What to expect after ADA AS looses its PH buffereing - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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What to expect after ADA AS looses its PH buffereing

As the title says. What can i expect once my substrate stops buffering the PH. My tap is about 8.2.... but settles to 7.6 after an hour (anyone know why?). Would the ph quickly changing killing my fish? (My tap GH/KH is 1-2) or would it gradual and easy on them. And are there any steps to help this?

My AS been running for about 8 months now so i think its the time to be concerned.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 11:33 PM
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It will gradually lose buffering capacity over time. How quickly depends on how much it has to buffer. E.g., If you do frequent water changes, it will lose its buffering capacity sooner.

Will it harm you fish? Depends on the hardiness of your fish. Most fish can adapt to gradual increases in pH. The key is pH stability. (You don't want it to be 6.0 in the day but 7.8 at night.)

With such a low KH, you may have pH swings.

To stabilize the pH, you may need to raise the KH in your water. (But, keep in mind that all will cause your aquasoil to deplete even faster.)

So I would recommend that you also plant heavily, and use plenty of driftwood in your tank. These tend to help lower the pH, so even if the aquasoil loses its buffering capacity, you may end up with water that's in the low (rather then high) 7s.

Many fish will do just fine with pH in the low 7s.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 05:02 AM Thread Starter
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I have had some of these fish in a tank that had a PH of 7.6 before this new set up so i know they can handle. I guess im more concerned about how quickly the ph would change. Would
It be a matter of day and night or over a few week period where the fish could adjust natural... or give me time to react
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-24-2018, 07:02 AM
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My understanding is that Aquasoil works by absorbing the carbonates in your water (i.e., by reducing the KH) which reduces the pH.

For 11 months, my Aquasoil has been going strong, in the one tank I use it in. I expect, in the next few months, that it will lose its buffering capacity, and the pH will start rising from 6.6-6.8, and eventually settle around 7.2-7.4 (which is the water pH of my Walstad tank).

I anticipate the pH transition to happen over a couple weeks' time (but, obviously, YMMV).

BTW, there's no reason why you have to wait for the soil to become inert, before you take action. You can start replacing some of your tank's Aquasoil, in stages, over the course of a few months. Just vacuum out a small section, during each water change, and replace it with new soil. If you do it incrementally, you should be able to do a full turnover, without losing pH or risking ammonia spikes.

Just an idea.
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