Target: pH 6.5-7 Currently: 8.2 - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 05:40 AM Thread Starter
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Target: pH 6.5-7 Currently: 8.2

Hi folks,

For a breeding tank I want to get my water to somewhere between 6.5 and 7. Right now it's at 8.2.

Current params:
Tds: 100-120
KH: 5
GH: 125

TDS is from a cheap electronic meter, others are API (uncalibrated) test kits.

These params are achieved using 75% RO water. TDS on tap is over 225.

I'd like to get a repeatable, consistent way of getting the target pH. Going to try peat, but not thrilled about the discolouration of the water, and the variability of the possible results.

Any suggestions for a manageable water "calibration" procedure?

Many thanks in advance!
Adam
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 10:43 AM
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Run straight RO and re-mineralize it.


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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How does one remineralize RO "properly"? Sorry for my ignorance, but I'm not sure where to start learning. I've seen folks talk about shrimp-specific additives, but that's about it.

Wanting to keep Amazonian clearwater plants and fish (otocinclus and cardinal tetras in particular).
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:15 PM
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When people keep shrimp, they frequently just buy RO water and then get a shrimp-specific additive that creates the water parameters that they want. This is a perfectly viable option for a 10-gallon tank.

You are probably talking about a larger tank? How large?
Also, on your GH/KH are you reporting both measurements in ppm(parts per million)? The KH seems relatively low.

Last edited by pucksr; 08-10-2015 at 03:17 PM. Reason: i like to edit
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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At the moment, the tanks are 20L's.

The measurement I was reporting according to the chart in the little API booklet

KH: 5 drops, 5 dKH, 89.5ppm
GH: 7 drops, 125ppm

They'll be a little low because I've been using 75% RO and 25% tap for a few weeks (doing a couple of changes a week).

I had hoped to accomplish the pH change that way since the RO water tests out at pH 6.4, but I'm learning it doesn't quite work that way!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 05:06 PM
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Yeah, it doesn't quite work the way you were planning.
Water has a pH of 7.0
RO water is fairly pure. If you put your TDS meter in there you will probably measure something fairly low. The pH of your RO water is probably measuring 6.4 because of normal dissolved gases(i.e. CO2). This is because RO water is very sensitive. There is nothing but H20 in there, so even the slightest addition will change the pH. For all practical purposes your RO water has a pH of 7.0 unless you do a TDS and it tests high.

When you mix your RO water with your tap water, the tap water is full of dissolved solids. These solids are alkaline. Pure water + dirty water = dirty water. So, you mixed 7.0 water with 8.5 water and got 8.2 water.

If you want your water to go below 7, you need to do two things:
1) Remove the alkaline "stuff"
2) Add acidic "stuff"
(You could try to just add a lot of acidic stuff, but you are going to wind up with brown water)
The best way to do this is to only add RO water during your water changes for awhile. If you are doing this for fish, you might try fullerized clay(cheap and readily available substrate). Fullerized clay will pull all the stuff out of your water column and bind it to the clay.

As a side note, you can go pretty low on the pH with cardinal tetras. Battery acid low(lower than 5.0). Neon/Cardinal tetras have some of the highest known tolerances to acidic waters.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 05:51 PM Thread Starter
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Very helpful, thanks tons! The explanation of the RO water sensitivity (out of the machine, mine was 5 on the TDS gauge) was particularly helpful. I'm familiar with the concept of buffering capacity, but it's now making more sense.

Maybe you can help me figure out this posting:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...4&postcount=66

In it, James mentions:
pH: 7.4
gh: 6
kh: 5
no3: 10 (no fert dosing until wee ones hit three weeks)
tds: 144

My readings are similar (gh:7, kh:5, TDS:120), but my pH read 8.2 last night. What might account for the difference?

At any rate, my continued thanks! I'm trying not to get too obessed with pH, but some of the few folks who have reared oto fry insist that suvivability above pH 7.5 is all but nil. Given that I only have that number to work with, it's what I focused on.

Learning lots though, which is very fun.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 06:24 PM
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The gh/kh/tds of your water is a measure of certain compounds in your water.
kh is particularly important because it can keep your ph very stable. It also tends to make your pH higher.
While pH may be impacted by gh/kh/tds, it is a completely separate parameter.

Analogy: An ice chest
pH is the temperature of the ice chest
kh is the thickness of the insulation of the ice chest. gh is the type of plastic. TDS is the size of the ice cubes.

The thickness of the insulation of your ice chest is going to have some impact on the temperature in your ice chest, but if your ice chest was too hot you wouldn't add more insulation! You would lower the temperature somehow.

I mentioned TDS as ice cube size because TDS really isn't very important. However, it is a very useful "quick and dirty" check. If you look in your ice chest and see big ice cubes you know your ice chest is probably still cold. If you look in and see no ice, you know it is probably too hot.

Solution
Different people with similar gh/kh/tds are going to have different pH measurements. If you are worried about your pH, do things that will change your pH.
The reason to be concerned about your kh is that a high kh will make it nearly impossible to lower your pH. (Like a thin-walled ice chest, you could keep adding ice but it would keep melting)
As an aside, rainwater has a very low pH. Many people who breed fish use rainwater. Rainwater is typically very low pH and most Amazon fish trigger their breeding off of rainwater(cool and low pH water change)
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Very good analogy, thanks again. Because I'm still operating at the level of trends and concepts I was getting the impression that pH was somehow merely a representation of the other parameters, but I'm now very much committed to understanding this a little deeper.

Though rainwater would be a great option if I had availability year round, it's very frozen up here for at least half the year. That's why I went with the RO option - my wife would think me mental (or more so) if I was melting snow on the stove top lol. I've been using this rig to play with rainfall effects:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlFNhNZd6go

I think I have enough ammunition to go off and play chemist tonight. Cheers!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:20 PM
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Yeah, don't melt ice. It has a pH of 7.0

Also, your cardinals can tolerate a higher pH. You don't have to bring it down just so they can survive. Shrimp are typically the pickier ones.
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species...odon-axelrodi/
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Though the ice bit was mainly a joke, we likely don't even get enough of that consistently to guarantee enough meltwater. It can actually get quite dry around here, even if the air temp is -30 at the time.

The cardinals and otos seem quite content at 8.2, but nobody has every reported any fry hatching and surviving at that level. Some have had spawns at 7.5+, but no surviving fry.

One gent up here reports his fry survival rates are much higher at 6-6.5, and hadn't seen 7.5 until James0816's thread here.

The cardinals wouldn't be in the breeding tank, but would live with the juveniles in the growout tank because my wife likes the splash of colour. That wouldn't HAVE to be the same water parms, but no need to shock them too much moving out of the breeder by the same logic.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 03:17 AM
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If you want low pH water for breeding purposes I believe the real need is for low TDS water. To get that you really do need to start with distilled or RO/DI water and add just the needed chemical compounds to get the KH and GH you want. The pH will reflect what the KH is, since all water dissolves CO2 from the atmosphere in it, dropping the pH to whatever corresponds to about 3 ppm of CO2. Higher KH gives higher pH and lower KH gives lower pH (but not proportionately).

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 03:26 AM
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Here is how I would do this:

1) Run pure RO.

2) Add Seachem Equilibrium to GH 3 German degrees of hardness. (3 drops on the API test)

3) Add potassium bicarbonate to KH 3 German degrees of hardness. (3 drops on the API test)

4) Ignore the pH. With the GH and KH correct, the pH will be fine. If you still want to tinker with it, then add CO2 for the plants. This will drop the pH just fine.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamTill View Post
How does one remineralize RO "properly"? Sorry for my ignorance, but I'm not sure where to start learning. I've seen folks talk about shrimp-specific additives, but that's about it.

Wanting to keep Amazonian clearwater plants and fish (otocinclus and cardinal tetras in particular).
I second the following post. And it is what I meant when I suggested re-mineralization of straight RO water

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
Here is how I would do this:

1) Run pure RO.

2) Add Seachem Equilibrium to GH 3 German degrees of hardness. (3 drops on the API test)

3) Add potassium bicarbonate to KH 3 German degrees of hardness. (3 drops on the API test)

4) Ignore the pH. With the GH and KH correct, the pH will be fine. If you still want to tinker with it, then add CO2 for the plants. This will drop the pH just fine.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again folks!
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