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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5 gallon Aqueon Bow that I recently set up. We run off of terrible well/aquifer water locally so I have been using RO water with Seachem Equilibrium.

My setup is as follows...
· Aqueon Mini Bow 5
· Fluorite Black
· 12" Finnex Fugeray Planted Plus
· AZOO Mignon Filter 60
· Hydor 25W Submersible
· a piece of drift wood
· Anubias Nana
· Amazon Sword
· ≈13 nodes of Marsilea minuta (dwarf clover)
· Bucephalandra biblis (this was free from a vendor, I don't expect much from it)

My light is on for 8 hours a day. I have a 5 gallon bucket that my RO water goes into, along with the Seachem Equilibrium and Prime. I have an air stone in it that runs all the time. I pull water from the bucket as needed for partial water changes or topping off tank. I dose daily with Seachem Flourish Excel, I dose slightly less than twice a week with Seachem Flourish, I use Iron/Potassium/Nitrogen/Phosphorus as needed.

The water in the bucket is 7.2 Ph after being in for awhile. The Ph in my tank however is higher, closer to 8. Is there any cause for concern? This is my first planted tank so I was hoping to establish it before adding in any live creatures (besides the hitch hiking snails) since my heart would break if I killed an animal due to my inexperience.

Thanks in advance for any assistance! I'd love to get a Betta in it soon!
 

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RO/DI water doesn't have a specific pH. It can be relatively low or relatively high, depending on how much residual carbonate/bicarbonate is in the water, and how long it is exposed to the air. I think you should just monitor the tank water pH to see if it is changing steadily - up or down - and assuming the RO/DI water has no meaningful pH. It also might help to add a little bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) to the tank water so it has a KH of at least 1 dKH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Are you saying that there isn't anything in the RO water to actually maintain any sort of pH? So, when it's getting added to the tank it's actually assuming the pH of the tank itself?

I have Acid Buffer and Alkaline Buffer by Seachem, are these going to work like bicarbonate but in a different way?
 

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Fish are more concerned about the minerals in the water than the pH, though 8 does seem a bit too high for most soft water fish (including a Betta).
Do you have tests for GH and KH? Seachem equilibrium is adding the minerals that are measured as GH.

pH is a measure of the H+ and OH- in the water.
RO has both, as water molecules break up and reform. Usually there is a balance between H+ and OH- so the end result is a balance. I do not know what is creating the imbalance in your water. When you start with RO water it does not take much of an imbalance to make large changes in the pH test results.

A buffer acts by holding on to either the H+, leaving excess OH- in the water, or holding on to the OH-, which leaves excess H+ in the water.

When there is more OH- a pH test will read over 7.0.
When there is more H+, a pH test will read under 7.0.

You can directly alter the pH of the water by adding H+ such as an acid. Makes the water acidic, low pH. Adding peat moss to the water before you add it to the tank can make the water more acidic. This is what I do for black water fish. You can add peat moss to the filter, but there is not a lot of room in your filter.
You can alter the pH of the water by adding OH-, which makes the water high pH. (The local water company does this, I called and asked)

Or you can add buffers that will stabilize the pH at a certain level. A buffer picks up and releases H+ or OH-, depending on what buffer you have, so that the levels in the water do not change so much.
This creates more stable parameters for the fish.
Bicarbonate buffers are the most common in the aquarium. This type of material picks up some of the H+, leaving the OH-, so the water becomes more alkaline.

I would do as Hoppy suggests: Add just enough potassium bicarbonate or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) so your water in storage will test 1-3 German degrees of hardness. This should allow the pH to remain stable. I would also add a handful of peat moss to the 5 gallon bucket. It might take a little experimenting to find the right amount, or how long to leave it in. I use a knee-hi stocking full of peat moss for 24 hours when I am prepping 20-40 gallons of water. I reuse the peat moss several times, but treatment time gets longer after several uses. This will make the water more acidic.
 
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