upper limits on pH for plants? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 04:17 AM Thread Starter
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upper limits on pH for plants?

I have several 1g planted bowls. No filtration, no CO2, although using Flourish Excel.

Trying to maintain KH over 50ppm, but with no CO2, that means PH of 7.5+

How high can I take the pH without hurting plants?

Plants: micro sword, wisteria, broadleaf hygro, several types of aponogetons
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 04:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason K View Post
Will plants be ok in ph levels that high?
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Originally Posted by imeridian View Post
Yes, that's fine.

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How high can I take the pH without hurting plants?
Why do you think you even need to increase pH?

Bettas are perfectly fine in soft water (<1 dKH, dGH), you do not need to alter water parameters to suit the fish. As I said in your other thread, stability is far more important. In that I mean stability of TDS, KH, GH. pH changes outside of corresponding changes to KH/GH/TDS are not problematic for livestock. The quantity of NaHCO3 required to raise even a 5 gallon bucket to 50ppm KH is still quite small and makes accuracy and consistency problematic.

Is that value-added enough for you?

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 05:34 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not trying to increase PH...I'm trying to increase KH to help me maintain PH at a stable level. A higher PH is simply a byproduct of achieving a higher KH (with no CO2 injected).

Maybe I don't understand the chemistry here, but I thought a KH over 50ppm helps mitigate PH levels from dropping due to nitrate production by bacteria and carbonate consumption by plants. I have heavily planted bowls by the way (i.e. there are PLANTS in the bowls...bowls have PLANTS in them)

Without added CO2, maybe PH swings are not a big issue...but that was the idea.

I'm just trying to maintain the best water quality I can.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 05:39 AM Thread Starter
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I've done the measurements, and getting consistent GH and KH levels (with SeaChem products) is quite easily acheived using measuring spoons (which allow for increments as small as 1/32 of a teaspoon).

My tap water has essentially zero GH and KH by the way.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 05:40 AM
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I agree with imeridian. Stability is the key. And that usually means don't mess with it at all.

Here's the best recommendation and what most of us do:

Get water from tap.
Add dechlorinator.
Put in bowl.
Repeat each week (or sooner).

But if you're one of those exceptions, then please tell us how much your pH crashes when it's left untreated. What it is straight from the tap and then what is it 24 hours later? Don't use stick tests, but the actual test-tube liquid tests.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 05:41 AM
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Oh, and to answer your question as to what's too high...

My pH is 8.0. I grow plants just fine. Fish are happy, too.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 05:48 AM Thread Starter
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Great...that's the info I was after. I'm sure PH tolerance varies by plant, but if you can grow with PH of 8, I should be all set.

Thanks!
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 06:04 AM
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Glad I could help.

Here's a link to my 75g before I tore it down to move it. I'm sure you can find plenty of plants to grow in your water.

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/ta...tml#post711418

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
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My tap water has essentially zero GH and KH by the way.
As does mine, I even inject CO2 making pH so low it isn't even measurable on the standard liquid test.

You don't need to alter your water, especially not KH, CO2 or not.

If anything, for the sake of plants, you'd want to be adding Ca and Mg, not repackaged baking soda with a fancy label.

Please don't misunderstand though, I'm saying it isn't necessary. You can certainly do it if you want, I have in the past, but fear just isn't a good reason.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 06:18 AM Thread Starter
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Absolutely beautiful. After looking at that, I wish I could set up a large planted tank again. I've got all the goodies (ph controller, magnetic value, co2 cylinder, etc), but no space to set-up a tank in my little studio apartment in Manhattan.

I see wisteria and similar looking micro swords I'm growing in my bowls, so that's nice to see as well.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 06:27 AM
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Thanks! I haven't been able to get the tank back in shape since the move, but I'm working on it.

Also try Hygro "Sunset". It's way too prolific in a high tech setup, but it does nicely in a low tech one.

I hear you on the Manhattan apartment and space.

As imeridian mentioned, pH stability is the most important thing to be concerned with. The changes in pH brought on by injected CO2 doesn't change the main equation as it does not change the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water. So toss that concern out of the window.

Get a cup or bowl and fill it with tap water. Do not add anything to it. Test the pH. Repeat the test every few hours or so until you hit 24 hours. What happened to the pH? Did it crash? If so, then that's the issue you need to address. If not, then don't worry about it and enjoy your bowls.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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I'm definitely not injecting CO2 in my little bowls!!

Also, I age my water for a few days before I use...I'm not concerned with CO2/pH levels changing there.

It's really about what happens to the water after it's added to the bowls and the changes to parameters based on the interactions with the bacteria, fish, and plants.

To my aged water, I add SeaChem Equilibrium to bring up my GH to 100 ppm, and Alkaline Buffer to bring up my KH...which I'm going to push up to 50ppm.

I know this is probably serious (comical) overkill for a betta bowl, but it's a nice diversion for me.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 07:18 AM
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If it works, then enjoy. Yeah, it's overkill, but I overkill in a lot of areas, too.

So test the pH in the bowl from one water change to the next to see if it's stable or not. If you're keeping things stable and the fish are healthy, then don't worry about it. Enjoy your overkill.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 08:28 AM
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The term "pH crash" is extreme and I personally have been trying to kill
it for a couple of years, the term makes me cringe, to crash pH would
mean to turn water to battery acid, we cannot do that without adding
electrolyte's and sulfur dioxide. /rant off.

The betta's would probably prefer bottled water or aerate over buffers.
You have perfect tap water for a planted tank if you do decide to find
the space, no buffers needed.

Craig

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 01-06-2009, 08:31 AM
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I didn't know there was an issue with the term, "pH crash". What would be a better term to use?

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