pH/parameter troubles?

Utar

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I use leaf zone liquid fertilizer every other week and I only put in root tabs once. I got them from a local seller. They’re not branded :/
My tap water pH is about 6.8 consistently and today. Now I ran out of GH and KH strips. But both typically always run on the extremely high end of the spectrum. Those are always very consistent. I need to go buy more for those tests so I have numbers for this week. And the GH and KH are always super high for both my tap and tank water.
I am confused about the ph of your water reading 6.8 when GH and KH are extremely high. Maybe I am wrong but there is a correlation of ph to GH and KH. Your water ph should read much higher than 6.8.
 

Byron

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I use leaf zone liquid fertilizer every other week and I only put in root tabs once. I got them from a local seller. They’re not branded :/
My tap water pH is about 6.8 consistently and today. Now I ran out of GH and KH strips. But both typically always run on the extremely high end of the spectrum. Those are always very consistent. I need to go buy more for those tests so I have numbers for this week. And the GH and KH are always super high for both my tap and tank water.

This is what is not making much sense. The higher the GH and KH, the more it buffers the pH preventing fluctuations, and making it very difficult to adjust (which is why one never should attempt pH adjustment without first dealing with the GH/KH). When you say "extremely high end"...just what is the number (with the unit)? A pH below 7 with "high" GH/KH is not realistic, something is occurring here.

[Edit, I see Utar posted as I have been typing, and spotted this too.]

I would discontinue using Leaf Zone, this is just iron and potassium, and the other 13 essential nutrients are likely lacking, at least some of them. A comprehensive supplement...Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planteed Aquarium is one, Brightwell Aquatics FlorinMulti is another...are far superior and should improve your plants.

The substrate tab may be behind this. Many of these (esp "home made" ones) are based on the nutrient needs of terrestrial plants, not aquatic, and they are known to cause issues. I would not use more of these. If you want a good tab especially for the swords, Seachem's Flourish Tabs are about the best. They are not only comprehensive supplement, they do not leech nutrients into the water column so algae is disadvantaged and fish are spared. Can't beat that.
 
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Br@in

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This is what is not making much sense. The higher the GH and KH, the more it buffers the pH preventing fluctuations, and making it very difficult to adjust (which is why one never should attempt pH adjustment without first dealing with the GH/KH). When you say "extremely high end"...just what is the number (with the unit)? A pH below 7 with "high" GH/KH is not realistic, something is occurring here.

[Edit, I see Utar posted as I have been typing, and spotted this too.]

I would discontinue using Leaf Zone, this is just iron and potassium, and the other 13 essential nutrients are likely lacking, at least some of them. A comprehensive supplement...Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planteed Aquarium is one, Brightwell Aquatics FlorinMulti is another...are far superior and should improve your plants.

The substrate tab may be behind this. Many of these (esp "home made" ones) are based on the nutrient needs of terrestrial plants, not aquatic, and they are known to cause issues. I would not use more of these. If you want a good tab especially for the swords, Seachem's Flourish Tabs are about the best. They are not only comprehensive supplement, they do not leech nutrients into the water column so algae is disadvantaged and fish are spared. Can't beat that.
Let me run into town to buy some more strips. It’ll be like at least an hour. But here’s my tap pH I tested for a second time. Thank you for the liquid fertilizer recs!
 

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This is what is not making much sense. The higher the GH and KH, the more it buffers the pH preventing fluctuations, and making it very difficult to adjust (which is why one never should attempt pH adjustment without first dealing with the GH/KH). When you say "extremely high end"...just what is the number (with the unit)? A pH below 7 with "high" GH/KH is not realistic, something is occurring here.

[Edit, I see Utar posted as I have been typing, and spotted this too.]

I would discontinue using Leaf Zone, this is just iron and potassium, and the other 13 essential nutrients are likely lacking, at least some of them. A comprehensive supplement...Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planteed Aquarium is one, Brightwell Aquatics FlorinMulti is another...are far superior and should improve your plants.

The substrate tab may be behind this. Many of these (esp "home made" ones) are based on the nutrient needs of terrestrial plants, not aquatic, and they are known to cause issues. I would not use more of these. If you want a good tab especially for the swords, Seachem's Flourish Tabs are about the best. They are not only comprehensive supplement, they do not leech nutrients into the water column so algae is disadvantaged and fish are spared. Can't beat that.
Okay. Tank
gH: 180
KH: 120
pH: 8.3

tap:
GH: 180
KH: 120
pH: 6.8

......I know it’s confusing. But. That’s what it is. I’m just as lost as you guys are lol.
 

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Byron

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Okay. Tank
gH: 180
KH: 120
pH: 8.3

tap:
GH: 180
KH: 120
pH: 6.8

......I know it’s confusing. But. That’s what it is. I’m just as lost as you guys are lol.

One question, when you tested the tap water pH, did you out-gas the CO2? This is done by either letting a glass of fresh tap water sit 24 hours, or you can place some in a clean container with a tight fitting lid and shake it very briskly for several moments, then test the pH. The result could be higher depending upopn the CO2; this only applies to tap water, not tank water.
 
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One question, when you tested the tap water pH, did you out-gas the CO2? This is done by either letting a glass of fresh tap water sit 24 hours, or you can place some in a clean container with a tight fitting lid and shake it very briskly for several moments, then test the pH. The result could be higher depending upopn the CO2; this only applies to tap water, not tank water.
😅😅 so I retested the tap pH. 😅 I swear I’m trying to be helpful. I did the carbon thingy. And got a pH of 7.2
 

Byron

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😅😅 so I retested the tap pH. 😅 I swear I’m trying to be helpful. I did the carbon thingy. And got a pH of 7.2

OK, this is beginning to make some sense.

The GH of 180 ppm (equates to 10 dGH) and KH of 120 ppm (equates to 6.7 dKH) are not high; this is moderate hardness. A pH in the 7's is exactly what one would expect. Having said that, it is possible that your water authority added "x" for some specific reason and it targets the pH. It might be instructive to check with the water authority tomorrow (or perhaps on their website) to see if anything in the way of treatment is or has occurred, beyond the normal--and by the way, re the ammonia, if chloramine is added along with chlorine, this usually explains these miniscule ammonia readings, they can be ignored.

The buffering capability here is adequate and not excessive, so with normal regular water changes, keeping the filter well cleaned, not overstocking, not overfeeding, and perhaps vacuuming the open areas during the W/C, it should be fairly stable, as I take it it has been until very recently.

Now to the sudden pH fluctuations in the tank. This could be due to the substrate tab; I know you only added one, but I've no idea what is in this tab. Unless a member with more chemistry knowledge than I have comments, I would keep an eye on the pH in the tank, periodic tests, governed by the results, and not add those tabs. The Flourish Tabs do not do this, guaranteed; I have been using them for more than 10 years, and they really benefit sword plants.
 
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OK, this is beginning to make some sense.

The GH of 180 ppm (equates to 10 dGH) and KH of 120 ppm (equates to 6.7 dKH) are not high; this is moderate hardness. A pH in the 7's is exactly what one would expect. Having said that, it is possible that your water authority added "x" for some specific reason and it targets the pH. It might be instructive to check with the water authority tomorrow (or perhaps on their website) to see if anything in the way of treatment is or has occurred, beyond the normal--and by the way, re the ammonia, if chloramine is added along with chlorine, this usually explains these miniscule ammonia readings, they can be ignored.

The buffering capability here is adequate and not excessive, so with normal regular water changes, keeping the filter well cleaned, not overstocking, not overfeeding, and perhaps vacuuming the open areas during the W/C, it should be fairly stable, as I take it it has been until very recently.

Now to the sudden pH fluctuations in the tank. This could be due to the substrate tab; I know you only added one, but I've no idea what is in this tab. Unless a member with more chemistry knowledge than I have comments, I would keep an eye on the pH in the tank, periodic tests, governed by the results, and not add those tabs. The Flourish Tabs do not do this, guaranteed; I have been using them for more than 10 years, and they really benefit sword plants.
Ahhh okay that makes much more sense. Thank you for not giving up on my fumbling mess 😅 I didn’t realize the scale on the strips for GH and KH weren’t correlated to hardness like I thought. Also: I have a picture of the tabs I use and the ingredients. Not sure if they helps at all but I won’t use them anymore probably.
 

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Byron

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I have a picture of the tabs I use and the ingredients. Not sure if they helps at all but I won’t use them anymore probably.

No, I would not, there is stuff in here you do not want to be adding to an aquarium.

Nitrogen for one, as nitrate. There is more than sufficient ammonia/ammonium in a fish tank for the plants when it is a low-tech/natural method as here (and my tanks too), and aquatic plants prefer nitrogen as ammonium and will not take up nitrate unless they absolutely need to, as it is more work--they have to convert it back into ammonium.

Phosphate should never be added, as there is more than sufficient in fish foods to provide what plants in this sort of tank require. And at 9% there is a lot of it.
 

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One thing I notice from the photos in post #19 is that the strips only measure up to 180 ppm GH and they show the highest colour. This means the GH could be 180 ppm or anything above that. It could be 300 ppm and the test would still show 180.

Does your water provider give your hardness on its website?
 
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One thing I notice from the photos in post #19 is that the strips only measure up to 180 ppm GH and they show the highest colour. This means the GH could be 180 ppm or anything above that. It could be 300 ppm and the test would still show 180.

Does your water provider give your hardness on its website?
Unfortunately not. I live in a really rural area and I can’t seem to find any information on it.
 

StevenF

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Yeah I have the API master kit. I just couldn’t find a GH KG test kit at my LFS
Gh KH test kits are available on amazon.com API has one.

Theroot tab label has ammoniacal nitrogen listed That is a measure of ammonia content. The tabs probably contain ammonia nitrate an ammonia salt. it is probably not as dangerous as ammonia but still it is best to avoid it. Also adding extra iron and potassium from the leaf zone fertilizer could have created a nutrient imbalance that could have caused your tank crash.

As to your PH increase I would suggest you meassure your tank ph in the morning before your lights turn on and then late in the bay before the lights turn off. One time I had a High PH issue. I was surprised to find in the morning my PH was about 7. but later in the day it was already climbng past 8. The solution I found was to reduce the brightness of my light with a dimmer.

When plants are growing well and growing they remove minerals from the water. This changes the water chemistry. The change in water chemistry due to plant growth can push the ph up or down depending on the chemistry of the water. For the PH up problem simply dimming the light worked. For a PH drop I found added a sea shell in the filter prevented the PH from dropping. Your tap water has more KH in it than my water so you might not see a PH drop with your tap water.
 
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