Question for all of those who use peat or anything else to acidify their water?
My 75 gallon community tank is full of fish who prefer slightly acidic water, 6.0-7.0 pH to be exact, and 8-12 dGH.
My tap water is off the chart pH (above 8.6, probably considerably above) and 10 dGH.
For the last 4 months (exactly 4 months, actually) I have been using 2 pieces of African Mopani wood and a product called Proper pH 7.0 in this tank, and have had exactly 8 dGH the entire time, and a pH consistently between 6.6-6.8. The fish are thriving and breeding in these conditions, and that makes me happy.
However, the correct dosage of Proper pH 7.0 for this tank means I go through lots of bottles of that chemical, and it is getting really expensive. So I am thinking about other methods to acidify my extremely alkaline water to the levels that my fish prefer. And yes, I know they could probably adjust somewhat, but between spending a lot and making them adjust to conditions that aren't ideal for them, I'd rather continue spending a lot, no contest whatsoever. More over, my tap water pH is beyond reasonable levels for most fish. I know that none of the other chemicals meant to acidify water will work for me, most of them just bounce right back to extremely alkaline, and the last thing I want is to have a constantly and radically shifting pH. And my bogwood does not make enough of a difference by itself.
So I was thinking about getting some peat and using it, perhaps in the filter. But I'm not sure how to use it, how much to use it, and I am very concerned about the hardness going down to the point that my water has no buffering capacity, and my pH then going absolutely crazy. I was hoping that someone with experience using peat could help me with these issues.
I would also like to hear from people who have used other methods besides peat, bogwood, or chemicals. (If there are any other reliable ways).
Sorry the post was so long, thanks for reading it!
I haven't done it but I do remember some research I did a while back. I believe using peat in the filter container was one way. maybe a nylon mesh bag similar to the one's the charcoal and ceramics come in? That would be pretty easy to do. Just lay it in on top of the ceramic thingys... or under them so it won't float up.
I'm thinking real hard here and seems like another way was to put peat in the bottom of a pot and put a plant in on top of it, then place the plant pot in the tank.
Well there's several ways you can go about this. I also used this method before we moved cause of the hard water vs. my Killi....
You can buy Peat in what looks like little tiles, this is what I put across the whole tank under the gravel, so it permanently gives off.
Also you can hang it in the tank (inside a lil nylon net or alike) but I personally hadn't found that very attractive.
If you do have a filter that has different chambers within it that you can fill with different substrates and they're secured somehow in there (meaning so that it won't flush down the tube and clog it for you) that's also a nice way.
Considering from what range at you're starting, me personally I'd do the under gravel layer and inside the filter.
Also what I done (to avoid shock of any type for my Killi) I had a few extra peat 'tiles' that I always used for the w/c: I tossed them in the bucket and added the water the day PRIOR to when i'd do the w/c. It is a little more hassle then normal so that's totally your call if you want to work this way. Then for the w/c just take the little peat tiles out, place them somewhere where they'll dry back out and re-use next time.
Hope this helps you.
The problem with using peat is that it needs to be replaced regularly, and the harder the water the more peat will be needed and the faster it will become ineffective. It works by releasing tannins into the water, similar to what bogwood does but much more and quicker, but eventually the tannins are depleted and the peat has to be replaced. FishinPole formerly used this method for his beautiful SA characin aquarium, and I believe he changed. Perhaps he will see this and comment, or you (Akeath) can PM him.
The other method and my preference were I in this boat would be RO (reverse osmosis). The initial cost of the unit is high but you don't have to keep buying peat. The RO will remove the mineral from the water, and then you mix the water with a bit of tap water (to restore some mineral--pure water cannot support aquatic life because it has nothing in it). There are members who have experience with this, and hopefully they will comment too. I am very fortunate that the water out of my tap could almost be out of the Rio Negro--zero GH and KH, and pH 6.8 which allows my aquaria to remain at 6.0 with 1-2 dGH (through dolomite in the filter).
I'm surprised the "Proper pH 7" was so stable; assuming that it was, and not lowering the water when used and then by next time the water is alkaline, etc. That fluctuation is dangerous as it stresses the fish at the least and it can affect their internal metabolism and worse. I certainly agree with your approach to provide the correct water; while fish can "adapt" to some extent, I don't believe this is as much as some presume and fish not living their full potential in years may well be linked back to problems like inappropriate water parameters. You're on a good road in my view. Good luck.
Cause the method I described above with under gravel & filter mixture I used for over 2 yrs w/out troubles (meaning hardness in this case), so I'm just curious....maybe different types of peat :dunno:
At last, I get to meet someone who understand the concept behind "Ideal Condition over adaptability.
Although fish can adapt and have don such myself, my conclusion was that best results from ideal conditions.
1. Try collecting rain water if possible provided not near industrial area. collect in reserve and run filter with high quality carbon + heater.. Test the rain water to see if the properties of rain water is close to what you desire..
2. Condition tap water in reserve with peat in it (good amt), circulating with powerhead and heater. Better yet, try using filter filled with high quality carbon just in case of any impurities which may have came with Peat from Garden Center (very cheap).
Just siphone out water from top of reserve when needed. Then fill it back up and let it condition again. Should changed the pit when you notice peats are exhausted.
This was one of the way which I ve used to condtion (soften) the water for various uses.
Sometimes i would have up to 300 Gallons constantly circulating in reserve to meet the demands.
3. Make diy Denitrator (hydrophonic cencept of house hold plants) or buy one on the market. Once you can control nitrate, probably can reduce the frequency of water changes.
?? If you happened to skip one water change without adding more buffer, what happens to pH?
Does it go even lower than 6.8 or does it bounce back up to alkaline side on its own?
I also have tap water that is really hard (Arizona) and I'm glad this thread came up. So far I have been making the inmates adapt because of the same difficulties Akeath brought up. The water here is like liquid rocks, so it's pretty hard to deal with by just adding chemicals. I may go to using peat myself soon. Thanks for all the great comments and thanks for bringing this up Akeath.
Is this hard water from municipal water Co or is it your own well water?
it's municipal water and I think, not 100% sure, that they use a lot of buffers. Plus arsenic removal, and so on. When I spill a little water on the side of the tank it dries to a white streak... that should give you an idea.
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