pH of deionized (DI) water - help - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 08:02 AM Thread Starter
pH of deionized (DI) water - help

I recently got the API Tap Water Filter to make deionized (DI) water (compensating for very high nitrates in my well water).
The instructions indicated for community tank to use the 4 teaspoons of Electro-Right and 2 teaspoons of pH Adjuster to each 10 gallons of DI water. I cut that in half for my 5g water bottles. When I later checked the pH, I find it to be rock bottom at 5.0.

I checked the 5g fry tank where I've done a few water changes now with DI water and find the pH on the low side as compared to my tap (well) water and my main tank (7.6) water.

I added another teaspoon of the pH Adjuster to the one 5g bottle, but the pH remained on the bottom at 5.0.
I am concerned that the pH Adjuster isn't working and using this water will significantly lower the pH where it is used.
I do have Seachem Neutral Regulator on hand, but want to understand this better before I start knee jerking chemical reactions!
Anybody with DI or RO/DI experience make sense of this and explain so I don't pH shock my stock???

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post #2 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 08:08 AM
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Do you have a GH and KH test kit?

I'd strongly recommend buying one if not, as KH in particular will be important for pH since it is the 'buffer'. A pH of 5 would suggest your KH is zero, or near zero (DI water will be zero before adding anything).

If you do have one, what numbers are you getting?
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post #3 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
I don't have a hardness test kit at this writing, I'll see about getting one - just looking to add DI water w/o disaster.

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post #4 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 10:49 AM
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I've never messed with RO or DI water, but the absolute safest way to raise pH is with minerals. Dolomite, aragonite, marble chips all work. Crushed coral too, though it is less effective for the GH and KH component. As little as two tablespoons of dolomite or aragonite (or use a gravel composed of crushed coral and aragonite) will raise pH significantly. This much in my 90g sent the pH from mid 5's up to 7.2 in a day. It lasts years, and being natural is safe.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
Thanks - well it goes without saying the DI water has everything stripped out, so until 'doctored', it's pretty soft. The Electro-Right puts back electrolytes and trace elements in the proper amounts including potassium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, calcium, sulfate, iron, vanadium, titanium, strontium and maganese. The Electro-Right is added first, the the pH Adjuster to bring pH "up to desired level". As I mentioned, the recipe is 2 tsp. of Electro-Right and 1 tsp. of pH balance per 5g or DI water.
It was only out of curiosity that I tested the treated DI water and realized it have very low pH. By itself, this would not concern me, but the low pH in the fry tank (the result of a couple of water changes with the new DI water) does concern me.

I have put the question of pH to API tech support to see what they advise. Never fails...something that seems so simple, suddenly gets more complicated.
I do have some Seachem Neutral Regulator I could use, but will wait for right now.

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post #6 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Thanks - well it goes without saying the DI water has everything stripped out, so until 'doctored', it's pretty soft. The Electro-Right puts back electrolytes and trace elements in the proper amounts including potassium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, calcium, sulfate, iron, vanadium, titanium, strontium and maganese. The Electro-Right is added first, the the pH Adjuster to bring pH "up to desired level". As I mentioned, the recipe is 2 tsp. of Electro-Right and 1 tsp. of pH balance per 5g or DI water.
It was only out of curiosity that I tested the treated DI water and realized it have very low pH. By itself, this would not concern me, but the low pH in the fry tank (the result of a couple of water changes with the new DI water) does concern me.

I have put the question of pH to API tech support to see what they advise. Never fails...something that seems so simple, suddenly gets more complicated.
I do have some Seachem Neutral Regulator I could use, but will wait for right now.
I'd be interested in their response.

I do not resort to chemical compounds unless absolutely essential, and in this case in my view it is not. Any chemical in the water will have an impact on fish, there is no getting around that. My solution for raising GH has to be Seachem's Equilibrium which only adds GH but ndoes not mess with KH or pH; it is plain mineral sulfates and water. This I need for the calcium and magnesium which is totally lacking in my tap water. I now keep the tanks around 5-6 dGH, and the plants have responded incredibly after a month. When I need to raise pH I use the dolomite or aragonite, which adds a bit of GH and KH. About 2 tablespoons of dolomite kept my pH at a steady 6.2-6.4 (when it was 5 out of the tap) in my 115g tank for 12 years before it gave out.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #7 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 07:40 PM
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the Electro-right looks to be primarily Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and Sodium Chloride (the MSDS doesn't list the other elements) - these add mineral hardness in form of the Ca, Mg, and Na cations

the pH adjuster is Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which adds KH with the bicarbonate anion, it also has sodium sulfate, for what I'm not sure

I bet API's advice will be to buy another one of their products
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post #8 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum View Post
the Electro-right looks to be primarily Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride and Sodium Chloride (the MSDS doesn't list the other elements) - these add mineral hardness in form of the Ca, Mg, and Na cations

the pH adjuster is Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which adds KH with the bicarbonate anion, it also has sodium sulfate, for what I'm not sure

I bet API's advice will be to buy another one of their products
Interesting, the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). In an article on preparing water for characins, Dr. Stanley Weitzman commented on this method of buffering and warned against it. He noted that it will not buffer long-term in the face of continuing organic buildup (as here) and further the sodium was detrimental to soft water fish. I'm going from memory, and can track down the article if necessary, but i do clearly recall that he did not recommend using baking soda.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #9 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quantum View Post
I bet API's advice will be to buy another one of their products
"That dog won't hunt."

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post #10 of 10 Old 03-20-2012, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
Hmm...maybe I'm crying wolf here.... It just hit me that a week ago I did a 15g water change on my 60g using this treated DI water. I didn't check it right after, but right now the pH of the tank is 7.6, same as before. Based on that, I'm thinking it's okay (although I would have thought that a neutral pH or higher would be better for the DI water.
I'll still wait and see what API has to say, feeling justified about at least asking the question.

Father Knows Best but Abbey knows everything! I once knew everything, then I asked one question.
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