Ph Buffer Substrate

GuppyGuy007

Member
Hi,
I am looking for a substrate, or something, that will naturally lower my Ph levels, so I can get into breeding low PH fish like tetras. Please let me know of any ideas and experience with/about different products.
 

Fanatic

Member
I think that crushed coral lowers pH, and you can just stick some into your filtration source.
 

fjh

Member
Fanatic I believe coral increases your ph

fishlover001 you can try peat moss or similar, but why do you want to lower your ph? Usually a ph that's too high but steady is better than having it jump around every WC.
 

Fanatic

Member
fjh said:
Fanatic I believe coral increases your ph

fishlover001 you can try peat moss or similar, but why do you want to lower your ph? Usually a ph that's too high but steady is better than having it jump around every WC.
I was thinking of the wrong thing, sorry.
 

TexasDomer

Member
What's your starting pH, GH, and KH? If they're high, it might be easiest to start with RO water and add the appropriate buffers to get the pH, GH, and KH to where you want them.
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
Most pH lowering substrates are for planted tanks.

Are you planning on planting?
 

finnipper59

Member
fishlover001 said:
Hi,
I am looking for a substrate, or something, that will naturally lower my Ph levels, so I can get into breeding low PH fish like tetras. Please let me know of any ideas and experience with/about different products.
really no substrates that will lower pH. Simply use natural gravel or sand and use filter media such as peat moss to lower the pH level, but be aware that peat will produce tannins that will make your water tea colored. Crushed coral or coral sand will actually raise your ph. There are products available to add to the water that will lower your pH. Years ago I used to raise Discus and there were pH tabs you could add to the water that would automatically set the pH at 6.5 and buffer the water to keep it there. You may want to go online like typing pH lowering media and seeing if there are any products that you can add to your filter other than peat moss to lower your pH levels.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
I think these are all the answers:
I want to lower it to breed tetras
8.2, not sure of the others
Yes, planning on planted
I would prefer not to use chemicals of any kind.
I have something called betta spa that reduces PH because of the almond leave extract in it. Is this considered chemically changing it?
 

Fahn

Member
There are several types of aquasoil, such as ADA Amazonia and Controsoil, which will buffer pH down to the low-to-mid 6s. This works by stripping carbonates from the water, reducing the KH. The substrates have a finite lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced if what you're wanting is their buffering ability and not just boosted plant growth. Many of these soils are formulated for Caridina shrimp keeping and breeding. In order to keep the pH buffering from exhausting too quickly you'd need to use remineralized RO water with a low KH and decor such as driftwood and leaf litter to add tannins to keep the pH low.

Unless you're keeping wild-caught Amazonian fish, or trying to breed Taiwan bee shrimp, this is unnecessary and can get expensive.
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
ADA Amazonia is pretty good and I'm pretty sure it lowers pH. Watch out as it leaches ammonia for a while(Good for cycling).

I use Aquavitro Aquasolum. It lowered my pH to 6.5 from 8.2.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
So do you think tetras could/would breed in that high of a ph. Because if they can, I would have no problems leaving it, I had just read that in order to breed they needed moderately low ph.

Did the aquavitro cause an ammonia spike?
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
fishlover001 said:
Did the aquavitro cause an ammonia spike?
Not for me. But it's 3x as expensive as ADA in my area.
 

Fahn

Member
75g Discus Tank said:
Not for me. But it's 3x as expensive as ADA in my area.
We sell it at our shop and it's like $20 for a 4.4lb bag, very expensive! I'm an advocate for Marfied Controsoil personally, as I love the small grain size and the fact that it doesn't leech ammonia.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
Ok, let's rephrase this, I cannot spend more than $20.00 per ten pounds of substrate.for the contosoil I see $30.00 for about 3 liters, would that cover a ten gallon?
 

Fahn

Member
fishlover001 said:
Ok, let's rephrase this, I cannot spend more than $20.00 per ten pounds of substrate.for the contosoil I see $30.00 for about 3 liters, would that cover a ten gallon?
It took an entire 10 liter bag to cover the bottom of my 10 gallon with an inch of substrate.

(Edited for clarity)
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
hmmmm, any other suggestions on a substrate, The cheapest I can get is $30.00, and I only have $25.00 to spend
 

Fahn

Member
fishlover001 said:
hmmmm, any other suggestions on a substrate, The cheapest I can get is $30.00, and I only have $25.00 to spend
You could always cut your tap with distilled/RO water, that's the easiest and cheapest solution. Aquasoils are expensive and intended for heavily planted setups or for keeping sensitive shrimp.
 

TexasDomer

Member
Before you spend a lot of money on substrate, I'd get an API test for the GH and KH - it's cheap on Ebay or Amazon.

Adding buffers back to RO water isn't hard, and it can be cheaper and more reliable than soils. Everything is a chemical, and chemicals aren't all bad.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
Where would I even get the RO water at? I cannot get driven every week to get water for water changes. If it is ok to add chemicals to raise ph, would it be ok to add chemicals to decrease ph?
I only have test strips for GH and KH, is that ok?
 

Fahn

Member
fishlover001 said:
Where would I even get the RO water at? I cannot get driven every week to get water for water changes. If it is ok to add chemicals to raise ph, would it be ok to add chemicals to decrease ph?
I only have test strips for GH and KH, is that ok?
Your pH is a non-issue in my opinion, but if nothing else just get several jugs of distilled water. They're like $0.89 each at my local Walmart.

You really don't need to mess with chemical buffers if you don't know what their outcomes will be, not to mention a lot of them will cause pH crashes if used incorrectly.
 

TexasDomer

Member
You can get an RO unit for your house.

You'd be adding buffers to RO water. Simply adding chemicals to decrease your tap water's pH is not the same thing, nor is it as safe.

The strips aren't as accurate as the liquid tests.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
ok, I think I might just buy seachem fluorite, and maybe add peat moss, driftwood, or almond leaves to add tannins and lower ph, both of which should wor for breeding tetras. Does this sound OK?
I can't afford an RO unit
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
TexasDomer said:
You can get an RO unit for your house.

You'd be adding buffers to RO water. Simply adding chemicals to decrease your tap water's pH is not the same thing, nor is it as safe.

The strips aren't as accurate as the liquid tests.
If you have incredibly hard water like mine, you can just add some dechlorinated tap to the RO water to buff it.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
yeah, I have very hard water. I don't have a feasible way to access RO water, unfortunately.
 

TexasDomer

Member
fishlover001 said:
ok, I think I might just buy seachem fluorite, and maybe add peat moss, driftwood, or almond leaves to add tannins and lower ph, both of which should wor for breeding tetras. Does this sound OK?
I can't afford an RO unit
That may or may not lower your pH. Peat, driftwood, and leaves don't lower my pH of 8.2 because the KH is really high. That's why I was asking about your KH and GH.
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
fishlover001 said:
yeah, I have very hard water. I don't have a feasible way to access RO water, unfortunately.
If your family goes grocery shopping weekly, most places have RO water you can buy by the gallon.

I buy my RO for 29 cents a gallon. An RO unit will be cheaper in the long run though.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
Let me check on my GH and KH.
If the other options don't work, I will pick up a gallon of water weekly at the supermarket. Where did you get it for 29 cents?
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
I also read that rainwater can also be used. Is this true?
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
fishlover001 said:
I also read that rainwater can also be used. Is this true?
You will need a carbon filter to clean out the impurities like any sort of pollution from the air.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
ok, I think I will go ahead and order the fluorite, and then figure out the ph later. Any chance tetras can breed in hard alkaline water?
 

TexasDomer

Member
Depends on the tetra species, but knowing your exact GH and KH will be helpful in answering that question.
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
Ok, testing right now
 
  • Thread Starter

GuppyGuy007

Member
GH-180
KH-200
PH-8
 

-Mak-

Member
Hate to say it but I doubt tetras will breed in that.
In addition, flourite is really similar to gravel, it's very neutral and doesn't buffer water at all.
 

TexasDomer

Member
I'd just cut your tap with RO.
 

75g Discus Tank

Member
Once your kH goes down enough, it can be altered easily with peat, driftwood, leaves, etc.

Disregard “pear” if you saw it. Darn autocorrect!
 

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