Peat and repeat very low pH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 02:07 AM Thread Starter
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Peat and repeat very low pH

I have read all the posts in the water parameters containing the word "peat". There has been a lot of help there. Here is what may be a problem that I have just noted. Tank is a 280L restarted after a move of 900 miles with all new material. Substrate is 1/2 inch peat under 5 inches fluorite red. Tank was planted on April 20 and most plants survived their overnight express and have grown considerably.

The tank pH is very low, less than 6 on an API test kit. Tap water measures 6.9 and the local water department says they usually see a variance of 7.0 to 7.2. The gH tests at 4 °dKH, the tap water tests at 3°dKH. the tank kH tests at 1°dKH and the tap water tests at 2°dKH. Tank was being aerated during the ammonia removal process which is now complete. Ammonia = 0.0, NO3 = 0.0, NO2 = 30ppm after 80% water change yesterday. Total lighting = 223 watts 10 hours/day. No CO2 at present because of the aerating before, but DIY CO2 available. No animal load as yet but expect about 50 inches eventually.

Question # 1 and 2 - Do I need to even worry about the low pH now? Will I need to worry about the low pH in the future when I add the animal load?

Question #3. From what I have been reading in the various threads, it looks like I could adjust the pH up by adding commmercial alkaline buffer each time of water change or add limestone either in the filter or a stone in the tank.

I am guessing that this (maybe excessive) peat will continue this action for some time and it would seem better to me to add some limestone rock to offset the action of the peat as far as the pH is concerned on a more permanent basis rather than to have to dose the tank with each water change.

Your thoughts and advice will be appreciated.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 03:57 AM
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Hi fellow NC'er

My tap water is very similar to your's.

I recently set up an aquarium with a 1/8" dusting of peat, a sprinkle of Osmocote and used dried out Eco-Complete for the substrate.

The peat lowers the KH to about 0° from 1 to 2 dKH. This aquarium has pressurized CO2 with a pH controller and a drop checker with a 4 dKH lab certified solution.

I had to lower the pH with the controller to around a pH of 5 to get a green drop checker color. The fish, critters and plants are fine.

My other aquariums without any peat have a pH of around 6.4 and a green drop checker.

I used just a bit too much peat, but it's working fine.

Should you decide to increase the KH and pH by using baking soda or Seachem's Alkaline Buffer, be sure to weigh out how much you dose and keep it subsistent. It's hard to keep the KH the same using spoons because both of these alkalinity increasing products a rather strong and a tiny bit makes a big change.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-27-2008, 08:42 PM
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I wouldn't worry about your pH or KH, unless you are trying to keep fish that require harder water. If you keep fish such as tetras, angelfish, etc. that prefer soft water, or even fish that do fine in neutral water, they should be fine if acclimated correctly. As far as the plants are concerned, KH makes no difference. GH is the only thing that matters to plants, usually. pH is pretty much meaningless in and of itself, the concern should be hard or soft water and pH will fall where it may if you adjust those things to suit your fish, or better yet, choose your fish to suit your water.

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