Some questions on PH, hardness - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Some questions on PH, hardness

Hi, my tank water PH runs about 7.8 in the A.M. which is consistent with my PH out of the tap. My General Hardness is high (about 10 dkh). I am injecting pressurized CO2 (during lighting hours only) and when I test my PH at the end of the light cycle my PH is about 7.2. I am still way off from an ideal CO2 level of 25-30 based on my PH and GH.
I have a drop checker and it is a light green by the end of the light cycle.

My questions are:
1) Do you think I need to inject more CO2 to bring my PH down?

2) Should I be injecting CO2 24/7 as opposed to just during lighting period? (I am concerned about the difference in PH)

3) Are there any other options I should consider to lower PH (ex. peat?)

4) Should I not be concerned about all this as long as my drop checker is green and plants are growing?

I would appreciate any input. Thanks.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 02:50 PM
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I cannot comment on keeping the ph consistant while using Co2 as all my tanks are low-tec, but if you want to lower the ph all together the addition of the peat would help. Either moss or granules added to the substrate or filter. A piece of driftwood helps as well.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 03:01 PM
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KH / pH factor together not GH = general hardness (just to knit pick )
Within reasonable limits +,- fish are not effected at all by pH swings.
Changes in TDS, the water mineral content are a concern not the pH reading per say. I've seen swings as high as a full degree on a tank with a pH probe monitoring it without issues of any kind.

If your drop checker is correctly set and showing pale green your in the ballpark with your injected level on CO2.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 03:02 PM
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I've been wondering if sphagnum peat could be put in a fine mesh - like panyhose or cotton cheesecloth - and tucked behind rocks etc. near the intake of a HOB filter to lower ph. What do you think? The tanks in question are a 55 and a 40b. I guess cheesecloth would be better since it's a natural fiber that won't leach chemicals...
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-25-2011, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input. I will consider the peat and the best way to implement it.

Oh btw i meant to say my GH and KH are both about 10.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 03:11 AM
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I don't see why it wouldn't help, at what level I wouldn't know. I know you can put it in your substrate so my guess would be that it would work the same but not 100% sure on that. Test it out and let us know.

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Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter View Post
I've been wondering if sphagnum peat could be put in a fine mesh - like panyhose or cotton cheesecloth - and tucked behind rocks etc. near the intake of a HOB filter to lower ph. What do you think? The tanks in question are a 55 and a 40b. I guess cheesecloth would be better since it's a natural fiber that won't leach chemicals...


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 03:16 AM
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I'm going to test a container of tap water without water conditioner added, and a container with a small pouch of peat. I'll let both sit a few days before I actually test the water. We'll see if the peat lowers the ph. Should be interesting! If it works, I won't mind the color leaching out of the peat (I assume it will) because I love the tannin look to the tetra tank. I recently heard the term "balckwater tank" and I'm going to look it up...

Hmm, just found this, so I guess I was wrong about getting tea color from peat.

Blackwater is made by tannins, the substance that is released by driftwood, leaves, peat moss, and a variety of other natural substances. Oftentimes, many people strive to make their tanks sparkling clear and remove the tannins--this is done by boiling driftwood from 2-12 hours to remove most of the tannins from the wood so they will not heavily leach out into the tank water. However, probably the most effective substance in removing the tannins is carbon.

Needless to say, you must remove the carbon from your filter in order to make a true blackwater tank. (Sidenote: if you only want to lower your pH, add peat moss to your filter without removing the carbon and your water will not tan.)
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 03:37 AM
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I know this isn't for everyone, but I love the look. Several sites on blackwater suggest using oak leaves to lower ph...

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 03:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJPlantFan View Post
Hi, my tank water PH runs about 7.8 in the A.M. which is consistent with my PH out of the tap. My General Hardness is high (about 10 dkh). I am injecting pressurized CO2 (during lighting hours only) and when I test my PH at the end of the light cycle my PH is about 7.2. I am still way off from an ideal CO2 level of 25-30 based on my PH and GH.
I have a drop checker and it is a light green by the end of the light cycle.

My questions are:
1) Do you think I need to inject more CO2 to bring my PH down?

2) Should I be injecting CO2 24/7 as opposed to just during lighting period? (I am concerned about the difference in PH)

3) Are there any other options I should consider to lower PH (ex. peat?)

4) Should I not be concerned about all this as long as my drop checker is green and plants are growing?

I would appreciate any input. Thanks.

What's the reason why you want to lower your ph? Ph swings from CO2 do not have a negative effect on fish, like wkndracer said. Once you start messing with peat or other things to alter your water, then you are going to create an unstable environment for you fish. If you really want softer water, your best bet is to use ro water. But if it's not broke now, then why mess with it?

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
What's the reason why you want to lower your ph?
I was under the impression that my high PH would make it difficult to keep certain fish that prefer PH closer to 6.5-7. Maybe this is not the case? It not then that would be great and I would not be worrying about it.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJPlantFan View Post
I was under the impression that my high PH would make it difficult to keep certain fish that prefer PH closer to 6.5-7. Maybe this is not the case? It not then that would be great and I would not be worrying about it.
What species of fish are you wanting to keep?

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Tetras were the fish I was primarily concerned about.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 05:14 PM
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CO2 related pH changes are irrelevant and will not harm fish or help them. If your gh/kh is still high, you still have hard water and the pH doesn't matter.

It sounds like you need to run co2 prior to lights on for about an hour, and possibly at a higher rate. Do things slowly if you change it.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJPlantFan View Post
Tetras were the fish I was primarily concerned about.
There are a lot of different species of tetras, but usually they are hardy and can handle a broad range of pH. Stability is far more important than "ideal".

co2 to reduce pH is not the same as reducing hardness/ph together. If you water is still hard, your pH is still "essentially" high.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-26-2011, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJPlantFan View Post
Tetras were the fish I was primarily concerned about.
Yeah, unless your trying to breed them, which doesn't sound like it, then I would leave the water alone. Most tetras are bred commercially and are used to harder water, than their natural environment. Even cardinal tetras are bred commercially. I have some that are from a commercial breeder in florida and they are super hardy. I have fairly hard water myself.

Anyways, if it really bothers you, then you could do half tap and half ro water, but I wouldn't bother with peat in the filters and all of that. Not unless you were going for a breeder setup or a biotope specific tank that you wanted to match the natural habitat.

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