Switching to RO water, ph buffer q - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Switching to RO water, ph buffer q

Hello,

I have a 5 month old tank for shrimp that has started to have TDS creep very high(450 range) while only maintaining a 3deg Kh and 6deg Gh. The pH seems to creep high as well(8.0 from 7.4 tap). I have been having many shrimp deaths in the past month and I suspect copper and/or the high TDS. I dose half doses of flourish and excel with eco-complete substrate.

I decided to start using an RO unit for the tank and I assume I will have to buffer my RO water to maintain a more neutral pH. I currently re-mineralize with seachem equilibrium, but that seems to push my pH high.

Does anyone have a recommendation on how to re-mineralize and buffer the new RO water?

Cheers
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 05:57 AM
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Seachem equilibrium is a blend of magnesium sulfate, calcium sulfate, potassium sulfate, iron sulfate, and manganese sulfate - hard water elements plus iron. This is enough to set GH levels wherever you desire.

It doesn't contain carbonates so won't affect KH. You can use Seachem Alkaline Buffer for this, or baking soda etc. Carbonates buffer pH, other hard water elements only tend to buffer a little. You'll need to use measurements of KH (we test this in home aquaria using alkalinity) to set pH levels.

Instead of using these chemicals I just add crushed coral to my filter. This adds to GH and KH and means I don't have to add anything to RO water. It's no where near as easy to adjust crushed coral levels when setting KH/GH and is a bit fiddly. Equilibrium allows much more accuracy in setting GH in comparison. It's all about what works best for you.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 06:14 AM
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Hi brewmaster... 450 TDS you say...hmm...question time

What is your tap water TDS ? Also test your RO water , is it around 10 ?

What kind of shrimp we are talking about ?

Do you top off evaporated water with tap or RO ? Tap would explain the creep up.

What types of rocks do you have. Usually they also increase the kH and GH.

It is important to understand what each value means. My short description would be
TDS- total disolved solids--- actually only those that are electroconductive ( so some organics are not there)
KH - carbonates CO3 ( actually alkalinity) KH is what 'raises/maintains' the pH
GH - magnesium and calcium

From what I see about Seachem equilibrium it adds alot of K and some Fe to the water therefore higher TDS even at lower GH.
My advice would at first to make very small changes with pure RO until you get to the highest target value. For example say I want kH 1, GH 4... I dilute with pure RO until I get GH 4.
Then add only the minerals you want and omit the others until you reach the lower value... Add RO+ minerals so it has GH4 and kH0 .... dilute until your aquarium reaches GH 4 kH 1.

For GH you can use MgSO4.7H2O and CaSO4
for KH CaCO3 or Na2CO3

or buy an expesive mix of pretty much the same thing that is designed for your specific types of shrimp from Salty Shrimp etc.

So start slow... don't replace big % and observe your shrimps' reaction

On hiatus till later this year
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 06:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your advice dukydaf,

TDS of tap when treated with Prime is about 80, so fairly low and soft, but local pipes are copper. The RO unit arrives in the next week but I imagine it will perform well. I top off with tap water that has 'aged' with Prime for at least 24hrs.

I have a tank of nerite snails and Red Cherry Shrimp and Rili Shrimp.

The only rocks I have are the Eco-Complete sub, with 3 ceramic decor items and some driftwood and lots of plants.

Thanks again
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-04-2016, 01:23 PM
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[QUOTE=Straight shooter;8876586]Seachem equilibrium is a blend of magnesium sulfate, calcium sulfate, potassium sulfate, iron sulfate, and manganese sulfate - hard water elements plus iron. This is enough to set GH levels wherever you desire.

It doesn't contain carbonates so won't affect KH. You can use Seachem Alkaline Buffer for this, or baking soda etc. Carbonates buffer pH, other hard water elements only tend to buffer a little. You'll need to use measurements of KH (we test this in home aquaria using alkalinity) to set pH levels.

This has been my experience. I do water changes with RO and the result is very soft(1 or less KH, 2 or less GH) and very low PH(I usually get a reading of 6, the lowest range my test kit will measure so it could actually be lower) unless I condition the water. The Equilibrium gets the GH up in the 3-4 range and I use baking soda and Seachem Alkaline Buffer(mainly because I have it on hand) in egual parts to raise the PH enough that I know my reading is at least the 6 my kit measures or a little higher.

I use TDS readings mainly to monitor change, not as a GH indicator.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-07-2016, 06:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone for your responses. I hope I can use your advise to make my shrimp tank all the better.
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