RO water and KH / PH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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RO water and KH / PH

So I have RO water. If I understand it correctly, PH is neutral at 7.0 (no acid or base in the water). Correct me if I am wrong.

Remineralizing the water is straightforward; however, establishing a KH and buffered PH isn't.

If I am not using a substrate that sets a specific buffered PH value, then how do I set these parameters in RO water prior to use in an aquarium?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 03:49 PM
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Yes, a pH of 7.0 is considered neutral.

However, RO water will naturally absorb some CO2, bringing down its pH.

Depending on what you remineralize the RO water with will affect the final pH. For example, using conjugate pairs in the right proportions can allow you to establish your desired pH.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkblade48 View Post
Yes, a pH of 7.0 is considered neutral.

However, RO water will naturally absorb some CO2, bringing down its pH.

Depending on what you remineralize the RO water with will affect the final pH. For example, using conjugate pairs in the right proportions can allow you to establish your desired pH.
Been using Seachem Equilibrium which doesn't seem to affect KH at all. For for shrimp tanks will be using Saltyshrimp GH+.

What do you mean by conjugate pairs?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 06:37 PM
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Seachem Equilibrium will not affect KH. It has no carbonates.
It is a source of Ca and Mg, and has a significant amount of K.

I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or potassium bicarbonate to add carbonates.

This will regulate the pH to a certain point.
If the KH is high then the pH will tend to be high.
If the KH is low then the pH will be more easily affected by other things in the water such as CO2 and organic acids.

Here is how I deal with this:
Establish the optimum GH for the livestock. (Seachem Equilibrium)
Make the KH pretty close to the GH (Within a degree or so) (Potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate).
Let the pH do whatever it wants. If the first 2 are right, then the pH is probably going to be in the right ball park.
If I am dealing with a black water species then I add peat moss to the prep bucket (actually a garbage can) and to the filter of the tank. This adds the organic acids these fish like.

Conjugate pairs are salts that will exchange ions back and forth with each other and with the water so that they maintain an equilibrium that acts as a buffer to the pH.
They have names like Neutral Regulator, Discus Buffer and so on.
The basic concept is that you add X amount of one of them, and Y amount of the other, and the proportions establish the equilibrium that in turn controls the pH.
I do not find these helpful.
A soft water species does not want more salts and minerals in the water. They want less. A very low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) can maintain a stable enough pH just fine.

The pH does not have to be all that stable. It is the mineral and salt level that needs to kept stable.
Watch the GH, KH and TDS, and keep these in the right range for the livestock. When they are right the pH is usually close enough.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Seachem Equilibrium will not affect KH. It has no carbonates.
It is a source of Ca and Mg, and has a significant amount of K.

I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or potassium bicarbonate to add carbonates.

This will regulate the pH to a certain point.
If the KH is high then the pH will tend to be high.
If the KH is low then the pH will be more easily affected by other things in the water such as CO2 and organic acids.

Here is how I deal with this:
Establish the optimum GH for the livestock. (Seachem Equilibrium)
Make the KH pretty close to the GH (Within a degree or so) (Potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate).
Let the pH do whatever it wants. If the first 2 are right, then the pH is probably going to be in the right ball park.
If I am dealing with a black water species then I add peat moss to the prep bucket (actually a garbage can) and to the filter of the tank. This adds the organic acids these fish like.

Conjugate pairs are salts that will exchange ions back and forth with each other and with the water so that they maintain an equilibrium that acts as a buffer to the pH.
They have names like Neutral Regulator, Discus Buffer and so on.
The basic concept is that you add X amount of one of them, and Y amount of the other, and the proportions establish the equilibrium that in turn controls the pH.
I do not find these helpful.
A soft water species does not want more salts and minerals in the water. They want less. A very low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) can maintain a stable enough pH just fine.

The pH does not have to be all that stable. It is the mineral and salt level that needs to kept stable.
Watch the GH, KH and TDS, and keep these in the right range for the livestock. When they are right the pH is usually close enough.
That's very helpful Diana.

There is a product that says it does along the same lines as you (aside from the black water) Salty Shrimp GH+ / KH+. It raises them in a ratio of 1 GH / .5 KH. These are geared towards shrimp, but I wonder if I could use these for a fish aquarium.

As for the rest, I will give all of that a go. Thanks very much.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
These are geared towards shrimp
Which species? Who decided that GH:KH should be 1:.5?

A blended product is always suspicious to me.

How do THEY know what I need to add to MY water, and will it be the same if I change my water source? (perhaps they base their material on RO or DI water)

I prefer to buy each material separately, and add the amounts I want of each component, and I start with my tap water, which already has some carbonates, Ca and Mg.

When I find a material that is blended in a way that works for me, then, OK, I might use it, but only after pricing out the ingredients separately.

Many (by no means all) packages that contain KH raising materials use baking soda (Bicarbonate of soda, Sodium bicarbonate, similar names) which can be purchased a lot cheaper in the grocery store.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-23-2014, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Which species? Who decided that GH:KH should be 1:.5?

A blended product is always suspicious to me.

How do THEY know what I need to add to MY water, and will it be the same if I change my water source? (perhaps they base their material on RO or DI water)

I prefer to buy each material separately, and add the amounts I want of each component, and I start with my tap water, which already has some carbonates, Ca and Mg.

When I find a material that is blended in a way that works for me, then, OK, I might use it, but only after pricing out the ingredients separately.

Many (by no means all) packages that contain KH raising materials use baking soda (Bicarbonate of soda, Sodium bicarbonate, similar names) which can be purchased a lot cheaper in the grocery store.
lol... Good point and yes, it is geared for use in RO water.

Last edited by rpadgett37; 03-23-2014 at 08:30 PM. Reason: Scratched a question I answered for myself.
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