Vinegar? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Vinegar?

I have a question about bringing Ph down when there is a lot of carbonate hardness in the water.

My Ph is about 7.8 and my carb. hard. is through the roof, of course thats what I get with well water. Anyway, of the various methods I've tried I am unable to bring it down for long, if at all. I understand water chemistry and such but my the manager at my LFS told me that vinegar is a great way to bring down that ph and hardness. So I poured half a cup of distilled vinegar into 2 gallons of water and it dropped the Ph to about 6.0 in around 6 hrs. I ran out of stuff to test hardness so I'll have to get some more. Anyway so is this safe?

Also, the reason I'm doing this is b/c my betta's fins are becoming curled b/c of my hard water and I have some killies that won't breed unless I have them in acidic water. Oh and my water is in between moderately hard and moderately soft...so it's squishy I guess...

I'm not a big fan of using chemicals in my water, thus I steer clear of chemicals to bring ph down (b/c they don't last that long anyway in my experience)...and powders don't seem to drop the ph but by about .3 points...if that, this is the most significant "shock" to the water I've tried. It doesn't rain enough around here for me to collect enough for all of my tanks (all 16 of them).

Kevin

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 12:53 AM
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Hi Kevin, I have not used vinegar (acetic acid) for this purpose before so I would also like to know how it effects a tank. I do however use RO (reverse osmosis) water mixed with treated water to lower the overall pH of my tanks.

What sized tank do you have? If it is a large tank then it might not be efficient to buy the water from a vending machine or local fish shop. I would consider a RO filter unit if using RO water works out for you.


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 01:14 AM
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I doubt that vinegar will reduce carbonate hardness. My guess would be it will actually increase it. From what I have heard, bringing down the pH that way doesn't do your fishies any favor. The ones that supposed to need low pH actually need soft water (low kH).

To get there, the only reliable way is RO/DI unfortunately, which costs some money as well as wastes water.


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 04:08 AM
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i have asked about lowering ph in a other post numerous times and have been told the ro water will make my 7.6 ph get higher. and was told that all i can do is constant water changes to keep the ph lower around 7.0..

so you are saying ro will lower ph?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 04:13 AM
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Generally, RO water is pretty neutral (ph of 7), so it will help reduce your ph.

Mike


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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 04:30 AM
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How about CO2? That will lower you pH, and if you have plants it will be great for them too...considering you have good light and ferts. Peat should also lower it. Unless your using nearly 100% RO it will probably not reduce pH that much because it has no buffering capacity. That means if you have 50% tap with a high pH, 50% RO may not lower it that much.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 05:03 AM
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i have diy co2 and hasent helped my yet butonly had it in for about 5 days now, but maybe not enough c02!? just a 2 liter normal diy bottle that bubbles 1 or 2 bubbles a sec.

ill have to go out and buy a ro filter for my home so i wont have to worry as much about my ph as much hopefully lol.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-03-2008, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Let me rephrase this, I have 8 betta splendens tanks, 1 betta channoides tank, 1 betta falx tank, 1 clown killie tank, so 11 that need softer water. The others have hardwater fish in them. The fish do fine at my Ph but the killies don't breed and the betta splenden's fins curl at the bottom, the wild bettas adjust and will breed (and already have) at my current ph. The softer water is more for the killies than anything oh and the betta splendens fry to keep their fins from curling (LFS's don't like bettas with curled fins)...

I normally use rainwater for this purpose, but it hasn't rained enough lately for me to store water for later use...

Most of these tanks are 10 gallons or less, with the splendens tanks being 2.5gallons. Well I may have to hold off on the RO unit for right now, just bought books for class and they were $300.

Kevin

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2008, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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So here's the deal, I took the water to my LFS today to see what they said about it. Compared to my normal tap water (well water that is) the added vinegar dropped the Ph down to around a 5.5-6.0, and carbonate hardness could not be registered...ironically, however the general hardness of the water increased by 4 points from a 6 dGH to a 10 dGH. So the answer is that the vinegar did drop the ph but made the resulting general hardness harder, whereas like I said, it was soft at 6 dGH so I guess my killies will be able to spawn in my water which ironically has a high Ph but is soft...weird...

Kevin

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