pH rising while gH/kh dropping - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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pH rising while gH/kh dropping

just set up a new heavily planted 15gallon...

starting water parameters:

gh 22-25
kh 17
ph 7.4
nh4 0.5

6 days later, no water changes, added maybe 8-12cups of tap water for evaporation and driftwood:

gh 18
kh 12
ph 8.0 or 8.2
nh4 0.25

i have flourite sand, yamaya stone and a large piece of branch root driftwood...

i have added 5ml of seachem stability each day, and 1ml of seachem flourish comp about 5hrs ago

Any ideas why my pH is rising? i tested tank water 3 times at 8.0 or 8.2 and tested my tap water again and its 7.4...
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 05:45 AM
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This is an odd one!

I would be suspicious about the stone. Usually rock that makes the pH rise does so because it adds carbonates, though. Still, maybe there are other minerals or salts involved, not carbonates.

Other idea:
Your tap water may be super charged with CO2 while it is confined to the pipes, but the CO2 out gases over a period of about 24-48 hours when the water is in an aquarium, or just a glass on the counter. This would show as low pH when you first run the tap, then gradually rising pH over a day or so. Faster change when you stir the water.

I have no idea why the mineral level is going down. That is really odd over such a short time, though plausible over a much longer time, if you had been topping off with pure RO.

I am not sure about the other things you are adding.

Maybe test:
Run several small jars of tap water and add something different to each one. Some substrate, a dose of each of the other things you are adding to the tank, a chip off the stone, and leave one with nothing. Compare GH, KH, pH and TDS of each.

To add nitrifying bacteria use a product that specifies Nitrospira species of bacteria.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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I was told by my LFS that our tap water is around 8.2, but I didn't think it was true as each time I tested it was 7.4...

They use tap water for all there tanks, so at least there shouldn't be a problem with acclimating the flora and fauna... but 8.2 seems high for the fauna I'm looking at - celestial pearl danio, or some kind of boraras, pygmy cory, and shrimps...

This is a 15 gallon so chiclids just won't do
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 03:36 PM
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Could not a large piece of drift wood effect a change in water parameters? Bill
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 03:58 PM
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When the GH and KH is so high you will have to lower these before any pH altering materials will work.

Here is how I would do this (and have done it frequently)
1) Set the GH to suit the fish.
2) Make the KH roughly equal to the GH.
3) If you want a blackwater species, then filter the water through peat moss. Otherwise ignore the pH.

By making the mineral levels right for the fish the pH will usually (not always) end up in the right range, too. Fish really want the right mineral levels in the water. pH is secondary.

By starting with the pH it is like pushing a piece of string. You won't get anywhere, and the fish will still not like the water. Start at the other end of the problem, with the minerals, and it is as easy as pulling that string- the pH usually falls right into place.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 05:10 PM
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Are the GH and KH numbers you gave in degrees of hardness or ppm? If it is degrees, that is very hard water, but if it is ppm, it is soft water. Big difference!!

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
Are the GH and KH numbers you gave in degrees of hardness or ppm? If it is degrees, that is very hard water, but if it is ppm, it is soft water. Big difference!!

Its definitely in degrees... very hard water indeed! According the regional water report its in excess of 550ppm around here
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 08:30 PM
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So, how exactly does the peat lower the GH and KH?

Does the peat impart its organic acids into the water? Do the organics chemically combine with the some of the inorganic so thus neutralizing them? Or, is it a combination of both?

Don't some peats have very low PH while others are not as acidic? Wouldn't you need to check the pH of the peat?
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2014, 12:09 AM
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Have you aged the water yet and tested to see if it changed, as mentioned above?

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-09-2014, 04:29 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrman83 View Post
Have you aged the water yet and tested to see if it changed, as mentioned above?
yes and no... i tested water that i had already pre treated with seachem prime declorinator and let sit for a few days... the pH was also 8.0

so it must have something to do with either a change in CO2 or maybe the conditioner...

either way the pH has remained the same since yesterday, but the kH fell another couple degrees good news is it finally beginning to cycle, as the nitrite reading is more than 0

Day 7

gh 18
kh 10
ph 8.0
no3 5ppm
no2 0.25ppm
nh3/nh4 0.25ppm
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-10-2014, 01:53 AM
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Quote:
So, how exactly does the peat lower the GH and KH?
Peat moss is variable. Some acts a lot 'stronger' than others.

Peat moss can act like an ion exchange water softener. Peat accepts positive ions like Ca++ and Mg++, and gives off H+.
By the very definition of pH, rising H+ means lower pH value.

Peat moss also gives off organic acids like tannic acid.

You can try getting some of the locally available peat moss and seeing if it helps. I get Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss in garden stores. No surfactants, no fertilizers. Pure peat moss.

When I start with water that is already fairly soft then the peat moss can really help make it more acidic (lower pH), but IME the material I get does not seem to alter the GH or KH by much.
I have seen threads from some people with a more 'active' peat moss and the GH and KH values came way down for them.

So here is what I would do to keep the really soft water fish:
1) Go get a gallon of reverse osmosis or distilled water. Run some tap water into a bucket and aerate it for 24-48 hours with a small pump. (Air or water pump- just keep the water moving) This ought to drive off the CO2 faster, so the pH will stabilize.
2) Make some blends of aerated tap + RO. See what the GH, KH, TDS and pH are. As hard as your tap water is I think you will end up with a blend of as little as 5-10% tap + 90-95% RO. Perhaps set up tests for 5%, 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% tap.
3) Starting with whichever is closest to what your fish want (research the fish), add a handful of peat moss and stir it around. Test again the next day, and every few days for a week to see if it is stable.
4) Once you find a recipe that works then you will need to make all the water for your aquarium water changes that way. Top off with RO. I keep some peat moss in the filter for fish from black water streams.
5) When you buy new fish that have been kept in the locally hard water you will need to acclimate them very carefully to your soft water. I set up a quarantine tank that matches the water they are used to, and during the month they are in quarantine I slowly alter the water to match the main tank. This will be a big drop in mineral levels for the fish, and cannot be done in just a couple of hours of drip acclimating.
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