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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
has anyone had success using buffering products to hold your ph?

I am currently doing things the "all natural" way....however if I want to eventually get to some more "delicate" shrimps I am going to need to consider using some buffering products. I recently bought some "discus buffer".
I bought a 5.5 tank a week ago for some shrimp I am getting this weekend....still learning on neo's .....I guess I do have a few Sulwasi in a 55 but they dig harder water (which is what I have)
 

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I've had many years of success using natural buffering materials to hold my pH, but on the opposite end required for "delicate shrimps"

Your "discus buffer" also should hold pH on the opposite end required for shrimp, as discus thrive in acidic but shrimp thrive in alkaline

Your signature includes "72 bow, mystery snails and angels" ... what kind of pH buffering are you running in that? snails, shrimp, anything with a shell thrives in hard/alkaline water, in fact they want calcium. Toss in some cuttlebone, you can find it with the pet bird products

Angels, on the other hand, with ancestors from the Amazon (the river, not the bookseller website) thrive in soft/acidic water - the opposite of calcium

Keeping them together is compromising the vitality of 1, or both, of them
 

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I've had many years of success using natural buffering materials to hold my pH, but on the opposite end required for "delicate shrimps"

Your "discus buffer" also should hold pH on the opposite end required for shrimp, as discus thrive in acidic but shrimp thrive in alkaline

Depends what shrimp you are talking about... Sulawesi's prefer harder water, but most Caridina cantonensis strains prefer softer, acidic water.

OP do you have access to RO water. RO water and remineralisers are probably a better way to go then buffers.

Also on a side note, how hard is your water? You may be able to get away with reasonably hard water depending on what type of Neocaridinas you're getting.
 

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jaliberti it's because freshwater dwarf shrimp mostly naturally inhabit pools of water with decaying leaves, which lowers pH.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wow- lots of info her to disseminate....

The 72 bow: angels and mystery snails... neither seems to be compromised however the 72 bow is merely a short stoping point for the angels as they go to the LFS every 2 weeks to be sold. I was raising marble koi's for a couple years and am now getting rid of my stock and plan on switching to platinum blues.... I will have to try the cuttlebone as the snails would appreciate it. I'll pick some up today.

I had ordered the discus buffer without reading more about it....which is why I made the OP.....my water is rather hard out of the tap; TDS about 180 PH 8.2-8.4 GH and KH are also quite high....So, about a month ago I bought an RO unit and improved/changed the water quality in the shrimp tanks ....today is test day, and I have not done it yet...but about four days ago the three shrimp tanks were ; PH 6.8- 7.1 GH3-4 KH- 2-3 with TDS in the 150's (prior to getting the RO unit by TDS was above 600!!)

I am experimenting with a 5.5 and 10 gal tank. with just almond leaves and some driftwood I have lowered the PH be low 6.0 so maybe the buffering question is moot at this time. (I have not tested Gh or kh on those tanks yet...I set them up last weekend and have been basically ignoring them waiting to see how low the ph drops....

Bump: a student of mine who also works in a lab at the university said to put eggshells in with the snails...I did that for a while and then stopped....I suppose I could get them calcium that was as well as the cuttlebone??
 

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... freshwater dwarf shrimp mostly naturally inhabit pools of water with decaying leaves, which lowers pH.
I've been reading about the different species on Shrimp Species List .:. Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp Species Information Pages

Apparently Malaya Shrimp (Caridina sp. "Malaya") have relatively high pH requirements, i.e. > 7.8

I wonder if they have stronger, thicker shells vs the others. We've compared the shells of 100's of Mystery Snails over the years. Many have been pitted &/or are so thin they break easily, especially near the foot. Those probably were raised in water parameters too low.

I've been putting off the purchase of "100 Wild Type Neocaridina Shrimp Culls" from AquaBid due to lack of alkaline water. Now I might just give that project a try - to see how much of an investment would be required to maintain a sustainable quantity of shrimp feeders.

... a while ago when they weren't as available, but that price is still insane.
Insane prices for new arrivals in the pet trade are quite common. Happened with many cichlids, including discus. Also happens in the reptile trade.

... the 72 bow is merely a short stoping point for the angels as they go to the LFS every 2 weeks to be sold... with just almond leaves and some driftwood I have lowered the PH be low 6.0 so maybe the buffering question is moot at this time... waiting to see how low the ph drops... eggshells in with the snails...I did that for a while and then stopped....I suppose I could get them calcium that was as well as the cuttlebone??
That's probably best, i.e. the AngelFish acclimate to a higher pH before going to the LFS. I doubt many LFS maintain <7 pH.

Floating almond leaves and floating driftwood are great for lowering pH. The operative word here being floating. Once saturated and sunk the pH will begin to rise, so keep an eye on it. You needn't be waiting too long to see how low the pH drops. A few days for the leaves, then fresh ones will need to be added. Driftwood, IMO, is very misunderstood. Many believe that as long as tannins are being released the pH is dropping. Wrong. Waterlogged driftwood, which is the condition almost all aquarists want, does little to nothing for lowering pH. Dark, tea colored water is not necessarily acidic.

Mystery Snails in our tanks have foregone eggshells when cooked baby kale was offered. Lots of calcium in kale. Cuttlebone has never been eaten by Mystery Snails in our tanks, we put it there to increase all water parameters and to release calcium into the water. Supposedly just being in water with a high calcium content is beneficial for the shells.
 

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Egg shells, cuttle bone (cuttlefish), crushed coral, oyster shells, etc., are composed of Calcium Carbonate. Thry would increase GH (calcium) and KH (carbonate). pH could rise to be around 8
Pretty sure that's the opposite of what you are trying to achieve haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
good grief.....3 steps forwards 2 back...

ok...some Kale will be on the menu for the snails...
 

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Lets back up a step or two.

1) What is the preferred GH, KH, pH and TDS of the shrimp you want to keep?

2) What is the GH, KH, pH and TDS of your tap water?

Some notes:
GH is minerals Calcium and Magnesium. Very important for plants and animals. But animals need to be in a GH similar to what they evolved to handle.

KH is a measure of how well the water is stabilized with respect to the pH. Usually carbonates are the most common buffer in aquariums. KH preference of the livestock is not so much a specific number, but 'Whatever level of KH will buffer the pH in the right range'. You can often start by matching GH and KH, and see where that leaves the pH.

pH is important only as a range, not a specific value. If you are adding CO2, for example, the pH should fluctuate about one unit through a 24 hour cycle. For soft water fish or shrimp this might be something like 7.0 (no CO2) to 6.0 (max CO2). For hard water organisms this might be 8.0 (no CO2) to 7.0 (max CO2). As long as the mineral levels are good (GH and TDS) the pH can vary quite a bit, and as long as it is in the correct range, or even a little bit outside that range, most livestock will be just fine.

TDS is a measure of all the things dissolved in the water. (Total Dissolved Solids).
Often it is used as a guide to water changes= When the TDS goes up by X amount, do a water change.
TDS will rise when you add minerals, buffers, fertilizers and other things to the water.
Research the critters you want to keep and see what the optimum range for TDS is.

Post back with all the values in questions 1) and 2).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
From Various websites- Neocaridina prefer
pH: 6.0-8.0
TDS: 80-400
KH: 0-10
GH: 4-14

My Tap water is
PH 9.1
TDS 170
KH: 8
GH: 8

I do have an RO unit and have been able to get my tanks into the parameters needed.
 

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Always include the units you are using in your tests. TDS meters have at least 2 basic ways of measuring. GH and KH are measured in 2 common ways in the aquarium hobby, and a couple of other ways in other uses.
I am assuming the TDS for the shrimp and the TDS of your tap are both using the same sort of units (ppm, or equivalent of salt) and the GH and KH are in German degrees of hardness.

So, except for pH, your tap water is OK, roughly in the middle of your shrimp preference.

If you allow the tap water to air out for 24 hours, does the pH drop?
If you blend your tap water with RO (lets say 25% RO) and circulate it, does the pH drop?
25% RO ought to make the GH and KH 6 German degrees of hardness (still within the parameters of your shrimp).

How are the tanks with leaves or driftwood going? Can you test the GH and KH of these tanks? Are they pure tap water?

Do you know why the pH is so high? Is the water company adding something to keep the pH up? Acidic water is bad for the pipes. If you know what they are adding you might find a way to neutralize, remove or counteract that material.

I know with fish, the mineral levels of the water (GH, TDS, KH) are more important than the pH, as long as the pH is at least sort of close to what they like. Wrong pH but good mineral levels will usually work for most fish. I do not know if shrimp are similar.
I would think that a pH of 9 is really too high, though. Not good even if the mineral levels are correct.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
PH of 9 is higher than when I checked a couple months back ( my ph meter came in the mail). It was 8.6

I have no idea what the local water plant is doing or why.

Yes, I am mixing RO water with tap.....I purchased some of that "saltybee" reminerilizing powder....just trying that on a 5 gallon water change this AM to see what it does to my parameters on my 29
 

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One of my fish keeping friends is on a water system with GH and KH about 4-5 German degrees of hardness, but pH has been tested up to 9. I am on a related water supply (his city buys water from the company that supplies my water) and my tap water has the same GH and KH (usually 4, occasionally a degree higher) but pH is usually in the upper 7s (highest I have tested was a bit over 8, when his read 9).
I called the water company that I get my water from. They are adding sodium hydroxide to keep the pH up. I do not know what his water company does to the water to make the pH even higher.

In my case, I know how to remove this, and I can treat my tap water to suit any fish.
My friend bypassed all other treatment, went right to RO and added minerals for most of his tanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
now that I have an RO unit I can control more of the parameters. The RO unit takes the ph down to about 8.6...or that is the dip I get from airation overnight....

I may call our city water dept and ask why we need to be in the 9's....seems crazy to me. My nephew works in the Fargo H20 dept (70 miles south of us) and they are 7.6 out of the tap....I believe we are the same source (Red River of the North)......

definitely not the part of the hobby that I relish.

Bump: I just emailed the city.....I may have had the contact person as a student some years back. The name sounded familiar.

we shall see...
 

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When you use your RO unit, what are the parameters? GH, KH, TDS.
The home-owner quality RO units ought to remove 95% or more, and perhaps up to 99% of all the stuff in the water. (Hospital grade RO is much better, but not needed for aquarium or other home use)
I would think the pH of the RO ought to be a lot closer to neutral, especially after aerating it.

Are you pre-treating the water to remove calcium? Some RO membranes do not do too well with calcium, but can handle sodium better. A sodium exchange water softener before the RO is often recommended in areas with high calcium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
fresh from the RO
TDS; 10
GH: 0
KH: 3
PH: 8.6
 

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...I know with fish, the mineral levels of the water (GH, TDS, KH) are more important than the pH, as long as the pH is at least sort of close to what they like. Wrong pH but good mineral levels will usually work for most fish...
I know with fish which thrive in water on the soft/acidic side, i.e. pH reading of <7, that the hardness of the water, i.e. the mineral levels (GH, TDS, KH) can be deadly. And that the pH reading is a reflection of this, therefore pH is paramount and trumps all other readings. Soft & acidic are closely associated, as are hard & alkaline.

It doesn't happen overnight. But eventually those pectoral fins clamp up, eventually the appetite diminishes, eventually white spots or fungus grow on the skin, eventually the fins and the skin at the base of fins begin to rot and turn red, and eventually the fish is upside down, floating at the surface or sunk at the bottom.

I could explain why, but somebody on another forum has done it so well that I'm taking the liberty of plagiarizing her post:

“… soft water fish, they're naturally inhabiting places with very little bacteria in the water column. In case you aren't aware, as pH drops, bacteria find it more difficult to survive. Below pH 6 for example, filter bacteria essentially stop working. It's also why you do things like pickling to preserve food. … come from habitats were the water pH can be below 5 and the water has virtually no mineral content at all. The water is extremely ‘clean’ and consequently the fish living here have a relatively weak immune system. When transferred to harder water conditions and a higher pH, they are exposed to lots more bacteria, and effectively become overwhelmed. … These fish are highly prone to skin infections, velvet and other parasites, and protozoan, and poor water conditions are nearly always the cause. …”

The term "poor water conditions" in this case does not necessarily refer to water which is dirty. Many of us regularly drink water which could be considered "poor water."

It doesn't take much time perusing aquatic forums to see how many problems people have with the ailments of Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius). This is partly due to the antibiotics used in their water at the fish farm but absent in the aquarium. But it's also partly due to the "poor water" in the community tank which suits livebearers so well.
 
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