Anything to lower pH and hardness - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Anything to lower pH and hardness

Is there anything that I can use to lower my pH and hardness? I know peat will lower the pH, but will it lower the hardness? Where can find peat?

Sorry for so many questions

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 05:43 PM
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i use ro "revese osmosis" water and mix the waters to adjust ph and hardness. RO water has a low ph and of course no minerals so no hardness. i use the water machines at the grocery store and have been doing so for about a year with no problems. There are some people that have had problems with consitent water quality from these machines, lack of maitenance by the machine owner, so be careful.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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i use ro "revese osmosis" water and mix the waters to adjust ph and hardness. RO water has a low ph and of course no minerals so no hardness. i use the water machines at the grocery store and have been doing so for about a year with no problems. There are some people that have had problems with consitent water quality from these machines, lack of maitenance by the machine owner, so be careful.
I know, that's exactly what I do and yet my pH is still around 7.5 and hardness is 5-7.

Btw, I'm trying to lower it for my CRS.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 10:20 PM
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You either have something in the tank contributing carbonates or you are not diluting your tap water significantly enough to reach your goal. It is important keep in mind that a pH below 7 will require acids to achieve, be they tannic, carbonic, etc.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-17-2009, 10:21 PM
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Peat can only do so much for hardness; you have to do something to either remove or dilute the dissolved solids in the water. Using ADA Amazonia substrate also can help somewhat.

IMO the best (safest and most stable) way is through using reconstituted RO/DI water.

If you're doing that already, what is the kH in your tank?





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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2009, 12:45 AM Thread Starter
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You either have something in the tank contributing carbonates or you are not diluting your tap water significantly enough to reach your goal. It is important keep in mind that a pH below 7 will require acids to achieve, be they tannic, carbonic, etc.
I'm doing water changes with pure R/O water and the pH hasn't gone down, so I guess there is something contributing carbonates

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauraleellbp View Post
Peat can only do so much for hardness; you have to do something to either remove or dilute the dissolved solids in the water. Using ADA Amazonia substrate also can help somewhat.

IMO the best (safest and most stable) way is through using reconstituted RO/DI water.

If you're doing that already, what is the kH in your tank?
Every once in a while, I add Kent R/O prep to the R/O water. I always thought this raises the pH/hardness of the R/O water; are you saying that this'll help lower the pH/hardness in my tank?

I'll test the GH, KH, and pH now

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2009, 12:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ZooTycoonMaster View Post
I'm doing water changes with pure R/O water and the pH hasn't gone down, so I guess there is something contributing carbonates



Every once in a while, I add Kent R/O prep to the R/O water. I always thought this raises the pH/hardness of the R/O water; are you saying that this'll help lower the pH/hardness in my tank?

I'll test the GH, KH, and pH now
If you want to use RO water to lower the hardness and therefore the pH, don't add anything to the RO water. It works because it has the hardness causing ions removed. And, it isn't a good idea to add anything to the water "every once in a while" - you need a reason for adding things, and a system for determining how much to add, and a routine that includes adding whatever it is.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2009, 12:56 AM Thread Starter
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If you want to use RO water to lower the hardness and therefore the pH, don't add anything to the RO water. It works because it has the hardness causing ions removed. And, it isn't a good idea to add anything to the water "every once in a while" - you need a reason for adding things, and a system for determining how much to add, and a routine that includes adding whatever it is.
Ok so then just keep on doing water changes with the pure R/O water and don't add the R/O Prep unless the pH/hardness it too low?

test results:
pH - exactly 7.5
KH and GH - both around 4 to 4.5

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-18-2009, 02:34 AM
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The pH won't be too low, but the GH might possibly get below what is considered a lower limit. If your GH stays above 4 degrees of GH I wouldn't do anything about it. (That is just a crude guess at a number to look for.) You need some GH, but not a specific GH. The KH isn't at all critical. We used to believe that if the KH was too low you could get an extremely low pH, but now we know better. CO2, which is all that really lowers the pH much, can't lower it too low for the fish, at any KH.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 10:01 AM
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The pH won't be too low, but the GH might possibly get below what is considered a lower limit. If your GH stays above 4 degrees of GH I wouldn't do anything about it. (That is just a crude guess at a number to look for.) You need some GH, but not a specific GH. The KH isn't at all critical. We used to believe that if the KH was too low you could get an extremely low pH, but now we know better. CO2, which is all that really lowers the pH much, can't lower it too low for the fish, at any KH.
Hi Hoppy,

I'm interested in your comments on KH and not lowering PH lower than the fish can tolerate. Could you elaberate a little. I understand basic water chemistry - in particular the carbonate buffer equilibrium. Are you saying that this equilibrium results in a lower bound on PH?

Regards

Dave
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-22-2009, 04:48 PM
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Hi Hoppy,

I'm interested in your comments on KH and not lowering PH lower than the fish can tolerate. Could you elaberate a little. I understand basic water chemistry - in particular the carbonate buffer equilibrium. Are you saying that this equilibrium results in a lower bound on PH?

Regards

Dave
If you add enough CO2 to lower the pH down to where it would harm the fish, they are already dead from the CO2, and that is true with any KH. When people thought they had a pH crash that killed their fish, they were killing them with too much CO2, which was suffocating them. I don't even measure KH anymore, and mine is very low, since my tap water is mostly river water. I also don't measure pH. As long as I keep my CO2 from going too high the fish are fine. In the range of pH readings that we can get in an aquarium, the fish are not bothered by pH, as long as that pH is not a result of adding salts to the water, where it is the salt concentration that bothers the fish, not the pH.

Just because it is easy to measure KH and pH is no good reason to measure them. If measuring them gives you distress, I think the best fix is not to measure them. Worry about CO2, not KH/pH.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 02:32 AM
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I've heard they have this artificial water mixture at the local pet store (forgot the name)that will lower the ph. you you put a couple drops in, the PH drops up to .5.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 03:07 AM
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Never use that kind of pH altering chemical in a planted tank.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 04:25 AM
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Seriously, pH is not a critical parameter in a planted tank. The reagent in pH test kits is good for use in a drop checker, but otherwise it is best left in the box. If you enjoy testing your water, just test with all of your kits and chart the numbers you get. This may be something interesting to look at from time to time. But, don't do anything to the aquarium as a result of those numbers.

Before someone jumps down my throat let me explain more. Test kits, when calibrated carefully, can give you useful information, but you need to know what the information means and how important it is. I'm willing to bet that few of us fit that description. For most of us testing leads us to do things, or add things to the water that do more harm than if we had done no testing at all.

You can do fertilizing by monitoring the water with test kits, again only if you calibrate them carefully and often, but that is a lot of unnecessary work. If you enjoy doing it, then that type of fertilizing - trying to hit target amounts of each nutrient - works fine. But, for most of us, using a system like the estimative index system is a far superior way to fertilize, leaving us the time not wasted on testing for more routine tank maintenance, which will do far more good per hour.

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 01-24-2009, 04:27 AM
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If you add enough CO2 to lower the pH down to where it would harm the fish, they are already dead from the CO2, and that is true with any KH. When people thought they had a pH crash that killed their fish, they were killing them with too much CO2, which was suffocating them. I don't even measure KH anymore, and mine is very low, since my tap water is mostly river water. I also don't measure pH. As long as I keep my CO2 from going too high the fish are fine. In the range of pH readings that we can get in an aquarium, the fish are not bothered by pH, as long as that pH is not a result of adding salts to the water, where it is the salt concentration that bothers the fish, not the pH.

Just because it is easy to measure KH and pH is no good reason to measure them. If measuring them gives you distress, I think the best fix is not to measure them. Worry about CO2, not KH/pH.
Hi Hoppy,

Thanks for the response - my experiance is that the fish don't appear at all stressed by the low PH caused by C02 addition. However I'm a bit confused about the salt bit - I understand that there are acid and basic salts (i.e. produce hydroxide or hydronium ions in water), but why does that have a different effect on fish to CO2 addition which surely also affects the hydronium concentration?

Regards

PS Is there an existing discussion I should be posting in - don't want to hijack this thread?
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