Substrates that reduce pH - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Substrates that reduce pH

I use well water which has a pH of about 7.8-8.2 and have a hard time keeping low ph fish and shrimp.
So I was thinking about using a substrate to buffer it down. What substrates can I use. And also, how much will it reduce the ph?

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 03:06 AM
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Well you can just add a layer of peat under your substrate, along with maybe some natural driftwood that release tannins into your water, these are 2 natural ways to lower PH.

Or, you can use some Fluval shrimp stratum as the substrate which helps to maintain a lower PH for shrimp and plants

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 03:33 AM
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Your well water may be very high in GH and KH, that, with high PH will make any active substrate overloaded and lose their effect sooner than normal. I suggest to use peat to treat your water before use for water change. You can experiment and get your water to pretty soft and low PH with peat. My tap is PH 7.6-8.0, GH 8, KH 5, with some peat and water flowing through it, within 24 hrs my water is PH 6.0 - 6.5, GH 3, KH 0-1, you adjust the time to get to your target parameters. I actually have to add more mineral back to the water before WC for my shrimp tanks.

PS: currently my favourite active substrate is Akadama for its ability to lower PH/GH/KH to my liking, and the fact it's probably the cheapest of them all. Only drawback is the looks isn't as sexy as the darker ones.

PPS: I think peat treated water is better than RO, it contains humic and tannic acid that some people actually buy commercial products to supplement their water.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 05:45 AM
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What about pHdown? I've never used it, but is it a more exact solution to treat water?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 07:14 AM
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I'd avoid the additives, and look into something like prepping your tap water with peat. If you have the space, setup a big trashcan with an HOB aquaclear filled with peat. or maybe just throw a bunch of peat in the bottom and throw an airstone in for circulation

although this may remove chlorine, I'm under the impression some of it may convert to chloramine, and I'm not at all certain how chloramine reacts to peat/aeration/aging
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxUnRaTeDxxRkOxx View Post
Well you can just add a layer of peat under your substrate, along with maybe some natural driftwood that release tannins into your water, these are 2 natural ways to lower PH.
But wont the peat and tannins eventually go away after a couple water changes?

Quote:
What about pHdown? I've never used it, but is it a more exact solution to treat water?
I want to avoid using anything like this because I don't want buy somthing to add on a regular basis, otherwise I would just buy RO water. And also I am looking for a natural and simple solution.

Quote:
Your well water may be very high in GH and KH, that, with high PH will make any active substrate to pretty soft and low PH with peat. My tap is PH 7.6-8.0, GH 8overloaded and lose their effect sooner than normal. I suggest to use peat to treat your water before use for water change. You can experiment and get your water , KH 5, with some peat and water flowing through it, within 24 hrs my water is PH 6.0 - 6.5, GH 3, KH 0-1, you adjust the time to get to your target parameters. I actually have to add more mineral back to the water before WC for my shrimp tanks.
So basically your saying, because my GH and KH is probably so high, the active substrate would wear off so quickly that it would do little good? Also, how do you treat the water with peat? Do you put it in a mesh bag and soak it for a certain period of time, then do the water change?

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-06-2012, 06:50 PM
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It may be easier to just get an RO unit. Buffering chemicals are a waste of money and effort. They are temporary and give you false reading when you test the water, and your water parameters would be constantly going up and down and all over the place.

If you use too much peat in the substrate, it can cause big problems, this is why substrates like ADA actually only have a very small amount of organic material.

An RO unit is actually much less work that peat filtered water.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 08:51 PM
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Peat moss is great at decreasing pH. If you don't like the coloring it causes, just add carbon to your filter. Some say that they should not be used together because they are doing the exact opposite job but I don't really get it. Carbon doesn't absorb the acid that peat moss releases that much. The main job it does is taking way the color.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 09:02 PM
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What's the best way to incorporate peat moss for existing tank? Do you just run it through new water during water change? I really don't want to disturb the substrate to layer it in.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 09:33 PM
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What's the best way to incorporate peat moss for existing tank? Do you just run it through new water during water change? I really don't want to disturb the substrate to layer it in.
I've tried different ways and I think there's no good way. What I do is use peat in the tank where I prepare the water for WC. The point is get the water the way you like before it hits the target tank.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 09:42 PM
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I agree that an RO/DI unit will work best. You will get water that is 0 GH, 0 KH and low pH. My pH 7.6 tap water comes out of the RO/DI at pH 6.4. I add Kent's RO Right to bring up the KH/GH and use Akadama to keep the pH stable at 6.4.


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-07-2012, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by depech View Post
What's the best way to incorporate peat moss for existing tank? Do you just run it through new water during water change? I really don't want to disturb the substrate to layer it in.
Peat plates, but I can't tell you where they might be available in the US. Like many things in our hobby, they have slipped out of fashion.
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-10-2012, 06:29 AM
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Put peat moss in a nylon stocking. Put this in the filter.

ALSO prep the water before the water change. Peat moss removes some of the minerals in the water (see the post above about how the GH and KH drop). You do not want to create swings in GH and KH when you do water changes. Here is how I do it:

Run as much water as I want into a garbage can. Add dechlor. Add a fountain pump on the bottom, aimed straight up through the middle. Put peat moss in a stocking (Knee-Hi full for 20 to 40 gallons of water) set up around the pump intake. (Careful- some pumps can inhale the stocking). Run it overnight. Test. I can re-use this peat moss, but it takes longer to prep the water.
The water is now a lot closer to the tank parameters, and safe for a water change (even if it is not perfect), and removing the minerals and lowering the pH before it goes in the tank makes the peat moss in the filter last longer, since all it is doing is maintaining conditions, or handling a little top off water.

Substrate that removes KH (and therefore allows the pH to drop) include Soil Master Select, and some of the ADA products.
However, if that is ALL you are using you are running this risk:
Over the week or whatever between water changes the water is gradually softening, pH dropping. Fish can handle that. But then you do a water change, and in just a few minutes the water changes drastically, a lot harder and high pH. Fish cannot adjust to such a fast change.
You need to prepare the water ahead of time. Peat moss is probably the cheapest way, but what if you put some of that same substrate in a nylon stocking and ran the water through that? If it softens the water in the tank, and the water is not really flowing through it so much, then it sure should soften the water when the water is pumped through it.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 05:03 PM
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I know this is an older forum.
I have a fluval Spec 5 gallon with over flow and running a 5 Gallon bucket w/ air stone.

I have a 300 micron velcro bag (Pura (Magnavore) APU00414 3-Pack 300-Micron Media Bags for Aquarium Filter, 6 by 12-Inch found on amazon) filled with Loose peat granules (fluval) and a second bag with 2 almond leaves the bags help prevent loose particles from getting dumped into the tank during water changes. i leave the peat in the bag in the bucket and refill the water after every water change. what ever water has not been used gets mixed with the new tap water. i also have a very small amount of peat granules in a mesh bag (Top Fin® Filter Media Bag) in my aquariums filter (which i may change the placement in the aquarium filter). have found it works WONDERS! my parameters stay stable and don't have to worry about shocking my fish with hard water.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2016, 05:13 PM
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My tap water is 6.8. A few months ago I set up a tank with Coir (coconut husk) topped with river sand from local landscaping co. I let it sit for a month. The ph was 6.8
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