Low pH and Alkalinity.
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Saltwater Fish and Coral Reef Tanks » Advanced Saltwater Discussion » Water Chemistry » Low pH and Alkalinity.

Low pH and Alkalinity.

This is a discussion on Low pH and Alkalinity. within the Water Chemistry forums, part of the Advanced Saltwater Discussion category; --> 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 ...

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
Low pH and Alkalinity.
Old 08-09-2009, 05:15 PM   #1
 
HardCory's Avatar
 
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
HardCory is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 06:14 PM   #2
 
wake49's Avatar
 
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.
wake49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 06:18 PM   #3
 
HardCory's Avatar
 
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?
HardCory is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 07:10 PM   #4
 
Pasfur's Avatar
 
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 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 07:16 PM   #5
 
Pasfur's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
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.
Pasfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 07:27 PM   #6
 
HardCory's Avatar
 
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.
HardCory is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 08:54 PM   #7
 
wake49's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pasfur View Post
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

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?
wake49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 09:16 PM   #8
 
Pasfur's Avatar
 
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?
Pasfur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2009, 11:12 PM   #9
 
wake49's Avatar
 
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.
wake49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2009, 08:12 AM   #10
 
HardCory's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wake49 View Post
P., you nitpicky? Never

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 View Post
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 View Post
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! I know that's horrible 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.
HardCory is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Calcium, alkalinity, and buffers Pasfur Water Chemistry 0 07-18-2009 08:42 PM
High Nitrate and Alkalinity mikefromsa Water Chemistry 11 02-09-2009 11:23 PM
Ph and alkalinity levels off soada101 Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 3 06-30-2008 04:41 PM
Alkalinity of tank sinadyan Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 1 05-14-2008 08:21 PM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:14 AM.