Overwhelmingly Confusing. Lots of Q - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question Overwhelmingly Confusing. Lots of Q

Hey I'm known to ask lots of questions and I've never posted on this section so I'm going to make it up.

First off...can someone that understands the CO2 chart in that sticky...I mean really understand it completely give me a tutorial...maybe on your messenger. I'm going to read it more but I've never touched this stuff so what seems like basic information is...just mind boggling.

Major questions I have are:

-If I want to keep my pH at 7.0-7.5 and have it medium planted with about 100-200 shrimps and I have a 40 gallon tank. Than whats the kH I have to aim for and whats the relation to the amount of ppm...because I want to keep it at about 25ppm (don't have much clue in which I'm talking about)

-On my alkaline buffer by seachem...it says use one level teaspoon for every 10 gallons which...with this dose...will raise the alkalinity by 2 meq/L or 5.6 dKH. What does all that mean...like meq/L or dKH and stuff. Like...how much will it change my pH?

-What is RO and DI water?

-Can someone that is knowledgable about the relationship between kH GH ppm pH ferts please tell me everything...PM me if you can give me some time so I can ask you questions over a messenger...I got all messengers. Asking on the forum isnt as fast. Someone that knows their stuff and has some time to make it clear for me...I would appreciate it to no extent. Thanks.


(I just hate being frustrated because I have a thing of getting depressed, sleepy, and nutty...just please someone talk to me so I can write it all down and understand it...thank you)
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 08:29 PM
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Give this a slow read

http://www.drhelm.com/aquarium/chemistry.html

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WfxXx
Personally I wouldn't spend much time on that reference. I don't think nearly all of it is up to date with current thinking, and some is misleading. Why not start with Rex Griggs website?

Hoppy
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 09:10 PM
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pH is pH, KH is KH, ways to alter them will not change and has not changed that I know of, it all still works for me, although I do not use or recommend any chemical buffer,it will answer alot of his questions and maybe strike some new one's, it will tell him what RO/DI is, although I could have done that by what I am typing now trying to explain that there really is not much actually out dated on that site..
Would you be kind enough to elborate on the outdated-ness and tell me what is actually mis-leading? because I just re-read it again, and well it seems copacetic to me...

Using Rex's guide is good too, I just dont happen to have the link handy...6-n-1 half dozen of the other. but I will find it...
There
http://www.rexgrigg.com/waterchem.htm

I think they are both good read's!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 09:39 PM
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I agree with Hoppy on this one. I took the following from the article.

"Ways to increase kH:

Adding sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). One teaspoon of baking soda added to 50 liters of water can raise the kH of the water by approx 4 OdH without a major affect on pH.
Adding an air stone to increase surface turbulence driving off carbon dioxide (CO2)
Adding commercially available products to increase buffering capacity

Ways to lower kH

Injecting carbon dioxide (CO2)
Use reverse osmosis (RO) water. You can mix tap water with reverse osmosis water to achieve the desired kH.
Adding commercially available products to decrease the buffering capacity."

I am no expert. However, I do not think injecting CO2 changes the KH of the water. It changes the PH reading but not the KH. If both the PH and KH changed with the addition of CO2 the charts I have looked at do not seem to make a lot of sense.

Rick
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 11:57 PM
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pH is just a way to say how acidic or alkaline something is. It works the same way the richter scale does for earthquakes where 7.1 is ten times more than 7.0.

KH is a way of measuring the buffering capacity of the water. What does that mean? If the pH of the water is 7.0 and I add a teaspoon of something acidic (like vinegar) then how much buffer I have will determine how much the pH drops (becomes more acidic). If I have low KH, then the vinegar will make the water's pH drop a LOT. If I have high KH, then the pH might not change at all. Lots of things affect the KH - adding CO2 gradually makes the KH level go down, the biological filter activity will do the same. You can easily increase the KH if it gets too low with a tiny amount of baking soda. Note: because there is always a mix of acidic and alkaline things in your tank, increasing your KH will raise your pH (i.e. the water is more buffered against change in the presence of acids).

GH (how hard your water is) is the KH plus things like magnesium and calcium. Not super critical unless it's really low and then you'd want to dose magnesium by adding a tiny amount of gypsum salt and add a little calcium. KH test kits typically test for both KH and GH.

RO/DI stands for Reverse Osmosis/De-ionization. It's a membrane filter that is so fine that it filters things like calcium salts out of the water. You know all that white crud that builds up on your shower head and coffee pot? That's it. That's also the stuff that builds up your KH. So if you use RO or RO/DI water, then you have to be very careful with your KH and pH levels. Most people get stuff to add enough KH back in. Or you can just mix a little tap water into the RO to get the level you want. A lot of people don't bother with RO water unless their tap/well water is wonky or they have extremely picky fish. Not for beginners.

How to use the CO2 charts: Test for pH. Test for KH. Then use both values to see how much CO2 you have. Unless the KH is really low (below 2-3 °dH), don't adjust it until you have a LOT more experience! DO NOT MESS with adjusting pH! If the KH is really low, then add maybe 1/4 teaspoon a day of baking soda until it is 4 or 5 °dH. Gradually increase the CO2 until you get 20-30ppm. This will lower the pH and KH so make sure you test regularly so the levels of the pH don't drop too low. How much CO2 to add will depend on tank size, how you are diffusing it into the tank, circulation, etc. Make sure you have at least a little surface movement.

P.S. most KH test kits give you the results in mg/L (which is the same as ppm). Every CO2 chart uses °dKH. Here is the simple way to convert from mg/L to °dKH:

mg/L * 0.056 = °dKH

40 mg/L * 0.056 = 2.24 °dKH
80 mg/L * 0.056 = 4.48 °dKH
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you...you're my bestfriend now.

I am so getting this all down. I'm going to read everything from all the posts and links. Just sorta just got home...tired...and now i'm looking for my special snail. He's hiding and I need to change the water and I keep mumbling to myself...he wanna die thats what he wants. If he doesn't pop his blue head up soon...thats just what he's going to get. I have to tutor later too and my gf wants to talk to me...shesh...no time....

Thanks for all your help...all very valuable info. Thanks cbennett for info above.

By the way...is it like...everyday baking soda? the kind you use to absorb smells? And how much for a 40 gallon...like how much will it raise the KH to?

Nate
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WfxXx
pH is pH, KH is KH, ways to alter them will not change and has not changed that I know of, it all still works for me, although I do not use or recommend any chemical buffer,it will answer alot of his questions and maybe strike some new one's, it will tell him what RO/DI is, although I could have done that by what I am typing now trying to explain that there really is not much actually out dated on that site..
Would you be kind enough to elborate on the outdated-ness and tell me what is actually mis-leading? because I just re-read it again, and well it seems copacetic to me...

Using Rex's guide is good too, I just dont happen to have the link handy...6-n-1 half dozen of the other. but I will find it...
There
http://www.rexgrigg.com/waterchem.htm

I think they are both good read's!
Here are a few of the overstated claims I noticed. They are bad in that they encourage an emphasis on the wrong things.

Even an apparently small change in pH can affect fish, causing stress or death.
Fluctuations in pH, even though they may still be within the preferred range, can be stressful and damaging to fish health.
Nitrifying bacteria, essential in the conversion of ammonia to nitrate also have a pH range preference, which is between 7.5 and 8.6.
Monitoring the pH in an established aquarium can often indicate water change and substrate vacuuming needs, or a clogged UGF. Excess waste product produces carbonic acid, which acidifies the water and lowers the pH.
While selecting fish that are compatible to the pH of the water used to fill the aquarium is the best method and avoids the need to change the pH, many aquarists want keep a species of fish that may require pH alteration.
Aquariums with a low kH will require more attention to water changes to control the nitrate level reducing the tendency for the pH to drop.

Hoppy
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan515
By the way...is it like...everyday baking soda? the kind you use to absorb smells? And how much for a 40 gallon...like how much will it raise the KH to?
yep, it's ordinary Arm&Hammer baking soda. I'd just use 1/4 teaspoon at a time since it will affect the pH as well. But only add it IF your KH is low - test your KH and if it's okay then don't mess with it. Test your tap water while you're at it so you know how that's going to affect your tank during water changes. It's hard to say how much the baking soda will affect the KH level in your tank because it depends on how much you have in there now etc. So that's why you only want to add a little at a time and only add some once or twice a day until you get the level you need. Most people have enough KH in their tap water so don't worry too much - you'll probably keep things nice and stable just by doing regular water changes. Just keep an eye out on it.

Hey and don't forget to add something to take out the chloramine every time you do a water change!

Next step: enjoy your tank! kick back and watch the fishies and let the stress float away...
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 12:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan515
Thank you...you're my bestfriend now.

I am so getting this all down. I'm going to read everything from all the posts and links. Just sorta just got home...tired...and now i'm looking for my special snail. He's hiding and I need to change the water and I keep mumbling to myself...he wanna die thats what he wants. If he doesn't pop his blue head up soon...thats just what he's going to get. I have to tutor later too and my gf wants to talk to me...shesh...no time....

Thanks for all your help...all very valuable info. Thanks cbennett for info above.

By the way...is it like...everyday baking soda? the kind you use to absorb smells? And how much for a 40 gallon...like how much will it raise the KH to?

Nate

Nate, you have been told this several times. So why not check out my Guide. The answers are there. You just have to read.

http://rexgrigg.com/waterchem.htm

But before you add baking soda tell us what the kH of your source water is.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I know just came home didn't have time as stated above. But I will...almost finished with finals...should have more time.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 04:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbennett

That's it Gradually increase the CO2 until you get 20-30ppm. This will lower the pH and KH so make sure you test regularly so the levels of the pH don't drop too low.
Again I do not think this a true statment. I do not believe injecting CO2 will affect the KH of the water. I have read conflicting statments about it. However, from my personal expereince and wrightings from others KH does not change based on the CO2 levels in the water. pH changes dramaticaly however based on the amount of CO2 in the water.

Many people new to planted tanks worry about high pH swings from injecting co2 harming their fish. I have seen many experts say that the pH swing from injecting co2 is harmless because the water hardness is not changing (from CO2). If the water hardness was swinging I think it would stress and possible kill the fish.

Rick
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 04:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbennett
...It works the same way the richter scale does for earthquakes where 7.1 is ten times more than 7.0...
Umm, no... 8.0 is ten times more than 7.0 in a log-10 scale.
10^7.0 = 10,000,000
10^7.1 = ~12,589,254
10^8.0 = 100,000,000
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2006, 06:31 PM
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CO2 will absolutely change the KH. But it will erode the KH very, very gradually which is why you want to not obsess over it but keep an eye on it just to make sure it doesn't get too low. I believe it's the carbonic acid in the CO2 so just like in my example above, you are adding an acidic substance to the water - the amount of buffering (your KH level) will determine how far your pH will drop. This is why we can figure out how much CO2 we have by measuring the pH and KH. If you have very high KH levels and/or do water changes frequently, you may never need to boost the KH or notice the KH dropping but it will happen.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2006, 05:25 AM Thread Starter
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So...I got 7 dKH or 125.3 ppm KH....what level would I have to keep it to make it stay stable at a pH of 7.2-7.5? Going to read more later...
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