Observations: Seachem Flourish Excel, Nitrogen and effect on pH

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ryanr

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Hi all,
So on 11 April, I started daily dosing my tank with:
1mL Seachem Flourish Nitrogen
1.5mL Seachem Flourish Excel

Mainly to try and curb some co2 problems and I have 0 nitrates in my planted aquarium, and a small algae problem.... anyway, different topic.

So I come to do my regular water change yesterday, and as I always do, I run my standard tests (prior to wc)

My pH has always remained steady at 7.4, but yesterday it tested at 6.8/7.0 (I couldn't pick it).... 0.4 - 0.6 pH drop over 11 days, well within accepted drop rates (I just couldn't tell you how quickly it actually happened)

this is not a problem (I actually wanted my pH down for my plants anyway)

The interesting bit: KH had dropped from 52ppm to 36ppm, which completely contradicts what I was expecting. I know Excel is not a substitute for CO2, but most general advice suggests that: adding CO2 will a) reduce pH and b) increase KH.

Just thought I'd pass on the experiences and observations.

PS - no need to tell me how KH buffers etc, I'm well aware of how it all works, and it's effects on pH :;bb
 

claudicles

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Maybe it was the nitrogen kicking start plant growth and allowing increased utilisation of the carbon? That may have dropped the KH. I can't explain the pH.
 

catsma_97504

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I wonder if Flourish Excel will drop pH like CO2 does?
 
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ryanr

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catsma_97504 said:
I wonder if Flourish Excel will drop pH like CO2 does?
Well it is either the Excel or the Nitrogen that dropped pH, because nothing else has changed

That's kinda why I posted my findings/observations, whilst Seachem doesn't specifically state that either product can affect pH, it does appear that some effects can be experienced with 'long term' use
 

claudicles

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Mammalian metabolism leads us to hyperventilate and breath off CO2 when we are producing excess acid in order to raise the pH.

H2O plus CO2 = H+ and HCO3-

So a low CO raises pH, ergo, high CO2 lowers pH.

Your tank has had a pretty rapid drop though. Especially for a few mls of the stuff. Even if you put 1.5mls of a strong acid, say HCl, in there it wouldn't effect the pH that much.
 
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So a low CO raises pH, ergo, high CO2 lowers pH
I'm sure you mean CO2, not CO, which is carbon monoxide, which is poisonous (car exhaust fumes) [I loved high school chemistry ]

Your tank has had a pretty rapid drop though
I respectfully disagree, 0.4-0.6 over 11 days is more than acceptable, given we really don't want to adjust by more than 0.1 per 24hrs.

I'll be testing pH every couple of days to make sure it isn't falling any further, and I'll also start reducing the dosage if it continues to drop

Especially for a few mls of the stuff
Yep, that's why we like Seachem product, it's highly concentrated and tends to last a while. Very economical products. Just look at Prime (2 drops per 4 litres)
 

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The PH drop is due to the KH drop. THe problem is why did your KH drop? Neither the Excel or Nitrogen should have had that effect. Increasing co2 gas content does not effect KH either, only PH.
You can register at Plantgeek & there is a section of the forum that is dedicated to asking Seachem about Seachem products. Ask your questions about any Seachem product & recieve answers from a Seachem Representative. Could be worth your time doing that.

By the way, check your ammonia levels if you didn't already. High ammonia levels can lower the PH a bit to.
 
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Thanks Nutter.
I know that lower KH can result in pH swings, thus I've always kept it about 3 dKH (40-60ppm). My tap water is pH 7, GH 0, KH 0, so it's hard to keep the buffers up
I've just started my CO2 injection (from previous posts), and have read that it can also result in higher KH as well as lowering pH. Fact or phalacy?
I'm probably going to test tonight to see where things are at. If KH has dropped again, I'll buffer it up again gradually, I'm aiming to get it up to around 4-8dKH, mainly for my plants, but also need to keep it soft for my fish. (I'll have a search around fishlore to find the best way )

BTW - no ammonia I tested on Saturday.
 

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Adding co2 gas does not alter the KH in any way as far as I am aware. I've never experienced a change in KH because I stopped or started using co2. An increase in KH will also give an increase in PH but a change to PH via a chemical addition (co2 gas or chemical adjuster) will not alter the KH. Having a higher KH will lessen the PH drop experienced to to the injection of co2 gas. KH is merely a measurement of the amount of carbonates present in the water. The higher the level of carbonates, the more it can buffer against PH swings. The lower the level of carbonates, the more the PH can swing due to things like co2 injection.

Does that all make sense or did I confuse myself & you even more than we already were?
 
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LOL
Yup, confused now, but I know what you're saying
This is probably a totally new thread in itself now (aquarium water)

I'd like to keep my pH at 6.8/7.0 if possible, but I know buffering the KH back up will is more than likely going to raise the pH back to the 7.4 mark (doh!).
With some apisto borellii coming, I'd like to keep the pH a little lower if possible, but still maintain a higher KH for the plants (if that makes sense?)

[edit]but keeping stability in pH is more important, and i'm sure if I properly acclimate the borellii, I should be fine
 

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So long as the PH & KH don't drop too much then you shouldn't have any great problems. What are you using to raise the KH?

You can still run co2 with a KH below 4, but you need to be a little carefull of just how much the PH swings overnight. Monitor it closely & see what it's highest & lowest points are during a full 24hr cycle. Test day & night for a few days until you have established the full PH pattern. PH will lower over time as a tank matures to. Just something else to keep in mind.
 
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Test day & night for a few days
I assume you mean test 'Lights on' and 'lights off'.

My lights on times are 11am to 9pm, I can prob test at 6:30pm and 6am ish (with work commitments)

Let me know if this is what you meant?
 
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update: water parameters 8:30pm - now I'm confused lol

Water parameters, 30mins prior to lights out (8:30pm) with CO2 kit (yeast/sugar)

Temp: 27C (remains constant 24/7)
Amm: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 5ppm (yay down from >10 finally)
GH: 6dGH (107ppm)
KH: 3dKH (53ppm)
[edit] and the all important pH 7.4 (how did i forget that )

Anyway, if that helps. Note: nothing has been added other than the CO2 kit.

Cheers.

PS - maybe it's time to blog this ??? lmk mods.
 

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Yes testing day & night is what I mean. The PH should be at it's lowest just before the lights come on in the morning (co2 produced by plants overnight lowers PH) & at it's highest just before they go out (co2 consumed by plants during day raises PH). Run your PH test as late as you can in the morning before work & then run it again just before the lights go out. So long as those two tests stay fairly close to each other (within 0.4), & are within the PH tolerances of the fish, you shouldn't have too much of a problem.
 
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Thanks again Nutter

I'll let you know when I get a pattern in results. My aim now, test pH 6am, and then again at 8pm, that should give a fairly decent swing range.

[edit, I've also added the pH reading to previous post, don't know how I forgot that one]
 
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Update on pH tracking:

27 Apr: 8:30pm - pH 7.4 (toward end of day [nearly lights off])
28 Apr: 6:30am - pH 7.0 (lights come on at 11:00am)
28 Apr: 8:30pm - pH 7.3-7.4 (just seemed a little lighter than my usual 7.4 colour)
 
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