Buffering Water To Prevent Ph Swings - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-08-2020, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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Buffering Water To Prevent Ph Swings

My tap is 7.6. My substrate buffers it down to 6.4. That swing is hard on my Tangerine tiger shrimp. I thought to use Seachem Acid Buffer to take my new tap down to 6.5 BEFORE a water change so that once I change the water there isn’t too much of a swing. Anyone have thoughts on this? RO is not an option for me unfortunately. A lot of the “buffer” discussion centers around changing water in the aquarium. I’m talking about buffering the water before the water change. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 12:11 AM
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Temperatures can range from 62-78, ph from 6 to 8, gH 4-8, kH 3-6


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Not sure I follow. I know the acceptable parameters. The problem is the swing. In other words, the process of the substrate buffering the water down to 6.4 is hard on the shrimp. I’m trying to mitigate that swing. The thought I have is that if I can get the delta between the water going in and the resulting water low, then the swing won’t be so bad.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 01:05 AM
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Do you know your gh/kh values? You can go very wrong chasing ph. The water out your tap could be different just because of the CO2 content, for example. I would tend to ignore pH and compare the KH/GH values. If they are different, you might be better just doing smaller more frequent changes, rather than big less frequent ones as that will minimise the effect.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
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It is the swing I’m worried about. Not the end values.

Yes my parameters are perfect otherwise. This thread is about how the swing can be minimized, not ideal parameters for tangerine tigers.

Responded too quickly. Perhaps I haven’t made the issue clear. I know what ideal parameters are and I’m not chasing a resulting ph number. My substrate buffers to 6.4 regardless of what I do. If I dump 7.6 water in there, the substrate will react with the kh and buffer the ph down more than a point. That “swing” is hard on shrimp in particular. My goal is to match the ph of the water going in to the ph that the substrate will take it to in order to reduce that “ph swing.” If anyone has experience with that or comments on the strategy, that would be great. Thanks.

Last edited by Darkblade48; 02-11-2020 at 03:35 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 04:04 AM
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Do a smaller water change or prep water in a bucket with your same substrate.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 04:16 AM
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Your tap PH is 7.6 after setting overnight/24hrs?
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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It drops to 7.3 overnight. Haven’t tested beyond 24 hours. Kh of 4 Out of the tap may have something to do with that but not sure.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 06:05 AM
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1.) Do not use an acid buffer - it could cause more harm than good and raise your TDS through the roof

2.) If RO water is *NOT* an option, then get rid of your substrate. Seriously

3.) Use sand. Do not buffer water down lower. You have TT's. They'll be better off in straight tap than *LITERALLY* chasing parameters in the wrong way.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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It’s a high tech planted tank. The substrate is tropica and it’s not an option to remove. Obviously not chasing end parameters but rather trying to match the water going in to what the water will ultimately be once the wood and substrate do their work. Yes TTS would do fine in my tap but in using the tap they have to suffer through the buffering process (for the umpteenth time). I do appreciate the TDS point. Hadn’t thought of that.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 07:08 PM
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If they can live in your tap, then why not set up a tank with sand or gravel and use straight tap???

That would result in *LESS* parameter swings because you don't have substrate removing KH, possibly GH (depending on substrate/age of substrate), potentially changing TDS and of course pH.


This seems to be a better option if you are unable to re-scape the tank. Just enjoy the high tech tank as a high tech planted tank. No worry about stressing out whatever inhabitants you put in the tank. If at any time, the substrate stops buffering (aka, no longer lowers pH), then you could consider reintroducing something to the tank.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maryland Guppy View Post
Do a smaller water change or prep water in a bucket with your same substrate.

This is the simplest, most effective option.


If your tap water is 7.3 after sitting, how much does the pH in the tank drop after a WC? How much does it drop if you do a smaller WC?



Tropica substrate claims not to affect pH or KH. Is your pH difference due to CO2 content? If so, can you adjust the CO2 content (and thus, the pH) of the tap water beforehand?
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-09-2020, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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You’re definitely correct that tropica “substrate” base layer doesn’t affect ph or kh, but tropica “soil” does and in a big way. https://tropica.com/en/plant-care/aq...aquarium-soil/. It’s basically a comp to ADA Amazonia it other similar fired soil products. That’s what I’m using. (It is great stuff for growing plants!)

The ph in the tank stays at 6.4 unless I do a water change with my 7.6 ph tap water, which spikes it up depending on how much I do. I used to do 50% changes once every week or so, and that would take the ph up. It is buffered out within a few hours and back down to 6.4.
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