Advanced Ph Maintenance Questions

Faytaya

This is the only place I could think to post this thread. I need to maintain a strict 4.5-5.5 PH if I want to keep neon blue rasboras. I have heard a lot of different things about how to achieve a stable balance:

Using RO water and remineralizing with discus minerals.
Pretreating water to be used in water changes with peat moss
Using distilled water and remineralizing
Using half RO half tap

AxelrodI blue is an extremely PH sensitive and pollutant sensitive fish. Currently, keeping it is beyond my ability. I need to have a better understanding of amending PH and maintaining it at an acidic state. Currently, all of the methods suggested to me seem too rough and I'm sure will kill the fish. Is there anyone out there who has had to maintain a steady PH between 4-5.5? How do you do it and exactly what tools do you use. I need to know for the sake of practice; my up and coming 35 gal is going to be an experiment in creating and maintaining soft, very acidic water. If anyone knows what to do, they have my thanks for sure!
 

david1978

Muratic acid is how I brought mine down. Pretreat your water with it and small water changes to try not to change it too much.
 

Faytaya

How do you measure it out per gallon in RO water? When you say small do you mean less than 20% but more frequently like twice per week?
Edit; I am thinking pure RO with muriatic acid and discus minerals to pretreat water for water changes.
 

Skavatar

he probably meant using Acid with tap water. RO water has none to very little GH/KH.
 

A201

If you don't mind tea colored water, why not just run Peat Moss in your filtration system.
 

Faytaya

If you don't mind tea colored water, why not just run Peat Moss in your filtration system.
Peat and RO would work, the quandary is keeping it stable during water changes, where it could fluctuate. I may have to prepare all my water beforehand and carefully monitor the ph. Would peat and RO run a lower norm in the previously mentioned parameters? Or would I have to add more to pretreat my water for water changes?
 

A201

Way back when, I kept a Saltwater tank. I mixed and stored my WC water in a kitchen sized Rubbermaid trash can. Never a problem.
In your situation, maybe a similar sized Trash can, a XL media bag stuffed with peat. Let the Peatmoss & water blend together until the next WC.
As for where the peat will place your water parameters, that's going to take experimentation on your part.
The water in my area is extremely hard W/ elevated PH. The local old school Discus breeders used Peatmoss successfully to achieve proper breeding parameters. Its a much cheaper alternative.
 

Faytaya

Way back when, I kept a Saltwater tank. I mixed and stored my WC water in a kitchen sized Rubbermaid trash can. Never a problem.
In your situation, maybe a similar sized Trash can, a XL media bag stuffed with peat. Let the Peatmoss & water blend together until the next WC.
As for where the peat will place your water parameters, that's going to take experimentation on your part.
The water in my area is extremely hard W/ elevated PH. The local old school Discus breeders used Peatmoss successfully to achieve proper breeding parameters. Its a much cheaper alternative.
I'm thinking of adding it to RO water and then remineralizing with discus minerals. Should be good. I could also try pretreating with 16 ML of muriatic acid per gallon of tap water, then adding peat to stabilize.
 

JayH

I realize you're just asking about reducing the pH, but this has significant ramifications beyond just the acidity of the water. At a pH below 6.0 the Nitrosomonas bacteria stop converting ammonia to nitrite. At the pH level you're talking about you'll likely have no biological processing of ammonia. On the plus side, at that low a pH virtually all of the ammonia will be in the form of ammonium so it won't be toxic to the fish, but the fish are still going to produce waste and that ammonium will continue to build up. At some point almost anything is toxic, so it seems like that could be a problem.

The other thing, and this admittedly gets over my head very fast, is that to get the pH that low I have to think the KH level has to be very near zero. That means the water has no ability to buffer. From what I've read pH can swing wildly in those conditions. If something happens to cause it to swing upwards, a lot of that ammonium that's been building up will convert to free ammonia and be toxic to the fish.

I'd assume you'd have to rely on chemical filtration to remove the ammonia from the water.

Are you sure we can't interest you in some nice harlequin rasboras?
 

Faytaya

I realize you're just asking about reducing the pH, but this has significant ramifications beyond just the acidity of the water. At a pH below 6.0 the Nitrosomonas bacteria stop converting ammonia to nitrite. At the pH level you're talking about you'll likely have no biological processing of ammonia. On the plus side, at that low a pH virtually all of the ammonia will be in the form of ammonium so it won't be toxic to the fish, but the fish are still going to produce waste and that ammonium will continue to build up. At some point almost anything is toxic, so it seems like that could be a problem.

The other thing, and this admittedly gets over my head very fast, is that to get the pH that low I have to think the KH level has to be very near zero. That means the water has no ability to buffer. From what I've read pH can swing wildly in those conditions. If something happens to cause it to swing upwards, a lot of that ammonium that's been building up will convert to free ammonia and be toxic to the fish.

I'd assume you'd have to rely on chemical filtration to remove the ammonia from the water.

Are you sure we can't interest you in some nice harlequin rasboras?
Like I said they're beyond my ability atm, I was actually thinking of harlequins for my 35 gal, or threadfin rainbows, with khulI loaches.
EDIT: I just want to keep these once I've gotten more experience. I may even try discus first.
 

david1978

No you don't need a 0 kh to lower ph its just tougher. Your ammonia stays as ammonium and you remove it with water changes just as you would nitrates.
 

Faytaya

No you don't need a 0 kh to lower ph its just tougher. Your ammonia stays as ammonium and you remove it with water changes just as you would nitrates.
So at this point all that changes is what the water change removes. Should I do small frequent changes to keep ph stable then? Or is there something else I can do?
 

david1978

If you pre mix your water for water changes it doesn't really matter water change size. I filled with a hose so I had it figured out with a gallon of pre mix so I ubderstocked and went with smaller water changes. But yes you will be removing ammonium since you will have no cycle.
 

Faytaya

If you pre mix your water for water changes it doesn't really matter water change size. I filled with a hose so I had it figured out with a gallon of pre mix so I ubderstocked and went with smaller water changes. But yes you will be removing ammonium since you will have no cycle.
Good to know. So now the only issue will be keeping it stable, which shouldn't be a thing as long as I'm always testing PH, right?
 

david1978

Test your ph and keep your tank full of water since evaporation could effect ph.
 

johnbirg

Hi,
I think you are making really hard work of this.
When I was keeping discuss I used Seachem Acid Buffer. Keeps pH at the levels you are trying to achieve and also softens water. I only had access to fairly hard tap water with a pH of 7.8. I found this product fantastic at regulating the pH at the required.
 

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