Managing overnight PH drop

Theulli

Member
I read a lot about people installing overnight lights in their sump with chaeto to keep PH steady overnight, and I was curious to know how common this practice is. Especially because I never see setups like this in the LFS. Curious for peoples' thoughts: is this an advanced technique for people who have particularly delicate fish or corals, or is it a basic technique that everyone with a saltwater tank needs to consider.

Or I guess a third option is if it's only something you do if you observe significant PH drops overnight (in which case I'd be interested to know how much of a drop is 'significant').

Thanks!
 

AquaPhilNJ

Member
You might be worrying about PH too much. There are some articles online from what I read says "don't chase PH". Be careful measuring PH need to use a good PH probe; paper and liquid testing in my experience never had enough accuracy.

I have seen setups like this at my LFS. I do believe they are common practice. Filtration methods such as refugium (as you say sump with chaeto), macro algae reactor, algae scrubber, bio-pellets are highly recommended; many claim you don't even need to do water changes anymore. I use bio-pellets and I do not do water changes. unfortunately bio-pellets don't' help PH. I wanted a refugium but needs large space in sump, plus expensive light to grow the chaeto, plus the expensive light will cause hair algae to grow everywhere inside sump, bio-pellets are cheapest and most compact, also most dangerous apparently... I'm off topic. Hope that helps.
 

Jesterrace

Member
AquaPhilNJ said:
You might be worrying about PH too much. There are some articles online from what I read says "don't chase PH". Be careful measuring PH need to use a good PH probe; paper and liquid testing in my experience never had enough accuracy.

I have seen setups like this at my LFS. I do believe they are common practice. Filtration methods such as refugium (as you say sump with chaeto), macro algae reactor, algae scrubber, bio-pellets are highly recommended; many claim you don't even need to do water changes anymore. I use bio-pellets and I do not do water changes. unfortunately bio-pellets don't' help PH. I wanted a refugium but needs large space in sump, plus expensive light to grow the chaeto, plus the expensive light will cause hair algae to grow everywhere inside sump, bio-pellets are cheapest and most compact, also most dangerous apparently... I'm off topic. Hope that helps.
You don't need a spendy light to grow cheato. Mine was about $30 (it's waterproof) and any cheap grow LED will work great. No real issues with hair algae as I have a few hermits and snails in the sump to keep it trimmed up. I've tried the other stuff and my tank has never run as smoothly as when I have just run Chaeto, A Skimmer and do Frequent Filter Sock changes.

As for pH I agree. To be honest I have never once tested for it in 4 years. I just do small weekly water changes and have never had an issue.
 
  • Thread Starter

Theulli

Member
Thanks - I came to the conclusion after doing some more research that the overnight PH drop is probably only an issue if you do have a bunch of macroalgae in your tank, because it stops photosynthesizing at night and that changes your water chemistry. I haven't seen anything to indicate that, without macroalgae, there are significant issues. Could be wrong though.

I myself am doing some experiments with setting up a 'no water change' tank, not because I mind changing the water (I probably will regardless to keep calcium et al from being depleted), but because I'm curious if I can. My thought was to slow the water down with a lot of media in two of the three compartments of the sump, and that hopefully after it works its way through all that, the water is less oxygenated and you get some anaerobic bacteria in the final layers. We'll see!
 

Jesterrace

Member
Theulli said:
Thanks - I came to the conclusion after doing some more research that the overnight PH drop is probably only an issue if you do have a bunch of macroalgae in your tank, because it stops photosynthesizing at night and that changes your water chemistry. I haven't seen anything to indicate that, without macroalgae, there are significant issues. Could be wrong though.

I myself am doing some experiments with setting up a 'no water change' tank, not because I mind changing the water (I probably will regardless to keep calcium et al from being depleted), but because I'm curious if I can. My thought was to slow the water down with a lot of media in two of the three compartments of the sump, and that hopefully after it works its way through all that, the water is less oxygenated and you get some anaerobic bacteria in the final layers. We'll see!
I'd be careful with that. Reduced flow can lead to deadspot/flow issues and the more media you have in there the more places you have for things to become trapped. Just me but beyond a filter sock and what ends up in the protein skimmer I don't want anything trapping stuff down in my sump.
 

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