Ph=6.4 kh=1 please help - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Ph=6.4 kh=1 please help

I have a brand new 32 gallon planted tank with a full CO2 system including PH Monitor set to 6.7. My PH=6.4 KH=1 CO2 12ppm. According to chart it seems acceptable. My goal is to get some pearling on the plants and introduce fish later in the week. The entire back wall is Cypress wood that does not appear to be leaching tannins anymore. At least that I can see. HOB has bio, Purigen and Charcoal right now because there is still a haze I am trying to eliminate. I was told not to use alkaline buffer for some reason but told to use equilibrium. My GH=7. Does this sound correct? My CO2 will obviously not turn on because it is set to 6.7. Is this also correct. Is there anything I need to do to perfect this tank? BTW lighting is a buildmyled and a current usa +. I would add a photo but do not know how to. Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 03:57 PM
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the cypress wood is making the water soft and acidic. (it absorbs calcium).

What is your tap water on ph, kh, and gh?

Pearling is not possible on all tanks. It requires a perfect mixture of oxygen in the water vs oxygen being produced. Tanks with low oxygen or high current can not and will not pearl. So let good growth be your guide. You get pearling in older tanks because of the massive plant load. The plants stuff the water with soo much oxygen it can not take in any more. New tanks simply don't have that ability.

The two 120's and the 180 will pearl all day. The new 40, very rarely, only in the late evening.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 05-31-2014, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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Tap is:
GH=3.5
KH=1.5
PH=7
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 04:08 PM
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Yes.

KH is carbonates. These are a buffer that can stabilize the pH. When they are so low the pH can be controlled by other things. To raise the pH you really want to start by raising the KH.
Baking soda or potassium bicarbonate are 2 materials that can raise the KH very quickly. Good when you are doing a water change to make the new water match the tank, and will work even with fish in the tank when you are very careful not to add too much at one time.
Adding a material in a bag to the filter is a slower way of doing this, and most of these materials will also raise the GH. Coral sand, limestone that has been ground to the consistency of sand, oyster shell grit (Sold for caged birds) are good materials for this. Larger rocks of limestone and its related materials or shells in the tank can slowly dissolve and can raise both KH and GH.

I would test whatever of these you might already have on hand. Put a cup of water aside with a tablespoon of coral sand etc. in it and monitor the GH, KH and pH for several days. If you have any limestone rocks, or sea shells you could try them, too. They are slower, so set up the glass of water where it won't be disturbed for several days, then test about once a week for a couple of weeks. Top off the glass as needed.
When I tried this with a ground rock called Dolomite it changed within a couple of hours.

Add to the tank some baking soda starting with this recipe:
1 teaspoon of baking soda added to a 29 gallon tank will raise the KH by 2 German degrees of hardness. This is enough change for one day, let the fish get used to it, then add more the next day.

Organic materials like wood, peat moss add organic acids to the water, which lowers the pH. Some of them can also act like an ion exchange water softener, removing Ca and Mg. If they are doing this you would see the GH going down. Equilibrium adds Ca, Mg and K (Potassium). So, if the wood is making the GH go too low for the fish you want, then Equilibrium is a good thing to add. It won't do anything about the KH or pH, though.

When you have several things in the tank that can alter the pH the charts that relate CO2 to pH and KH are not accurate. In this case, the cypress wood is the other major thing altering the pH.

Here is how I handle my hard water tanks:
1) Set them up with some slow release material like coral sand so there is a constant slow adjustment that raises the GH and KH, and the pH will rise as the KH rises. Some have coral sand substrate. Others have oyster shell grit in a nylon stocking in the filter.
2) When I do water changes adjust the new water with baking soda or potassium bicarbonate for KH and Equilibrium for GH to what I want the tank to be.
3) Monitor the tank through the week to get to know if it needs further adjustment. Usually it does not, unless there is something removing the minerals or carbonates faster than they are dissolving.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 04:46 PM
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This is a situation where using a drop checker is useful. You can't use the tank water parameters to determine how much CO2 is in your water, as Diana pointed out. And, you don't have enough experience to judge how much CO2 you should use, based on watching the plants and fish. So, you need something else. That is where a drop checker fits in. It will let you raise the CO2 bubble rate enough to get a significant amount of CO2 in the water, without worrying about the effect on the fish and plants. Once you do that, you will see a great improvement in how fast and healthy the plants grow. Now, you can very slowly increase the bubble rate, a little bit every few days, while watching the plants to see if there is further improvement in how fast and healthy they grow. If there is, obviously you can get more improvement by increasing the bubble rate a little bit more. Once you see that your last slight increase had no observable effect you must be providing all that the plants need, so you are all set. But, while doing this you also need to watch the fish to make sure they are not all clustered at the water surface in the corners, like they are gasping for air, or that none of them are laying still on the substrate, or having their colors fade out. Those are all things you may see if the fish are unable to cope with the added CO2, and a sign that you need to go back to the bubble rate where you didn't see that.

There just isn't any way, short of buying a special CO2 probe, costing in the thousands of dollars, to determine the actual ppm of CO2 in the water. So, you need to use a different approach to CO2 than you would with nitrate in the water - don't try to measure it, instead adjust it by how the occupants of the tank respond.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately my regulator just broke. I ordered a new one from GLA. I think it was called the Atomic V3. It should arrive by Friday and I can get going again. For right now the plants seem ok. I guess I will use Excel if I need it in the meantime. I will try the baking soda as soon as I get the CO2 running again and buy some crushed coral and drop checker tomorrow.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-01-2014, 10:55 PM
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I will try the baking soda as soon as I get the CO2 running again and buy some crushed coral
There's no need for this unless you have fish that do poorly in your current soft water.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 12:26 AM
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There's no need for this unless you have fish that do poorly in your current soft water.
I agree. Most plants do very well with low KH water, and, contrary to "common knowledge", KH does not buffer the pH, it just raises the pH for a given ppm of CO2 in the water. The pH is no more stable with high KH than with low KH.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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I am finding it hard to understand the CO2. I do have a PH Monitor that is reading 6.4. I have it set to 6.8ish. With that being said the CO2 does not even turn on. Does that mean that there is enough CO2 in the water? My parameters are listed above. I don't understand why the kh/ph chart does not work for me. If I just have to accept it, I am prepared for that...and I just ordered a drop checker from amazon about an hour ago.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 01:18 AM
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I am finding it hard to understand the CO2. I do have a PH Monitor that is reading 6.4. I have it set to 6.8ish. With that being said the CO2 does not even turn on. Does that mean that there is enough CO2 in the water? My parameters are listed above. I don't understand why the kh/ph chart does not work for me. If I just have to accept it, I am prepared for that...and I just ordered a drop checker from amazon about an hour ago.
To sum it up, no the khph chart will not work for you and most aquarist.

If you want the co2 to turn on, you should set the ph monitor to something les than 6.4.

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-02-2014, 04:38 AM
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Don't be concerned that you will get too low a pH if you set the pH controller to 6.2 or whatever. Just because it is easy to measure pH it has been over emphasized as a parameter that needs to be monitored. If you keep your KH within a reasonable range, the pH can be whatever it turns out to be and the fish will almost certainly not even notice the change.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2014, 01:23 AM Thread Starter
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Ok. I called aquariumplants.com and they are telling me not to add any sodium bicarbonate yet and no seachem alkaline buffer. He told me to just add the potassium and the aquariumplants.com liquid fertilizer for right now and a few goldfish to get the system running. He thinks the KH will rise on its own. I will keep you updated. Since they guarantee results, I have to use their system, at least for the time being. It is hard to be patient because I really want to add some sodium bicarbonate. I will keep posting in the meantime. BTW, how do I add a photo?
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2014, 03:14 AM
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Why add goldfish?
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-03-2014, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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just to get cycle moving quickly. Then remove after a couple weeks.
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