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too much driftwood?

This is a discussion on too much driftwood? within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I've been watching this thread because I have a related issue. My tap pH is 8.4 with a hardness of 14-15 dGH (fairly hard), ...

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Old 10-20-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
 
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I've been watching this thread because I have a related issue. My tap pH is 8.4 with a hardness of 14-15 dGH (fairly hard), and my tank pH is 7.4. I suspected this was due to the large amount of wood in my tank. I can think of no other possible cause. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the pH is lower... except when it comes time to do a water change and then I feel like the pH shifts more than I'd like. Even more so because ultimately I want to go to an even lower pH for South American fish! So, in order to both experiment and perhaps solve this problem, I put about 15 gallons of water (pH 8.4) in a storage bin with a piece of mopani and stress coat. That's it. Five days later the pH is 7.2. Since the experiment was successful, I will throw a heater in the bin and use it for my weekly water change. I may even go as far as to put even more wood in there to see if I can lower it to about 6.5, which is ultimately where I'd like my tank to be. In the long run this seems less expensive than buying distilled or RO water, and surely safer than chemicals.

So, the short of it... I suppose I'm saying that, in my experience, wood can alter pH perhaps more than is recognized in this thread. As has been stated, hardness and alkalinity can affect this and certainly others understand (and can explain) this relationship much better than I do. So I'm really interested to hear what your hardness is and how that factors into your situation!
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:45 AM   #12
 
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Storing the water in tub such as you are doing with the wood,, is effective but keep in mind that over time,,the wood will release tannins which works to soften the water, until there are no more tannins to release,Then it becomes less effective.
I have a 55 gallon tank with approx eight large pieces of mopani wood,as well as malaysian wood and moderately hard water out of the tap pH 7.6 ,10 GH.
Tank's pH is around 7.0 to 7.2 with weekly water changes of 50 percent.
Used to be when wood was new, that pH ran as low as 6.5 but as wood released the tannins over time,,the buffering capacity of my water caught up, and now to keep pH at 7.0,, I perform smaller water changes more frequently or,, in 29 gal with six or small pieces of driftwood, with anubia attached, holding German Blue Ram and cardinal's,, I plant lot's of plant's and perform water change of 25 percent once a month.(larger or more frequent water change, would cause rapid shift)
In this way ,I don't have to store much water and plant's help use up waste from fishes for growth.
Truly, plant's are very useful in helping maintain stability.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:41 AM   #13
 
are you letting your tap water sit before testing it? my understanding is that water will sometimes have a different pH straight out of the tap than after sitting due to dissolved gas from the pressure of coming out of the faucet. try letting it sit for 24 hours then test it again.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:18 PM   #14
 
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Both 1077 and KendraMc have very pertinent points. Wood, like peat and dry leaves, initially releases more tannin but this declines considerably as the tannins (which are exhaustable) are leeched out. This means that long-term it is not a "safe" method, and diluting the tap water with "pure" water is absolute. I may have more when I know the answer to the pH queston KendraMc raised; test the tap water after a glass has sat 24 hours.

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Old 10-20-2011, 01:41 PM   #15
 
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Yes, I understand your points. My tap is 8.2 after sitting out, I had looked into that before. I suppose I should have stated more clearly-

My initial set up for the experiment was free, I already had all the materials sitting around unused. Beyond that, it still seems much less expensive to me to replace a piece of mopani every so often than to buy RO. For 60 gallons of RO for a month, it would cost me almost twenty dollars. So even if I had to replace the mopani with an equally sized piece every month, I'd still be paying almost $7 less per month. And I'm quite sure that I wouldn't have to get a new piece every month, as the piece I'm using now had been in a tank for 2 months previous to the experiment and is still leeching. So as long as I test the pH of the stored water before adding it to make sure that my the tank pH and storage pH are the same, then I see no problem. Am I missing something here?
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:01 PM   #16
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I also have the same question as jennesque. How accurate are strips for testing GH and KH? I've avoided them since I had always heard liquid tests give a better reading.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:20 PM   #17
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackwaterguy View Post
I also have the same question as jennesque. How accurate are strips for testing GH and KH? I've avoided them since I had always heard liquid tests give a better reading.
Test strips are "approximate" and may or may not be accurate to the degree that you can rely on them. Air temp, humidity both affect them. Liquid tests do not have this problem provided they are not exposed to extreme temp or light.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:25 PM   #18
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinaMinaMina View Post
Yes, I understand your points. My tap is 8.2 after sitting out, I had looked into that before. I suppose I should have stated more clearly-

My initial set up for the experiment was free, I already had all the materials sitting around unused. Beyond that, it still seems much less expensive to me to replace a piece of mopani every so often than to buy RO. For 60 gallons of RO for a month, it would cost me almost twenty dollars. So even if I had to replace the mopani with an equally sized piece every month, I'd still be paying almost $7 less per month. And I'm quite sure that I wouldn't have to get a new piece every month, as the piece I'm using now had been in a tank for 2 months previous to the experiment and is still leeching. So as long as I test the pH of the stored water before adding it to make sure that my the tank pH and storage pH are the same, then I see no problem. Am I missing something here?
Mopani wood is much higher in tannins than many other types, such as the Malaysian driftwood that I use. But again, it is initial tannin which after just a couple months will be much less. Buying Mopani wood is not cheap, at least not where I live; it is very expensive. Plus, it carries the very real danger of toxic fungus that can kill fish. This is unknown, some Mopani has various fungus species and some are toxic, some not. Having tried it once and lost fish, I will never buy it again.

You mention your GH, but not the KH (alkalinity) which is the pH related measurement. A lower KH might be helping lower pH.

GH can be lowered by boiling; boiling the water dissipates out the calcium and magnesium salts causing hardness, so it becomes soft. Cheaper perhaps than buying water? Boiling does not affect bicarbonates (KH), but they may be low anyway. I would try this in a small tank.
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:26 PM   #19
 
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So, if I want to test them for curiousity's sake and just test my water and tap water as soon as I get the kit, it should be relatively accurate? Just nit recommended if you're trying to change your gh or kh and are trying to monitor it?
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Old 10-20-2011, 02:34 PM   #20
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennesque View Post
So, if I want to test them for curiousity's sake and just test my water and tap water as soon as I get the kit, it should be relatively accurate? Just nit recommended if you're trying to change your gh or kh and are trying to monitor it?
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The liquid API hardness kit is reliable, for our purposes anyway. Test strips I would not bother with, they may or may not be. If you just want to know your tap water hardness, contact the water supply folks, they can tell you (may have a website with data posted).
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