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High pH Levels

This is a discussion on High pH Levels within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Just a question on top of denrgb's question, what about driftwood and CO2? He said it is a planted aquarium and a DIY CO2 ...

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Old 09-22-2010, 10:29 PM   #21
 
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Just a question on top of denrgb's question, what about driftwood and CO2? He said it is a planted aquarium and a DIY CO2 reactor is cheap and easy to build as well as good for the plants. I've read that they both play a part in naturally bringing down and stabilizing the pH levels. My tap water here comes out of the tap at about 7.8 but after doing both in my tank it hovers around 7.2.
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:15 AM   #22
 
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Originally Posted by mdc928 View Post
Just a question on top of denrgb's question, what about driftwood and CO2? He said it is a planted aquarium and a DIY CO2 reactor is cheap and easy to build as well as good for the plants. I've read that they both play a part in naturally bringing down and stabilizing the pH levels. My tap water here comes out of the tap at about 7.8 but after doing both in my tank it hovers around 7.2.
CO2 lowers pH by adding carbon to the water. Driftwood also tends to lower pH by adding tannins, though this is usually minimally. Both are affected by the hardness, so the natural hardness of your source water (tap or well) has to be known and factored in. CO2 can cause significant and quick shifts, and as you don't normally run it at night, this creates further issues. "Stabilizing" depends upon both hardness and CO2 and how they react.

Personally, if the goal is to reduce water hardness and pH--and one must always remember that the hardness is key, lowering pH is not going to be easy in harder water--I would use RO. Plants will grow perfectly well without added CO2, and the issues CO2 creates is something I would rather avoid.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:47 PM   #23
 
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That was actually my next question mdc. One of my plants is starting to brown on a couple leaves. I know nothing about live freshwater plants, but I was thinking of killing 2 birds with the CO2. I could just have a bad plant.

Update though. Ammonia is down to 0 and everything is normal (cept for pH). I'm not really worried about pH anymore now though. Fish are great. No deaths or ich. I guess I just put everything in a week or two too early.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:24 PM   #24
 
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That was actually my next question mdc. One of my plants is starting to brown on a couple leaves. I know nothing about live freshwater plants, but I was thinking of killing 2 birds with the CO2. I could just have a bad plant.

Update though. Ammonia is down to 0 and everything is normal (cept for pH). I'm not really worried about pH anymore now though. Fish are great. No deaths or ich. I guess I just put everything in a week or two too early.
Browning of plant leaves is most often due to a nutrient deficiency. CO2 is very rarely the solution, as carbon (CO2 or bicarbonates in harder water) is usually sufficient in most aquaria. But the other 16 nutrients may not be sufficient, and plants will stop growing (photosynthesizing) when one of the necessary nutrients is no longer available. Light may also ba the factor, either intensity or duration.

From the photo I wouldn't suspect light but nutrients. Are you adding any fertilizer, and if yes, which and how often?
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:31 PM   #25
 
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No nutrients as of yet. However I did plan on it. Light COULD be a problem though as we might turn the light off more than often. I am getting brown alae (which I know forms in beginning tanks with low light).

I'm thinking of getting a timer, to get used to a reef tank (which is my goal one day).
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:49 PM   #26
 
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No nutrients as of yet. However I did plan on it. Light COULD be a problem though as we might turn the light off more than often. I am getting brown alae (which I know forms in beginning tanks with low light).

I'm thinking of getting a timer, to get used to a reef tank (which is my goal one day).
The problem is lack of nutrients. Plants need food every day, and their food is nutrients, 17 of them. Light will be of no value whatsoever if any one of the nutrients is missing. But algae will use the light and the plants will die off--and here I'm referring to green algae, not the diatoms you are seeing now. When the light tube diminishes too much, it is interesting that algae becomes more prevalent; the reason is that the plants can't use the light so they stop growing. Same thing happens with any nutrient. Plant growth is always as high as it can be with what is available in the necessary proportions. I go into this in more detail in the series "A Basic Approach to the Natural Planted Aquarium" at the head of the Aquarium Plant section if you're interested.

Some nutrients enter the tank via the water (calcium, magnesium, perhaps some others though water conditioners that detoxify heavy metals remove micro-nutrients like iron, manganese, copper, zinc), and fish food. But not sufficient to feed growing plants.

You need a comprehensive fertilizer, and I highly recommend Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. It is the only one to my knowledge that has all necessary nutrients and in proportion to what plants need. Nutrafin's Plant-Gro also seems to do a good job from what others have mentioned here. Without fertilizer, your plants will not do well.
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