Ph Vs Kh, Peat Moss Vs Shell Grit. Help

Discussion in 'pH' started by Brannor, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. BrannorValued MemberMember

    Ok... so here's my scenario.

    55G tank, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrates are doing just fine. Quite well planted. No carbon.

    Fish: 2 Dwarf Gourami, a number of Guppy+Fry and 2 Bristlenose Catfish (<=10cm each)

    My problem is my pH. When I first started my tank, I saw my pH climb up over 7.4. So I researched and found that peat moss can help bring it down. And it did. But it took it way down towards 6. This was even with doing 50% water changes during the period that I was establishing the tank.

    The problem is also that our tap water has 0...yeah...0 KH... it's like... filtered water except for added chlorine I guess... it contains no ammonia, nitrites nor nitrates... Hmm... but here's the tap water pH, what's that look like?


    So I removed the peat moss because I didn't want my system to crash...and added shell grit (the second half of the same stocking :p ) and placed that in the filter where the peat moss had been.

    Now my pH looks like this (after a 50% water change this afternoon). Is that 7.4, 7.8 or 8.0??? And my KH is barely above 0...

    With 0KH, and the shell grit that doesn't work well because it loses most of its effect when I do a water change... do I get KH booster (sodium bicarbonate?) and what else? Or is that I need to put both peat moss and shell grit in together?


    This was the pH (and KH/GH on the left) a while back during the dip towards 6 - and while doing 50% water changes WITH peat moss...


    How do I get it stable?

  2. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    hey mate. I reckon your pH is between 7.6-7.8

    I'm real sorry the shell grit alone hasnt worked. it didn't for us either.

    get SeaChem Alkaline Buffer & SeaChem acid buffer. you'll want to use a ratio of about 2.3x (up to 2.5x) alkaline buffer to acid buffer. try adding only enough for the volume of water you're adding when you do a pwc.

    thats what we do. our kH is 0 as you know but with the buffers and grit it stays stable at 7.4.

    ps: the master of this who mentored us when we were about to give up a second time is @sfsamm . he taught me all I needed to stumble into pH stability :)
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
  3. BrannorValued MemberMember

    But...that'd be a lot of chems added at every water change. :eek:

    Doesn't it degrade over time? For a 55G tank...I'm worried about adding a ton of powder with the fish still in it.

  4. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    all buffers regards degrade as your water uses them. we have cuttlefish bone in tanks & oyster grit in filters & then simply add buffers with weekly water changes. for our 160L (~49g) tank, we use just a few grams of powder per week with 40-60L weekly pwc's:)

    yes. it's a bit of a pain tho
  5. BrannorValued MemberMember

    Ok. I'm going to try just the peat moss this week now that the cycle is established and I'll monitor the pH daily to see if it actually reduces it over time. Prepare for another photo journal. :p

    Even then, the smaller tank does have space in its in-tank filter to take peat moss... so I'll need to get some of those chems to try it on there unless I work out a way to include peat moss in that filter.

  6. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    hmmm. my understanding is that peat moss removes kH?
  7. BrannorValued MemberMember

    Ok... so in your 25-30% WC, you add how much of each buffer? Trying to understand the maths. Their site seems to indicate 1 part Acid Buffer and 2 parts Alkaline Buffer to target 7.0 pH

    They say to use 2g per 80L (2oG) daily of Acid. So for my 55G that'd be roughly 5g (add a few specs :p ) of Acid, and 10-11g of Alkaline - daily?

    For yours, is that 4g of Acid and 8-9g of Alkaline? And only at the water change?

  8. Jenoli42Well Known MemberMember

    so if I do a 40L wc, I add 3.5g alkaline buffer and 1.53g acid buffer. weekly. daily has never been necessary. remember that alking is for the volume of the new water only.

    don't target 7.0 in the first change of you're at 7.7pH. reduce gradually. the amounts i quoted target 7.4 :)

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