C02 newbie, pH all over the show - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-27-2005, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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C02 newbie, pH all over the show

Hi there

I'm new to this forum but have found a wealth of info in the threads here that even the most respectable fish shop owners can't tell me...

I have just added a Nutrafin C02 unit to my 80L tank, but am having second thoughts as the pH has always been pretty low.

I test the pH before every water change (about 25% every 2 weeks or so) and always find it really low. After adding some 'pH up' (I think this is just bicarb or baking soda) I can get around 7.0 but it won't stay up there very long and always tends to go towards the acidic end of the scale.

When I purchased the C02 unit all the reviews suggested it was good at keeping the pH down, but having low pH already makes that an issue. Other people suggested 'Proper PH' from Aquarium Pharmaceuticals but it says not to use the stuff in a planted aquarium.

I don't want to keep adding stuff to bring the pH up so I found the key to the issue is the right carbonic hardness or KH but I have never touched the subject in my 5 years of tropical fishkeeping. Can anyone tell me, in laymans terms, what KH is, how it affects CO2 absorbtion and pH levels, and how to keep my pH up at a reasonable level while using C02?

...and reccomend any other products I can use to keep my water, plants and fish healthy? I currently only use Stress Coat as a water conditioner, Cycle for my filter, a touch of PlantGro I think and flourish excel, and a sack of 'Biochemzorb' for clearing up the stain from driftwood. And some cheap pH-up/pH-down stuff that appears to be just a workaround (never had to lower the pH mind you).

Sorry for the novel.... any help appreciated. Please email me [email protected], I don't think I'll be able to check this forum all that often

Thanks in advance..

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-29-2005, 03:25 PM
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No where do you mention your Kh/Alkalinity/Carbonate hardness. This is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE to know before you go injecting CO2. Kh is what buffers your water against wild pH swings, and is the measure of carbonate hardness in the water (the other main hardness type being 'General Hardness' or Gh)

It sounds liek you have extremely soft water, which will require you to add baking soda (the cheapest method) to raise your dKh up to 3. A dKh of 3 will raise your pH a little, I'd guess maybe 7.2 ~ 7.4. The CO2 will then lower it again.

Quit with the 'cheap pH up/down stuff' as its more expensive than baking soda, and pH down is just a bottle of phosphoric acid.
Ditch Stress Coat in favor of Seachem's Prime (stress coat has a ton of useless, polluting crap in it, like aloe vera. name one fish that uses aloe vera in the wild to maintain its slime coat. If you can, and have sources, I'll paypal you $5)
There's also no reason to use Cycle.

off topic, don't expect too many people to email you from the forum. We come to the forum to share all our knowledge, not exchange secrets in private.
If email is your cup of tea, there's an Aquatic Plant Digest mailing list you can subscribe to, and get about 50 emails a day to your inbox I found it was too much to wade through, and thus stick to forums that I can pick through more easily.

you might want to pay $13 a year and subscribe to Tom Barr's http://www.barrreport.com/ I don't subscribe yet, but I hear its a great resource.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-29-2005, 03:56 PM
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under thread tools you can subscribe to a thread - and get email updates.

58 gallon oceanic, Kessel 360 tun sun, pressurized co2, eheim pimp #179 - 2217 and diffuser
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