PH Controller, CO2 Levels and KH Question... - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 03:42 AM Thread Starter
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PH Controller, CO2 Levels and KH Question...

My tap water is
ph 8.2
kh 1-2
gh 5


there is no water softner in my house. I use regular tap water. Austin, Texas.

My 3 week old tank is about 70% planted, pressurized CO2
ph runs to 5.9 to 6.1
kh 1-2
gh 5

I have my ph controller set to 6.5

I have 6 cardinal and rummy tetras in there as of yesterday.

I do a daily 50% WC.

Question:
How can I get my kh up and stable to 3-4 and my ph up and stable at 6.5?

Also if my ph is always low, how can I get co2 into the tank?

Also, if I use the CO2, KH, PH chart, it shows my CO2 levels to be crazy high...
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 12:44 PM
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Other buffers are available but the most cost effective (and safe for a planted tank) is plain old Arm & Hammer baking soda. 1/2 tsp, 2.2 grams will raise 26.42 gallons of water by 1dKH (approx.).

Your tap pH appears high related to the KH have you allowed a sample to stand in an open container overnight before testing?


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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 01:02 PM
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As the previous post states, use baking soda. My tap water has a KH of 1.3. Tank is 90 gal. I added 1 tsp/day for a week until the KH reached 4.

What size tank do you have? I would think a 50% change "daily" is a bit much.

Since your PH is high, you have other minerals/buffers in the water which throws the KH-PH-CO2 chart out the window.

Get a drop checker and use a "Standardized Carbonate 4DKH" solution it it.

Steve

90 Gal, 4x65 CFL, 2 Eheim 2215, Pressurized C02
First attempt at planted
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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I havent let the water stand for 24 hours yet...

Will do so tonight...

Any recommendation on a drop checker?

tank is 34 gallons

what kh should I aim for?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 04:01 PM
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By far the best KH is the one the water comes out of the tap with. You can run the tank very well with a KH of 1-2 if not even less. Most plants do better with low KH than higher. The lowest you can drive the pH with CO2 is around 5-5.5, the exact number escapes me for now. And, neither of those numbers is harmful to most fish or plants.

The problem with adjusting the KH with baking soda, or anything else, is water changes. Fish don't tolerate big sudden changes in KH very well, so you almost have to pre-condition the replacement water to match the tank water before using it. That will discourage you from doing big water changes, and big water changes are very good for both the fish and the plants.

If you want to use the pH controller, just use a drop checker to adjust the CO2 bubble rate to get the drop checker to be green, then read the pH on the controller, and set it to maintain that pH. A pH controller is far from necessary, but it can prevent "end of tank dump" problems.

Hoppy
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the wisdom.

A couple additional questions:

-Should the PH controller be plugged into a timer too? If so how? My Milwaukee S122 has 2 plugs. 1 fat one and 1 regular loking one.

-Should plants pearl the entire time the lights are on?

-So if the actual PH setting on the controller is 5.5 or so, that is ok for the plants and fish?
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
By far the best KH is the one the water comes out of the tap with. You can run the tank very well with a KH of 1-2 if not even less. Most plants do better with low KH than higher. The lowest you can drive the pH with CO2 is around 5-5.5, the exact number escapes me for now. And, neither of those numbers is harmful to most fish or plants.

The problem with adjusting the KH with baking soda, or anything else, is water changes. Fish don't tolerate big sudden changes in KH very well, so you almost have to pre-condition the replacement water to match the tank water before using it. That will discourage you from doing big water changes, and big water changes are very good for both the fish and the plants.

If you want to use the pH controller, just use a drop checker to adjust the CO2 bubble rate to get the drop checker to be green, then read the pH on the controller, and set it to maintain that pH. A pH controller is far from necessary, but it can prevent "end of tank dump" problems.

Agreed. Our water has a very low KH so when I first started planted tanks I was adding baking soda to bring up the KH. After some reading and discussion both here and on other sites I came to the conclusion that my concerns over raising the KH were totally unnecessary so I stopped. In those two years I've noticed no change in fish or plant health.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 08:37 PM
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2008 report for your water shows pH at 9.7. lol
It's a secondary standard and not a violation to fall out of the 6.5-8.5 range.

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/water/whatsinthewater.htm

SteveU
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citadel View Post
thanks for the wisdom.

A couple additional questions:

-Should the PH controller be plugged into a timer too? If so how? My Milwaukee S122 has 2 plugs. 1 fat one and 1 regular loking one.

-Should plants pearl the entire time the lights are on?

-So if the actual PH setting on the controller is 5.5 or so, that is ok for the plants and fish?
Setting the controller to 5.5 pH could kill off the fish very quickly. If your KH is higher than you expect, or is increasing, the concentration of CO2 needed to drop the pH to 5.5 may be way above what any fish can live with. It isn't pH that bothers fish, it is ppm of dissolved CO2, along with inadequate dissolved O2.

Ideally the plants will begin pearling within an hour or so of turning on the lights, and continue all day. But, achieving that depends on having a CO2 diffusing method that can deliver and mix in a lot of CO2 quickly.

I can't answer the first question.

Hoppy
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