Need help mixing RO water and buffers - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Need help mixing RO water and buffers

I really need help with preparing RO water. I use Seachem's acid and alkaline buffer to get a ph of 6.8. My brain apparently can't figure out what the correct amounts of alkaline buffer and acid buffer are. I keep getting it wrong and having to add a little here, wait and test, add a little more, wait and test...

I wish they'd give charts with PER GALLON amounts. Anyone smarter than me want to tell me how much alkaline buffer and how much acid buffer one needs PER GALLON to reach a ph of 6.8?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 03:56 PM
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@tracyree I think you have some misconceptions about remineralizing RO water. These products are not what you should be using.

For KH buffering, there are several products you could use - sodium bicarbonate(baking soda), potassium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, etc.. I use a mixture of enough sodium bicarb to reach a dKH of 2 and enough potassium bicarb to reach a dKH of 2, for a total dKH of 4 in my water.
For GH buffering, I would order some MgSO4.7H2O(Epsom salt) and CaSO4.2H2O. You can get both of these from nilocg.com or greenleafaquariums.com. You can then use rotalabutterfly.com to calculate how much to need to add to reach your desired GH. It's generally advised that you maintain a 3ppm Ca:1ppm Mg ratio.

Please note, your products do nothing for GH which is very important. It looks like they affect KH, but I'm not certain what they're adding to do so.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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I use Replenish for GH and didn't have a question about GH, so left that out.

I am asking about how much Alkaline Buffer and Acide buffer to use to get a ph of 6.8.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
@tracyree I think you have some misconceptions about remineralizing RO water. These products are not what you should be using.

For KH buffering, there are several products you could use - sodium bicarbonate(baking soda), potassium carbonate, potassium bicarbonate, etc.. I use a mixture of enough sodium bicarb to reach a dKH of 2 and enough potassium bicarb to reach a dKH of 2, for a total dKH of 4 in my water.
For GH buffering, I would order some MgSO4.7H2O(Epsom salt) and CaSO4.2H2O. You can get both of these from nilocg.com or greenleafaquariums.com. You can then use rotalabutterfly.com to calculate how much to need to add to reach your desired GH. It's generally advised that you maintain a 3ppm Ca:1ppm Mg ratio.

Please note, your products do nothing for GH which is very important. It looks like they affect KH, but I'm not certain what they're adding to do so.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracyree View Post
I use Replenish for GH and didn't have a question about GH, so left that out.

I am asking about how much Alkaline Buffer and Acide buffer to use to get a ph of 6.8.
I would not use those products for KH buffering. I would start fresh and add enough baking soda to reach 1 dKH (you can use rotalabutterfly.com to figure out how much is needed in the amount of water you're measuring) and re-test.

If you want to use those Seachem products, they have a calculator on their website on how much to dose to reach a specific KH -
https://www.seachem.com/alkaline-buffer.php
Just scroll down the page and there's a tab that says Calculator.

That replenish looks heavy on calcium and short on Mg. I would consider my alternative listed above. Cheaper by far and adjustable.

Your life would be made much simpler with a buffering substrate vs trying to tweak with the chemicals. Are you doing this for shrimp?
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
I would not use those products for KH buffering. I would start fresh and add enough baking soda to reach 1 dKH (you can use rotalabutterfly.com to figure out how much is needed in the amount of water you're measuring) and re-test.

If you want to use those Seachem products, they have a calculator on their website on how much to dose to reach a specific KH -
https://www.seachem.com/alkaline-buffer.php
Just scroll down the page and there's a tab that says Calculator.

That replenish looks heavy on calcium and short on Mg. I would consider my alternative listed above. Cheaper by far and adjustable.
thanks. i like seachem and will use it as it's what i have on hand.

i think the part that's been alluding me is kh. i may be getting a handle on it.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by tracyree View Post
thanks. i like seachem and will use it as it's what i have on hand.

i think the part that's been alluding me is kh. i may be getting a handle on it.
Is this for shrimp? If it is, it would be a much better idea to go with a buffering substrate vs trying to buffer the waters pH through chemicals. Much more stability via substrate.
I like Seachem too, but I also like finding cheaper and equally, if not more so, effective ways of doing things. It adds up...quickly, especially when running multiple tanks.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
Is this for shrimp? If it is, it would be a much better idea to go with a buffering substrate vs trying to buffer the waters pH through chemicals. Much more stability via substrate.
I like Seachem too, but I also like finding cheaper and equally, if not more so, effective ways of doing things. It adds up...quickly, especially when running multiple tanks.
It's not shrimp. I keep german blue rams and do have a buffering substrate, controsoil, but assumed I'd need to buffer the water before adding....

I appreicate trying to find things cheaper, but since I already own these products it makes sense to just use them.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:52 PM
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Fair enough.
If you have a buffering substrate, you do not need to worry about KH. Now, if that substrate is old and potentially exhausted, that's a different matter. But assuming it is new(ish) and has only been used with RO or RODI water, then you are good to just add GH and not worry about KH. Your pH should naturally stay a little below neutral.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 04:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mgeorges View Post
Fair enough.
If you have a buffering substrate, you do not need to worry about KH. Now, if that substrate is old and potentially exhausted, that's a different matter. But assuming it is new(ish) and has only been used with RO or RODI water, then you are good to just add GH and not worry about KH. Your pH should naturally stay a little below neutral.
That. Is. Awesome.

Thanks!!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracyree View Post
I really need help with preparing RO water. I use Seachem's acid and alkaline buffer to get a ph of 6.8. My brain apparently can't figure out what the correct amounts of alkaline buffer and acid buffer are. I keep getting it wrong and having to add a little here, wait and test, add a little more, wait and test...

I wish they'd give charts with PER GALLON amounts. Anyone smarter than me want to tell me how much alkaline buffer and how much acid buffer one needs PER GALLON to reach a ph of 6.8?
Hey Tracyree,
Are you using RO/DI or just RO water? I ask because for my weekly water change I change about 30gal of ro/di water with .6g of Seachem Alk Buffer. It gets me to about 6.86pH. My water purifier with DI resin strips everything from the water. A simple RO unit does not.

To be honest, I'd buy a cheap pH pen on amazon for about 10 bucks. Test the water and figure it out from there. I ended up going this route and it helped me figure things out much quicker. I don't know about your bottle of alk buffer but mine has different dosing amounts than whats stated on the website. I didn't know which to trust lol. So I ended up just springing for the pH pen to help me out and I found out I didn't even need to use the Acid Buffer.

I will try to answer your question best that I can now. Since the ratio to get 6.8pH is not on the bottle but 6.5pH and 7.0pH is, I will help solve those. Cool?

the website says add 6g per 20 gal to raise kh by 2.8 dKH. So thats .3g per gallon of water.

Dosing for 6.5pH per gallon of water = 0.3g alk : 0.23g acid
Dosing for 7.0pH per gallon of water = 0.3g alk : 0.15g acid

Hope this helps.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-21-2018, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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THANK YOU! That helps a ton! Seriously, thank you.

Just RO, no DI.

ph pen! Didn't know that was a thing, ordering right now. Sounds a lot easier than the drops.

I will get this all figured out....one day..... lol



Quote:
Originally Posted by FreshPuff View Post
Hey Tracyree,
Are you using RO/DI or just RO water? I ask because for my weekly water change I change about 30gal of ro/di water with .6g of Seachem Alk Buffer. It gets me to about 6.86pH. My water purifier with DI resin strips everything from the water. A simple RO unit does not.

To be honest, I'd buy a cheap pH pen on amazon for about 10 bucks. Test the water and figure it out from there. I ended up going this route and it helped me figure things out much quicker. I don't know about your bottle of alk buffer but mine has different dosing amounts than whats stated on the website. I didn't know which to trust lol. So I ended up just springing for the pH pen to help me out and I found out I didn't even need to use the Acid Buffer.

I will try to answer your question best that I can now. Since the ratio to get 6.8pH is not on the bottle but 6.5pH and 7.0pH is, I will help solve those. Cool?

the website says add 6g per 20 gal to raise kh by 2.8 dKH. So thats .3g per gallon of water.

Dosing for 6.5pH per gallon of water = 0.3g alk : 0.23g acid
Dosing for 7.0pH per gallon of water = 0.3g alk : 0.15g acid

Hope this helps.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 10:18 PM
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Replenish has sodium and chloride

I have been using Seachem's Equilibrium to raise my GH. But Equilibrium has a lot of K (potassium). I already dose my planted aquarium with K2SO4, so using Equilibrium messes up my macro fertilizing dosing.

So I found Seachem's Replenish as it does not have potassium. However, it has sodium and chloride. I don't think that is good for the plants.

Seachem even suggested planted tanks NOT to use replenish.

Just FYI.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:43 AM
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Follow @mgeorges advice. Seachem products are generally good, but the acid buffer is useless. It lasts about 2 seconds (joking, but you will find it has no stability). You'll just be chasing a phantom with it. The Seachem Alkaline Buffer is fine because it is, after all, just baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) at a high price. As of now, I use no bicarbonate because I want KH at zero but, when I did use it, I used the potassium bicarbonate that mgeorges mentioned, just because it doesn't add sodium.

You can stop using K2SO4, or greatly reduce it, if you are getting enough K from the Equlibrium (and potassium bicarbonate, if you use it). In my case, I just add Epsom Salt and calcium gluconate (or calcium sulfate as mgeorges mentioned) to reach my GH target. Of course, doing this, I need to add K2SO4.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracyree View Post
I really need help with preparing RO water. I use Seachem's acid and alkaline buffer to get a ph of 6.8. My brain apparently can't figure out what the correct amounts of alkaline buffer and acid buffer are. I keep getting it wrong and having to add a little here, wait and test, add a little more, wait and test...
When you say wait and test, how long are you waiting?

When you add something to change KH, you want to wait hours if not a day to test it.

For instance, if I toss in a tsp of K2CO3 into my 55 gallon drum of RO water, I will see an immediate exaggerated reaction. Measured pH will immediately jump from 7.0 to over 10.00. Next morning it stabilizes at 7.1.

And I wouldn't rely on any formula for correct amounts. Rely on actual readings. Patience and willingness to fine tune are your friends.

And as others have said, much better to purchase individual items once you run out of the seachem.

Good luck and curious and why so particular on 6.8 pH level???


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