I think I made a big mistake... - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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I think I made a big mistake...

So if you have been following some of my recent posts regarding my newly setup co2 system you will know I have been trying to achieve a good saturation.

Fast forward to today where I woke up and found a dead vampire shrimp this morning. No idea why it died, till now that is. This evening I noticed some of my fish swimming weird, like they were drunk. Also noticed a yoyo loach hanging out at the top of the tank. I spoked him and when he went to swim off he looked imbalanced. Also found my other two vampire shrimp alive but almost paralyzed in the tank.

After taking care of my live stock I started to think what went wrong. I am pretty sure I gassed the tank. The thing is my ph drop wasn't overly big so I wasn't really clear on how I could gas my fish without having a high concentration of co2.

My mistake is that I was monitoring my ph but using a false reading as the base ph. Turns out that my actual ph once the tap water degasses is 8-8.1

The ph was at 6.3... Almost a 2 point drop. Its no wonder why I have been having to pump soooooo much co2 to see the drop I was looking for. I originally though my base ph was 7.6 which is what lead to this mess.

Moral of all my rambling is to make sure to fully age and TEST your water to get an accurate base ph to base future reading from.

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 01:01 AM
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Very sorry to hear of your situation. Guess that would explain why your pH was not dropping as much as you expected. Curious, do you have a drop checker? They are not perfect, but can be useful. If I remember right, you do have a good pH pen so that is probably as good as or better than a drop checker.

Seem to remember somebody (Diana?) mentioning on some other thread about getting a liter of tank water, sticking an air stone in it and letting it run for 30-60 min. Sounds like some good advice that maybe I should make use of myself.

Again, sorry for the loss


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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 01:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, I am bummed that I love one of my shrimps but I am glad that resolved the issue before it was too late. I should be able to dial in my co2 properly now once and for all.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 01:45 AM
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Why weren't you testing your tank ph for your baseline? I'd expect that you'd want to use that, esp if you have things in your tank (coral, limestone, wood, etc) that might affect you ph long term you might get a more useful reading


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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Why would the tank ph be any different then the tap? My tank and tap have always matched.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 02:40 AM
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Curious, knowing you have a water storage tank (barrel) like me - did you draw your base line pH sample from the storage barrel?

Thinking back to what Diana (I think it was her) said about degassing a sample, and the fact that I was doing a water change tonite, I sampled my storage tank water instead of the fish tank. The storage tank has been circulating atleast 1 hour with an airstone running in it. Would have to believe this is about as de-gassed as my water would get.

Bump: Pretty sure my fish tank and tap water will have different pH readings. The only thing I think I trust at the moment is my storage tank after it has been running for more than 1 hour.


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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 03:25 AM
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My tap and tank pH is also different. Substrate and wood especially can alter the pH as long as those items are in the tank. After a water change the pH moves closer to the tap pH, but it will move back to what is usually is.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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I use silica sand as a substrate and have no driftwood or rocks (except for a few small slate stones which don't effect ph).

In my barrel I use a 1" ID hose that goes to a large pump. I have a T end on the hose and keep it out of the water but still inside the barrel. I have the pump run for at least 8-10 hours before a water change. The ph right out of the tap with no time.for aging is 7.5-7.6. After the night of agitation / aging, the barrel ph goes up to 8.0-8.1

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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I left a plain Tupperware with tap water overnight and with no agitation the ph raised to 7.9

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 01:16 PM
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Interesting and possibly expected. I seem to remember reading on here that tap water does have some cO2 in it. Seems plants are happiest after a water change due to the extra small does of cO2. If this is true, then I guess I would expect some rise in pH. Just surprised in your case it is that much. Different regs in Canada maybe??


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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe. Either way I think I will be aiming for a ph of 6.8-6.9 from now on and watch how thing do.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
Very sorry to hear of your situation. Guess that would explain why your pH was not dropping as much as you expected. Curious, do you have a drop checker? They are not perfect, but can be useful. If I remember right, you do have a good pH pen so that is probably as good as or better than a drop checker.
I've been using a pH controller and a drop checker. The drop checker is a good 'reality check' on what the pH controller is telling you. If all is setup correctly, the drop checker should be green when your pH is correct. If you think you've got the pH right and the drop checker isn't green, you're probably not using the right set point for pH; in other words, your water is harder or softer than you thought.

The other method that is useful and doesn't require you to wait overnight for de-gassing is to check the KH of your water. I've needed to monitor this pretty regularly because my water district changes my water source seasonally from river water (0-1 KH) to well water (8-10 KH). You can figure out the proper pH to shoot for based on what your KH is by looking at a chart (not mine, just one I googled):
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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If I take a sample of tank water and put it in something to shake it up and store it up really good I can get it to off gas quickly right? I am 99% sure my tap water is 8.0-8.1 ph when fully degassed. But not sure about my tank. The only thing I can think of in my tank which would effect ph is the plants.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2015, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrygel View Post
I've been using a pH controller and a drop checker. The drop checker is a good 'reality check' on what the pH controller is telling you. If all is setup correctly, the drop checker should be green when your pH is correct. If you think you've got the pH right and the drop checker isn't green, you're probably not using the right set point for pH; in other words, your water is harder or softer than you thought.

The other method that is useful and doesn't require you to wait overnight for de-gassing is to check the KH of your water. I've needed to monitor this pretty regularly because my water district changes my water source seasonally from river water (0-1 KH) to well water (8-10 KH). You can figure out the proper pH to shoot for based on what your KH is by looking at a chart (not mine, just one I googled):
Interesting pic you found. Unfortunately I think the colors / text have been switched. If you look at the KH 5 line and follow it over to pH7 you see a cO2 concentration of 16ppm. as you lower the pH to 6.7, you raise the cO2 concentration to 32ppm. If you continue to lower the pH, you raise the cO2 concentration. With that said (and what matches your drop checker, at least on the high end), if you lower the pH too much your drop checker changes to yellow indicating "Too Much cO2".

Regardless of what it says at the bottom of the pic, the numbers within the chart are correct.


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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-10-2015, 10:09 AM Thread Starter
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So just so I am clear, the chart tells us roughly what the amount of co2 should be a any given kh and ph value. The original ph shouldn't matter that much then either right? As long as you kh is accurate you can just follow the line over.

I took some time last night to do some testing on a few different water samples. One from my main tank, one from my degassed tap water, and one from another tank (30g).

I tested all the kh and ph values of each sample and the lh was all the same. Ph differed which was to be expected. To fully offgas any sample was near impossible. Highest I could get the ph was 8.3. I off gassed by putting the samples into large buckets and swirled and shakes them water the ph change higher and higher as I did this.

My conclusion is that all of my samples in terms of kh are constant and don't vary more than 1/2 a degree. Also, the 1 point drop I was told to achieve is not entirely the best suggestion. I think its more important to look at your kh value and follow that over till you find what level of co2 you wish to obtain. Then monitor the ph till you are able to consistently reach that level.

In my case, with a kh with 9, my desired ph would be 6.9-7. This puts my co2 at 29-36ppm.

In my case I don't really have anything in my tank that would alter the ph in a way that would make my values skewed. Its important to look at each tank case by case.

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