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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, the tank is all setup and running...

Aerator pushing 50GPH..Heater 84 deg...Fluval 405 loaded with Fluval Clearmax, Fluval BioMax, carbon, ammocarb, and The Fluval water polishing pad..

When I checked my pH, KH, and GH levels for my 4:1 RO:Tap mixture, I was spot on with about 6.7-6.9 pH - GH 1 degree/drop - KH 6 degrees/drops
Originally the pure R/O was in between 6.5-6.7 pH and Tap was 7.3-7.5 pH
I tested the 4:1 mix and had great results.

After I put the 4:1 mix into the tank and fired everything up...GH -Same (1 drop/deg.) KH - 5 drops/degrees but pH is in between 7.0-7.5 Probably leaning towards 7.3-7.4

I have some flagstones...very thin layer of gravel...and some art. plants in the tank. Would any of these bring my pH up .7-.9 ? I want 6.7-6.9 ideally.

The flagstones were boiled for about 30 minutes and air dryed and the gravel rinsed thoroughly and dried.

Thanks!

-Justin


P.S. I also used about 55 ml of Black Water Extract (per bottle dose instructions) the Black Water Extract has peat extract and other acidifying and softening qualities. (from what the bottle says) No pH or water test differences after this conditioner was added.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Ok, I picked out the flagstone and put some white vinegar on about 5 different pieces and none of them fizzed at all. I am sure there is still some Calcium Carbonate though probably... What would you guys do next?
 

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Id remove it, do a PWC and check again. the number should be lower.

if its white or light colored rocks then I wont even add them. limestone and all sorts of stuff can make up white and light colored rocks.

Vinegar isnt strong enough, it will only show dense CC in the rock, PH DOWN is a much better medium to use and then there is an acid that is the best, I use Ph down and keep it in me pocket when I rock hunt. if it doesnt fizz with PH down then id say the rocks are OK.
 

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Sorry to hi jack the thread but I too have pH that is on the rise in one of my planted tanks. There are rocks in it as well. I didn't know there was a way to test the rocks to see if the will alter pH. Could somebody explain to me what steps i can take to test the rocks in my tank. My tap water test between 7.4-7.6 depending on which test kit I use (high range or standard) and the water in my tank test about 8.4.
 

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Your slight rise in pH can also be due to 2 other things besides the rocks.

1- Your GH is very low. A low GH and or KH means that your water is not very buffered. A small change could affect the pH more noticibly.

2- CO2 off gassing naturally. Water in your pipes may have more CO2 then when they are in your tank due to your tank's circulation and exposure to the air. So as you loose CO2 your pH will go up. Test your 4:1 water mixture prior to adding it to the tank by shaking it vigorously then reading the pH. This will be the "real" pH in your tank after a day or 2.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok, I removed every single piece of rock..and dripped the "pH down" on every single one in 3-4 places..(about 20) and none had any fizzing at all.

These rocks are lighter in color, some look as light as limestone, but they are not limestone, and they did not fizz at all with the pH down or vinegar.

Ok then, Dmaaaaax...if my tap water is too alkaline at 4:1 ratio should I just try using less tap and more R/O?? Like a 5:1 or 6:1 ratio or just maybe no tap all? Right now, for PWCs it would be 5 gallons tap and 20 gallons R/O
 

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I was speaking with someone else about his topic and they said that the nitrate bottle #2 from the API kit has the acid in it that will react very well on the rocks.
 

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Just because a rock fizzes under testing, doesn't make it non-fish tank safe. It just tells you that it will have certain effects with the chemistry. I, myself, use a combination of slate and field stone in some of my tanks. While the rocks don't fizz under testing, they will still alter the chemistry in small amounts.

Going by your information, the only other suspect would be as Dmax mentioned in your buffering abilites with a low GH. I'm kind of curious on your RO water. If it is true RO/DI, it should be reading straight neutral at 7.

Roughly about what level are you looking for? Anything in particular such as for Discs?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Just because a rock fizzes under testing, doesn't make it non-fish tank safe. It just tells you that it will have certain effects with the chemistry. I, myself, use a combination of slate and field stone in some of my tanks. While the rocks don't fizz under testing, they will still alter the chemistry in small amounts.

Going by your information, the only other suspect would be as Dmax mentioned in your buffering abilites with a low GH. I'm kind of curious on your RO water. If it is true RO/DI, it should be reading straight neutral at 7.

Roughly about what level are you looking for? Anything in particular such as for Discs?
I have two separate R/O systems...one is a Culligan 3 stage system and the other is a Tunze Nano. They both produce water with the exact same qualities when tested. The reason I bought the Tunze system is because my Culligan R/O system only produces 1 gal. per day on average.

As far as the buffering...I do not know what I can do. I am going to be keeping discus and everything I read online and in my three different discus literature books tells me that I want soft water less than 3 degrees for GH and less than 6 degrees for KH. My tap water BEFORE filtration is right at 1 degree for GH and 5 degrees for KH What can be done about this? The R/O system makes the KH and GH even lower. My R/O is more acidic and the tap water is more basic.

I removed all of the rocks earlier today, and I removed 5 gallons of the tank water and replaced it with 6 gallons of pure R/O (one gallon was displaced by the rocks removed) The pH reading before the PWC was 7.5 in the tank. The R/O water straight from the R/O filter was 5.5. After I put the 6 gals of temp. monitored R/O into the tank, the pH level was still exactly 7.5.

I just decided to try something and I got the results I expected. The water at our tap goes through a separate softening system since we live out in the country and we have an artesian well. I tested the water that runs through our pipes before it gets to the softener. This is the water we have in our hoses outside. The GH was a whopping 24 degrees/drops and the KH 16 degrees/drops The pH, surprsiingly enough though was just over 7..maybe 7.2.

I do want my pH to be around 6.7-6.9. I will never put my discus into a tank with an alkaline water level. If it isn't al least slightly acidic, I will have to wait. I thank you all very much for your help! Any other advice will be appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, fast follow-up! I tried a different mixture. I decided to try the VERY hard water that I mentioned in the post directly above this one.

Originally, this water was at: pH-7.2-7.3 GH-24 degrees/drops KH-16 degrees/drops

I used my R/O water at 4:1 with the unsoftened tap water...

New levels at 4:1 R/O:well water pH-6.5 GH-5 degrees/drops KH-4 degrees/drops

These parameters seems much better. I am little concerned with the GH being at 5 degrees? Would that be too hard for discus?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Since you will be keeping Discs....I would suggest using Peat. You can't go wrong with that.
Yeah, I might end up going that route. I didn't really want to use peat since it would tint the water, but it may be necessary.

I think I am going to use the 3:1 or 4:1 R/O:well water ratio to bring my hardness up a bit more to buffer the pH.

I can accept a slightly hard water as long as I can keep my water a bit more acidic.
 

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Yeah, I might end up going that route. I didn't really want to use peat since it would tint the water, but it may be necessary.

I think I am going to use the 3:1 or 4:1 R/O:well water ratio to bring my hardness up a bit more to buffer the pH.

I can accept a slightly hard water as long as I can keep my water a bit more acidic.

Ahhhhh...on the contrary...Discs are blackwater fishies...they would absolutely love the tannins.

I know...some fish keepers don't like the look of it though. I'm with the discs..it makes a tank much more natural looking.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Okie dokie...plan of attack.... I'm making a big new batch of water for my PWC right now...when it is the right temp, I will go ahead a remove 50-60% of the tank water, and put the 3:1 R/O:well tap water in. This will have a GH of 6 and a KH of 5 and pH around 6.8-6.9

Hopefully this will raise the hardness up enough to buffer a pH change. You guys should let me know what you think.

With a GH and KH of 6 would this be hard enough to buffer and hold a pH change? I will be doing twice-weekly changes and the new mixtures for the PWC will be constantly 6.7-6.9 pH GH-6 and KH-5 If I can get the water in the tank to these measures then the PWC should keep it that way.

But other than draining all of the water at one time and starting over, which I am NOT going to do, I imagine that I will have to add some pH down to get it at the right level and then hope that my hardness will be able to hold it until my PWCs are regular
 
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