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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Why would driftwood I've had in my previous tank for a year lower the ph in my newest tank after i put it in there? Tap water ph 8, gh 180ish and kh 180ish. Planted tank with co2 but not really using any co2 at all and always running air stone. Normally it's at 7.2 it's been crashing to 6 or lower. Unless housekeeping at this hotel is sabotaging my stuff
 

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Test the wood in a bucket of water with nothing else added. Test the water when you start, then let it sit a few days and test again.

With a KH that high, I am really surprised the pH is that variable. Even if you added the maximum CO2 and had it really well distributed it is not likely to do that (The fish would be dead). It is normal for CO2 to lower it from 8 to 7.2. That is just about right.

You could all give up smoking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Test the wood in a bucket of water with nothing else added. Test the water when you start, then let it sit a few days and test again.

With a KH that high, I am really surprised the pH is that variable. Even if you added the maximum CO2 and had it really well distributed it is not likely to do that (The fish would be dead). It is normal for CO2 to lower it from 8 to 7.2. That is just about right.

You could all give up smoking!
I smoke two packs a day and I'm only 27, won't quit until I die I'm sure. Ph on the bucket with the wood is 6.4ish.. API master kit

The ph in my tank normally sits at 7.2/7.4ish without using co2
 

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So it is the wood.

Have you tried boiling the wood? It sure should not need it after being used in another tank, but maybe that would help.

Is the water turning brown-red-yellow or similar shade? This is often from tannic acid. Does not hurt the fish, but it can lower the pH.

I am surprised it id lowering the pH when the KH is so high.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The new wood in the bucket is but not the old, would that have made my water softer and would it have stayed soft/softer after I took it out? It could have hardened a little with a water change but maybe not reset the hardness to back to the tap waters. I'm using the cheap fluval co2 20g which is for a 15 gallon but mine is a twenty long which I fill three times a day before all this happened but the instructions say twice per day. I have a sun sun 302 and a wave maker which brings my tank up to 1064gph and with the default co2 bell I guess it is, it dissolves really well into the water. My ph in my tank this morning was 7.4-7.6 I think. Totally new to all the driftwood and co2 .
 

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Well, CO2 will lower the pH. Depends on how well it is dissolved, but you could see the pH drop about 1 unit. For example, from about 7.5 to 6.5.
A 20 long is so shallow that if the CO2 is not well dissolved it would leave the tank pretty easily. I have heard good things about using a bell to dissolve the CO2, but that much water movement is quite a bit.
In nature the normal pH cycle looks like this:
CO2 is produced from all the organic material on the floor of the lake.
Plants use up CO2 through the day and the pH rises.
They stop using it at night, and the pH drops.
When we add CO2 to the tanks this is more CO2 than is normally found in nature, so the pH may not rise so high mid day, but it can crash quite low at night unless you turn off the CO2 when you turn off the lights.
The change in pH because of CO2 usually happens no matter what the KH is.

The change in pH from driftwood is the same as if there was peat moss, oak leaves or other sorts of organic matter in the tank (or lake).
Organic matter breaks down via microorganisms. In breaking it down the net result is the pH drops. Some of this is from the production of CO2, and some of the pH drop is because decomposing things generate acidic materials. Some organic matter (oak, peat moss, many forms of wood) release organic acids such as tannic acid when they are under water. This also can lower the pH, but it depends on what the carbonate hardness (KH) is. There is an interaction between acidic materials and carbonates. If the KH is high enough, and the acidic reactions mild enough the pH may drop a little bit, but not much. If the KH is low then the pH drop can be quite a lot. Low KH is under about 60-70 ppm (or about 3-4 German degrees of hardness) Some materials actually interact with the GH (General hardness), too, adding more acidic materials to the water. I know some peat moss can do this, but I have not heard about wood doing it.

I am still not sure why you are seeing such a large drop in the pH in your tank.
And it seems inconsistent. Or is the most current pH test (mid sevens) because you removed the wood?
 

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Yeah mid sevens and I didn't use any co2 for one day and the wood was out for two. That's why I wonder if the wood softens the water enough where the co2 would make the ph drop more, the ph was always lower in the morning. Maybe that's why it was low, I didn't compensate by using less co2?

I added my oldest piece of wood last night and two tiny chunks from the new wood. I had it in the sink for a few hours with boiling hot water running over it. I also only filled the bell up once today and ph was at 7.0-7.4 as of one hour ago. Rising right now I guess, up until I turn out the lights. I think my initial drop of the new wood softened my water and it took three water changes to default my hardness. I didn't soak the new wood at all but it's in a bucket now where it's going to stay. I was probably using to much co2 on top of it.

Bump: The medicine I used destroyed my biofilter and I didn't know it until two-three days after I was done dosing. I guess that makes 8 days with no bacteria protection from all the toxins, I couldn't add prime because it would neutralize the medication. That API quick start is amazing, this it's the 2nd time I have cycled my tank in an emergency and it works. I was questionable about it because could be the wrong bacteria in it but since the bio filter stayed like it did the first time I can trust it I think. Nitrites are almost done already and have been using some prime. My fish are feeling great and I think it's all falling into balance.

:eek:
 

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It sure looks like the wood is softening the water enough that the CO2 can drop the pH.

Good to know about the API product. How fast did it work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
First time was two weeks but I had used seeded media from my old tank, this time I'm only at day 6 and my nitrites are around 0.25ppm and I have nitrates around 20ppm

Bump: There are some nitrates in the tap however
 

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:hihi: hah dude I smoke too but every time I come home from my fiancé's grandma's house, my whole body smells like cigarette. My hat, shirt, pants, shoes, socks and even boxer smells very strong. I had trouble sleeping and especially breathing while sleeping there. I have to cover my head to breathe in cleaner air. For this reason I will never allow anyone to smoke in my house. Even myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
:hihi: hah dude I smoke too but every time I come home from my fiancé's grandma's house, my whole body smells like cigarette. My hat, shirt, pants, shoes, socks and even boxer smells very strong. I had trouble sleeping and especially breathing while sleeping there. I have to cover my head to breathe in cleaner air. For this reason I will never allow anyone to smoke in my house. Even myself.
That's how it was when my ph was going crazy, now its warm enough this week to have the windows open and it's so much better. It could be a factor in my ph stabilization along with less co2
 

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It will be easier to figure this out if you start with a few facts:
High KH or GH will not change how much the pH of the water changes when you dissolve CO2 in the water. In fact, it is the CO2 plus the KH in the water that make the buffer that keeps tannic acid from drastically changing the pH.
A pH drop when you dissolve CO2 in the tank water is natural and inevitable.
If you run an air stone all day, you will dissipate the CO2 you are adding so fast you may never have enough in the water to have much effect on pH.
Smoking all day in the house, with very limited ventilation, will increase the concentration of CO2 in the air, thus increasing the minimum amount in the tank water a little bit, but not much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It will be easier to figure this out if you start with a few facts:
High KH or GH will not change how much the pH of the water changes when you dissolve CO2 in the water. In fact, it is the CO2 plus the KH in the water that make the buffer that keeps tannic acid from drastically changing the pH.
A pH drop when you dissolve CO2 in the tank water is natural and inevitable.
If you run an air stone all day, you will dissipate the CO2 you are adding so fast you may never have enough in the water to have much effect on pH.
Smoking all day in the house, with very limited ventilation, will increase the concentration of CO2 in the air, thus increasing the minimum amount in the tank water a little bit, but not much.
But would adding a bunch of untreated driftwood change the GH and kh?
 
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