Changed around 50% of my water with distilled, but barely any change in pH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Changed around 50% of my water with distilled, but barely any change in pH

I used Tetra water testing strips (I hear they're not very accurate, but I assume they could give me a ballpark of the param.) to find my water pH to be very high along with hardness.

I siphoned out a little less than half the water and replaced it with distilled. A water test shows either a bit of a change or not at all.

Could my substrate be leeching ions into the water?

Should I use peat moss and if so, how?

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 04:57 AM
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why do you need to change your pH?

if your water is really hard though, then it probably has great buffering capability and just buffered the added water to the same pH.

are there fish in this tank? if there are, stop trying to change the pH, because a constant pH is much more important than the "recommended pH" for most fish.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
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I just added 3 fish in today, but before that there was none. I figured that I should keep the pH closer to neutral since if I'm not mistaken a neutral or very slightly acidic pH is better than a pH 8
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 05:25 AM
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Not if it's pain to keep it there. Better to always be 8 then be up, down, up, down.

What was your kh before and after? After a certain kh, say around 10dkh or so the ph wont rise very much even though the kh keeps rising. When was the last time you saw fresh water with a ph over 8.3?

I bet after you added all that distilled, the ph stayed the same, but the kh and gh would have changed to reflect the 50/50 mix. The kh however, could still have been high enough to keep the ph nice and high.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 12:38 PM
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The LFS you trade with 'should' be able to test your water (no charge).
With KH (carbonate hardness) above 5dKH you wouldn't see much (if any) change in pH doing a 50% water change. Our water here in Florida is lime rock hard for the most part so the KH value is always high.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 02:20 PM
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Water PH and how it moves is often misunderstood. It is not as simple as most would believe and changing it can be more risk than leaving it stabil. Some reading to help understand? I find this site is written in a way that makes sense to me.

http://www.freshwater-aquarium-fish...._chemistry.htm

Simple thoughts on PH? Having lots of buffering like limestone in the water makes PH very hard to change. That is the poor man's definition of buffering. Parts of Florida do have lots of limestone or calcium for buffering. When you have high PH it is likely you do have lots of buffering and will have a real fight to reduce the PH.

My advise? Leave it alone and the fish will adapt as long as the target is not moving.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Very helpful site. Through AP Chemistry I know all about acids and bases but that site is great for learning the application in aquariums along with water hardness and other aspects
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 05:02 PM
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Since distilled water is supposedly at neutral ph, because of its lack of mineral content, or any content to alter ph, I wouldn't think it would have the ability to alter the ph of your tank, even at a 50% change.

Standard 10 Gallon (20 x12x12).
Low tech, Sand substrate.
Eheim 2211, and Aqueon Quietflow 10.
Finnex Stingray LED, 20" above substrate
2 Anubias Nana Petite, Christmas moss.
4 Halequin Rasborahs, 5 RCS.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-17-2012, 05:49 PM
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In poor mans terms the only way to lower your tanks pH in anyway that is truly meaningful to the fauna is removal of the minerals.
Either the method you used with distilled ($$$ & pita) or use of RO ($ & can be a pita LOL).

Setting up my tanks, including both high light, CO2 injected and dirt tanks I have avoided any additions that would leach effecting water quality (oyster shells, crushed coral, limestone etc.)
Whether my water change is done after a week or three months I have never seen GH/KH values shift more then 15-20ppm (about 1dH).
So answering the question regarding buffers leaching from the substrate, yes mineral content could be shifting depending on what you put into the tank. If you don't add them or use peat to effect buffers in the water I don't see any shift. Bacterial activity breaking down organics in the soil and animal waste will shift pH but that's temporary similar to the CO2 shifts in the majority of conversations.

pH? who cares is my answer once I educated myself on the basics of planted tank water chemistry. Most of the time I skip this topic on the general forums because there are a ton of posts already. Seminole is close to Pinellas Park so I didn't ignore this one LOL. I was born and raised down that way only moving as it got to crowded for my tastes.

Unless you are dealing with true exotics (imports) or have a really high mineral content in the source water the chemistry for tanking is easiest left just as it comes out of the tap. If you want to effect change, again the only realistic way to achieve this (imo) is to soften the water by removing minerals.
Rapid shifts (swings) in GH, KH, TDS, osmotic pressure that's the blah blah that causes our critters issues not pH changes per say. Tested pH is a product of carbonate buffers and CO2 content in the water for the larger part in most conversations. Acidic or alkaline yes but testing pH as it relates to tank water what are we looking at and why? Mg and calcium levels don't even factor at all in a pH reading but sure as hell change the TDS and osmotic pressure.
I can easily get a tested result of 7.4pH in both 4dGH and 14dGH water. Flip a fish outta the net from one to the other either way and you just hit the critter in the face with a big stick. Better to base conversations like this one in values of GH, KH, TDS and forget pH.

This draws fire every time I post it but consistent results are hard to argue with (imo).
My well provided >11dKH (196.9ppm) and >10dGH (179ppm) water out of the ground (lab tested 3yrs ago).

I choose to keep and breed angelfish. Hard water (too much calcium) and the eggs of most weren't viable. I also had a higher mortality rate in adult fish. I had my water tested because of the problems listed. Turbidity and mineral content are wacked coming out of the ground so I reconstitute RO for all my tanks. I range parameters to 4-6dGH and 2dKH using GH booster and baking soda. Didn't do this before but I do it now and have for over 3yrs. Spawns are a constant occurrence and with large hatch rates. NPT or high tech I do them all the same.

With the temperature matched I routinely swap fish between injected tanks with 5.9/6.2pH and 7.4/7.6pH low techs.
Temps the same, the TDS is very close and fish don't care. Except for my injected systems I now ignore pH entirely.

What issue are you having or what is your tanking goal that you are considering a parameter shift WAR TORN?


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 03:16 AM
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Ditto wkndracer:

Set the GH and KH to the optimum levels for the fish.
Let the pH do what it wants.

You can use the tap water as a source of minerals, as long as there is no other reason not to use it (such as high toxins of some sort). Blending RO, DI or RO/DI with tap water can work, you just have to figure out the ratios or else start with pure water (RO, DI or RO/DI) and add minerals to suit the fish.

To lower the GH and KH it is strictly math:
To cut these values in half mix 50/50 tap water + Reverse Osmosis or Distilled.

When you start doing this to the aquarium do not change the mineral level too fast. The fish need time to adapt to the lower levels. It is safe to change the GH and KH by about 10% at any one water change, and do a couple of such changes per week. Some fish can handle larger changes.
So, if the GH and KH are currently 20 German degrees of hardness, you could lower them by 2 degrees each water change.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 03:37 AM
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long story short, most fish will be fine in pH higher than their "recommended pH" so long as it's stable. they just might not breed.
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