Worried About Water Chemistry

modernhamlet

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After all sorts of hardware hurdles, I will finally have my tank up and running this weekend. However, I have one last major issue to figure out.

Here are the major facts that have me worried:

1. Tapwater parameters[/b]
pH: >9 (no, seriously)
KH: 2
GH: 1

2. I'm going to be using presssurized co2.

3. There will be some peat in the substrate.

4. I'm doing EI.

So basically, I'm worried about how to balance a tank with low alkalinity and a pH likely to be much, much lower than my tapwater with the need to do large weekly water changes.

Any suggestions for how to handle this dilemma?

Also, how is this weird water chemistry going to impact how much co2 I add? I know there's a kH/co2 chart out there, but my combination of water parameters isn't even on the chart!
 

zig

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Are you sure you have this correct.....with a Ph of 9 i would expect to see the Gh and KH much higher, how old are these testkits and do you have a local water report? and when you say their will be some peat in the substrate.....exactly how much peat? you only need a sprinkling of peat beneath the substrate to act as an activator, the amount you need will not even register on a Ph test in a large volume of water (i think if i remember correctly your tank is 40 gallons) add lots of peat and you will never get a correct Ph reading as it will be changeing all the time.

If your stats are correct you will be doing lots of extra buffering and dosing.
 
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modernhamlet

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Are you sure you have this correct.....with a Ph of 9 i would expect to see the Gh and KH much higher, how old are these testkits and do you have a local water report? and when you say their will be some peat in the substrate.....exactly how much peat? you only need a sprinkling of peat beneath the substrate to act as an activator, the amount you need will not even register on a Ph test in a large volume of water (i think if i remember correctly your tank is 40 gallons) add lots of peat and you will never get a correct Ph reading as it will be changeing all the time.

If your stats are correct you will be doing lots of extra buffering and dosing.
http://www.mwra.com/monthly/wqupdate/pdf/wq2005oct20.pdf

Last page.

Treated water parameters:

Alkalinity: 36.7
Hardness: 14.3
pH: 9.2

They really screw with the water around here.

Good to hear about the peat though. A sprinkle was all I was going to use.

Given the tapwater thing... any advice?
 

zig

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hmmmm......looking into my crystal ball i can see a reverse osmosis unit in your future.

You just need about a handful of peat.........

Just on the water do you have any testkits to check your water at the tap?
 
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modernhamlet

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hmmmm......looking into my crystal ball i can see a reverse osmosis unit in your future.

You just need about a handful of peat.........

Just on the water do you have any testkits to check your water at the tap?
Just checked the pH and KH with a new AP Master Testkit.

pH: Off the scale...at least 8.8 on the high end pH test
KH: Between 2 and 3

I talked to some folks at the local annual fish auction today (i'll make a different post about that later!) and it turns out that the water authority doses calcium carbonate (as opposed to calcium bicarbonate) to up the pH. This is due to the large number of old buildings with lead pipes. The high pH prevents the lead from seeping into the water. Apparently calcium carbonate doesn't impact the kH. Crazy. :S

So you think an RO unit may really be necessary? What buffers would I need if I used partial RO water?

BTW, co2 addition has gotten the pH all the way down to 7.0, though I'm having difficulty getting it lower without going more than 2 bubbles/second. Assuming a KH of 3, this means I only have co2 levels at 10ppm. Should I up the bubbles or try a different technique? Perhaps a little baking soda to up the KH? Would that even work?

I know I'm throwing some tough questions out there, but I really appreciate any help I can get!

Thanks!
 

Ste_J

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BTW, co2 addition has gotten the pH all the way down to 7.0, though I'm having difficulty getting it lower without going more than 2 bubbles/second. Assuming a KH of 3, this means I only have co2 levels at 10ppm. Should I up the bubbles or try a different technique? Perhaps a little baking soda to up the KH? Would that even work?

Thanks!
If it's any use to you I started with a PH7 and KH 3 and after adding a 2 T spoon bicarb solution I now have PH 6.6 KH 5 - slow flow of Co2 as I was suffering PH drop outs before

I'm going to try and tweak my Co2 output but the bicarb worked a treat for me
 

zig

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Calcuim carbonate will definatly increase KH in water it will increase GH as well, and i presume it will raise Ph as although im not 100% sure on that one but i would expect it would if its raising the KH.

Anyway regardless of that im not sure what you should do really, i would up the bubble rate and see what happens and maybe add a small amount of bicarb to buffer the water to about 5 KH although as you raise the KH the Ph will rise further also....catch22........but i would try this before anything else and see what happens, fish will adapt quite readily to a higher Ph.

Let us know how you solve the problem
 

@ombomb

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Calcuim carbonate will definatly increase KH in water it will increase GH as well, and i presume it will raise Ph as although im not 100% sure on that one but i would expect it would if its raising the KH.
My understanding is that the Bi-Carb will have a fairly dramatic affect on the KH, bit little or no affect on the pH. Having said that, I have never tried it, but if I were in your position, I'd go with the bi-carb, just very slowly and carefully.
 
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modernhamlet

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Adding bicarbonate of soda will affect your Ph also, the Ph will rise as you add the soda.

http://dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/CalKH.as...&EKH=&pHChange=
This is true... though it doesn't raise my pH, which is already higher than 8.2 out of the tap.

I was thinking of adding a little baking soda last night when I started my fert regimen. Fortunately, I retested my KH before then and the tank levels have increased to ~4-5 from the 2 in the tapwater. So I'm in good shape there. I also realized that the reason I couldn't get below 7.0 pH was that I hadn't calibrated the pH meter properly. pH was actually 6.6 once I got that settled.

So, as of right now, things look really good.

pH: 6.7
KH: 5
co2: 30ppm

Have any of you used the PPS method talked about so much on aquatic plant central? Though it requires more initial testing, it promises a lot less water changing. I'm considering it as an alternative to EI due to my weird water situation.

For now, I did an initial dose of ferts so the plants won't starve:
1/3 tsp KNO3
.025 tsp KH2PO4
1/3 tsp MgSO4
.025 tsp traces

I'll do this twice more, then see what my nitrates and phosphate are at the end of the week and go from there.

Thanks! :thumbs:
 

zig

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Glad you got it sorted.......ive looked into PPS but EI is so much easier, i dont really mind the water changes its a good time to do pruning and maintainence on the tank although my tank is only 42 gallons which makes it easy enough, im going to get a bigger tank soon (75 gallon) and may look into it further, although i think most people run EI and that sort of tells me something, id be interested in how you get on with it.....let us know.....good luck with the tank
 

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