Substrate/Ph advice? - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
Charging the soil is easy and a one time deal. Takes all of 2-3 weeks. Corals or shells require a continuous effort.

And the soil will buffer to a defined parameter and the shells may not. Just throwing that out there. The buffering capability will last a long time depending on useage. And you do not need to change out all when the time comes. Can do a small part to get the buffering back.

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Good to know.
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post #17 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 09:34 PM
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I got a book called "ecology of the planted aquarium" and followed its directions. I used dirt from the backyard, mixed in a random sized handful of crushed coral as buffer and covered it with lava rock gravel the size of a b.b.

I use tap water that comes out at 8.2. I have 3 2 gallon tanks and one 5 gal. It took a couple months to stabilize and the filter on the 5 gallon has crushed coral in it to add minerals. The tanks sit at about 7.4. The ph rises in the 5 gallon during the day and drops at night. I had cardinal tetras in it and they were happy. I recently pulled them out so that my shrimp population could build up.

I use lights from an old reef tank and it is a little too much. I use water lettuce to shade it and suck up nutrients if I start to see algae getting ahead of me. I have co2 and all the high tech stuff, but I don't use it anymore. Dirt is working really well for me.

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After reading a little, I am not sure that soil is going to have the effect you are looking for. Baking soda to the water or crushed coral in your filter or tank may get you closer to your goal.

Anybody have feedback on that?

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post #18 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-06-2017, 11:59 PM
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Charging the soil is easy and a one time deal. Takes all of 2-3 weeks. Corals or shells require a continuous effort.

And the soil will buffer to a defined parameter and the shells may not. Just throwing that out there. The buffering capability will last a long time depending on useage. And you do not need to change out all when the time comes. Can do a small part to get the buffering back.
I don't understand what you mean by a continuous effort. You don't have to burry it. Just set it ontop of the substrate. If you decide you don't want to use calcium carbonate remove it. You don't have to monitor PH and the shell to correct or remove when PH reaches 7. You just leave it in the thank 24 hour a day all year long.

As I mentioned the solubility is PH sensitive if the PH goes up for some reason it does nothing. If the PH goes down it actives, dissolves and pushes PH back up. Its like the heater in your aquarium on a warm day the heater does nothing. However on a cold day the heater turns on and off as needed to keep the tank warm.

One other note on KH and Equilibrium. While Equilibrium doesn not directly boost KH. It will indirectly . The plant generally need a bit more sulfur than they do calcium and magnesium. So sometimes the plant absorbs the sulfate and leaves the calcium and magnesium in the water. When that happens the Calcium and magnesium convert to carbonates and KH rises. Most KH test kits only have a resolution of 17ppm (about 1 degree). With these test kits you won't see any change in KH. However I have a Hanna instruments alkalinity checker with 1ppm resolution. In my tank I can see KH drop after a water change and then see it slowly rise during the week until the next water change. The change is small about 10ppm but it is there.
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post #19 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 12:34 AM
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I don't understand what you mean by a continuous effort. You don't have to burry it. Just set it ontop of the substrate. If you decide you don't want to use calcium carbonate remove it. You don't have to monitor PH and the shell to correct or remove when PH reaches 7. You just leave it in the thank 24 hour a day all year long.



As I mentioned the solubility is PH sensitive if the PH goes up for some reason it does nothing. If the PH goes down it actives, dissolves and pushes PH back up. Its like the heater in your aquarium on a warm day the heater does nothing. However on a cold day the heater turns on and off as needed to keep the tank warm.



One other note on KH and Equilibrium. While Equilibrium doesn not directly boost KH. It will indirectly . The plant generally need a bit more sulfur than they do calcium and magnesium. So sometimes the plant absorbs the sulfate and leaves the calcium and magnesium in the water. When that happens the Calcium and magnesium convert to carbonates and KH rises. Most KH test kits only have a resolution of 17ppm (about 1 degree). With these test kits you won't see any change in KH. However I have a Hanna instruments alkalinity checker with 1ppm resolution. In my tank I can see KH drop after a water change and then see it slowly rise during the week until the next water change. The change is small about 10ppm but it is there.


Good point with the gh indirectly effecting the kh. You actually can read lower than 17ppm with the API kh test kit. What I do to get a much more precise measurement is I add 20ml of test water instead of the defined 5ml. This way it takes 4 drops to equal 1dKH which equals to about 4.2ppm per drop. This is how I'm able to get a more precise kh measurement. With this method you would be able to see the change.


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post #20 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 01:21 AM
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lOL!! No worries, I knew what you meant. Did some interesting reading of the different brands. They all sound pretty good.

Bump:

Thanks clownplanted,

I've seen a few reviews on Fluval that say the same thing. I'll pass on Amazonia, I don't want to have to wait on another cycle.
Everything st international is buying a clone of whatever they're making but with cheaper quality and lack of overall product quality

Literally they suck.....i do not recommend them at all
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post #21 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 01:33 AM
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I don't understand why people are recommending buffering substrates, additives like shells or whatever. If you want to keep your pH the same as your tap, all you need to do is use your tap water and an inert substrate that won't change your parameters. Black diamond blasting sand (most people use medium grit I think) or pool filter sand would work well.
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post #22 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 03:59 AM
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I don't understand why people are recommending buffering substrates, additives like shells or whatever. If you want to keep your pH the same as your tap, all you need to do is use your tap water and an inert substrate that won't change your parameters. Black diamond blasting sand (most people use medium grit I think) or pool filter sand would work well.
Unfortunately planst consume nutrients and the chemistry of the water can change. And sometimes PH will change due to this. Most of the time it is a minor change and can big ignored or overlooked. But sometimes it isn't.
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post #23 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 04:11 AM
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I don't understand why people are recommending buffering substrates, additives like shells or whatever. If you want to keep your pH the same as your tap, all you need to do is use your tap water and an inert substrate that won't change your parameters. Black diamond blasting sand (most people use medium grit I think) or pool filter sand would work well.


For those that need to modify their ph or other parameters and keep in a certain range then they are good for the species like certain shrimp that do better within the ranges these give if your tap cannot do. Other than that I agree especially just keeping your ph the same as tap just use an inert substrate. As far as plant uptake modifying ever so slightly these parameters it's so slight that it will do no harm to any livestock. Especially if you do your normal water changes.


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post #24 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-07-2017, 04:36 AM
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Originally Posted by clownplanted View Post
For those that need to modify their ph or other parameters and keep in a certain range then they are good for the species like certain shrimp that do better within the ranges these give if your tap cannot do. Other than that I agree especially just keeping your ph the same as tap just use an inert substrate. As far as plant uptake modifying ever so slightly these parameters it's so slight that it will do no harm to any livestock. Especially if you do your normal water changes.


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Oh, I understand the purpose of the substrates, I just mean OP was asking about how to keep their PH the same as their tap, so I don't see why they'd want ahy of those special substrates.
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post #25 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your advice, information, and recommendations, I greatly appreciate it. There is a lot of experience and a wealth of information on this site. My main concern was the low ph I was experiencing with the Turface MVP and the big ph swings when I was doing water changes. This is my first planted tank and I want to keep it as simple as possible until I gain more knowledge and experience.

With that in mind, I stopped at a local Tractor Supply Company on the way home to night and picked up a bag of Black Diamond Blasting sand ($8 and some change). I rinsed it out and replaced the Turface. I did a 50% water change and the ph has been hovering around 6.7. Normally at this point the ph would have dropped to the upper 5s. I'll have to see what the ph will be tomorrow. It was funny, while I was at the TSC the gentleman that was assisting me ask what I was going to do with the blasting sand. When I told him it was for my aquarium he smiled and said that they get a lot of people in buying BDBS for aquariums.
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post #26 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 04:22 AM
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Thanks everyone for your advice, information, and recommendations, I greatly appreciate it. There is a lot of experience and a wealth of information on this site. My main concern was the low ph I was experiencing with the Turface MVP and the big ph swings when I was doing water changes. This is my first planted tank and I want to keep it as simple as possible until I gain more knowledge and experience.



With that in mind, I stopped at a local Tractor Supply Company on the way home to night and picked up a bag of Black Diamond Blasting sand ($8 and some change). I rinsed it out and replaced the Turface. I did a 50% water change and the ph has been hovering around 6.7. Normally at this point the ph would have dropped to the upper 5s. I'll have to see what the ph will be tomorrow. It was funny, while I was at the TSC the gentleman that was assisting me ask what I was going to do with the blasting sand. When I told him it was for my aquarium he smiled and said that they get a lot of people in buying BDBS for aquariums.


What I also love about bdbs is it does not stir up easily like say normal sand would. It stays put even for my bottom dwellers like my clown loaches and Cory cats. Also what I noticed compared to regular gravel is the plants root very good in it. So the plants seems to like it as well. Especially if you want to grow a carpet plant it works great as my pearlweed in my 20 gallon is spreading really good in bdbs.


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post #27 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 05:59 AM
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Another option to controlling PH is to add a decorative sea shell to your tank. It will keep your PH close to 7. The shell is mainly calcium carbonate. It will dissolve in acidic water only and not at all in basic water. If your ph drops it will start to dissolve and push the PH up. At a PH of 7 it will stop dissolving and the PH will stabilize at 7. Since we are only talking about a 1 point PH change it will not have a significant effect on PH. Now if your water had a larger PH change it would have a larger effect on Gh.

The nice thing about sea shells is you can easily add one for a test and if it doesn't work you can easily remove it. You don't have to change the substrate. Also if you are near a beach you can probably find something there. IF not you could go to a fish store and look at the available tank decorations. At my Local fish store I found a small page for a couple of dollars. A simple 1 inch shell can last last several years before it resolves away.
I really think the shells are worth some serious consideration. Look at my other post. Soil does not buffer all that much after a couple months.

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post #28 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 05:16 PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice, information, and recommendations, I greatly appreciate it. There is a lot of experience and a wealth of information on this site. My main concern was the low ph I was experiencing with the Turface MVP and the big ph swings when I was doing water changes. This is my first planted tank and I want to keep it as simple as possible until I gain more knowledge and experience.

With that in mind, I stopped at a local Tractor Supply Company on the way home to night and picked up a bag of Black Diamond Blasting sand ($8 and some change). I rinsed it out and replaced the Turface. I did a 50% water change and the ph has been hovering around 6.7. Normally at this point the ph would have dropped to the upper 5s. I'll have to see what the ph will be tomorrow. It was funny, while I was at the TSC the gentleman that was assisting me ask what I was going to do with the blasting sand. When I told him it was for my aquarium he smiled and said that they get a lot of people in buying BDBS for aquariums.
Keep us posted. I haven't tried that method and would like to hear how it is going in a couple months.

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post #29 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-08-2017, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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Keep us posted. I haven't tried that method and would like to hear how it is going in a couple months.

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Will do. When I got home tonight the ph was sitting at 6.2. That is still a lot better than low 5's. I've noticed that the betta has been swimming around a lot more than usual as well. Not sure if that's because the ph is staying up or because the tank got re aquascaped and he's exploring.

I'll keep everyone posted on the changes/stabilities. Thanks again everyone for your knowledge and advice.
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post #30 of 32 (permalink) Old 08-11-2017, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, so changing out the Turface MVP to Black Diamond Blasting Sand didn't stop the ph from dropping but it does look like it showed it down. I got home tonight and the ph was down to 4.9. I just finished a 50% water change and the ph is back up to 6.2. I'll monitor it for a few more days and see what happens. The only other think I can think that may be causing the ph to drop like that over time is the piece of wood that I have in there. I read somewhere that wood can make the ph drop. The GH after the water change was 5 and the KH was 3. If the ph drops that much again, I'll look at adding some shells or crushed coral into the tank.
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