Weird Water Chemistry? - The Planted Tank Forum
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 12:15 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Easton, Maryland
Posts: 774
Weird Water Chemistry?

Okay, here's the deal. I tested my two main tanks and my tapwater today for PH, KH, and then CO2. These were the following results (taken at 7:30 tonight):

38 Gallon Tank: PH 7.0 KH 3.5 degrees CO2 10.5 ppm

20 Gallon Tank: PH 7.3 KH 3.0 degrees CO2 4.5 ppm

Tapwater: PH 7.1 KH 2.5 degrees CO2 6.0 ppm

I cannot figure out what is going on. I have a basic understanding of water chemistry, but this seems to go against everything I know. The 38 gallon has pressurized co2 running at 50 bpm into a rex reactor. The 20 gallon has DIY co2 (2X 2 liter bottles) running through a ladder at about 9 bpm (it also has ecocomplete so maybe that screwed with the chemistry?). I haven't added anything that should raise PH or KH to either tank. They both have driftwood, but that should only lower ph I would think. So my questions are these:

1)What could cause the KH to be higher in both tanks than in the tapwater?

2)Why is the ph higher in the 20 gallon tank than the tapwater?

3)Why is the CO2 lower in the 20 gallon than the tapwater?

4) Why is the co2 only slightly higher in the 38 gallon than the tapwater despite pressurized co2?

I am now really confused. The only thing I can think of now is that both test kits are just that crappy that all the readings are off . BTW, I tested all of the values twice to be sure it wasn't human error.
Fosty is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 02:16 AM
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (195/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,636
1)What could cause the KH to be higher in both tanks than in the tapwater?

Evaporation could be one factor, shouldn't if you do regular/weekly water changes. EC could be a possibility, although again, it should not change water chemistry.

2)Why is the ph higher in the 20 gallon tank than the tapwater?

9 bubbles per minute? That's a little pathetic, I think. I'd try to get some more, maybe 30-45? Why is the pH higher... possibly plants removing CO2 from the water, causing pH to rise? But see next question.

3)Why is the CO2 lower in the 20 gallon than the tapwater?

Have you left the tap water stand over night? If not, dissolved gases in the previously pressurized water might show the pH lower than it actually is.

4) Why is the co2 only slightly higher in the 38 gallon than the tapwater despite pressurized co2?

Many possible reasons. All leading to one conclusion: There is not enough CO2 dissolved in your tank.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Wasserpest is offline  
post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 02:46 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Easton, Maryland
Posts: 774
Quote:
1)What could cause the KH to be higher in both tanks than in the tapwater?

Evaporation could be one factor, shouldn't if you do regular/weekly water changes. EC could be a possibility, although again, it should not change water chemistry.
I do large (close to 50%) water changes every week so that kind rules out evaporation. And the EC is only in one tank, and they both have the higher KH.

Quote:
2)Why is the ph higher in the 20 gallon tank than the tapwater?

9 bubbles per minute? That's a little pathetic, I think. I'd try to get some more, maybe 30-45? Why is the pH higher... possibly plants removing CO2 from the water, causing pH to rise? But see next question.
I guess I just suck at DIY CO2 because I cannot get the b.p.m. any higher with any mixture I tried. I'll tinker around with that some more this week and see it that helps.

Quote:
3)Why is the CO2 lower in the 20 gallon than the tapwater?

Have you left the tap water stand over night? If not, dissolved gases in the previously pressurized water might show the pH lower than it actually is.
That one completely slipped by me. I'll work on that for tomarrow.

Quote:
4) Why is the co2 only slightly higher in the 38 gallon than the tapwater despite pressurized co2?

Many possible reasons. All leading to one conclusion: There is not enough CO2 dissolved in your tank.
This was the main reason I though something was off. My plants were pearling like crazy the entire day (they hadn't pearled without the pressurized). I though having the CO2 at almost 1 BPS and having it shot into the RexReactor, it would have resulted in higher than 10 ppm, but I guess not. I'll up it a bit in 2 days as I'll be skiing tomarrow and don't want to mess with it for the sake of my fish. I'm new to this pressurized thing and I feel like I'm learning things all over again.

Thanks for the help. I'm still looking for some possible answers to question 1.
Fosty is offline  
 
post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 04:36 AM
Algae Eater
 
bigstick120's Avatar
 
PTrader: (249/100%)
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 3,182
something in the tanks are buffering the KH, what type of substrate do you use. What type of filter media? You dont add any baking soda do you?


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
|
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bigstick120 is offline  
post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 11:49 AM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Easton, Maryland
Posts: 774
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigstick120
something in the tanks are buffering the KH, what type of substrate do you use. What type of filter media? You dont add any baking soda do you?
No baking soda. Filter media is just ceramic rings, foam pads, and filter floss for both tanks. And substrate is a mix of flora-max, playsand, florite, laterite, and plain gravel in the 38 gallon. And a mix of eco-complete and Tropic Isle Tahitian Moon Sand. None of the things in the substrate are supposed to affect the water chemistry.

I'll try to think more about this in the evening, but now I think I'l go skiing .

Last edited by Fosty; 12-27-2005 at 10:19 PM.
Fosty is offline  
post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 11:53 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
DarkCobra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (5/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 3,350
The playsand *might*. If you've got a pure sample, try dropping some vinegar or muriatic acid on it and see if it bubbles.

Enjoy the skiing!
DarkCobra is offline  
post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 11:59 AM
Guest
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 4,939
When you test your tap water do you let it sit for a while before tesing ? Testing freshly run water can sometimes upset true readings.
Buck is offline  
post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 12:22 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Rex Grigg's Avatar
 
PTrader: (65/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Portland Orygun
Posts: 9,600
Doesn't Florabase "buffer" the water? I'm pretty sure it does.

Just checked and this is right from the Red Sea web site:

Quote:
FloraBase will also act as a pH buffer, maintaining a stable pH between 6.5 and 7.0, which is ideal for almost all aquatic plants.
Rex Grigg is offline  
post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 03:42 PM
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (195/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,636
Sorry, I am at a loss too wrt your question 1.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosty
I guess I just suck at DIY CO2 because I cannot get the b.p.m. any higher with any mixture I tried. I'll tinker around with that some more this week and see it that helps.
Lol... Look for leaks. First suspect is the bottle cap. If you have two bottles connected, there are a lot of connections with possibilities of leaking.
I am using 3 liter bottles, two cups of sugar, 1/3 tsp yeast, and water pretty high up in the bottle, leaving only about 1 inch airspace on the top. That gives me about 30 bubbles/minute, more when it is warm, less when it is colder (day/night).

Also, DIY works most reliable if there is no back pressure.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Wasserpest is offline  
post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-27-2005, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Easton, Maryland
Posts: 774
Quote:
The playsand *might*. If you've got a pure sample, try dropping some vinegar or muriatic acid on it and see if it bubbles.

Enjoy the skiing!
Okay, I had added playsand from two different bags over the years. The first one I know I tested and it was fine. The second I didn't test because if figured if one bag was good, any bag would be. I think I still have some around from that bag, so I'll test it just to be sure.

BTW, skiing is amazing! It was my first time, so after 8+ hours of it, I'm sooo tired. I just wished I lived in Vermont where there is real snow.

Quote:
When you test your tap water do you let it sit for a while before tesing ? Testing freshly run water can sometimes upset true readings.
Yeah, I forgot about that. I'll be re-testing everything tomarrow.


Quote:
Doesn't Florabase "buffer" the water? I'm pretty sure it does.

Just checked and this is right from the Red Sea web site:

Quote:
FloraBase will also act as a pH buffer, maintaining a stable pH between 6.5 and 7.0, which is ideal for almost all aquatic plants.
Sorry, that was supposed to read Flora-MAX . I'm too poor for Florabase. I edited it now. Too many things in this hobby start with the prefix flor. It messes with my mind .

Quote:
Lol... Look for leaks. First suspect is the bottle cap. If you have two bottles connected, there are a lot of connections with possibilities of leaking.
I am using 3 liter bottles, two cups of sugar, 1/3 tsp yeast, and water pretty high up in the bottle, leaving only about 1 inch airspace on the top. That gives me about 30 bubbles/minute, more when it is warm, less when it is colder (day/night).

Also, DIY works most reliable if there is no back pressure.
I'll check all of the connections (same way as with pressurized right?). If that's not it I'll look into getting a new recipe and eventually some 3 liter bottles. BTW, are you getting 30 bpm with just 1 3 liter bottle or multiple 3 liter bottles (and also what size tank is this running too?)?
Fosty is offline  
post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 05:16 PM
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (195/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,636
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosty
I'll check all of the connections (same way as with pressurized right?). If that's not it I'll look into getting a new recipe and eventually some 3 liter bottles. BTW, are you getting 30 bpm with just 1 3 liter bottle or multiple 3 liter bottles (and also what size tank is this running too?)?
The number of bubble isn't an absolute thing, it depends on the shape and diameter of the outlet, backpressure etc, so what's two bubbles for me might be three bubbles for you and vice versa.

It also depends on the temperature quite a bit. in a warm room I get about 30 bpm from one 3l bottle.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Wasserpest is offline  
post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (30/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Easton, Maryland
Posts: 774
New Results:

38 Gallon Tank: PH 7.2 KH 3.5 degrees CO2 5.7 ppm

20 Gallon Tank: PH 7.2 KH 3.0 degrees CO2 6.6 ppm

Tapwater: PH 7.2 KH 2.5 degrees CO2 4.7 ppm

Still doesn't seem right. The tapwater has sit for about 20 hours now, so I think the test is accurate. I had upped the co2 last night on the 38 gallon to about 1 BPS and the plants have really seemed to enjoy it. Every single plant was pearling in the 38 gallon today, and most were pearling in the 20 gallon. So I really cannot believe that the co2 is that low (especially in the 38).

I am starting not to trust the PH test just because it is one of the color comparisons (I'm actually kinda colorblind , but I get others opinions about the tests). All of them were clearly not below 7.0. They could have been anywhere from 7.0-7.6, but they best matched 7.2. BTW, does anyone know of a test kit for PH that does NOT use the color comparisons?
Fosty is offline  
post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-28-2005, 10:04 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (84/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 21,012
Bubble size

When I first set up my CO2 system I had a bubble counter, the one that comes with the Milwaukee regulator, and an eheim diffuser, which also has a bubble counter built in. I was getting big bubbles in the regulator bubble counter and little bubbles in the diffuser bubble counter, so I had twice the bubble rate in one vs the other. That convinces me that bubbles per minute is only good for checking your own setup - making sure rate is constant or the same as you want. It doesn't work for trying to duplicate someone else's bubble rate. I finally removed the regulator bubble counter to get rid of the last small leaks and now only use the diffuser counter. Even that isn't necessary since I can see the mist of bubbles coming out of the diffuser and judge by that.

Hoppy
Hoppy is offline  
post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2005, 12:01 AM
Are these real?
 
Wasserpest's Avatar
 
PTrader: (195/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 15,636
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fosty
I'm actually kinda colorblind

They could have been anywhere from 7.0-7.6, but they best matched 7.2. BTW, does anyone know of a test kit for PH that does NOT use the color comparisons?
You might be a prime candidate for a handheld electronic pH tester. They have become pretty cheap, and are way better than guessing colors. One of the more useful investments in our lives.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Wasserpest is offline  
post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-29-2005, 04:59 AM
Guest
 
PTrader: (3/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 4,939
fosty if your tapwater source is 7.2 and you are adding ANY CO2 to the tank at all then the tank cannot be 7.2 as well with the lower kh readings you are getting. Your test kits HAVE to be giving you false readings somewhere.
I would say its your PH kit as well since its the only constant reading without change.

If the plants are pearling and the fish aint rising then I would just run with it ! I try not to get to caught up in the numbers game , it will just drive you nuts.
Buck is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome