What PH should my...

Discussion in 'Tank Talk' started by CaptFish, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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  2. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I am thinking maybe Santa should bring me one of these. One of the best arguments I have seen is for acclimation and being able to control the incremental increase. Having to calibrate it is my one concern but for acclimation that is not critical as it is the match to tank water and the incremental increase that is important.
     
  3. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    noone knows?! what about the PH of water the I make by treating tap water?
     
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Your pH should be in the range of 8.2 to 8.4. (See p. 53 in our book, which you mentioned you have.)

    Many factors can affect pH and it usually higher when your lights are on, and lower at night.

    It's a good idea that everyone buy a pH meter. I eventually installed a Pinpoint pH meter with continual readout.

    Nancy
     
  5. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    I avoided answering because ... my water REQUIRES buffering, always, but it appears many others do not and was hoping someone else would chime in first. If your tank PH stays happy at around 8.4 without buffering (RO/DI water should show PH neutral at around 6) then it is not necessary. Neutral water SHOULD take on the PH of anything it is mixed with. With our water, if I don't buffer, it will drop the PH in my tanks. I know Sedna (Detroit, MI) has a problem keeping her PH up and that water shipped from the Keys, without buffer will drop during shipping and the Thales (San Francisco, CA) does not have this problem. I don't know WHY different waters seem to vary in PH characteristics after RO treatment and it may not be the water but the environment of the tanks, however, our ground water is acid prior to treatment. If you are seeing unstable PH in your tank then you may want to consider buffering and I would recommend Seachem's Reef buffer (NOT Kent's).
     
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    If you're having trouble keeping pH up, try adding some aragonite sand to your tank.

    In fact,anyone setting up a tank should consider using this type of sand (which comes in a number of textures and colors), because it helps maintain pH stability.

    Nancy
     
  7. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    Nancy,
    I can add half as much buffer as I once needed now to keep the tanks stable but I am not sure if the argonite sand (used in most of my tanks now) or the accumulation of buffer is the reason. I tend to think it is the accumulation of buffer since not all of my tanks have a sand substrate.
     
  8. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I have a terrible time battling PH always have. At this point I'm happy when I can get it as high as 8.0. 8.4 has never been achieved. I'll look for some Aragonite. even with a week of adding a 1/2 a bottle of buffer a day. Soooo that being said, I also dont use RO/DI water I convert tap water with a conditioner.

    my top off water has a PH of 8.345

    [​IMG]
     
  9. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    How are you aerating your water? A high CO2 content will drop PH. As a simple experiment, you might add an additional air stone and air pump to see if it helps.
     
  10. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Hmmm, any way to test CO2? I the tank aerates from my overflow box and my sump has a waterfall/rainshower across bioballs.
     
  11. DWhatley

    DWhatley Cthulhu Staff Member Moderator

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    There is an oxygen test and I have one that I have never tried because after buying it I read that the results are pretty useless.

    You could try adding an air stone to the sump rather than directly to the tank. Since most of us have a supply of air stones and air pumps, it is something to try where you can check the results with your new toy but not spend money :grin:.
     
  12. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    What is the pH reading for your tap water?
    What is the pH reading of your tank water?

    If your tank water is low, take a cup of it and stick the probe in, note what it says. Then stick an airstone connected to a pump in the cup, wait 10 minutes and then note the reading. Tell us what it says. :grin:

    IMO, adding buffer to a tank is a waste of time because tank processes will drive the pH where ever it wants to go. The buffer will only make it bounce and cost you money. If you have low pH in the tank, I would look at increasing aeration (also look at pH in the sump and in the tank) over anything else. Adding crushed coral or aragonite to the tank will help also. Buffering the make up water is fine in my book, but only if really necessary as in D's case. Otherwise, let the tank settle and if your animals look fine, no worries.

    The real question is what are the numbers you are getting and have you calibrated the probe correctly. If your numbers and in the range, I wouldn't worry if its at the low end. pH monitors are great, but don't get caught up in chasing numbers - specially if your animals are in good shape. FWIW, my reef ran at 7.9 for over a year and everything was fine. After maturing, the tank now runs at 8.2-8.4.
     
  13. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Tap water is 9.03
    Conditioned Tap water is 8.4
    tanks and sumps(3 independent systems) are all 7.62-7.64

    Yes the prob is calibrated. I'll go buy an airstone and try is out.
     
  14. bluespotocto

    bluespotocto Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Thats pretty low but(i know a lot of you say not to use buffers) have you ever thought of using a buffer to just get it high enough then watch it drop and try and determine the problem?
     
  15. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I just looked at the meter you bought and I don't know anyone who uses that kind of meter or anyone who feels they are all that accurate.

    Did you calibrate with 7 and 10 or 4 and 10?
     
  16. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I thought that too so I have also used my PH test kit and it confirms my findings.

    a side note: the meter did come with an accuracy guarantee of +- 0.1 PH which should be more than adequate. I also have calibrated it like it says to with PH 6.86 standard buffer solution of phosphate, and then tested it in a PH 4.01 standard buffer solution of borax. It required an initial adjustment but has held the calibration since.
     
  17. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    Did you calibrate with 7 and 10 or 4 and 10?
    Which pH test kit?

    Are you noticing problems with your animals?

    Here is some more info on the aeration test (from Randy Holmes Farley):

    The Aeration Test

    Some of the possibilities listed above require some effort to diagnose. Problems 3 and 4 are quite common, and here is a way to distinguish them. Remove a cup of tank water and measure the pH. Then aerate it for an hour with an airstone using outside air. The pH should rise if the pH is unusually low for the measured alkalinity, as in Figure 3 (if it does not rise, most likely one of the measurements (pH or alkalinity) is in error). Then repeat the same experiment on a new cup of water using inside air. If the pH rises there too, then the aquarium pH will rise with more aeration because it is only the aquarium that contains excess carbon dioxide. If the pH does not rise inside (or rises very little), then the inside air contains excess CO2, and more aeration with that same air will not solve the low pH problem (although aeration with fresher air should).

    Even if we just look at your numbers for trending, I would guess there is a CO2 issue.
     
  18. CaptFish

    CaptFish Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    oops I was editing while you were typing:

    I also have calibrated it like it says to with PH 7.0 standard buffer solution of phosphate, and then tested it in a PH 4.01 standard buffer solution of borax. It required an initial adjustment but has held the calibration since.


    My tank is great! evrything healthy and happy. Corals are thriving and my fish seem 100%.

    I'll try some aeration.
     
  19. Thales

    Thales Colossal Squid Staff Member Moderator

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    I would re calibrate it with 7 and 10 because that is the range you are testing in. Meters can be off if you calibrate in a different range. But it seems like its prolly close enough.

    Anyway, if your animals are good I wouldn't bother chasing numbers - you'll just go crazy and stress everything out. :grin:

    Let us know about how the aeration tests go.
     

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