RO/low pH/pH monitor? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 03:10 AM Thread Starter
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RO/low pH/pH monitor?

When using RO water the pH of soft acidic water can get pretty low so if you use a pH controller to feed CO2 it's going to drop even more, with a pH of 5.8 and the controller set for 6.8 the plants aren't getting their dose of carbon. Also at some point the low pH has to effect shrimp, fish, bacteria, etc. and become a problem instead of a benefit.

I know part of the answer could be to use calcium carbonate or a alkaline booster to get a higher kH but I really don't want that either.

Does anyone know how to deal with this????


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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 03:15 AM
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There are other chemicals that can buffer the pH pretty much wherever you want.

However...

If you do not want to add these other minerals or salts...
and you want to use CO2...

... then the CO2 will BE the buffer, and will drop the pH really low.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 03:27 AM
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I have a ph of 5.4 in my 30 gallon. I have breeding CRS SS and CBS SSS; I also have OEBTs and blue velvets (neos) but they won't breed in such acidic environment. I inject 1bps 24/7 of co2 and dose 1/6 of PPSpro. Medium lights.

My plants are all doing fine with the exception of red cabomba. Although I'm not sure if it's lack of nutrients/co2 instead of PH.

I have been told by other shrimp keepers to stay away from alkaline buffers such as baking soda. I obeyed so I have no experience to back it up.

I hope this helps give you some perspective. Good luck.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 12:37 PM
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If CO2 (carbonic acid) is the only acid in pure water, the pH will be around 5.5 (the pH of carbonic acid in solution). Other tannins and organic acids in pure water will drop the pH from there.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 04:03 PM
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Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) or Potassium bicarbonate or the best 2 choices (imo).
Potassium bicarbonate is about 4 times the price of Sodium bicarbonate.
I use 3 controllers on tanking systems and just add the buffer finding it painless to keep up with.
I understand not wanting to mess with it but have not found a way for my situation that works without it. Mixing to 2dKH really isn't that much using either.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-28-2012, 05:19 PM
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What about simply mixing in a small amount of tap water? If that's out of the question, and you feel you have to add something, wkndracer's suggestion is good. Some plants though, do not like Sodium in my experience.
Although I don't feel the need to add any buffers to my RO, the more I think about it if I were to add something for kh, I would add potassium bicarbonate. Seachem Aquavitro has a KH product that seems good called carbonate™.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-01-2012, 08:43 PM
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Why are you averse to water additives. I would say ditch the pH controller and add some type of kH booster (baking soda is very good) or a small amount of crushed coral to the filter.

Pure RO water + pressurized co2 = Trouble for multiple reasons.

Very low pH levels (<5) will inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria and therefore really destabilize the nitrification process. It will also limit the availability of Ca and Mg to your plants.

IME a pH of 5.5-6.0 is fine so long as you have a very small bioload and soft water loving plants.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2012, 12:30 AM
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I am one who likes to stay away from messing with my water chemistry as it gets to be work and I find it is not as steady as I would like. But then there are times when it is really needed. In your case adding baking soda sounds good.

But then that brings the question of why you are using RO water. Is there something about your tap water which makes it unusable? Or is is possible that using tap water and dealing with any problems from it might be better/easier than dealing with the low KH as you now have? We can sometimes get spooked into doing a lot of work/worry about a problem when the main problem is somebody selling us their product!

You may certainly be right, but I like to ask myself before buying into some things.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2012, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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It's not my tank but mine is similar but without the pH controller, the RO is not pure I use Equilibrium or gH Booster and my friend uses a different product designed with shrimp in mind. But the dilemma is the pH controller not adding CO2 and we done want to raise the kH higher in the tanks if we can help it.


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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2012, 06:42 AM
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I'm adding a small amount of crushed coral to the filter soon to increase te ph to 6-6.5 and bring up the KH a bit.

Crushed coral is shrimp safe for what I know.


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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2012, 10:41 AM
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get rid of your controlller and just put the solenoid on a timer that is what I did when using nothing but RO, now that I have switched back to tap the controller works great as my tap settles around 7.7

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-02-2012, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 150EH View Post
It's not my tank but mine is similar but without the pH controller, the RO is not pure I use Equilibrium or gH Booster and my friend uses a different product designed with shrimp in mind. But the dilemma is the pH controller not adding CO2 and we done want to raise the kH higher in the tanks if we can help it.
Are you worried about raising the KH because you're breeding crs/bee shrimp in the tank?

If so and you're trying to maximize breeding potential, you'll have to accept the fact that a breeding tank isn't a good environment for high light/high co2/robust plant growth. It's very easy to gas shrimp with co2, destabilize the tds with fert dosing, keep track of berried females, etc, etc....

What is the existing kH?

Do you use aquasoil or a similar product?
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