PH Too Low For Co2? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 10:25 AM Thread Starter
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PH Too Low For Co2?

Yesterday we were attempting to set up our CO2 from GLA. Ever since starting this new tank with amazonia & using RO water, the PH has been very low. It is now at 6.4. I am new to using CO2.I am confused now. Do I need to use treated tapwater, or 1/2 RO so my PH will be higher so that I can use the CO2? Should I use the RO with the Seachem Stability to add back certain needed elements? Or are they needed? I have some, but have not used it yet. Is Stability safe with shrimp? How many factors affect PH? Temperature, food, bioload, oxygen ?
Also, I notice when people speak of their GH and KH, they speak in low numbers like 4-5 etc. I have a GH/KH test kit by API, but the numbers according to the chart when I tested were KH 107.4 & GH 89.5. How do I translate these numbers? I am an artist not a scientist...help..lol
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 12:06 PM
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To convert from PPM to degrees, divide by 17.86. So you have KH of 6 and DH of 5.

Exactly how long have you been set up with aquasoil? I have no experience with it personally but from what I've read, there's a big pH drop initially but with water changes, it goes away. It may be too early for CO2.

http://www.barrreport.com/general-pl...h-affects.html

Seachem Stability is a bacteria cycling product and does not effect these parameters. What is the PH of your tap? Some reading material for you:

http://www.drhelm.com/aquarium/chemistry.html
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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The tank has been up since 4/27. Four fish & a few snails were added 3 days ago, the rest along with the shrimp were added yesterday. I am keeping fish & shrimp that require a PH of 6.5-6.8.
Are those good numbers for GH & KH? Thanks for telling me the conversion and for your help. I will check the PH of the tap.
*< shudders at the thought of using tapwater,it comes from my reefkeeping I think.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 02:33 PM
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I filled my tank wednesday and noticed a severe drop in pH. The water from the tap is ~7.66, and after about 18 hours in my tank the pH had dropped to ~5.55! After 2 water changes, my pH rose to ~6.72; I started CO2 injection yesterday, a little bit higher than 1 bps. Went to sleep, woke up and my CO2 levels are perfect (according to the drop checker), and my pH has only gone down to around 5.84. I'm going to set my pH controller to inject maintain this pH (5.85), do another water change, and see what happens. I'm curious to see how low the pH will settle.

Do you have a drop checker?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 03:21 PM
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I recently set up a new 15g aquarium because I cracked my original's back glass. It was a 10g that is in my bed room. I decide to go with the 20" x 10" footprint and the 18" height of the 15g High that would fit my stand.

I had some Schultz Canadian Sphagnum Peat Most and some Osmocote 19-6-12 time released Outdoor & Indoor plant food.

I put a medium dusting with the Peat Moss and Osmocote on the bottom. Then I added about an 1 1/2" of some old dried up E-C and I topped it with the E-C from the broken 10g aquarium. Then I added the driftwood, rocks and the plants

This aquarium has a Milwaukee SMS 122 pH controller plus a drop check with a lab certified 4 dKH solution.

Everything is doing very well. The fish are a breeding pair of dwarf cichlids, plus a school of Cardinal Tetras, a few otos, pygmy cories and a rubber lip pleco.

This aquarium has a Milwaukee SMS 122 pH controller plus a drop checker with a lab certified 4 dKH/Bromothymol Blue solution.

I had to lower the pH controller's setting to around a 5.0 pH to get the drop checker a green color. All the fish are fine with this ~ 0 dKH and ~ 5.0 pH setting. I see no changes in their habits, swimming, etc.

IMO, a pH controller plus a drop checker containing an 4 dKH lab certified carbonate based solution with a drop or so of Bromothymol Blue low range freshwater pH indicator solution in it are very useful tools when combined together.

Thanks for the rambling!
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left C View Post
IMO, a pH controller plus a drop checker containing an 4 dKH lab certified carbonate based solution with a drop or so of Bromothymol Blue low range freshwater pH indicator solution in it are very useful tools when combined together.

Thanks for the rambling!
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I agree 100 percent: there's no easier way to go! You can always use the KH/pH CO2 chart, but the DC is so much easier! Set your controller to the pH displayed when the drop checker indicates adequate CO2 levels. You can even take the DC out after that if you want, and just check back periodically to ensure proper probe calibration. Perfect for people with multiple tanks, also (assuming they have controllers as well).
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 04:02 PM
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Just to let you know it is OK if you pH goes below 5. Sergio Canabal with the amazing 120P on here uses 100% RO water with absolutely no KH or GH and his pH is usually in the 4's when his CO2 is pumping. His fish love it, and so do his plants. As long as your pH doesn't sway real frequently you have nothing to worry about.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the assurance and explanations. Just ordered a drop checker from Green Leaf Aquariums.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-24-2008, 07:55 PM
 
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The chart is often inaccurate....the assumption of the chart is that KH and co2 are the only two things in your water affecting pH. Not a common scenario in most real situations. A drop checker with 4KH solution gets around that problem. Also pH drop due to co2 does not affect the fish that much. Mine has fluctuated all over the place and the fish don't seem to care one bit. Changing other things that AFFECT pH can hurt the fish, like increasing KH rapidly or having too much waste breaking down in the water causing acidic buildup. pH change is a symptom of a cause, the cause and not the symptom is what will either harm or not harm your fish. In this case, if the case is co2 injection, that will not harm your fish.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-25-2008, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your help Carissa.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-25-2008, 07:44 PM Thread Starter
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I just tested my tapwater and it is 7.6.
RO water 6.0
Present water in that tank 6.2
target 6.5
Think I should use some tapwater? Ughhh..shudder the thought...
I am preparing to do a 50% wc. Should I use 1/2 tap 1/2 RO?
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-25-2008, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Well..did the wc, used 50/50 and what do you know..PH 6.5.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 09:46 PM
 
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Unless you need to use the RO to keep your KH or GH low for the fish you are keeping, or there's some other issue, I would work towards using all tap water. You don't want to shock your fish so keep doing the 50/50 for a few weeks, then start doing 75/25 for a while, then 100%. Your pH will rise but the key is to do it gradually so you don't stress your fish.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, our water here in FL is like liquid rock. I am keeping fish and shrimp that require the low ph..6.5-6.8.
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-28-2008, 01:52 AM
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pH is not a crutch folks. We're not talking battery acid vs. bleach here. I keep unusually low pH levels (6.2 and below), low KH levels (0-1 dKH), and low GH (1-3 dGH), with ADA substrate. Plants thrive and fish do extremely well. It's as if this is how it was meant to be. I must forewarn that at these acidic conditions, CO2 can wreak havoc on shrimp. Be carefull with the gas!
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