Wrapping my head around KH and co2. Led light questions! Look! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 07:06 PM Thread Starter
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Question Wrapping my head around KH and co2. Led light questions! Look!

Hello planted tank members! I come to you today with a Few questions regarding KH and GH testing and how to properly get both of these parameters in check and consistently stable. So I have had my tank up for about a month. It's a 29g tank pressure co2 system. And corallife 2 bulb t5ho fixture. There are no creatures in the tank just plants. I am struggling trying to wrap my head around how KH and co2 work together and ultimately get my tank back on track.

Tested water last night
Ammonia-0
Nitrite-0
Nitrates-10-15

So that's all good if I'm not mistaken?

Here is where my numbers were shocking.
KH - 1
GH - 16
PH - 5.8-6 in that ball park. I live in madison were our tap water is liquid rock. So me having this ph blew my mind. I did have the co2 pretty high. So from my understanding that with my KH so low that when the co2 is injected it is not being buffered causing huge ph swings? (I do run my co2 constantly) so idk how much it swings but maybe that is why it's so low? So what I did was turn my co2 down pretty far. I might have had way to much going in. Will this help me solve my issue?

Other thought I had was I have been mixing 50% tap and 50% RO water. Should I just cut the RO out of the picture or just use all RO and mix it to 4 KH using baking soda or something?

Or I was reading using crushed coral to get KH up works also. But I just have never had this issue before so I'm trying to figure it out before I start making big changes. My plants are far from thriving they are more just sustaining than anything. So please any links or input to help me grasp this whole co2 stuff would be fantastic.

My other question is regarding led lights. Are there any programable led strips out there I saw the finnex 24/7 light comes with a controller but doesn't really have a high light output? I have checked out buildmyled and I just have not the slightest of clue on how to pick one. So on that note if you have any questions regarding my co2 issue or my light question please feel free to comment or p.m me! All advice is welcome! Have a good Tuesday folks!
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 07:50 PM
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KH does not buffer against pH changes caused by CO2. In fact the CO2 is a component of the buffer that is KH + CO2 with KH contributing carbonates and CO2 contributing carbonic acid. That buffer prevents other acids and bases in the water from causing pH changes. If you are adding a lot of CO2 to the water the pH you have is what it should be. It does no harm.

Your Coralife T5HO light is about 18 inches from the substrate, so you have about 30 PAR light intensity, which is low light. See the chart below. You don't need a lot of CO2 for that light intensity. If you have a drop checker in the tank, properly set up, you can get a rough idea how much CO2 you have in the water. With that light intensity 20 ppm would be more than enough.


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 08:24 PM
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Woody, the info provided by Hoppy hopefully answers your questions on the CO2 / KH side.
The graph above covers most of the available T5 lights. Of note would be how much PAR each of those have at 18". With regards to the various LED lights and your question, I am running a Current Satellite Plus Pro fixture which is reasonably programmable and runs around 60-65 PAR at 18". The Finnex 24/7 is also a pretty good light with similar PAR I believe. I have also looked at the new Fluval 2.0 planted lights and they have a higher PAR than my Plus Pro. The buildmyLED guys also make great lights - just unsure how much programming comes with each model. So, with all that said, how much light an/or programming are you looking for? It would be my guess that there are several lights available that will provide more than enough light for your needs.


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 08:58 PM
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I'm not quite sure I understand what you think the problem is here. Do you want higher PH for some reason? what stock are you planning on keeping?

Knowing your water is supposedly liquid rock does not really tell you whats coming out of your tap. In any event I think you need some baseline numbers. Test your PH out of the tap; aslo test the tap water after it sits for 24 hours. Then test your ph in the tank with the co2 off (probably best to check a few hours after it being turned off) and then again say 2 hours or so after its been turned on.

I'm taking a guess that your simply blasting co2 into the tank without a drop checker of any other indicator of how much you're actually adding? Any reason why you're keeping the co2 constantly on?

What kind of programming are you looking for in an LED fixture?

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
KH does not buffer against pH changes caused by CO2. In fact the CO2 is a component of the buffer that is KH + CO2 with KH contributing carbonates and CO2 contributing carbonic acid. That buffer prevents other acids and bases in the water from causing pH changes. If you are adding a lot of CO2 to the water the pH you have is what it should be. It does no harm.
OK, I'm confused. Did you really mean to put that "not" in there? I thought KH was the buffer against the carbonic acid derived from CO2. I don't understand the idea of an acid and a base together being considered a buffer.

Isn't a KH of 1 way too low? I would want to gradually bring it up with http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0064GZPU4?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00.

What about the GH of 12? Fine for some fish, but rather high for some fish and plants.

Shouldn't GH and KH be of similar values?
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 10:26 PM
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The carbonic acid from co2 doesn't alter the hardness of the tank water (KH/GH), which is what matters in this case. I think that's what Hoppy is getting at.

GH of 12 is fine for every plant I've ever kept. GH of 16 is up there, though. High enough that I'd want it lowered no matter what I was keeping.

KH of 1 would be perfect for a lot of soft water critters - from many shrimp to several species of fish common in the hobby. Really depends on what the OP wants to keep.


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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 10:54 PM
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Why do you want to have your KH go up? KH of 1 is pretty much perfect for growing plants. GH usually doesn't matter much for plants (as long as you have enough of it), 16 can be too much for some fauna though. It doesn't look like that you have any issues in KH/GH department at all.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
KH does not buffer against pH changes caused by CO2. In fact the CO2 is a component of the buffer that is KH + CO2 with KH contributing carbonates and CO2 contributing carbonic acid. That buffer prevents other acids and bases in the water from causing pH changes. If you are adding a lot of CO2 to the water the pH you have is what it should be. It does no harm.

Your Coralife T5HO light is about 18 inches from the substrate, so you have about 30 PAR light intensity, which is low light. See the chart below. You don't need a lot of CO2 for that light intensity. If you have a drop checker in the tank, properly set up, you can get a rough idea how much CO2 you have in the water. With that light intensity 20 ppm would be more than enough.
Thank you every one for all your comments that was great. If I were good at this whole forum thing I would quote you all but I'll try to hit all the questions here.

Okay stay with me here. So I do have a drop checker in the tank and it was reading green. So I reference the co2 ph KH chart and ultimately I'm looking for 30 ppm co2 in a med to high light. And according to the chart I was sitting right around 30 that is good. But from what I'm reading a KH of 1 is not good. So I guess I'm wondering how I could raise that?

So according to the par of my corallife light I have a par of 30 I'm looking to go in the 45-60 par. And as far as like controllability I would like sun set sun rise maybe the ability to adjust the power of it. I'm not so much into changing the color spectrum but to just ramp it up and ramp it down would be nice. Sounds like the 24/7 would be a good option any one have the par rating on that? Did not see it in the led sticky. Not the Kessle hanging pendants are one of my favorites but I don't think I would get good coverage through out the 29? Any one disagree with that?

So are my plants not growing fast because there is not enough light? I dose ei and 50% change weekly.

Am I way over thinking this. Just don't know why I can't get my plants to have good lush growth all the tips of my hygro sunset are small and just doesn't grow. Have had it previously that stuff grow from bottom of the tank in a couple days.

Sorry for all that. Really appreciate the help folks.

Last edited by Woody0229; 10-27-2015 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Needed to add more questions of course.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 02:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
Why do you want to have your KH go up?
Because there would be very little buffering capacity with a KH of 1.

Quote:
KH of 1 is pretty much perfect for growing plants.
Which plants? Most of the recommendations I've seen start at a KH of 3 or 4.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 02:57 AM Thread Starter
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I have some crypts. Dwarf sag hygro sunset. Couple others that are slipping me right now.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 01:16 PM
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You don't need to worry about buffering co2 or carbonic acid. The acid produced from co2 is minimal and the co2 off gasses so quick that it is a non issue. That is why we need to constantly be adding co2

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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-28-2015, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
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Because there would be very little buffering capacity with a KH of 1.

Which plants? Most of the recommendations I've seen start at a KH of 3 or 4.
Low KH is better for all plants and 1 dKH (even 0.5) provides enough buffering. At least according to Tom Barr (plantbrain), Hoppy, Diana and many other very knowledgeable guys.

For example, check these:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...-lower-ph.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/11...kh-levels.html
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/8-...-crash-12.html

It seems that "3-4 dKH" recommendation was actually from Tom Barr but it is an old recommendation from many years ago. He already changed his opinion long time ago.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 04:31 AM Thread Starter
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So from all these comments my KH is just fine and the ph sounds irrelevant unless it's to low? Then I figure with co2 and 30 par my plants should be growing faster than they are? What would be a good recommended photo period I think I only have the lights on for 6 hours to prevent any algae break outs. Should I ramp that up to 7 or 8 hours?

As far as the lighting situation goes 24/7 finnex looks to be a good option. I used this planted tank members review on the light and according to him I would be around 48 par. Maybe that would drive my tank a little more?

https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/10...ll-review.html

Personally I don't think the light will make much difference I think I have a issue that apparently doesn't stem from my water quality and my t5 is more than enough to get some growth. But I have hygro sunset that just doesn't grow. The new leafs are small. I have had this plant in previous tanks and I know for a fact it grows like a weed. So keep throwing me suggestions people. Really appreciate all the comments.

Last edited by Woody0229; 10-29-2015 at 04:33 AM. Reason: Added linn
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
Low KH is better for all plants and 1 dKH (even 0.5) provides enough buffering. At least according to Tom Barr (plantbrain), Hoppy, Diana and many other very knowledgeable guys.
I've seen Diana recommend keeping a stable 3-5 dkH as recent as a couple of months ago.

If my 40b runs a dkH under 3 my pH swings are erratic. I shoot for 3-5 on my kH, this can be achieved with regular baking soda.


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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-29-2015, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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I've seen Diana recommend keeping a stable 3-5 dkH as recent as a couple of months ago.

If my 40b runs a dkH under 3 my pH swings are erratic. I shoot for 3-5 on my kH, this can be achieved with regular baking soda.
Do you use only r.o water and then adding baking soda to raise the KH to your desired levels?

I'm going to test my tap when I get off work today. But I'm assuming the KH will be high. I might just eliminate r.o from my tank to get KH up to avoid ph swings. My goal is to keep just cherry shrimp and maybe something more advanced after I get the hang of this. But needless to say I appreciate all the info.
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