Plants lowering PH in my aqaurium? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:32 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Plants lowering PH in my aqaurium?

I have been having serious problems with the Ph in all of my low-tech planted tanks. i have tested for what the cause of the problem is and I am absolutely 100% sure its the plants. My Ph stays consistently at around 6.0 and even after a 100% water change and a thorough washing of everything the plants will bring the water down from 7.6 to 6 within hours. has anyone else had this problem or does anyone know why this is happening? Any help at all is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:41 AM
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What's your KH levels?

Some plants will use carbonates as a source of carbon if CO2 is lacking... Hours seems awfully fast, but if your KH levels are really low, I could see them dropping it off that fast..

Also, what tests have you done to be 100% sure it is the plants?

Have you tried letting your water stand around in a plain container and measuring pH? Atmospheric CO2 does change the pH of water, up or down depending on how much is in the water out of the tap..

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 03:42 AM
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What substrate do you use? Do you have driftwood? A bit more info on the tank itself might help diagnose the issue. My guess is your water is very soft, doesn't buffer pH, but I will defer to the experts here...
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:02 AM Thread Starter
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I have multiple tanks that all have different types of fish, substrate, and filtration. Some have driftwood and some don't. The water kh levels used to be medium high but were lowered when I did those 100% water changes. so maybe thats the issue. i Know that the plants are causing it because they are the only variable that remained constant in all the tanks and when I took them out and put them in a plastic toat the Ph went down while all the water in the tanks finally stayed at the same 7.6. Also I did test the water be leaving it out for 24 hours with an airstone both with and without conditioner and the Ph stayed fine in both. Thanks so much for the suggestions!
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:17 AM
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What time of day are you testing the pH?

Add some carbonates until the KH is at least 3 German degrees of hardness.
Potassium bicarbonate and sodium bicarbonate are the 2 most common powdered sources.
Sea shells, limestone sand, coral sand and similar materials are a slow release source of minerals, and in the right quantity may offset a lot of what the plants are removing. These will also raise the GH.

I would try this:
Set up the new water for a water change with potassium bicarbonate to the KH you want.
Keep coral sand, oyster shell grit, aragonite, or other materials in the filter (I use a nylon stocking as a media bag).
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I will try that thanks. I have been testing the water at all different times of the day lately because of these problems.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 04:59 AM
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Plants can't drop the pH that fast. At best, if the plants are growing fast, some plants, like vals, can eventually use up the bicarbonates, but not in a few hours. Are you using CO2?

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-10-2015, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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No I have no Co2 in my tanks. I am sure its the plants so is there any possibility it could be something on the plants?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 08-11-2015, 03:48 AM
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That is why I was asking about time of day.

Even if you are not adding CO2, there is a CO2 cycle going on in the tanks.

Through the night both fish and plants produce CO2 and if you test the pH in the early morning, just about lights on, the pH will be at its lowest.

Through the day the plants remove CO2 from the water, and the pH rises.

Carbonates stabilize the pH level. The only time I see pH of 6.0 is when the KH is at 0 or barely 1 degree.

What is the actual value of the KH in your tanks and tap water?

Water companies may add something to keep the pH up. When this is removed from the water the pH can drop.
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