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How important is ph

731 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MeCasa
I fully understand that it is always best to give every aspect of your aquarium everything it wants. However, very often it's a dance to find both fish species and plant species that will strive within a broader spectrum that may not be optimum for any specific plants/fish.

In other words I do best eating Porterhouse steaks but very often I get by on spaghetti.

Rotala wallichii does best at a ph of 7, will it get by at 7.8 - 8? This is 7.8 with optmum care including excellent light, ferts and CO2

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Don't mess with your pH.
Mine is 8.2 - 8.4 out of tap. Some plants might not like it, big deal - there are 100's more that will. Check my tanks.

If you really really want a specific number, get ready to chug RO in 5g cans.

I already made the decision not to mess with my water, I have well water running 8.2 right out of the ground. I initially considered buffing it to get some South American Cichlids which like 7.0 or lower but I quickly backed down when I evaluated all the problems KEEPING it down. Water changes would be a nightmare, one nightmare of many.

On this thread I was more concerned with having to pick plants that would grow with a high ph especially after noting that they all say 7.5 or less. However after hearing your ph I'm not going to worry about it any more.

I did look at your tanks after we first met, yours was the first tanks I looked at and I was amazed. I especially liked the 12 and the 40 although they were all wonderlands.

Until that moment I didn't realize how hard folks on this forum worked on their plant designs and how much they love their plants, as much (if not more) than their fish. I didn't even know people grew gardens in underwater tanks.

To give you an idea how much I appreciated it I'm a mountain boy and I used to drag home all sorts of magnificent moss from the woods and keep it in a cracked fish tank. I arranged it just right with some dead wood and I had my own little world where a little lizard or frog ruled supreme.

I enjoyed it so much that I have slowed down my build so that I could change over from 'simply having some plants' to 'building a small garden in my fish tank'.

The cichlids make it a challenge, but nothing more :)
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There will be some plants you can't keep with a high pH - Toninas, Erios, a few others - but most are pretty adaptable, and some will thrive- like Vals, Anubias, many mosses, etc.
I personally buffer to suit the needs of whatever I end up putting in my tanks. I use to be a big fan of Acid and Alkaline buffers from Seachem and it assisted in keeping things in check, but then again I am one to stick to regimented water changes and the routines that go with them.

If you're looking for something to keep the system low over time, you can add a bag of peat to your filter if it has space. This will drop your pH and it lasts a fair bit of time. Mind you though, this does add tannin's to the tank. Driftwood also does a fair job of dropping your pH depending on they type of wood, as well as some substrates.

Keep all this in mind.
Archer, a 150 gallon tank needs a TON of buffers and even if you get the ph down it will go back up. And that doesn't even take into consideration the massive amount of water it takes to keep the water fresh and that water needs to be treated.

Every fish and every plant have an optimum ph and which fish or plant do you cater to. I personally believe that the smart way to go about this is to accept the water that you have and only buy fish and plants that can live within those parameters. I believe consistent ph is every bit if not more important than fluctuating ph.

My problem was I didn't want to fall in love with either a fish or a plant I couldn't have so I came and asked and if OVT can grow those tanks of his at 8.2 I'm covered for sure.
MeCasa -

I have a custom 145, which I tore down years back, that housed a small colony of Zaire Blue Frontosa's that I did weekly water changes on. I have acidic well water and had to kick the pH up from low 5's up to 8. I know this is a backwards situation, but it can be done. It takes work and dedication, but it can be done. You don't have to go through a ton of buffer to do this either. This is where modern technology comes in. For a 150, I'm guessing you're going with a sump or a set of canister filters? Have you chosen a substrate (ADA and Fluval substrates buffer acidic, as well as MGOPS)? Are you adding any driftwood (will buffer acidic)? With a sump or canister you can easily drop in peat for longer term buffering. This is a CHEAP solution for pH as long as you're content with tannin's and or keep up with water changes. A cycled system shouldn't have much of a flux of pH if it's done right. Plus if you end up wanting to not do any of that and go chemical, Seachem's buffers are not a bad price and you can get them for an affordable price on the web and they last.
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My grandaughter fell in love with Frontosa's, beautiful fish
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