pH, Hard Water, and Rocks - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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pH, Hard Water, and Rocks

Since I decided I wanted a nice rock as the centerpiece of my 55 gallon, I had a whole bunch of new questions. I looked up my town's water quality info for this year to help (I manually changed mg/l to ppm and ended up finding that they are the same thing; is this right?):

Fluorite: 1.3 ppm
Nitrate: 0.9 ppm
Nitrite: 43 ppb
Bromate: 33 ppb
Monochloramine: 2.4 ppm
Sodium: 59 ppm
Ammonia: 0.12 ppm
Hardness: 147 ppm (Is this the right unit?)

pH: 9.3 (WHAT? How is this possible? I get municipal water from the city of Ann Arbor, but that's what the report says for average pH.)

pH: I've never had a test come out as high as 9.3 (Then again, my test doesn't go that high). However, I've had it at 7.8, 7.9, 8.0 before. Not sure whether it will be higher or lower when I move, but it will still be from the city of Ann Arbor (different apartment). Do you think that using CO2 will lower the pH enough? I'm planning on using DIY with a Hagen Ladder. Also, I might be interested in having black(ish)water in my tank. However, I realized that might cause problems with certain plants and snails, so maybe not. In any case, how does one go about making a blackwater tank anyway?

Hard Water: I think 147 is probably ok, but I will wait for everyone else to respond since I don't know anything except what I read online. If it turns out it is too hard, will mixing it with distilled water help? (I know that distilled water is not really good for aquariums, but I figure distilled water probably has less mineral content.

Rocks: I'm planning to take a trip out to the Rock Shoppe as suggested by someone on this board (sorry, I forget who) to look for a nice piece. Any suggestions on what to avoid (types of rocks)? Also, how do I test the rock (I read Rex's guide and it said strong acid, not just vinegar, but I'm not sure what that means)? And finally, I'm also planning on having a piece of driftwood in there, any suggestions/tips on that? I probably can't afford a really nice looking piece of driftwood, but some of the stuff at my LFS looks ok. How will both of these things affect my water chemistry?

Thanks again for putting up with my millionth question.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 08:07 PM
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Little Help...!

PH 9.3, thatís high...
This is the water in the tank or directly at the tap?

If itís at the tap, you really need to find a supply of osmosed water or distill water (supposed to be around ph 5 to 6 and mix it to your water to obtain the ph you want.

If the test come from the tank, test your water directly from the tap to see the difference. If your tap water is lower, said 7.8. This is mean that some of your decor release carbonates in the water. More carbonates mean higher ph and make the solution resist ph lowering. The concentration of carbonates is The KH. You need a KH test kit (aquarium supply store)

20 to 30 mg/l shoulg give you (approx) a PH range from 6 to 7.

CO2 will help lowering PH because in dissolution with water it become carbonic acid (carbonic acid become a source of precious carbon for your plants) and any acid add to the tank will transform the carbonates in carbonic acid, lowering slowly your KH, carbonates contents.

To test your decor use something like muriatic acid (sell in garden or construction store to clean ciment and bricks) this is a stronger acid and in contact with anything containing and leaching carbonates will give you a little foamy fizz.

Happy tank!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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The 9.3 reading is not from my tests, it is the reading given by the city of Ann Arbor. However, I doubt their reading, because my own test kit has given me a reading of 7.8, 7.9, 8.1, and from a different faucet, 7.4. How do I test the rock with the muriatic acid? Do I need to submerge the entire thing in a bucket, or do I just dab at it? And after I'm done testing it, how do I clean it again so it's safe for the tank?

Thanks!

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Do I need to submerge the entire thing in a bucket, or do I just dab at it?
Dab it, put a little on and it'll fizzle if the rock has carbonate.

Quote:
And after I'm done testing it, how do I clean it again so it's safe for the tank?
Rinse well and neutralize the acid. Baking soda would work well for this - it's a great buffer and will suck up that acid pretty well. I'd just pour some baking soda on the acid spot and then rinse the whole thing off very well.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2007, 12:55 AM
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You might test your test kit, just to be sure.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2007, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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I think my test kit is ok, I tried it out on some bottled water and got a reasonable reading.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2007, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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I reiterate, the 9.3 reading is not mine, it's just something I read off of our town's water treatment info.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2007, 03:37 AM
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so what does your tap measure? around here we have pH as high as 12 out of the tap!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 06-08-2007, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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depending on which faucet, 8.4 or 7.9

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