PH Buffers - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 04:49 AM Thread Starter
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PH Buffers

Was wondering if using PH buffers bad for shrimps? For those who use them, how often do you have to add it to the tank to keep the PH stable?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 05:19 AM
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The only buffers I would ever consider using are crushed coral/oyster shells or something similar. No liquid buffers of any sort.





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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 05:57 AM
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I use Seachem Ph buffers with no problem only add when changing water. And I have shrimp.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 06:02 AM
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Commercial pH buffers are bad for your wallet.

If you want to lower high pH water you should dilute it with RO or distilled. This will lower the total dissolved solids (TDS), carbonate buffering (KH) and general hardness (GH). The the pH drop is a side effect, basically, of decreasing the bi/carbonate level.

If you want to raise the pH you need to add carbonate buffering, baking soda is a good source. The key is carbonates and bicarbonates.

If you want to increase general hardness then there are some commercial sources like Equilibrium that are a good choice. The key is adding Calcium and Magnesium (at least if you want to adjust measurably with the average test kit).

Crushed coral, oyster shell, etc, will increase both the GH and KH of the water. It is an inexact method, but certainly works. Crushed coral is calcium carbonate, which is why it effects both.

Now, you need to ask yourself, why do you want to muck with your pH? Maintaining stable water conditions, especially in regards to the TDS, is much more important than some arbitrary pH reading.

Now that I have the preaching out of the way....

I add 1tsp each Equilibrium, baking soda, and K2SO4 (for a 75 gallon tank) each week while refilling after the 50% water change. I have extremely low, practically unmeasurable KH & GH out of the tap and my TDS reads 16... which is what some folks get out of their RO system... so that's my reason. I couldn't care less what the pH is, I just want to add the minerals and buffering.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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I do want to add RO but I'm still approaching this cautiously as I do not want to wipe out my population over 1 WC.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-30-2008, 06:34 AM
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Yes, it's definitely important to transition slowly. One course of action may be to dilute by 5 or 10% each week until you've reached your goal. Please understand though, that by diluting the carbonate buffer system (KH) you will actually be more prone to fluctuations in the pH. So, from a pH stability standpoint (and I contend that pH is irrelevant within normal boundaries) you'd be "de-buffering" by adding RO water.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 03:04 PM
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what does crushed coral usually bring the ph to?
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 07:12 PM
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Crushed coral brings the PH UP...
Peat,
RO
Distilled Water
CO2

are good for bringing the PH down

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 07:20 PM
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so if i had a high ph tap it wouldnt 'buffer' it?

i thought co2 raises ph
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 07:43 PM
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CO2 forms carbonic acid with water, so it lowers the pH.

High pH tap water is typically that way because of a high KH reading, so yes, that's what we refer to as well-buffered water.

It's important to note that outside of specific situations, the pH isn't something to be concerned with. The KH, GH, and altogether the TDS are almost always far more important considerations.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 07:46 PM
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No, CO2 lowers the pH. How much depends on how buffered the water is.

Crushed coral would both raise and buffer the pH.

"Buffering" really just means "stabilizing" the pH. Carbonates (kH) are good pH buffers, and coral is full of (mostly comprised of) carbonates.

How much impact coral would have on your particular tank would be relative to how big the tank is, how much you use, and the other water parameters in the tank.





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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 09:50 PM
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my substrate is half pebbles and curshed coral about 1 to 2 inches in depth. 10 gallon. so introducing co2 wouldnt have too much of an adverse effect? im kinda loath to buy a ph meter or anything to that effect.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 09:53 PM
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CO2 is, for the purposes of this discussion, an acid. Adding acid to the water, while it will infact lower the pH, that is what we can call an 'irrelevant change' to the pH. The fish would still be feeling all that extra hardness (we'll just refer to it all together as TDS) from your crushed coral as osmotic pressure, etc, so as far as your livestock would be concerned you didn't change anything.

This is exactly what I meant by the pH not being the key measurement here.

It is pointless to try to lower your TDS, KH, GH, or pH for that matter if you have crushed coral substrate. That would need to be removed.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 10:08 PM
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sorry for all the newb questions

so continue use of co2 will increase the hardness of the water (TDS) .

how does tds/kh/gh relate to a ppm? i have a ppm meter and i could use that to monitor my water.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2008, 10:18 PM
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CO2 in and of itself will not alter the TDS, GH or KH of the water.

The acidic conditions brought about by the CO2 may speed up the process of dissolving the calcium carbonate (crush coral) which would lead to an increase in both the KH and the GH.

A ppm is a unit of measure, what does your meter measure in ppm?

TDS is typically measured in ppm. It's the measure of all dissolved solids in the water, so it will include any KH, GH, fertilizers, aquarium salts, etc.

KH & GH are typically measured in degrees, of which there are 17.9ppm in each degree.

A TDS meter can be used to monitor water conditions, for example, if I know my aquarium is about 250ppm on any given day and suddenly it has deviated from that, I would know that something is awry.

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