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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the tank has been setup for a few days now. If you read any of my other pH posts.. you know that I was still trying to get it right. I added some harder water with my water change this morning, and did a 50%-60% change, hoping that the harder water would buffer the pH to stay put, and I went ahead and added some pH down to see if it would stay.

So at noon today, after the 60% water change and some pH down I had my pH at 7.0 exactly GH at 6 drops/degrees and KH at 5 drops/degrees.

Just now, at 8:30..only 8 hours later my pH is right back at that magic 7.5 it loves to be at! I know that pH adjusters are known to do this, but I was hoping the harder water would help buffer it to stay put, so it would stay there when I did water changes with water with exacting pH levels.

I do not have any decorations except a very very thin layer of black aquarium gravel and about 6 artificial plants in the tank.

Why is it, when I am doing water changes with water that is 6.8 pH, that this water will automatically buffer to 7.5????

What about my filtering media??? I have Fluval Clearmax, Fluval Biomax, ammocarb, carbon, and a polishing pad....Could any of these be a culprit??

I am really at a loss here... What would you do? I have tried all different types of mixtures and ideas I can think of.
 

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Water that comes out of the tap many times has a high co2 concentration, which lowers the PH. As the CO2 out gasses the PH will rise to it's natural level. Is there a reason you want to lower your PH? Most fish (and plants) will thrive in a normal range of PHs so long as there aren't large swings in the Ph over short periods of time. The problem with Ph changers is that they usually cause the ph to fluctuate quickly which can be a problem for your fish, much more so than just having a stable ph which may be on the high side.

I'm not sure about those filter media. However I would say to get rid of the ammo carb as it can do strange things to the bacteria responsible for the nitrogen cycle. What is fluval clearmax? The others should have no effect.

If you really want lower PH there are easier and safer ways to do so, by the addition of driftwood tannins and peat (either in the substrate or filter) for example.
 

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Queen Platy
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Yea.. I used to try to change my pH also because I wanted my water softer, but that never happened. Ive used all the ideas i could think of including the infamous adding peat, but that just made my water yellow. What you can do is buy distilled water or reverse osmosis water and mix it with the tap. They sell it at my Walmart, you just bring a your own container and fill it up. Its a hassle but it always works. Its hard to change the pH without messing the with GH and KH because those 3 tie together in a triangle. Its easier to find fish that adapt to your cities water chemistry rather than making the water adapt to the fish. I would avoid using that pH up and pH down and all those wierd meds. They dont even work and just accumulate up in the tank and cause problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, I have R/O:tap mix.. I have tried 3:1 I have tried 4:1 I do realize the situation with the CO2 gasses. That is probably one of my problems

I want to raise discus. I purchased a separate R/O system to go with my current R/O system just for this tank.

The Clearmax is a phosphate/nitrate/nitrite reducer

I am wondering if I should settle for the harder water in hopes to buffer the pH at a lower a level or just settle for the 7.5 pH and keep the softer water?

I know discus will be OK at pH 7.5 in soft water, but I know that they will be more at ease and comfortable at 6.5-6.9

Plus...if I use the very hard water to mix at a higher ratio with my R/O water, my hard water has a lot of very heavy metals.

So where is the tradeoff? AHHH! This is crazy
 

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Depends on the strain of discus to be honest, some do great and breed in the high 7 range, some wont until they are in the low 6 range.

try just straight RO water, I bypassed my DI unit and give them straight RO, the DI takes out the crap in the tap water, RO leaves some there, I got 5 tanks off the same supply and water is 7.0 flat but in the tanks they are 6.5-6.8 never fluctuating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Depends on the strain of discus to be honest, some do great and breed in the high 7 range, some wont until they are in the low 6 range.

try just straight RO water, I bypassed my DI unit and give them straight RO, the DI takes out the crap in the tap water, RO leaves some there, I got 5 tanks off the same supply and water is 7.0 flat but in the tanks they are 6.5-6.8 never fluctuating.
That is going to be my next endevour....trying straight R/O. I think what will happen though..is that it will probably just buffer at 7.5 like it has been for all of my changes.

One more question: Everyone and everything says that peat and driftwood lower pH... What are we talking about here..Like does it lower it .2 or does it lower it like from 7.5 to 6.5? What are we actually talking about as far as lowering?
 

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One more question: Everyone and everything says that peat and driftwood lower pH... What are we talking about here..Like does it lower it .2 or does it lower it like from 7.5 to 6.5? What are we actually talking about as far as lowering?
This will depend on a couple things. First is the waters buffering abilities. I know your mixing RO and tap so you will need to get that scenario worked out so you know exactly what GH/KH you will be dealing with.

Also, depends on how much you put in the tank. You can really pack your filter with peat and it can lower it significantly. Can't tell you number wise as it's all variable driven.

And yes, between the peat, driftwood, almond leaves, etc., they will tint your water to a tea color as the tannins are released. As I mentioned before, this is the ideal setup for discs.

One last friendly suggestion if I may...lose the PH Down and any other chems that play with your PH. It is a recipe for disaster.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes...I did use the pH down one time to see if I could lower the pH when I added harder water. With water that a had a higher GH and KH I thought that it might stabilize the water at that level. It did not. I realized that.
That was the last time. I won't be using it again.
 

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The Clearmax is a phosphate/nitrate/nitrite reducer
Is this going to be a planted aquarium? I ask since u talk about wanting to raise discus. If it is you are probably going to want to get rid of the carbon and that clearmax because it will absorb nutrients that the plants use. Just kind of an aside. I've never kept discus so i can't help u too much there.
 

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Did you test the pH of your tap after shaking it in the tube like I mentioned in your first post? My guess is that the CO2 is causing this, so in order to pH the water correctly you have to let it gas then adjust the pH.

Here is what I do. I change 20g a week. I put the water into a 20g trashcan beside my tank the day before. I let the CO2 gas off with a pump and by adding it from the sink with the Python so that it splashes a lot. Then I adjust the pH using 2 buffers (this is key, ask any one who has taken chemistry) the following day before adding it to the tank. I also add GH booster.

I use akaline buffer (pH up) and acid buffer (pH down) until I get the pH I want. These buffers are from Seachem and tell you what ratio to use in order to get a target pH in distilled water. Regular tap will take more fine tuning. Once you get the ratio (lets say 2:1), you can add x amount to y amount depending on what KH you want because these buffers are based on carbonates.

The pH should stay fairly constant even with top off from your tap or distilled throughout the week. And once you get the ratio, it stays constant with each water change, and you just need to check it once a month or so.

I would stay away from carbon or any other phospahte/nitrate removers because once they are maxed out they begin leeching it back into the water, so instead of going from 0 to 10ppm, it might spike to 20ppm because you now have 2 sources.
 

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Oh, I have a planted discus tank and keep the following parameters:

kH 3-4ppm
GH 3-4ppm
pH night: 7.0-7.1
pH day: 6.5-6.2

The change in pH is due to the pressurized CO2. I shoot for lower 6.2 pH but it depends on the water level and bubble count. The lower the water level, the more surface tension. The fish are fine with a daily fluctuation of pH as this happens in the wild due to plants giving off CO2 at night and using it during the day...also with rainfall etc, there are daily drops in pH, temp, and hardness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Ok..thanks for all the help!!

A couple of you are saying to ditch the carbon and nitrate/nitrite/phosphate removers....

There isn't going to be anything in my filter if I do that. What exactly should I be using in my filtration? I suppose it will simply be just the Biomax if I remove the carbon, remove the ammonia reducer, and remove the nitrate/nitrite/phosphate removers. Then all I will have is a filter with a few sponges that filters sediment?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, I went on Seachem's website and did some research on their products. I decided to do like you mentioned Dmaaaaax, and try using the combination with the buffers. They make a buffer that they call Neutral Regulator and can be used in conjunction with the acid buffer or (discus buffer) as they call it. With the exact ratios used, one can achieve the desired pH level and KH level while keep the GH down.

I assume that after utilizing these products for each water change (twice per week), I should be able to keep the pH constant, and still have my lower GH water.

The CO2 should be gassed off since I will be using an aerator and a day or two sitting time for my PWC holding tank.

I am going to be using the driftwood and Ketapang leaves to provide some the trace elements.

I CANT EXPRESS HOW MUCH HELP YOU ALL HAVE BEEN!!
 

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In order for me to use filtration without carbon.. I took the old cartridge and cut out the old poly-fiber and the old carbon and threw it away. But I KEEP the frame. Then I cut a new peice of poly fiber out and attach them together with rubber bands and put it back in the filter. You can buy the poly fiber at any Walmart or Hobby store. They sell it at pet stores too but they rename the product and sell it for 3x the price.

The only thing I have in my filter is that poly fiber filter cartridge and a biowheel. And my water is crystal clear. I dont use any of that phosphate yaddi yaddi stuff. After 4 weeks, carbon goes bad and leaks contaminants into the water, so just replace it with plain poly-fiber material after 4 weeks.
 

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Ok..thanks for all the help!!

A couple of you are saying to ditch the carbon and nitrate/nitrite/phosphate removers....

There isn't going to be anything in my filter if I do that. What exactly should I be using in my filtration? I suppose it will simply be just the Biomax if I remove the carbon, remove the ammonia reducer, and remove the nitrate/nitrite/phosphate removers. Then all I will have is a filter with a few sponges that filters sediment?
You got it. Basically all you will need is Biological (Biomax) and Mechanical (sponges/filter pads, etc). Carbon and all that other junk is a waste of money IMO, the only time to use it is if you are medicating and want to remove the meds or have some other form of contamination.

Good luck and keep us updated on the tank!
 
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