PH swings in planted tank
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PH swings in planted tank

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PH swings in planted tank
Old 05-25-2013, 10:48 PM   #1
 
PH swings in planted tank

Hello, I have a 10 gallon planted tank that's been running for 2 months. When I set up the tank I decided to mix distilled water and tap to come up with GH of 6 for the plants. My tap is GH 16 and I didn't want to be limited by this. Initially my PH was 7.6 however it fluctuates from 7.4 - 8.0. I understand this is normal in a planted tank, but I'm concerned about my lone Betta in the tank.

I read that the more the water is buffered the less PH swings you have. I really don't want to get into making adjustments with chemicals. However I was thinking I could switch from distilled water to spring water. With that I could still get a good starting PH. My question is will the spring water buffer more since it has minerals in it vs. distilled that does not. Also if I treat spring water with dechlorinator that also detoxes heavy metal will it take the minerals out?

I appreciate the feed back.

Donetta
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Old 05-26-2013, 01:08 AM   #2
 
What's your concern with the beta? The PH swing between 7.4 to 8.0 doesn't happen within seconds. It's something gradual. Your beta is fine. I don't see a concern.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:17 AM   #3
 
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I would be interested in the timing of this fluctuation. Are you meaning diurnally, example the pH being 7.4 first thing when the lights come on, and 8.0 last thing before they go off? Or are you getting pH swings at all times? The former is normal, the latter is not.

Also, what is the pH of the tap water on its own? Remember to outgas the CO2 in tap water before testing pH, by shaking the water very briskly for a few minutes.

And do you know the KH (carbonate hardness, or Akalinity) of the tap water?

Byron.
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:51 PM   #4
 
Hello my situation appears to be normal then. In the morning I test my water and the PH is 7.4 and later in the evening it raises to 8.0-8.2. I just tested the PH now and it's 7.4, no lights yet. I outgased the tap and it tested PH 8.0. I also tested my tap and its KH11.

I"m trying to create the most staple environment for my Betta. I'm thinking it may still be a good idea to change my water to full spring water though. I tested my phosphates out the tap and it tested at 1.0. My distilled/tap mix yields .5, but my current tank phosphates is 1.0 therefore .5 must be coming from food etc.

I just changed my fert schedule and discontinued the macros. I haven't dosed macros since Tuesday and did a 50% wc on Thursday. I'm having a problem with GSA on my floating pennywort and with Nitrates of less than 5 and phosphate of 1 I think I will always have GSA due to this imbalance. The GSA totally covers the leaf so I have to remove it. I weeded out some yesterday. Byron do you find a situation like this balances it self out with proper dosing of micros? If not I'll switch to spring water. I read that arrowhead has a ph of 6.8 and if full of minerals. I am thinking of buying a bottle today and test the KH/GH.

Thanks for all the help!

Donetta
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Old 05-26-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
 
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I missed a couple things previously, sorry for that. I'll answer those now, as we have more data which is important too.

First, the pH is buffered by the KH, and with a KH of 11 you will have a hard time adjusting the pH. Diluting the tap water with "pure" water will obviously lower the KH (along with the GH, that's no problem here). Don't use Spring water as the mix with tap, and this is only adding more. "Pure" water like RO (reverse osmosis), distilled, or rainwater works.

Alternative, depending what the Spring water has in terms of GH and pH, it alone might work.

Don't worry about the phosphates. No issue there.

The diurmal pH fluctuation is normal, it occurs in natural waters, and fish have no issues. Hiscock says this can be as much as 1 full degree in pH, i.e., from 7.4 to 8.4, without causing fish any problems. It occurs over a 24-hour period, and daily.

Re the fertilizers, I would go with a good complete liquid. You're not adding CO2, and presumably the light is not intense, so a low-tech or natural approach is easier. Plants need all 17 nutrients and in proportion or they can't photosynthesize fully.

What is GSA, green string algae?

Don't worry about plant pH, this is not that relevant. GH is, but only provided it is not very soft which can mean insufficient hard minerals 9calcium, magnesium, potassium perhaps). My tanks are at 5 to 6 dGH, and I use Equilibrium to get them up to this level as out of the tap it is near-zero. Some plants manage fine without, but my swords and tiger lotus need it.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 05-26-2013 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 05-27-2013, 05:11 PM   #6
 
Thanks for clearing that up with the PH and I'll keep diluting my tap with the distilled water. GSA is green spot algae and I was told an imbalance between nitrates and phosphorus is what causes this.

Donetta
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:12 PM   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Donetta View Post
Thanks for clearing that up with the PH and I'll keep diluting my tap with the distilled water. GSA is green spot algae and I was told an imbalance between nitrates and phosphorus is what causes this.

Donetta
Here's some reliable data on this algae. I have seen it but only on the glass in my 115g, and running a sponge scraper over the inside glass at every water change eliminates it as it has to chance to form. In the following, don't bother with nitrate/phosphate, etc, once things are balanced these individual nutrients are irrelevant.
Green Spot Algae prefer direct light. It forms green spots on aquarium glass and slow growing plants that are exposed to strong light. This algae will appear if CO2 and Phosphate (PO4) levels are low. Since it is very hard, algae eaters can't do much in eliminating this algae. Neritina Zebra snail is the only algae eater known that can, literally, eradicate the Green Spot Algae. It can be scraped manually off of the glass with a razor blade. In a case of an acrylic aquarium use plastic razors only. This algae is considered normal in small amounts.
To prevent this algae keep stable CO2 levels, dose NPK regularly and improve the water circulation throughout the tank for better nutrient transport. Keep slow growing plants in places where they will get less light.

Dusko Bojic.
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:10 PM   #8
 
I'm tired of mixing water together. I found a bottled water that looks like it could meet my needs. It's a store brand purified drinking water with minerals added for taste. Here's some key elements on the water analysis in mg/L:

total hardness 27
TDS 55 - divided by 10 will equal 5.5 dh, my current set up is 6
ph 6.8 perfect PH for Betta (my set up is 7.4 so will have to adjust slowly)
Chlorine 0 - then I would not have to add dechlorinator right?
calcium 11
Magnesium .05 - this is low, but also doing flourish comp. Does prime detox this?
Sulfur 0 - flourish comp, but not sure if enough

I'm trying to simplify my process and meet the needs of the plants/fish. Do you think this will work?


Thanks! Donetta
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:37 PM   #9
 
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Originally Posted by Donetta View Post
Hello my situation appears to be normal then. In the morning I test my water and the PH is 7.4 and later in the evening it raises to 8.0-8.2. I just tested the PH now and it's 7.4, no lights yet. I outgased the tap and it tested PH 8.0. I also tested my tap and its KH11.

I"m trying to create the most staple environment for my Betta. I'm thinking it may still be a good idea to change my water to full spring water though. I tested my phosphates out the tap and it tested at 1.0. My distilled/tap mix yields .5, but my current tank phosphates is 1.0 therefore .5 must be coming from food etc.

I just changed my fert schedule and discontinued the macros. I haven't dosed macros since Tuesday and did a 50% wc on Thursday. I'm having a problem with GSA on my floating pennywort and with Nitrates of less than 5 and phosphate of 1 I think I will always have GSA due to this imbalance. The GSA totally covers the leaf so I have to remove it. I weeded out some yesterday. Byron do you find a situation like this balances it self out with proper dosing of micros? If not I'll switch to spring water. I read that arrowhead has a ph of 6.8 and if full of minerals. I am thinking of buying a bottle today and test the KH/GH.

Thanks for all the help!

Donetta
As you stated it is normal to have more pH fluxuations with planted tanks just like in lakes.

To me what is important is the reason for the fluxuations not the fluxuations themselves. For instance, it is better to have the pH rise during the day due to lowering carbon dioxide levels then to have a constant much lower pH due to constantly higher co2 levels. So what I do (other then just ignore pH altogether) is to measure pH just before lights out to check for a high value which indicates the tank is a net consumer of CO2 and producer of oxygen every 24 hour period.

I high-lighted the stable environment to emphasize a "pet peeve" of mine. I hope you are not confusing stability with constant. Stability is the ability of the system to return to a balanced state when deviations occure. That may or may not reflect totally constant values. With PH you may have a daily ph change but when the system deviates from that change it very well to return that that change. For instance, should the pH drop to a very low value, the system reacts and returns to its more mormal daily drop. One way that could happen if is the plants start growing faster sucking out the increased carbon dioxide. When co2 returns to normal values, the pH drop does also. A stable but changing environment.

But a system very well to have a constant pH that is very unstable. And should that constant pH drop down the system could react by dropping the pH even further. In that case you could have a constant pH which is unstable.

FWIW I like the idea of a stable system over and above whether or not prameters are constant.


But from what I read the betta is doing fine. Which is all the really matters.



my .02
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:03 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donetta View Post
I'm tired of mixing water together. I found a bottled water that looks like it could meet my needs. It's a store brand purified drinking water with minerals added for taste. Here's some key elements on the water analysis in mg/L:

total hardness 27
TDS 55 - divided by 10 will equal 5.5 dh, my current set up is 6
ph 6.8 perfect PH for Betta (my set up is 7.4 so will have to adjust slowly)
Chlorine 0 - then I would not have to add dechlorinator right?
calcium 11
Magnesium .05 - this is low, but also doing flourish comp. Does prime detox this?
Sulfur 0 - flourish comp, but not sure if enough

I'm trying to simplify my process and meet the needs of the plants/fish. Do you think this will work?


Thanks! Donetta
I don't see any problems with this. And no, you do not need a conditioner, but if you did use one that deals with heavy metals (as Prime does, and most will) then yes, it would mess around with magnesium. You will need Flourish for the missing nutrients.

I don't grasp the TDS 55 divided by 10 point, perhaps you could explain? Are you considering diluting this water too?

Byron.
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