Turface lower pH?? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Turface lower pH??

Anyone have any experience with Turface substantially lowering pH? I ahev set up a new tank useing Aquariumplants substrate (which I have read is pretty much the same as Turface). pH in this new tank is measuring 6.0, while the pH out of the tap and also in my established tanks is 7.8. Can't figure out what's causing this drastic shift. Another member suggested it's the substrate I used. Can anyone confirm that? Has anyone else had that happen? This is kind of a disaster. I dread the thought of having to throw everything out and start all over after having invested so much time and money setting it up. but a 6.0 pH is no good. Can the substrate really be causing this?? (At the same time, my GH is off the charts high.) Thanks for your thoughts...
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 03:47 PM
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I've read other reports of this. Most of them said that the effect didn't last more than a few months. You might try adding some buffers to the tank to see if you can "exhaust" the effect more quickly, and just don't stock fish until after it levels off. (Did you test your kH as well as your gH?)

Otherwise, you could always just make the lower pH work for you, and set up an Amazon or SE Asian-themed tank.





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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 05:38 PM
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i have the same experiace but i think its a good thing my well water went from 8.2 to about 7.0 i hope it last longer than a few months

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 06:25 PM
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Test your KH. Turface/SMS strip the KH out of water like it's going out of style.....this is due to that high CEC that we all know and love. Dropping the KH will drop the pH, and will be even more noticeable if you are injecting CO2.

Anyway, depending on how much turface you have in the tank, the effect can last from anywhere between a few months and a year. Just does a little sodium bicarb into the tank if it bothers you or if you have fish that don't like soft water.


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 07:54 PM
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Yup, it does.

Tap: GH, KH 4-5 degrees. pH 7.6-8+ (seasonal)
Tank: GH 4-5 degrees, KH 0 degrees, pH bottom of the scale (6.0)

Add 1 teaspoon baking soda per 30 gallons (roughly: 29 gallon tank with canister)
Tank: GH 4-5 degrees, KH 2 degrees, pH 6.2
Took roughly a year to stabilize, but I was not consistent about adding baking soda. Tank still reads pH about 7

Other tank: (Lake Tanganyika)
50% Turface + 50% Crushed coral (size of coarse sand)
GH, KH and pH remain stable. GH and KH about 10 degrees, pH 7.8-8.
I use baking soda to raise the KH in the new water at water change time, and Equilibrium for GH.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 08:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks folks. I have a ton of it in the tank (5 gal bucket). KH has been stable. 4dKH out of the tap, 4dKH in the tank. It's GH that shot off the map high.

Laura, can you tell me a little more about what you mean by "adding buffers"? I'd love to be able to live with the lower pH, but 6.0 seems really really low, and when I do a WC with my 7.8 tap water, will that create wide pH swings that my fish won't like?

Jeffrey... sodium bicarb? Talk to me about that (I'm a newb). Thanks.

Wish I has known this about this substrate before I bought it. I woulda used something else....
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Diana - thanks for your comments. Can you tell me a little more about the effect Equilibrium has on GH? And also how you handle maintaining the water parameters during WC's, since the tank and tap water is so different.? Thanks!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morf2540 View Post
Thanks folks. I have a ton of it in the tank (5 gal bucket). KH has been stable. 4dKH out of the tap, 4dKH in the tank. It's GH that shot off the map high.

Laura, can you tell me a little more about what you mean by "adding buffers"? I'd love to be able to live with the lower pH, but 6.0 seems really really low, and when I do a WC with my 7.8 tap water, will that create wide pH swings that my fish won't like?

Jeffrey... sodium bicarb? Talk to me about that (I'm a newb). Thanks.

Wish I has known this about this substrate before I bought it. I woulda used something else....
Sodium Bicarbonate = Baking Soda

The high CEC/KH stripping ability is what makes it a good substrate. In addition to pulling KH out of your water, it's also pulling nutrients too, and making those available for your plants roots. It's a good substrate, so don't worry.

What kind of fish do you have? The pH drop likely won't effect them, so it's probably nothing to worry about. I always like keeping soft water species(as do most people) in planted tanks, so it's turface will help you out in that way.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morf2540 View Post
Diana - thanks for your comments. Can you tell me a little more about the effect Equilibrium has on GH? And also how you handle maintaining the water parameters during WC's, since the tank and tap water is so different.? Thanks!

Equilibrium is designed to reconstitute, or reminieralize, RO water. It can also add KH and GH to soft water. If you are adding equilibrium, it is raising GH and KH, and then turface is stripping that KH out of the water. It's fine for all of that to happen if that's what you want.


Are you using tap water + equilibrium?

When I used straight Soilmaster Select (Turface predecessor), my tap water was very soft, KH=2 degrees, and my SMS would strip it down to 0, so every water change(weekly), I added baking soda to my tank to raise my KH up to 4. I maintained my tank KH at 4 degrees in this way.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 08:50 PM
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They pretty much already answered your question.

"Buffers" help maintain stable water parameters- and making sure you have a stable kH (carbonate hardness) is one of the best ways to buffer your tank.





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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2010, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, I may be a little slow, but I usually get there eventually. So please have patience with me! The one parameter in my tank that seems to be stable is the KH, at 4d. Do I really need more "buffers"? And if so, what exactly are these "buffers" that I should be adding? The baking soda? Would more buffers help to keep the pH from going so low? And how would they effect my GH, which is already 26? Thanks!
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 01:25 AM
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I'm glad to know it's not just me! My KH is now 0 and my pH is around 6.2..but it's not all bad since I'm going to be working with GBR and angelfish who fare well in more acidic water. The only problem is that the GH is ridiculously high now, even though my tap is soft.

Thanks for the baking soda tip.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2010, 05:51 PM
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Equilibrium contains potassium, calcium, magnesium (these two raise the GH), iron and manganese (all of these are plant fertilizers).
Equilibrium contains no carbonates, and does not raise KH.

Breeding soft water fish it is very important to have a low GH. Find out why the GH in your tank is rising so much and take steps to stop and reverse it.

I actually go by TDS (total dissolved solids) as well as GH and KH when I prepare water for a water change. If the new water, blended with the original water in the tank, will create small enough changes in TDS, GH and KH, then that is fine. When I need to do a large water change I will put more effort into making the new water match the tank. I do not worry about the pH. This is of much less importance than the other measurements to determine if the fish will be OK with the water change. For small water changes the new water does not have to be so similar to the water currently in the tank.

Gotta do some math to figure it out, but TDS, GH and KH are all straight line values.
Figure out the % of new water x each value
Add the % of old water x each value
then compare that to the original value.
If the proposed water change will keep the difference in TDS less than 10% of the original value dropping, or 15% rising the fish will highly likely be fine.
If the proposed water change will keep the difference in GH less than 1 degree of the original value dropping, or 2 degrees rising the fish will highly likely be fine.
If the proposed water change will keep the difference in KH less than 1 degree of the original value dropping, or 2 degrees rising the fish will highly likely be fine.

Takes a while to write it out, but here is an example:
Old tank water TDS = 400 ppm
New water (being prepped in garbage can) TDS = 300 ppm.
Proposed water change: 50%
Question: Is this safe?

Answer: the tank will end up with 50% @ 400 ppm = 200 ppm and 50% @ 300 ppm = 150 ppm.
Add 200 + 150 = 350.
Difference between original TDS and new: 400 - 350 = 50 ppm.
Find: 10% of old TDS = 40 ppm.
Question: is proposed water change going to create a difference in TDS of less than 40 ppm? No. 50 is >40. This water change is more than 10% less TDS than the fish are used to. This is not a safe water change.

I actually have the formulas on an Excel sheet so I can figure it out faster.
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