Constant KH/pH Drop in New Setup - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 03:45 PM Thread Starter
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Constant KH/pH Drop in New Setup

Sorry if this has been encountered before, but the search kicks out "KH" and "pH" as too common, and won't pull anything decent for me....

I recently started a 15H, and cannot, no matter what, keep the pH up. No matter what I do, the pH constantly drops, and the KH is being used up at a rate of about 10ppm per day. Any ideas? I'm hoping someone with a good chemistry background will have an explanation, but I can't figure it out. Tank details below....

Substrate: inert gravel with a laterite underlayer

Lighting: 2 x 36W AH Supply fixture

Flora: rotala wallichii, rotala indica, green cabomba, crypt wendtii, dwarf hairgrass

Fauna: 4 tiny Cherry Barbs, and about 12 MTS

Ferts: Flourish Excel, Flourish Potassium, Flourish Trace

Currently pH is being kept at 6.6 and KH at 60ppm (3.4deg) by addition of about 1/4 tsp of baking soda every evening. Can't keep this up forever, doesn't seem healthy.....

Some final questions/thoughts: Are my plants processing carbonate due to lack of available carbon, and chewing through my KH that way? Whenever I add baking soda, I notice a reddish build-up in my filter floss over the next day. Is some insoluble iron/carbonate compound forming? Or is this all just a fairly normal part of the initial cycle that will pass, and I'm freaking out for nothing??
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-29-2006, 04:43 PM
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If the KH is dropping that quickly, it almost has to be something in your tank leaching out an acid of some form. I've had this problem with driftwood. Other's have had it with substrates. I'd recommend taking some of your substrate and putting it in a plastic tub of tap water along with a cut of water with no substrate and monitoring the KH in that controlled setup to see if the KH drops. If so, you're likely looking at some bad substrate material. If not, think of what else in your tank could be the culprit.

Good luck!
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