ph crash from sts substrate - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 04:32 AM Thread Starter
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ph crash from sts substrate

I'm setting up a 125 gallon to transfer my discus to. My plan was to use Safe T Sorb as substrate. I've been rinsing it for weeks. I finally decided to give up on the rinsing because I don't think it's possible to rinse it enough so that it will actually stop clouding up from the slightest movement in the tank.

I just set up the GLA Choice system with an Atomic diffuser. My tap water is around 7.8 to 8. The problem is the ph in the tank is 5.3 so unless I set the controller lower than that I'll never get any CO2 in the tank.

I was excited to do things right on this tank with CO2, a substrate that'll hold nutrients for the plants and good lighting. I'm giving up on the STS. The only option for using it is to add something to bring the ph back up right? That sounds like a recipe for constant ph swings and just way to much trouble.

So my question is... what if I left some of it in the tank and capped it with pool filter sand? Would it still drop the ph as much that way? I know the sand will want to settle under the STS but I'm planning to try to stay away from stem plants in this tank so I won't be disturbing the substrate too much.

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 05:18 AM
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The sts will stop buffering after a few weeks, afaik


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angelsword View Post
I'm setting up a 125 gallon to transfer my discus to. My plan was to use Safe T Sorb as substrate. I've been rinsing it for weeks. I finally decided to give up on the rinsing because I don't think it's possible to rinse it enough so that it will actually stop clouding up from the slightest movement in the tank.

I just set up the GLA Choice system with an Atomic diffuser. My tap water is around 7.8 to 8. The problem is the ph in the tank is 5.3 so unless I set the controller lower than that I'll never get any CO2 in the tank.

I was excited to do things right on this tank with CO2, a substrate that'll hold nutrients for the plants and good lighting. I'm giving up on the STS. The only option for using it is to add something to bring the ph back up right? That sounds like a recipe for constant ph swings and just way to much trouble.

So my question is... what if I left some of it in the tank and capped it with pool filter sand? Would it still drop the ph as much that way? I know the sand will want to settle under the STS but I'm planning to try to stay away from stem plants in this tank so I won't be disturbing the substrate too much.
Hi angelsword,

I bet if you check your dKH you will find it is very, very low. All of the Montmorillonite clay substrates (and the original Amazonia substrate as well) have a similar characteristics; possibly you missed that information in your research.

I just just tore down a bare bottom tank and yesterday and re-did it with Safe-T-Sorb #7941. The tap water here (after sitting 24 hours) was PH=7.0; dKH=2.0; dGH=9.0 and the tank after sitting for 24 hours was PH=6.0 or lower; dKH=1.0 or less; dGH= 6.0. I have used Montmorillonite for several years now. The ‘stripping’ effect (reduction in mineral content) is greatest upon initial filling and diminishes after about 4-6 months. What I typically do is add some baking soda (bicarbonate of soda / NaHCO3 ) and Seachem Equilibrium to the tank after filling to get to the desired PH/KH/GH and then on a weekly basis when I do my water changes I add more of the same two chemicals until it stabilizes. Here is the baking soda calculator I use and here is the Equilibrium calculator I use to to determine the amount of each chemical to add. I try to target 3.0 - 4.0 dKH and 5.0 - 6.0 dGH.

Here is the tank I filled yesterday with the Safe-T-Sorb under a 6400K AH Supply LED lamp I am testing for an article.

Right after filling this is how it looked:


After 14 hours on a Marineland C-220 w/Polishing Pad it looked like this

Roy_________
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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1X 59W Fluval Plant (3.0); 45 Gallon Tall, 1X 46W Fluval Plant (3.0); 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 & (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 03-02-2013 at 05:51 AM. Reason: added add'l info
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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I did realize the STS would have this effect. I guess I didn't realize it would be this drastic. Well I added a bag of crushed coral to one of the filters that I have on the tank. That's brought the ph up. The controller is kicking on the CO2 but not very often. Is this a viable option that would keep me from having to add baking soda to stabilize the ph?

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 03:56 PM
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Hi angelsword,

Coral is composed of calcium carbonate, so as it decomposes adding carbonate to the water (and raising the PH/dKH) it is also adding calcium to the water and raising our dGH. By adding baking soda/bicarbonate of soda/NaHCO3 to the water we still add the carbonates and increase the PH/dKH along with sodium a micronutrient.

What I add depends upon what I want to accomplish. If I want to raise my dGH in a tank I typically add Seachem Equilibrium. Why? Because it increases my dGH by adding calcium and magnesium in the 4:1 ratio that plants seem to prefer.

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75 Gallon, 2X55W AH Supply CF 8800K, 1X 59W Fluval Plant (3.0); 45 Gallon Tall, 1X 46W Fluval Plant (3.0); 30 Gallon Long; Fluval F&P 2.0; 20 Gallon, 1X26W AH Supply LED; all with CO2 & (Calcined) Montmorillonite Clay

Last edited by Seattle_Aquarist; 03-02-2013 at 03:57 PM. Reason: ..
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. I really appreciate that you've taken the time to help me with this.

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