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Brown spots and "thinning" leaves

This is a discussion on Brown spots and "thinning" leaves within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> That's quite soft water. GH at 27.9 (call it 28) mg/L is the same as 28ppm, which is approxcimately 1.5 dGH. I have 1 ...

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Brown spots and "thinning" leaves
Old 06-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #11
 
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That's quite soft water. GH at 27.9 (call it 28) mg/L is the same as 28ppm, which is approxcimately 1.5 dGH. I have 1 dGH out ofmy tap. Alkalinity (KH) is 33.1 or 1.8 dKH which is minimal pH buffering, similar to mine.

My reason for asking was to ascertain any mineral nutrients occurring in the water, and it is minimal. But this does lead me to wonder why you are using the pH buffer? And which one is it? These substances can cause trouble too, for fish and plants.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:46 PM   #12
 
I began using it because my initial intentions were to have Angels in this tank. From what I had read, they preferred a lower pH and after talking to someone at my local LFS about it, he recommended using SeaChem Neutral Regulator, which buffers it to 7.0. At the time, I didn't see any issues with it, but as I've continued to read new threads on here, I've seen that it can sometimes cause more trouble than anything by using them.

Simply put, I started using it because I didn't know any better. And now I just use it because I started using it and don't know what the repercussions would be if I ceased to use it.

I had wondered if that was causing damage to my plants, "burning" them for a lack of better wording.

I do not use this product in my 20 gallon community tank and it's pH stays at about 7.6 if not higher. I'm going to test it with the high pH kit in a minute to see if I can get a better idea of what it is. I don't think I would be able to keep the fish I have in there with that high of a pH. Do you feel this would be true? Or could I wean this tank off of that product and let the pH (slowly) return to it's natural state.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:08 PM   #13
 
My 20 gallon has a pH of 7.8. And pH out of my tap is 8.4.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:22 PM   #14
 
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Assuming the hardness numbers on their site are accurate, the pH in the aquaria should lower down below 7. My tap is 7-7.2 [they raise it with some sort of ash] and the tanks vary from pH 5, 6.2-6.4, depending upon fish load.

If I were you, I would try lowering the pH naturally, in the 20g which should be easier due to smaller volume. Dilute the tank water with distilled, RO or even rainwater, to get a slightly acidic pH (say 6.6 or 6.8). If it is around 7.8 now, this can be done during several days, a bit at a time so it will lower gradually until it is around 6.7. Then let it run for a week and see how the pH stays during the week. When testing pH, always test at approximately the same time each day you check, as there are diurnal fluctuations and testing at the same time will provide a more accurate indication.

Once the tank is stable, it should stay with weekly partial water changes. They should be volume-based so as to avoid a rise in pH beyond .2 or so, so perhaps changing less water. Fluctuations of .2 to .4 are not problematic.

If this is successful, the larger tank can be similarly lowered naturally. End of expensive stuff. And speaking of that...

Here's the info from Seachem on the product.
Seachem. Neutral Regulator

I myself would not want something in my aquarium that messes around with nitrogen, as this does; "binding ammonia, nitrite and nitrate" bothers me. Plants need nitrogen, from ammonium. Not knowing how this is binding it, I would not use it. I can't say this is the plant issue source, but it may be part of it. The less chemical stuff entering a fish tank, the better in my opinion.

If you try the above suggestion, keep us posted on developments.

Byron.
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Old 06-10-2011, 01:37 PM   #15
 
So the amount that the pH drops on its own (from 8.4 -> 7.8) is probably all it will do without my assistance (distilled, RO, etc)? Or do you think it would drop even further if I didn't change the water for say 2 weeks? (Don't worry, I'm not going to actually do that).

I may try that experiment in a 5 gallon bucket to see what happens. I say that because I have all livebearers in my 20 gallon and the pH is in their range so I'd prefer not to mess with that. Do you foresee any issues with trying it in a 5 gallon bucket?
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:27 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by gmyers0203 View Post
So the amount that the pH drops on its own (from 8.4 -> 7.8) is probably all it will do without my assistance (distilled, RO, etc)? Or do you think it would drop even further if I didn't change the water for say 2 weeks? (Don't worry, I'm not going to actually do that).

I may try that experiment in a 5 gallon bucket to see what happens. I say that because I have all livebearers in my 20 gallon and the pH is in their range so I'd prefer not to mess with that. Do you foresee any issues with trying it in a 5 gallon bucket?
I wouldn't mess with the 20g with livebearers, agree.

This needs to be done in an aquarium with fish though, as it is the natural biological processes that do it as I'll explain below. I would do it in the 55g in these circumstances; it will just take a bit more water that's all.

All things being equal, with such low hardness and bicarbonate hardness, the pH should lower over time. Water changes with the tap water obvious work to keep it higher, true, but we can counter that by diluting the tap water with soft water (rainwater is ideal, RO or distilled water works too). We don't know what they are adding to raise it [something has to be, as it is not the mineral content] but diluting this will eventually remove it from the equation. The biological makeup of the tank has the biggest impact; the more fish, the more waste and thus more CO2 which adds carbonic acid and the pH lowers accordingly. Any calcareous substance in the aquarium would work against this (rock or gravel made of limestone, marble, coral, etc.) as this buffers pH. There are plants, so I would not clean the substrate, ever. I never do; the organics accumulating in the substrate create the largest amount of CO2 as the bacteria break them down, and this not only is essential for the plants' carbon but also acidifies the water. So a dirty substrate is a good thing with plants. There is a complex process of co-operation going on in the substrate between organics, various aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and the plant roots, and we want to use it, not reduce it.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 06-10-2011 at 02:30 PM..
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:03 PM   #17
 
Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge, Byron! I have to say you never disappoint!

My remaining question, and I believe it is more of a clarification, is that once I lower the pH naturally by diluting my tap water with distilled or RO water, and get it to a desirable level, and it stays there (hopefully), will I have to continue to dilute my tap water with every water change?

I want to say that based on the volume of water that I change (which you mentioned earlier), the tap water should only slightly raise the pH of the tank as it would be greatly diluted among the preexisting water. So theoretically, if I get the water to 6.5, and do a pwc, putting in undiluted tap water with a pH of 8.4, it should only slightly raise the overall pH of the tank because it is being diluted into a larger volume of water with a lower pH.

So the biggest thing that we will have to wait to see is once I get the pH down to a lower level, will it remain. This shall be fun lol.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:13 PM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by gmyers0203 View Post
Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge, Byron! I have to say you never disappoint!

My remaining question, and I believe it is more of a clarification, is that once I lower the pH naturally by diluting my tap water with distilled or RO water, and get it to a desirable level, and it stays there (hopefully), will I have to continue to dilute my tap water with every water change?

I want to say that based on the volume of water that I change (which you mentioned earlier), the tap water should only slightly raise the pH of the tank as it would be greatly diluted among the preexisting water. So theoretically, if I get the water to 6.5, and do a pwc, putting in undiluted tap water with a pH of 8.4, it should only slightly raise the overall pH of the tank because it is being diluted into a larger volume of water with a lower pH.

So the biggest thing that we will have to wait to see is once I get the pH down to a lower level, will it remain. This shall be fun lol.
In my experience, yes, the pH should remain slightly acidic. I have 7-7.2 tap water, my tanks run at 5 or 6.2, and with weekly 50% water changes the pH never varies. It goes up maybe .2 or .3 right after the change, but next morning is stable again. However, all tanks are different biologically, so you may want to go slow. One way around it if is does raise it [this might depend partly on what is causing the high pH in the tap water] is to do less water per change but more frequent changes, say every 5 days instead of 7 or something. Depends.

And thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated.

Now I must head out to take my neighbour's dog for a hike.

Byron.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:16 PM   #19
 
Sounds good! I will be sure to let you know the end result.
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