Max pH drop one should not past? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Is it better to aim for a 1 point pH drop or increase CO2 until fish starts getting affected and then decrease a little?

I have a 1.5 pH drop and fish are not gasping for air yet. Plants aren't growing well, don't know if not enough CO2, not enough fertilizers, or not consistent CO2
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 07:08 AM
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I stopped measuring pH a while back after I found what my fish seemed comfortable with. You can find the bubble rate which provides you a decently specific dissolved co2 concentration.

Interestingly, I found that my fish do absolutely fine with CO2 as long as it's a gradual increase in concentration past a1pH degree decrease. I've had times where I've turned co2 on late so I tried increasing the rate to reach equilibrium faster and my fish were gasping within minutes. So too quick of a change.

Anyways, 1 degree is a target but doesn't usually hurt to go beyond that as long as you know how your fish react. Also, the temperature of your tank can have an effect on how much co2 you can inject since it a holds more or less o2.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 04:07 PM
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If you've been running with at least a 1.0 pH drop for a couple weeks, it's probably not the CO2. Assuming your water isn't buffered with anything other than carbonates a 1.0 pH drop is about 30 ppm. That's usually enough unless you're driving the plants really hard with high light and ferts. It's also a consistently safe point for livestock.

Are the plants showing any signs of deficiency or just growing more slowly than you would like?


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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnmosquitoes View Post
Is it better to aim for a 1 point pH drop or increase CO2 until fish starts getting affected and then decrease a little?

I have a 1.5 pH drop and fish are not gasping for air yet. Plants aren't growing well, don't know if not enough CO2, not enough fertilizers, or not consistent CO2
This is a little like going to the doctor and saying: "I don't feel well. Should I eat less spinach?" I suggest that we focus upon the primary complaint:
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Originally Posted by damnmosquitoes View Post
Plants aren't growing well
To that end, please provide as much of the following as possible:

- Light (make & model): ideally, PAR and PUR reading at the substrate and photoperiod?
- CO2 setup (pressurized or DIY)?
- Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
- What you are dosing (product and quantity), in terms of ppm, and how often?
- Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
- What is your filter setup?
- Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
- Circulation: surface rippling and are all plants gently moving from top to bottom?
- What is your water source and do you use a water softener?
- What is your tank size?

Please look up each of your plants to determine what, if any, special needs they may have.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-15-2020, 11:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damnmosquitoes View Post
Is it better to aim for a 1 point pH drop or increase CO2 until fish starts getting affected and then decrease a little?

I have a 1.5 pH drop and fish are not gasping for air yet. Plants aren't growing well, don't know if not enough CO2, not enough fertilizers, or not consistent CO2
Keep in mind that bad things happen at times and the closer we walk to the edge of gassing our fish, the less drastic the mistake that kills them all!
We all do make mistakes at times and with CO2, it is often only after the fact that we know about that mistake, so I find it far better to hit a mid point on CO2 that makes for improved plants but not so close that even a very minor mistake may kill the fish.
I consider added CO2 to be just and added benefit, not the whole driver of that plant growth as there are lots of other factors to look at before driving so close to killing fish.
It may be as simple as the testing is misleading you or lots of other small points but until you figure out what , it is better to not press your luck any further.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deanna View Post
To that end, please provide as much of the following as possible:

- Light (make & model): ideally, PAR and PUR reading at the substrate and photoperiod?
- CO2 setup (pressurized or DIY)?
- Current NO3, PO4, GH, KH, pH and TDS readings and which test kits/devices are used for each?
- What you are dosing (product and quantity), in terms of ppm, and how often?
- Substrate type and how long has it been in place?
- What is your filter setup?
- Cleaning regimen (filter and water change frequency and amount)?
- Circulation: surface rippling and are all plants gently moving from top to bottom?
- What is your water source and do you use a water softener?
- What is your tank size?

Please look up each of your plants to determine what, if any, special needs they may have.
Hello, I made a recent post asking if my EI dosing regime is correct and was wondering if you can take a look at it and tell me what you think?

I can not test for par, NO3, PO4, or TDS at the moment.

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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
It may be as simple as the testing is misleading you or lots of other small points but until you figure out what , it is better to not press your luck any further.
Yeah you're right. I'd rather have the bare minimum for optimal growth and not waste CO2 either. I'm going to go back down to a 1.0 drop and wait a couple weeks and work my way up. I'm also afraid there's a possibility I have too much CO2 and the fertilizers I'm dosing can't satisfy the demand = bad growth

Last edited by Darkblade48; 08-16-2020 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-16-2020, 07:10 PM
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We sometimes speak of growing plants as a three legged stool in that it takes light, ferts and CO2 but it is best if we keep all "balanced" as we can create problems if we get one too far ahead or behind the others. One most common because we hear of lighting as being so important is that we see lots of folks get way too much light and that often leads to way too much algae. But it kind of works the same if we go too far on ferts or CO2 as both of those are not good for fish if pressed too far. We can test at a hobby levels for some of the fert questions but we get less reliable info on our CO2 as that "magic" one point drop is sometimes thrown way off if we have different minerals in the water we have versus what was used to set up the "standard" idea.
Example: I have extremely hard alkaline water and it fits fine for breeding/ raising African cichlids but when I looked at the charts for GH and CO2 content, it was obvious things were not going to work with that method as it calculated to me having fish in 80 PPM CO2! So I used other methods and one of those was to watch how the fish changed when I got too close.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-20-2020, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
We sometimes speak of growing plants as a three legged stool in that it takes light, ferts and CO2 but it is best if we keep all "balanced" as we can create problems if we get one too far ahead or behind the others.
Would you recommend waiting one week, two weeks, or more to see how the plants respond when making adjustments to CO2 and nutrients?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-20-2020, 02:30 PM
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I have no firm timeline as it depends on how severe the problem might be when I first notice things going wrong. Another point which is more a personal choice is how we each expect our tanks and plants to look. I fully admit to being less than "demanding" of my plants as I am a fish guy who happens to use plants to make the fish look better!
Normally for small points like yellow leaves or some which are getting bad edges, a change and then wait two weeks is about right for me. I did get way too many tanks at one point (13!) and have long been forced to keep a notebook for logging things on each tank, so looking back at the log of what I had done, was always a help to make any decisions on which way I might want to lean going forward.
One thing I did try to do was limit my changes to one area at a time on any specific tank. If I boost some fert, I want to be able to say that was the good point and not have to decide if moving the plant, changing the lights, etc. were the good point.
I do not keep a straight EI dosing but always mod it to better fit what I see as doing a full 50 % water change to remove what I add , just does not seem right and I prefer to do more testing and less water change. Maybe just a personal trait of liking to feel in control, rather than a schedule controlling me??
On that point, I often see folks mention getting things "tuned in" and I can see getting close at times but rarely did I go long without tuning as things tend to grow or some other point which I feel needs change.
One good thing to note is what nutrients are stable and which are mobile and may move out of one portion of the leaf to another. It helps you know which leaf damage may repair and which will not.
Planted tanks are like kids, they don't stay the same for long, so we are in constant change mode!
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