your pH anymore since it's a very weak acid, at this pH baking soda is not necessary.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2005, 11:23 AM
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In this article http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/...chemistry.html Grant Gussie says "So to raise pH, hardness, and alkalinity in fresh water you are well advised to use equal parts of baking soda, Epsom salts, and either calcium chloride (if you can find some) or a commercial marine salt mix. Add enough of this mixture to raise the pH to the desired level."

Thoughts and opinions?
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2005, 06:53 AM
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I'd love to hear what any and everyone has to say about my post above. I have lovely soft Seattle water and I'm looking for the simplest possible way to raise alkalinity. If I could just toss a 1/2 teaspoon of the above referenced 'mix' into my water conditioning jugs it would make things nice and easy...
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2005, 09:00 AM
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Well, my water out of the well ( I live out in the county in N. Skagit) is in the mid 5 ph. But I run a small pump/powerhead in the change water and it raises it to mid 6 overnight for change waters. I have practically no GH or KH in this soft water. I add epsom salts ( about 1/8 teaspoon per 4 gallons...sometimes more ...) to raise GH and keep oyster shells (about 4 or 5) in the can filter (Rena XP2) to keep the pH and KH at about 6.6 pH and 5 to 6 KH. This is for a small 26 gallon bow. Its all natural, cheap and it works. I do inject pressurized CO2 near 30ppm to control BBA so I have to keep the KH up and these are natural low tech solutions. Rex Grigg turned me on to all of this at another forum. HTH bob





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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-11-2005, 06:14 PM
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Betowess, that's EXACTLY the kind of input I'm seeking. Thanks!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 09:06 AM
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Glad to help, but Rex Grigg deserves the real kudos. BTW, maybe you know this, there is a great resource for figuring out dosing amounts of ferts etc. http://www.csd.net/~cgadd/aqua/articles.htm HTH bob





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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yznj99
Adding a strong acid such as HCl, H2SO4, KHSO4 will not change the pH/KH/CO2 relationship, it will be shifted but it's still there. Using CO2 to moderate pH is not always a good idea especially for DIY CO2 + alkaline water, at the end of CO2 bottle there are often large pH swings. Ideally you should add baking soda plus acid to have a good pH and buffer capacity with or without CO2 addition. However, if you adjust your pH to 6, CO2 can't really crash your pH anymore since it's a very weak acid, at this pH baking soda is not necessary.
In planted tanks, we need a carbon source to get the growth we want in a fast tank. That means CO2. We also need to track how much CO2 we are injecting, and because of the KH-pH relationship, CO2 concentration can be reasonably reckoned by measuring KH and pH and comparing it to the chart such as you find on Chuck Gadd's site, or using his calculator or the formula to do it by hand. This gives us a target pH for a given concentration of CO2.

Drop some other acid in the tank and you shift the zero point to an unknown quantity. Now you would have to jump through some extra hoops to try to figure out where your pH is in relation to KH to read CO2. That means taking a water sample and resting it and testing it for KH and pH at equilibrium, and recording the shift for an assumed 3ppm at equilibrium. Lots of extra trouble that would have to be done every time you do a water change (read: every week).

Now take, for example, hydrochloric acid. Why in the world would you want to add that? It has to be a danger to the fauna at least. We add carbonate, phosphate and sulphate salts to the aquarium already, and what would an acid like this do in that environment? Chloride salts are best avoided in fresh water aquaria.

The conventional wisdom is to add CO2 to our tanks to adjust pH, if it's necessary to adjust it- no other acids or products such as pH Down. This has been the practise for quite some time, and no serious problems with any fauna have been observed from the normal pH shifts associated with CO2 injection as long as you don't turn the water to soda through lack of monitoring, or don't have an equipment malfunction or experience an end-of-tank dump.

James
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