Leaves that do not alter the pH
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Leaves that do not alter the pH

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Leaves that do not alter the pH
Old 11-19-2012, 02:48 PM   #1
 
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Leaves that do not alter the pH

Hey all,

I'm looking at setting up a dwarf puffer tank and thought that it would be nice to add some dried leaves to make their tank as much like their natural habitat as I could. However, my pH already runs around 6.5 - 6.7 and I don't want it to dip down much more.

Does anyone here have any experience with leaves that do not alter the pH?

Thanks!
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:38 PM   #2
 
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All leaves tend to lower the pH because they release tannins as they decompose.

This is a case where you might want to introduce some buffering. A minute amount of aragonite or dolomite, say a teaspoon or two, in the filter might do it. You have to experiment a bit, as the existing GH, KH and pH plus the tank's biology all impact the extent to which calcareous substances work. In my 115g tank I found that as little as 2-3 tablespoons kept the tap water pH of 5 up in the mid-6 range, so it doesn't take much. And this has little effect on the GH, which is good in this case.

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Old 11-19-2012, 05:13 PM   #3
 
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Thank you!

Edit - how long does this affect the water? Do you replace with every water change?
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:23 PM   #4
 
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As leaves and wood decompose they are going to acidify your water. Your waters kH will determine how this acidification effects your water pH; the higher the kH the less the effect. A few ideas..

-remove leaves and replace them with fresh leaves hoping to reduce the amount break down.

-increase your kH, which will increase the waters buffering to pH changes.... you may not need to do this if it is already high.

- Fresh leaves that still have their waxy cuticle (covering) will not acidify the water as much but I imagine that is not the look you are going for.

-More frequent water changes from a water source closer to the pH you are trying to obtain.
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Last edited by Thoth; 11-19-2012 at 05:26 PM.. Reason: didnt see post above... didnt refresh screen. :)
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:36 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie View Post
Thank you!

Edit - how long does this affect the water? Do you replace with every water change?
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Assuming you mean the buffering with calcareous mineral, it lasts months. I had about half a cup, maybe less, in my filters for several years before I noticed it no longer had much effect.

Thoth had some further data about how all this works.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:17 PM   #6
 
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More great info - thanks to both of you. Now, my questions are about time... I know part of this depends on the tank size, how many leaves and what type, but how quickly do the leaves change the pH and how much do they drop it? I guess I just put a couple in there and see what happens.

How often should I be checking the pH to monitor this? Weekly before each water change?

And could I expect fairly rapid changes with the buffering, or does this also take time?

My water is very soft.

Thanks again.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:37 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpie View Post
More great info - thanks to both of you. Now, my questions are about time... I know part of this depends on the tank size, how many leaves and what type, but how quickly do the leaves change the pH and how much do they drop it? I guess I just put a couple in there and see what happens.

How often should I be checking the pH to monitor this? Weekly before each water change?

And could I expect fairly rapid changes with the buffering, or does this also take time?

My water is very soft.

Thanks again.
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It takes a fair number of leaves to make any significant change.

I have a 10g planted tank in which I am presently growing out 3 Farlowella vittata fry. My GH is near zero, same with KH, so no buffering. The tap water pH is 7. This tank has been running for many months, with plants and a couple chunks of wood. I put in about 4 or 5 oak leaves every week after the partial water change. The pH has remained at 7. Now, this doesn't mean your situation would be identical. The specifics of each tank's biology impact this.

As for the buffering, if you add calcareous substances like dolomite, it again depends on the individual tank. But within a week or so you should see the pH rising. I always go slow with this, as it can suddenly jump.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
 
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OK - that is helpful. I think we have similar water-ish. I am planning on doing a 10 gallon tank. I think I'll go for it and be sure to monitor the pH over time. At least I have an option to go with if I see it dropping too much - hopefully minimal. I think they'll be fine if it drops a little, just not a lot.

I might add some into my 65 gallon, too. I know the Dicrossus will enjoy them. :)
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Old 11-20-2012, 11:13 AM   #9
 
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I might add some into my 65 gallon, too. I know the Dicrossus will enjoy them. :)
Absolutely. I suspect you noted in the profile about this species remaining close to the substrate and turning over leaves searching for food, and the fry hide under leaves.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:45 PM   #10
 
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Yes, I've seen videos, too! :)
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