High pH (8.2), but very soft water (2 dGH)

Cherryshrimp420
  • #41
I asked if anything was added and now we know...

Im looking at EBs ingredients and it explains a lot.... It contains sodium hydroxide which brings up pH (also found in soap). It's also designed to slowly leech it and carbonates and other stuff over several months which was why your water parameters always seemed off :D
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #42
I asked if anything was added and now we know...

Im looking at EBs ingredients and it explains a lot.... It contains sodium hydroxide which brings up pH (also found in soap). It's also designed to slowly leech it and carbonates and other stuff over several months which was why your water parameters always seemed off :D

I honestly forgot about the EasyBalance until I was doing water changes last night and saw the bottle.
I got it because the pH was already too high. It said it would set pH to the ideal levels and, of course I thought that meant Neutral, even though I obviously know different types of setups have different ideal pHs, hehe.

But, yeah, I'm hoping that with the revamp and the huge water change I can start adding the Calcium & Magnesium my plants need without raising pH.
 
MacZ
  • #43
That's the problem with newbies and having so many products available to us out there. We just want to take the (seemingly) easy road and then proceed to get completely lost.
My Mantra: Don't rely on stuff from a bottle.

I honestly forgot about the EasyBalance until I was doing water changes last night and saw the bottle.
I got it because the pH was already too high. It said it would set pH to the ideal levels and, of course I thought that meant Neutral, even though I obviously know different types of setups have different ideal pHs, hehe.

But, yeah, I'm hoping that with the revamp and the huge water change I can start adding the Calcium & Magnesium my plants need without raising pH.
May I slap you slightly on the back of your head? ;) :D
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #44
May I slap you slightly on the back of your head? ;) :D
A (virtual) slap might be warranted... Lol
 
MacZ
  • #45
*slap*

Thanks, that was satisfying. Entertaining ending to the story, though. :D
 
mattgirl
  • #46
Very interesting thread. So often once we get to the root of a problem we find it has been caused by something that comes in a bottle. This is the main reason I ask for a list of all the products being added to a tank when trying to figure out why what's happening is happening. Quite often one of those products is causing the problem.

I was happy to find the root of this problem had been dug out. :)
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #47
Very interesting thread. So often once we get to the root of a problem we find it has been caused by something that comes in a bottle. This is the main reason I ask for a list of all the products being added to a tank when trying to figure out why what's happening is happening. Quite often one of those products is causing the problem.

I was happy to find the root of this problem had been dug out. :)

That's the thing, though: EasyBalance explained the high KH in ONE of the tanks, it didn't explain the high pH in BOTH tanks, which was my actual concern. Even the tank with low KH had high pH!

In the end, lack of CO2 (that was bring consumed like crazy by my jungles) and excess of Oxygen produced by the same plants, were likely the culprit.
Since I stopped aeration during daytime, pH has remained under control (7.0 - 7.2) all day, in both tanks.
This morning I actually got a 6.8 reading on the 20 gallon!
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #48
I think you have it backwards with aeration on CO2. If CO2 levels are low, increasing aeration will lead to more CO2 and less oxygen as it drives towards atmospheric equilibrium.
 
MacZ
  • #49
I think you have it backwards with aeration on CO2. If CO2 levels are low, increasing aeration will lead to more CO2 and less oxygen as it drives towards atmospheric equilibrium.
And to complete the little tangent with the opposite: Depending on the original levels and KH it can also drive out excess CO2, resulting in raising pH. Old trick among Malawi cichlid keepers to bring water to the maximum possible pH.

In the end, lack of CO2 (that was bring consumed like crazy by my jungles) and excess of Oxygen produced by the same plants, were likely the culprit.
But Oxygen has no real influence on pH. If your stocking density was higher, your plants would eventually warrant using an airstone at night to get better oxygenation, but your stocking is so low... it doesn't change anything for the better or worse.
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #50
I think you have it backwards with aeration on CO2. If CO2 levels are low, increasing aeration will lead to more CO2 and less oxygen as it drives towards atmospheric equilibrium.

According to this guy, who's got an undergrad degree in Biology and is specialized in Ecology, I don't.
(I'm not sure if I'm allowed to link, so the title of the video is "Natural CO2 in the Low Tech Planted Aquarium
Aeration does promote gas exchange (of course), and it allows a stable, but constantly low source of CO2, but the truth is, our aquarium produces a whole lot more CO2 than air could ever contain, so stopping aeration completely keeps all of that internal CO2 available for the plants.

But Oxygen has no real influence on pH.

Science begs to differ.

pH of Water - Environmental Measurement Systems
 

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MacZ
  • #51
Science begs to differ.
I wrote OXYGEN. The Article doesn't mention it's influence on pH. You marked CO2. Different thing.
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #52
I wrote OXYGEN. The Article doesn't mention it's influence on pH. You marked CO2. Different thing.

I just using the logic that all of my CO2 was being consumed by the plants to make the darned oxygen, that (as you mentioned yourself) is not really needed by my low stock, and it's not leaving the tank with enough CO2 to keep my pH down. Not only that, but CO2 dissolves in water 200x more easily than Oxygen, so it becomes a losing battle, which led me to understand what CO2 injection is a thing.

I wasn't implying the oxygen was altering the pH, but instead I was stating that my plants were depleting the tank of CO2.

I might have to rethink my jungle approach, sadly.
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #53
Plants release CO2 at night so the idea that co2 is depleted does not make sense to me

If the water has no co2 then photosynthesis stops and leaves will start dying immediately. If this is the case, increased aeration will bring in more co2.

Your 8.2 pH 12KH water did not seem like co2 depletion, more like someone added a base in there aka Tetra Easybalance
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #54
Plants release CO2 at night so the idea that co2 is depleted does not make sense to me

If the water has no co2 then photosynthesis stops and leaves will start dying immediately. If this is the case, increased aeration will bring in more co2.

Your 8.2 pH 12KH water did not seem like co2 depletion, more like someone added a base in there aka Tetra Easybalance

Oh, goodness... I guess I'm too exaggerated for people in this forum, LOL.
I didn't mean tanks had no CO2, obviously.
I meant CO2 wasn't enough to serve the plants and keep lower pH.

Note that the tank that got most of the EasyBalance was the 10 gallon (every week, with every water change) and yet right now it has a stable 7. 2 pH (even with 70% EasyBalance water).

Anyways, I appreciate everybody's input (again).

Tonight I'll post my findings for the past three days of my experiment, but it definitely solved my pH problem.

BTW, I didn't pull that whole idea/knowledge out of my... hat. Haha
It was none other than Diana Walstad who clued me into it.

Feel free to tell Diana Walstad she doesn't know enough about planted tanks.
 

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Linda1234
  • #55
Fyi: co2 induced change of ph has almost no impact on fishes if that is your objective or concern.
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #56
Fyi: co2 induced change of ph has almost no impact on fishes if that is your objective or concern.

You're right. My fish have actually been completely fine, despite the high pH (that I thought was coming from hard water, which it wasn't).

Forget "ignorance is bliss", knowledge is the real deal! :D

I had idealized a lush, biotope-y South East Asian Community with soft, almost stagnant, slightly acidic, water... And that high pH was really throwing me off.

Now I feel like I can achieve it... Sorta!

All I gotta do is decide on the best (and cheapest) way to raise the GH a couple degrees for the plants in the 20 gallon, 'cause they're struggling.
Wonder Shells can get pricey, so I'm thinking of going with Dr. Turtle's calcium/magnesium blocks to save a couple of bucks.
I see the light in the end of the tunnel. :D
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #57
I meant CO2 wasn't enough to serve the plants and keep lower pH.
Aeration is unlikely to be the cause of this problem. Whether your tank is consuming more Co2 than atmosphere or producing more Co2 than atmosphere, aeration will drive levels towards equilibrium. It should never deplete nor saturate Co2 levels to the point where plants are CO2 deficient...

None of this addresses the 12 dKH which basically implies a large amount of carbonate was added.

Anyways, now that you've done an overhaul and the levels are closer to tap I think the problem has been solved.

You're right. My fish have actually been completely fine, despite the high pH (that I thought was coming from hard water, which it wasn't).

Forget ignorance is bliss, knowledge is the real deal! :D

I had idealized a lush, biotope-y South East Asian Community with soft, almost stagnant, slightly acidic, water... And that high pH was really throwing me off.

Now I feel like I can achieve it... Sorta!

All I gotta do is decide on the best (and cheapest) way to raise the GH a couple degrees for the plants in the 20 gallon, 'cause they're struggling.
Wonder Shells can get pricey, so I'm thinking of going with Dr. Turtle's calcium/magnesium blocks to save a couple of bucks.
I see the light in the end of the tunnel. :D

Wonder Shells or any limestone, calcium carbonate products will raise the pH to 7.8. The idea of having hard water naturally goes against having acidic water. There's a reason acidic water is generally soft.
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #58
Woder Shells or any limestone, calcium carbonate products will raise the pH to 7.8. The idea of having hard water naturally goes against having acidic water. There's a reason acidic water is generally soft.

I had Wonder Shells in my 10-gallon for three months (the same three months when my pH was 6.6-7.2).

I stopped using it when I moved my snails to their own tank, with aragonite as substrate (which I still supplement with Wonder Shells ever couple of weeks, just in case).

I never said I want hard water at all.
5-8 dGH is all I'm going after, that's considered soft water, according to Aquarium Co-Op

That's the current GH in my 10-gallon (8) and pH is still 7.2, now that corner filter is off (which is the only modification I did to the tank and it lowered my pH a whole point).My plants in there are thriving.
 

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Cherryshrimp420
  • #59
I had Wonder Shells in my 10-gallon for three months (the same three months when my pH was 6.6-7.2).

I stopped using it when I moved my snails to their own tank, with aragonite as substrate (which I still supplement with Wonder Shells ever couple of weeks, just in case).

I never said I want hard water at all.
5-8 dGH is all I'm going after, that's considered soft water, according to Aquarium Co-Op

That's the current GH in my 10-gallon (8) and pH is still 7.2, now that corner filter is off (which is the only modification I did to the tank and it lowered my pH a whole point).My plants in there are thriving.

Oh wow you had wonder shells and aragonite the entire time....that explains a lot of things...I was under the assumption that you had inert sand lol

Wonder shells and aragonite is calcium carbonate and will add buffers to the water over time. It will also drive pH towards ~8 naturally and the 7.2 pH now is likely due to CO2
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #60
Oh wow you had wonder shells and aragonite the entire time....that explains a lot of things...I was under the assumption that you had inert sand lol

Wonder shells and aragonite is calcium carbonate and will add buffers to the water over time. It will also drive pH towards ~8 naturally and the 7.2 pH now is likely due to CO2

LOL, I should really have done a full inventory of my fish room... People love to just jump to conclusions!

I've got 6 tanks.

1 Community Tank (previously referred to as 10-gallon) - Substrate: Petco Sand
1 Plants + Bladder Snail Tank (previously referred to as 20-gallon) - Substrate: Petco Sand
1 Nerite Tank - Substrate: Aragonite Bottom + Petco Sand Top
2 Pink Ramshorn Tanks - Substrate: Both Aragonite Bottom+ Petco Sand (Top)
1 Mystery Snail Tank - Substrate: Petco Sand (Bottom) + Aragonite (Top)

The 10 gallon and the 20 Gallon never saw aragonite in their lives.

If you remember my previous posts, I want my fish to have soft water. So why would I add aragonite to their tank, unless I were a complete nincompoop, right?

My nerites used to live in my community tank, but then I gave them their own tank so both species (fish and snails) could each have their ideal setup.

And I'm sure you'll be fascinated to learn that that my Mystery Snail tank (the only one that has aragonite in full contact with the water) actually has a 7.4 pH, 8 GH and 5 KH. None of the aragonites tanks has pH over 7.6, amazingly enough.

BTW, during the whole time I added Wonder Shells to the 10-gallon, pH was 6.6-7.2. What got it to raise and fluctuate between 7.2-7.4 was adding several sea shells to it around mid-August. Those were removed once the Nerites were moved away.

Also: I started using EasyBalance in the 10-gallon in Aug 16. PH remained 7.2-7.4 throughout for a month and a half. My pH only jumped to 8.0 on Sep 30.

P.S.: Including the 10 gallon pH logs, as reference.
 

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Cherryshrimp420
  • #61
Okay no aragonite, what about wonder shell? They both contain calcium carbonate which is a common ingredient in many products. If neither, then could be another buffer like sodium bicarbonate, which has an equilibrium pH of 8.2...possibly could explain your high pH and KH values.

And I'm sure you'll be fascinated to learn that that my Mystery Snail tank (the only one that has aragonite in full contact with the water) actually has a 7.4 pH, 8 GH and 5 KH.

Not sure if we are on the same page. That's what aragonite is supposed to do, it provides calcium AND carbonate.
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #62
Okay no aragonite, what about wonder shell? They both contain calcium carbonate which is a common ingredient in many products. If neither, then could be another buffer like sodium bicarbonate, which has an equilibrium pH of 8.2...possibly could explain your high pH and KH values.

That's the thing, Cherry, we had two tanks with the very same 8.2 pH, but completely opposite GH/KH values.

I used EasyBalance in both, but only one had a 12KH, the other had a 4KH (and this is the one receiving EB since August). That doesn't add up.

Now moving on to the Wonder Shells, I stopping adding them two months ago. Can you imagine how many water changes I've done since then? I change 25-30% weekly. The water that came in contact with the shells is loooong gone.

What I joked that you'd find fascinating is the fact that the pH in my aragonite tanks (7.4 in three tanks and 7.6 in the other) is significantly lower than in my non-aragonite tanks (8.2).

You said: "Not sure if we are on the same page. That's what aragonite is supposed to do, it provides calcium AND carbonate."
Well, that's exactly my point! Why isn't it adding all that to my tanks?!? I hoped it would add a whole lot more GH/KH, but those are the same values of my non-aragonite 10-Gallon.

I should have just moved the snails to the big tanks and the fish to the smaller ones. Problem solved! LOL

Anyways, I imagine that what makes the pH stays down in the snails' tanks is that they are huge poopers and live in small tanks (except for the Mysteries).

Poop=CO2, CO2=lower pH.

Below are the pH tests of my aragonite snail tanks, done just now.
 

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Cherryshrimp420
  • #63
Aragonite will not leech forever, it will leech until equilibrium with your water. The closer to equilibrium the slower the leeching. Your tap water will contain calciun carbonate already so that factors into how much it will leech.

The 8.2pH and 12dKH is an anomaly, im just trying to think of things that can cause it. With all these products used it's hard to isolate the variables
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #64
Aragonite will not leech forever, it will leech until equilibrium with your water. The closer to equilibrium the slower the leeching. Your tap water will contain calciun carbonate already so that factors into how much it will leech.

The aragonite tanks are a couple of months old. Would aragonite leech for at least two months?!? :confused:
My oldest tank is the 10 gallon, established in July/2021. I only picked up this hobby 5 months ago, which is why I'm still in full-on learning process.

The 8.2pH and 12dKH is an anomaly, im just trying to think of things that can cause it. With all these products used it's hard to isolate the variables

Well, not really.
For the 20 gallon the only product added (aside from ferts) was EasyBalance and that's the one that had the 12KH.
BTW, I added full dose of the same ferts to the tank after the overhaul, and my pH has been pretty much neutral (6.8-7.2), as has KH (4) since.
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #65
The aragonite tanks are a couple of months old. Would aragonite leech for at least two months?!? :confused:
My oldest tank is the 10 gallon, established in July/2021. I only picked up this hobby 5 months ago, which is why I'm still in full-on learning process.



Well, not really.
For the 20 gallon the only product added (aside from ferts) was EasyBalance and that's the one that had the 12KH.
BTW, I added full dose of the same ferts to the tank after the overhaul, and my pH has been pretty much neutral (6.8-7.2), as has KH (4) since.
The aragonite will constantly dissolve but slows down significantly near the equilibrium level. It will dissolve faster in acidic water than basic
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #66
The aragonite will constantly dissolve but slows down significantly near the equilibrium level. It will dissolve faster in acidic water than basic

Well, in any case, I'll keep working on their tanks. I'll probably add some crushed corals. I'd l'm aiming for 10+ GH and KH, for maximum shell health.

Or maybe I should start adding EasyBalance to their tanks if it is, indeed, such a KH miracle worker. ;-)

If nothing else, it'll be another experiment.
I'll do some thorough testing on the Baby Ramshorn tank and I'll add the appropriate dose of EB.
 
Cherryshrimp420
  • #67
Well, in any case, I'll keep working on their tanks. I'll probably add some crushed corals. I'd l'm aiming for 10+ GH and KH, for maximum shell health.

Or maybe I should start adding EasyBalance to their tanks if it is, indeed, such a KH miracle worker. ;-)

If nothing else, it'll be another experiment.
I'll do some thorough testing on the Baby Ramshorn tank and I'll add the appropriate dose of EB.
Aragonite and crushed corals are the same thing
 
Betta_Blu
  • Thread Starter
  • #68
Aragonite and crushed corals are the same thing
Well, not their coarseness, it's not.
Most people wouldn't put aragonite in their filters, I'd say.
Wonder shells and aragonite is calcium carbonate and will add buffers to the water over time. It will also drive pH towards ~8 naturally and the 7.2 pH now is likely due to CO2

BTW, Diana Walstad tells me Wonder Shells do not alter pH.
I tend to agree with Diana, not only because she's an absolute genius, a living legend, and knows pretty much everything there is to know about planted tanks, but also because that was my experience as well.

As my pH logs have shown, my pH never got past 7.2/7.4 even with Wonder Shells + several actual sea shells in the tank.

Anyway, just sharing the knowledge. :)
 

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Cherryshrimp420
  • #69
Well, not their coarseness, it's not.
Most people wouldn't put aragonite in their filters, I'd say.


BTW, Diana Walstad tells me Wonder Shells do not alter pH.
I tend to agree with Diana, not only because she's an absolute genius, a living legend, and knows pretty much everything there is to know about planted tanks, but also because that was my experience as well.

As my pH logs have shown, my pH never got past 7.2/7.4 even with Wonder Shells + several actual sea shells in the tank.

Anyway, just sharing the knowledge. :)
Again, crushed coral is aragonite. Crush coral is a hobbyist term and can be fine or coarse depending on what the pet store labels it...

Im curious how wonder shells work. If it is calcium carbonate how would it mitigate the effect on pH? I know Diana is very influencial in this industry but the chemistry still has to obey the laws of physics...
 

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