how long do pH raisers from water company affect the water? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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how long do pH raisers from water company affect the water?

hi everyone,

so i got my test kit in today finally and i did some tests on the pH, GH, and KH of my tank (40 gallon) and the results i found were surprising.

pH: 7.4
KH: 3 dKH
GH: 6 dGH
ammonia and nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 5ppm
last water change was on 6/17

i am in the middle of treating ich. i used coppersafe and heat (86 degrees). could this be the reason for a higher GH? im not sure how medicine or coppersafe would affect the GH, if it does at all. for a pH that is 7.4, shouldn't my KH and GH be higher? or is there no relation? i read that softer water should tend to be more acidic due to lack of buffers, whereas hard water is more basic due to presence of buffers. this makes me think that the water i have has had pH raisers added to it? would these dissipate in time and bring the water down to more acidic/neutral levels?
the reason i ask is i want to keep coral red pencilfish (nannostomus mortenthaleri) which i have read requires soft water (which i have i think). but some accounts say they also need acidic water. if anyone has those as well could you let me know your conditions?


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2012, 11:48 PM
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Your numbers look very normal. I have a kh of 4.5 and a ph of 7.8. A kh of 0-1 will give you a ph of around 6.8-7.0. The gh will have little effect, it's the kh that really matters.

Softer water is more acidic. Your water isn't really soft. It's not very hard either, more in the middle. My water is rock hard and the gh is through the roof. But my kh isn't so it's not too bad. Your water is about perfect for a planted tank but I wouldn't call it soft.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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oh ok so these numbers are normal then? that is good. the reason i was asking is because i wanted to keep a species of fish (nannostomus mortenthaleri) the red coral pencilfish. ihave read that it is moderate to take care of, requiring soft water for sure, and some accounts say a low pH. if i start mixing RO/DI water with normal water changes, would that reduce my pH as well? the plants i have in the tank currently are java moss, frogbit, and pennywort. its an in progress tank still. so would using RO/DI water help with lowering the pH?


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 01:06 AM
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Well, for example, mixing half tap, half RO/DI (which should have nil for kh/gh) you will half your numbers. So if you mix 50/50 you will end up with a kh of 1.5, gh of 3 and a ph of around 7.1-7.2 (educated guess).

But mixing is a pain, and I would recommend trying straight tap first. I would try tap first and keep things stable. Stability is more important than being spot on for water params, as long as the fish isn't crazy sensitive. People keep rummies and cardinals locally with really hard water and they seem to do okay. Normal lifespans at least.

You could add a small amount of peat to the filter to soften it some and stain the water to dim the lighting. If you don't mind the tannins that is.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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oh i see. now that i know what happens, i may try it. my goal is to find that people are able to keep this fish in neutral water without it dying. i'd like to keep the water straight from tap but if that doesnt work then ill see what i can do about RO/DI water.
i defintely dont mind the tannins. my tank is set up as an amazon type setting so i want the water to be darker almost tea stained.it makes the whole setting more believable. ill continue doing research on this fish but knowing how RO/DI water affects my tap will help


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 03:36 PM
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Is more info to read helpful or just mind bending? For info that makes sense to me, I like this site:
http://www.freshwater-aquarium-fish...._chemistry.htm

Way down to the bottom for their thoughts on how PH/GH/KH interact.

Not an exact science for sure as water varies almost as often as the weather!
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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that did clear things up a bit plantedrich thanks its very clear on what does what and how they interact. before i thought KH and GH collectively were water hardness but i see that its just GH and KH is more buffering capacity. so with my water then, it has a pretty lower buffering capacity and a moderate hardness. i guess that is good


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 10:04 PM
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KH buffers the pH.
When KH is low, the pH can vary.
Other things in the water will dictate what the pH is. For example, organic acids from peat moss will make the water more acidic. CO2 will make the water more acidic.
Materials added by the water company can raise the pH. Usually the water company does not add carbonates, but adds other materials (such as sodium hydroxide) that will raise the pH.
pH is easy to change when the KH is low.

When the KH is higher the pH is more stable, and tends to be higher.
Stable is good if it is where you want it, higher KH makes it hard to change the pH.

For your Pencil Fish, I would see what happens when you treat some tap water with peat moss.
Put half a cup to a cup of peat moss in a 5 gallon bucket with a couple of gallons of water. Test the water before you put it in there (GH, KH, pH) then stir the water as often as you can, or run a small pump, and test the water daily for a day or two. If the test results look better, and you want to do the work, then it would mean pre-treating the water before each water change.

I run the water into a garbage can with a knee-hi stocking of peat moss and circulate the water for a day or so for my softest water fish. The peat moss lasts for several barrels of water, though the treatment takes longer as the peat moss gets old.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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hmm i may try that. the problem here is that i am worried that if the pH fluctuates too much, my fish will encounter problems and perhaps die from stress caused by a changing pH. also while i am at school, my dad will be the one to take care of the tank. i dont want him to have to pretreat the water and such so i may just try to use RO/DI water to remove the buffering capacity and let my natural biological forces in my tank alter the pH through decay and such. if i were taking care of my tank all year, i would defintely do that as it seems easy and great that peat moss lasts a while


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-27-2012, 04:17 PM
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But how long does sodium hydroxide(lye) affect the ph? The hydroxide reacts with stuff and stop working eventually right?

Would like to know as I have soft water with a high ph (pH = 8.5, °dH = 3.8, Alkalinity (mg/l) = 60). The water company add CO2 to the water and then run it through marble/dolomite gravel to make the water harder and after that they add lye to adjust the pH.

Please ignore any spelling/grammatical errors. I'm swedish and sometimes I'm also drunk.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 03:22 AM
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pandamonium, it might be better to not get a fish that will not thrive in your tap water if someone else (non-fish person) will have to maintain the aquarium on a regular basis. Make it as simple as possible. When you are able to care for it full time, then would be a better time to try the harder to care for fish.

m8e, it is probably best to run your own tests to see what happens in your own tanks. Each tank is different, and may remove the chemicals added by the water company at different rates.

In my own tanks I use a high CEC substrate that removes the KH (and perhaps the sodium hydroxide), and allows the pH to drop from the upper 7s (tap water) to the bottom of the test (6.0).
I do not have a test to see if it is really removing the sodium hydroxide.
The TDS is not much lower than the tap water in these tanks.
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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diana what is this substrate? that would be really interesting to have. i just aquscaped my tank so i dont think i will try to re substrate everything but im interested in how a substrate does that. also my dad knows fish too. he got me into it when i was really young. started with goldfish then community fish, now biotope tanks. by not wanting him to do to much, i meant i dont want him to have to lug water up and down or have to buy peat moss. since i am home, i am using my own money from working to fund this project and doing most of the stuff on my own. its like a workout lugging water haha


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandamonium View Post
diana what is this substrate? that would be really interesting to have. i just aquscaped my tank so i dont think i will try to re substrate everything but im interested in how a substrate does that. also my dad knows fish too. he got me into it when i was really young. started with goldfish then community fish, now biotope tanks. by not wanting him to do to much, i meant i dont want him to have to lug water up and down or have to buy peat moss. since i am home, i am using my own money from working to fund this project and doing most of the stuff on my own. its like a workout lugging water haha
ada aquasoil does this fairly well

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-29-2012, 12:00 AM
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I have Soil Master Select (not available any more, AFAIK) and Turface Pro League.
Turface is available in places that sell irrigation and wholesale landscape supplies. (They sell to the public, too).
Try places like John Deere Landscape, Ewing Irrigation, Horizon Irrigation.
Used to be Lesco sold it, but they got bought out by John Deere just about the time that Soil Master Select was no longer available.
The basic material is a clay product similar to kitty litter or absorbants like Oil Dry and Safe-T-Sorb. Turface (and SMS) are mostly used for sports fields. Helps to dry the field when it has been raining. It is available in several colors. I happen to like a dark substrate, so I use the Charcoal SMS. I got one bag of Turface that is more golden-brown, and it is OK, but not my favorite color.

http://www.turface.com/
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-30-2012, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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hmm that looks interesting. they dont have places like that here i dont think? im fairly close to you diana but havent been to your area for a while.


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