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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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You have to promise not to get mad at me. :roll:

I have been keeping fish in water from the tap here in Dallas, TX for three years now. Never had a problem. Now that I have plants, I found one. I have discovered a question I hope you guys can answer.

When I stuck in my new PH probe, the reading said 5.5. I am thinking something has to wrong. Calibrate twice, still 5.5 in the tank. I check the tap water, it shows up 7.5.

Time for a water change. Do a fifty percent water change and the PH is 6.8. Two days later it is back to 5.5.

Now I know we have really soft water with a KH of 4. But after a couple of days in the tank, the water KH drops to unmeasurable.

What causes this? How do I measure CO2? I have the equipment to inject, but don't want to start until I am comfortable with what is going on with KH and CO2.

Thanks guys.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 01:43 PM
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Do you have drift wood in your tank? Peat? Something is driving your pH down. You really want to bring your KH and GH up to be sure the tank can buffer the CO2 injection. Have you tested the GH?

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 01:45 PM
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Do you have any peat or maybe even driftwood in the tank? What kind of substrate, what kind of rocks, if any? Also you need to check the tap water after it has rested for at least 12 hours and then again at 24 hours. Also what is the kH in the tank?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't tested the GH. I will do that tonight. Also I will start letting some tap water stand and see what happens with PH.

I do have a large piece of driftwood in the tank. I don't use peat. My substrate is about an inch of laterite with about a half inch of small gravel on top.

What can I do to bring up KH and GH?

kH in the tank right now is unmeasurable according to both of my test kits.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 02:18 PM
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Ok, no kH means low pH. Read my FAQ on how to bring up kH and/or gH.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 02:51 PM
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Does your tank water have a dark stain to it? Does it look darker than your tap water?

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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Nope, no darker than what comes out of the tap.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 04:14 PM
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Do you have chloramine in your tap water? Here's something that was happening to me that sounds like it could similar to your situation.

Chloramine is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. Even after using a dechlorination product you will still be adding ammonia to your tank. (In my situation, it was quite a large amount of it)
Your nitrifying bacteria will "consume" your KH as they convert the ammonia in the water to nitrIte then to nitrAte. When your KH gets to 0 you have a very low and unstable pH, hence the term "pH Crash"
In this situation, as you have seen, water changes do not really help, because although you add KH by doing the water change, you are also adding ammonia by means of the water change which is going to deplete your KH again anyway.

The solution as Rex mentioned would be to supplement your tank with additional Carbonates to raise the KH enough to negate this effect. Baking soda is the simplest option.

Keep in mind that I am no expert, and that I cannot guarantee what happened in my situation is what's happening with yours. Based on what information you've provided, I'd almost be willing to bet on it though. Anyhow, if this turns out to be the case, you might want to check your nitrAte levels, as they could be through the roof.

-Jeremiah
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crshadow
Your nitrifying bacteria will "consume" your KH as they convert the ammonia in the water to nitrIte then to nitrAte. When your KH gets to 0 you have a very low and unstable pH, hence the term "pH Crash"
This is interesting. What are the chemical processes behind it? I wouldn't really think of adding ammonia to a tank (would probably kill all them poor fooshies) but is that a way to lower kH? Does that mean that -- without water changes -- water becomes softer over time due to biological denitrification?


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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 05:42 PM
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I knew water becomes softer as plant use calcium and magnesium but due to the nitrogen proessing of bacteria? I'm going to have to look at the balance equations to see if it is possible for there to be a relationship.

I thought biological denitrification was the bacterial process of producing N2 gas from nitrates.

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 05:46 PM
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Oopsie, I meant nitrification. All mixed up this morning.


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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 06:21 PM
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Wasserpest, sorry, unfortunately I do not know the exact chemical processes involved in this. For that reason, I have to use the word "consume" loosely. Perhaps nitric acid produced by the bacteria are what actually drive the KH down. Again, I'm not certain. Regardless of the method in which it happens, it does appear that KH does play a role in the bacteria's ability to process ammonia. Before I realized what was going on, some of my...er... neglected (no water changes) guppy tanks showed nitrIte spikes as a result of the lack of KH. My 80 gallon planted tank exhibited this as well after my KH dropped to 0 when I wasn't paying attention. For there to be a nitIte spike in a tank that has an established biological filter, I must assume that the bacteria's processing abilities must have been comprimised in some way as a result. Fixing the KH problem restored the tanks to full working order. In short, I suppose it would be a method to soften water, at least in terms of Carbonate hardness. The only problem is that this results in high levels nitrate at the end of the process. Bad for the fishies, good for the plants though. Perhaps someone with a little more knowledge than I will chime in with some better information.

-Jeremiah
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 06:30 PM
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I added baking soda and it helped..for a day or two. Then everything went right back down. After I added epsom salt to raise the gh though it is settling down. I had to add alot of epsom salt though (slowly) to raise my gh even 1 degree. I am now seeing what I assume is a type of defiency in my plant leaves, either that or I have something eating them. The sword leaves are yellowish and the leaves of my sunset hygro have small holes in them, not the oldest leaves either. Just the middle ones. New leaves look good.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginnie5
I added baking soda and it helped..for a day or two. Then everything went right back down. After I added epsom salt to raise the gh though it is settling down. I had to add alot of epsom salt though (slowly) to raise my gh even 1 degree. I am now seeing what I assume is a type of defiency in my plant leaves, either that or I have something eating them. The sword leaves are yellowish and the leaves of my sunset hygro have small holes in them, not the oldest leaves either. Just the middle ones. New leaves look good.
It sounds like a tank of plants begging for K and Fe.

Sean

Aquascape? I'm a crypt farmer.

It's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an idiot.

That IS an aquascape, it's titled "The Vacant Lot".
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-09-2004, 09:43 PM
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Crshadow has an interesting idea, however if it were the case, don't you think that this phenomena that Rjhiii is encountering would occur more often to more people?

We know Rjhiii has a large piece of driftwood in the aquarium, but it appears it is not leaching tannins. What kind of substrate are you using Rjhiii? Do you know the type of gravel?

I think we will be able to draw a few more conclusions after we get Rjhiii's GH and the parameters of Rjhiii's tap water after it sits overnight.

Mike

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