Adding Seachem Buffers To My Rainwater Tank

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Jenoli42

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My SeaChem Alkaline Buffer & Equilibrium products have just arrived. I need to stabilise my pH by bringing my kH up (it's 1º).

I notice on the Alkaline Buffer it says that it buffers pH from 7.2, but our rainwater is variable at 6.5 to less than 6. Do I need to buy Acid Buffer to use with it?

I've already got oyster grit in the filter & recently added cuttlebone to the tank. So far, no change to kH...
 

Hill Dweller

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Hi there! I'm not 100% clear on what water parameters you are aiming to achieve? Adding alkaline buffer will raise your ph from the 6 range up to the 7 range, depending on how much you use. But the ph will remain stable at that point, which is most important.

Many fish will be ok in ph outside their "recommended" range, especially if they are not wild caught. It's the stability of the ph that matters most.
 

Jenoli42

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Hi there! I'm not 100% clear on what water parameters you are aiming to achieve? Adding alkaline buffer will raise your ph from the 6 range up to the 7 range, depending on how much you use. But the ph will remain stable at that point, which is most important.

Many fish will be ok in ph outside their "recommended" range, especially if they are not wild caught. It's the stability of the ph that matters most.
Excellent point, I was unclear. Ideally, our pH would stay between 6.5-7

Due to our naturally low rainwater pH, we have fish that prefer pH lower than 7 (e.g., pleco).

From your answer, the buffer will raise it to the 7 range regardless of where it's at now?

Do i need to use Acid Buffer with it so it raises gradually? I know I want to raise gradually, I'm asking if I need the other product to do so... I hope that's more clear lol.
 

Hill Dweller

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Ok, I understand a bit better what you are aiming for :)

I've never used the acid buffer. It says on the website it lowers ph by converting kh to CO2, so you can use them together and there seems to be some kind of ratio chart which would do my head in.

Have a go gradually adding the alkaline buffer on its own and test each time after say 24 hours. You might find you reach your desired kh/gh without the ph shooting too high and not need to worry about the acid buffer.

Your fish and wood etc all naturally contribute towards lowering the ph anyway (and you add the buffer to counter them crashing the ph)

My tap water is fairly soft so even though it comes out at 7.8 and settles out overnight to 7.4, if I don't add alkaline buffer to my water change buckets, I end up with the ph crashing to 6ish and miserable fish. Once I discovered alkaline buffer, my tanks have been really stable. It's also proved the secret to getting a cycle off the ground in my new tanks, as ph crashes seem to kill or stunt the bacteria.
 

Jenoli42

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My tap water is fairly soft so even though it comes out at 7.8 and settles out overnight to 7.4, if I don't add alkaline buffer to my water change buckets, I end up with the ph crashing to 6ish and miserable fish. Once I discovered alkaline buffer, my tanks have been really stable. It's also proved the secret to getting a cycle off the ground in my new tanks, as ph crashes seem to kill or stunt the bacteria.
OMG! Thank you! I've got another thread talking about my pH crashing problems so it's really good to know others have similar problems with soft water! That's precisely why I bought the buffer & Equilibrium. I'm adding my first treatment tomorrow so I'll post any interesting, informative or relevant updates.
 

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Update: I was so careful! I added 1/4 of the recommended amount of Equilibrium & Alkaline Buffer... and it spiked the tank pH waaay more than it should have for the fish!

They're alive but hiding.

pH was around 6.5 to start. Now it's somewhere between 6.8 - 7.2 (depending on the light we use to read colour). I hope they live. Really worried about our pleco who prefers pH below 7...

On the bright side, kH is up to 2º (exactly where I wanted it to get to) and gH is between 2º - 3º which is what I wanted. Maybe I should have gone with the acid buffer chart to raise pH more gradually....
 

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Ah well you can only try! If the fish seem to be struggling and not adjusting just do some small water changes to dilute it slowly back down. I have personally found all my fish have done better in a higher but more stable ph, and I have had some losses with ph in the 6 range because of crashes and swings, so if the fish can stick it out and adjust, you might find things stay more stable in the long term by adding these small amounts of buffer to the new water when you put it in? Is your pleco a common pleco or a more unusual one? There will be lots of folks on here who can advise their preference for ph and gh/kh for their plecos if you start a separate thread?
 

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Yep... that's the attitude I decided to adopt ... I think our pleco is a bristlenose? Dark brown with lighter spots. It's by the outflow with the rainbows.

I'm impressed with how hardy these 3 fish are give what I've inadvertently out them through.

Thanks again... may start thread if they are still acting strange later tonight.
 
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