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-   -   Low pH and Alkalinity. (http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/water-chemistry/low-ph-alkalinity-27057/)

HardCory 08-09-2009 05:15 PM

Low pH and Alkalinity.
 
I'll get right to the point. I did a water change and gave it a few hours before checking my water parameters. Even though I have a FOWLR, I admit that I made the water a little on the light side. It's usually around 1.022 or 23. My Nitrates are high (noted) and that bothers me too (obviously). Anywhoozle...my levels are normally better than that (I've always struggled with Nitrates) and I'm just confused. I've recently started adding supplements for calcium and what not to get it better for a reef tank down the road. I added Marine buffer to help the pH but I want to know what could have caused a decrease in my GH and pH while giving my Nitrates a boost? Below is everything I can check for. Thanks!

Temperature: 89.0 F
pH: 7.8
Salinity: 1.019 SG
Alkalinity: 125.3 meq/l
Calcium: 360 ppm
Ammonia: 0 mg/l
Nitrate: 10 mg/l
Phosphate: 0 mg/l
Nitrite: 0 mg/l

wake49 08-09-2009 06:14 PM

Is that a mistype on your temp? 89? That seems high. Salinity seems low too, but you said you like it on the low side. I personally keep my sg at 1.025. Your pH is low, how big of a water change did you do? Did you add pH buffer to your water that was used for the change? How much live rock do you have?

You did just add a skimmer to your set up, so any organic acids in the water are just starting to get pulled from the water. These organic acids can eat up calcium in the aquarium, and drop alkalinity. This will ultimately result in a pH swing. What was the result of these tests last week? Last month? Is this a new problem, or has it been reoccuring?

The nitrates aren't a huge problem as of now, and should start to subside with running a skimmer for a few weeks. How deep is your sand bed? A 4-6" sandbed will also help in nitrate reduction, to complement a lot of live rock.

HardCory 08-09-2009 06:18 PM

89 isn't a typo. I've been throwing in bottles of frozen water to lower the temp. It's always been an issue in the summer. As for the water change, I only did a 7 gallon change. The buffer was added a few hours after the water change. Is there anything you can recomend?

Pasfur 08-09-2009 07:10 PM

Did you test the water immediately prior to the water change? Probably not, so when was the last time you tested the water? How much of a drop in pH are you seeing? Exactly what time of day were both tests taken?

Pasfur 08-09-2009 07:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wake49 (Post 224914)
You did just add a skimmer to your set up, so any organic acids in the water are just starting to get pulled from the water. These organic acids can eat up calcium in the aquarium, and drop alkalinity.

The following point is nitpicky and irrelevant to this discussion, but I want to make a slight correction to ensure no confusion in future discussions.

Organic acids cause carbonates to be removed from the buffer system, neutralizing the acid. Calcium is a major element which forms a calcium carbonate buffering ion. The impact of organics on calcium is an indirect relationship, but the presence of organics makes the maintaining of steady calcium levels more difficult, because the calcium replenishes the buffering ion that is lost to the acid.

I'm sure that is clear as mud, because it makes my head spin.

HardCory 08-09-2009 07:27 PM

Yeah..I thought about it but I didn't check before the water change. Not sure about the time of day but last Sunday my pH was at 8.2. It's seems like a significant drop.

wake49 08-09-2009 08:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pasfur (Post 224948)
The following point is nitpicky and irrelevant to this discussion, but I want to make a slight correction to ensure no confusion in future discussions.

Organic acids cause carbonates to be removed from the buffer system, neutralizing the acid. Calcium is a major element which forms a calcium carbonate buffering ion. The impact of organics on calcium is an indirect relationship, but the presence of organics makes the maintaining of steady calcium levels more difficult, because the calcium replenishes the buffering ion that is lost to the acid.

I'm sure that is clear as mud, because it makes my head spin.


P., you nitpicky? Never:-D

jk. I was just hoping to create a relationship between alk and organic acids without getting to into (but thanks for the clarification).

Hardcory. Is this the first time this happened? How much live rock/ live sand do you have? Are you dosing calcium? Alkalinity?

Pasfur 08-09-2009 09:16 PM

I love the signature line Cory. Very nice. About 10 years ago a new radio station came to Louisville. For 30 consecutive days they played non-stop Van Halen, commercial free, as a countdown for their first day on the air. They opened on day 1 with ACDC "For Those About to Rock". ACDC will be here in Louisville on October 6.

On the subject of pH, how long did you allow the salt water to mix prior to using it in the aquarium?

wake49 08-09-2009 11:12 PM

Pasfur, could the temperature play a larger role than we were considering? Calcium is more likely to precipitate at a higher temperature. If the calcium starts to precipitate (as it does on our heaters), than the carbonate is locked up in the precipitation of the calcium carbonate. Bicarbonate is naturally more acidic (or more accurately, less basic) than the carbonate ions, and this could cause a shift in pH. Since Hardcory had a large temp swing in the past few days, I believe that these readings are a direct result of that rise.

HardCory 08-10-2009 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wake49 (Post 224987)
P., you nitpicky? Never:-D

jk. I was just hoping to create a relationship between alk and organic acids without getting to into (but thanks for the clarification).

Hardcory. Is this the first time this happened? How much live rock/ live sand do you have? Are you dosing calcium? Alkalinity?

Yes it is. I have around 50 lbs of LR and give or take a 2" LS bed. And as for dosing, I've ben dosing with Liquid Calcium for about a month and haven't had any issues until now. As for Alkalinity, I'm not dosing anything.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pasfur (Post 224999)
I love the signature line Cory. Very nice. About 10 years ago a new radio station came to Louisville. For 30 consecutive days they played non-stop Van Halen, commercial free, as a countdown for their first day on the air. They opened on day 1 with ACDC "For Those About to Rock". ACDC will be here in Louisville on October 6.

On the subject of pH, how long did you allow the salt water to mix prior to using it in the aquarium?

Haha. :-)I love me some ACDC. Anyways, It actually sat for about 2 days.

Quote:

Originally Posted by wake49 (Post 225039)
Pasfur, could the temperature play a larger role than we were considering? Calcium is more likely to precipitate at a higher temperature. If the calcium starts to precipitate (as it does on our heaters), than the carbonate is locked up in the precipitation of the calcium carbonate. Bicarbonate is naturally more acidic (or more accurately, less basic) than the carbonate ions, and this could cause a shift in pH. Since Hardcory had a large temp swing in the past few days, I believe that these readings are a direct result of that rise.

I wish your idea was right but the problem is my temperatue has been this high for about 2-4 months!:shock: I know that's horrible :oops:but when it comes to this specific problem, I don't think it's going to be the cause. Not to mention, The most I can get it to drop it around 2 degrees over the course of an hour or 2.


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