pH Confusion...? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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pH Confusion...?

Well yesterday night I found a CO2 calculator that shows the ppm of CO2 present in my tank. According to the calc, my pH tested when directly taken from the aquarium - I would assume is somewhere at 6.0 or below. And if I use that calc my degrees of KH are 2 or 3 drops - which gives me a ppm of 60 for CO2. Impossible considering anything above 25 will make fish stressed, not to mention gasp for air which I haven't even seen anything close to.

The problem comes to measuring my pH. I've got an API Liquid Test kit, which hasn't failed me yet on any of my other tanks. Yet when I take a pH reading out of the tank the color is orange, which doesn't read any of the pH color card. Even if I use the high range liquid I get yellow which isn't on the chart either. Don't get me wrong, this is the ONLY tank I have had problems distinguishing colors between so far ( and I've got 6 tanks at home, not counting the ones at work ). We use the same kit at work to test water samples of customers and I've never had a issue like this.

Out of curiosity I left some water in a test tube opened, all yesterday and throughout the night. This afternoon I tested it and got a pH of 6.8-7.0 which makes more sense as the colors were a darn near match compared to the colors I was getting before. I've got two pieces of driftwood I throughly boiled, and flourite substrate. My pH out of the tap is extremely hard around 8.4

Any input on this? Is letting the water sit for abit, the correct way to test the water? IF so, are these calculators correct considering this is the 'outgased' ph level? Like I said, I get a reading that doesn't match any of the charts when a sample is directly taken and tested.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 05:14 PM
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FWIW, Co2 calculators will only work if you only have Carbonate or Bicarbonate buffers in your aquarium water. This is the reason Drop checkers with a KH standard solution comes into play.
When I test my aquarium pH I take it right away. When I test my tap, I test both right from the tap, and after letting it outgas to see what it really is, and how much dissolved CO2 is coming from the tap. mine goes from 7.6 to 8.4 after letting it sit.

If it has outgassed to 6.8 or 7 from 8.4 out of the tap, I would think that you are running a very, very low pH, and something has used up your alkalinity (KH).

Now that I think about it, if you have 8.4 out of the tap (do you have a KH from the tap?), you have very hard water, and something is using up all you buffer to bring it down to 2 or 3 degrees.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply. Don't get me wrong, I may be WAY over thinking this considering I am using DIY CO2 in a 20L. But I wanted to know what my CO2 ppm is due to the fact I currently like the dwarf cichlids I've gotten. Which thrive in low pH (5-6.0) Which aren't available anywhere near me. I just would like a way to keep an eye on CO2 so as not to overdose.

Anyways, my KH out of the tap is exactly 3 drops, so 3dKH correct? I am not sure whats exactly going on. The only thing I can think of is the pieces of driftwood.

Also I might add I have about 12-14 ghost shrimp in the tank that seem to be doing great. I was told they wouldn't do so well under 7.0ish pH levels?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-05-2007, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gundy View Post
And if I use that calc my degrees of KH are 2 or 3 drops - which gives me a ppm of 60 for CO2. Impossible considering anything above 25 will make fish stressed, not to mention gasp for air...
Emphasis added.

Not sure where You got that, but many people shoot for 30ppm.....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gundy View Post
But I wanted to know what my CO2 ppm is due to the fact I currently like the dwarf cichlids I've gotten. Which thrive in low pH (5-6.0) Which aren't available anywhere near me. I just would like a way to keep an eye on CO2 so as not to overdose.

Just get a drop checker. Skip the pH/Kh/C02 charts--they're too squirrly to start with and way too much work and time. With a DC you can tell at a glance where Your C02 is at....


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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I'm stupid that was a typo on my part. Over 50 is what the website mentioned as unsafe.

Will a drop checker work correctly with my DIY though? I know there was a fella on the board selling them, but I read a couple replies mentioned they weren't great with DIY. Or maybe its just because DIY isn't that stable..?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 06:29 PM
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My guess would be the instability of the DIY. I have no idea why the DC itself would work any differently...?!?!

If anything a DC would let You know if You needed to add more bottles (or use bigger bottles) or swap them out more often.


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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Would those ones on the swap n shop forum, that are like 10$ work alright?

How exactly do they work, do I need to change the solution or something at a certain time?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 07:38 PM
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Blacksunshine's DC work well from what I understand. He provides everything you need--including the 4Kh solution, so You'd be all set.

C02 from the water "evaporates" into the DC and the solution inside changes color as the C02 changes the pH of the solution. With 4Kh solution the pH color will be green at about 30ppm C02 in Your tank. Just set the DC up correctly and it will let you know if you need more C02 or not (by the solution color).

You will need to change the solution periodically. Some do it at every WC. I don't believe that it needs to be changed that often. Some do, some don't. I don't--seems to work fine for extended periods of time (1 month or more).


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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-06-2007, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Great

Appreciate the help! I will pick up one of those DC and consider the worry over.

Thanks again for the quick replies and helpful info!
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