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Low pH... can't figure out why, help pls?


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#1
Purplemonkey

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This started about 2 weeks ago. I had a torch coral frag decide to up and die on me, causing my tank to get cloudy. I did a 10% wc and got a 20% mixing. Also threw in a bag of carbon to help clear up the water. Tank cleared itself up in about 1.5-2 days. All corals looked happy and open, fish were happy. Only casualty was my skunk cleaner shrimp (his body was removed, tail was eaten, I suspect more to do with my pistol shrimp but you never know).

After the 20% wc, Amm 0, trite 0, trate 5, Ca 400, Alk 9, Mg 1300, ph (as measure by a pinpoint probe) 7.8 (night) - 8.2(day). This is generally where my parameters stay. [All test API except Mg - Elos. Results confirmed by LFS using Elos test kits]

Up until last week, I have been using kalk to maintain Ca + Alk between w/c. I would manually add 10mL of kalk solution (1 tbl spoon per 1/2 gallon) at night into the rear chambers (Tank is a 29g Biocube). This was not maintaining the Ca or Alk levels so I decided to try 2-part -- Brightwells. I tested and added 10mL of Part A, then 5mL of Part B. pH has been 7.7 - 7.95 since. I can't figure out why. Have done a 20% wc yesterday and no effect on pH range.

I have read Randy's articles and thought CO2 levels might be an issue (but they werent the rest of the winter?) so I opened all my windows and opened both access hatches. I even tried bubbling the water.

Any ideas? Pointers? I'm not trying to chase pH but 7.7 is out of acceptable range isn't it?


Tank Info:
29g Biocube
2x36w PC (1x10k, 1xactinic)
mj900 return pump
mp10wes for in tank flow (level 3 on lagoon mode)
100w heater
Tunze ato
RKL with temp and ph probe
filtration: filter rack with media in following order: filter floss, purigen, rox8.0, rowaphos
Chaeto growing in fuge rack (jbj nano-glo on 24hrs)

Feeding schedule:
NLS pellets every 2nd day, mysis (with garlic + selcon) once a week
LPS get target feed mysis once a week
TLF coral snow 2x week [heard good things, thought I'd try it out]

Lifestock:
1x Bicolour blenny
1x A. Percula
2x green chromis
1x Randall's goby
1x tiger pistol shrimp
CUC - cerith snails, 2x tonga nassarius, nerite snails, 2 blue leg hermits, 1 ring cowrie (I think, see it every once in a while)

Corals:

LPS:
- 2 frags Acan
- 2 frags chalice (1 is doing well, other recently decided to not look so good, can see skeleton)
- 1 colony neon green trumpet/candycane
- 1 frag moon coral (favia I believe)
- 2 frags (2 heads each) hammer
- 4 heads frogspawn
- 1 frag blasto merletti
- 1 frag blasto wellsi

Softies:
-3 ricordia florida
-2 ricordia yuma
- zoas + pallys
- don't know its name but blue in color, looks kinda like xenia but no stalk, grows in mat.


If you need any other info, let me know.

#2
Alexraptor

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You mentioned that your using a ph probe, have you tried recalibrating it with proper calibration fluids?

#3
Purplemonkey

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You mentioned that your using a ph probe, have you tried recalibrating it with proper calibration fluids?


I calibrated it 2-3 weeks ago. I also used a pH test kit to confirm the pH probes reading. The reading is also in line with the LFS test [J&L Aquatics, one of the better canadian stores]

#4
mrbigshot

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your ph is fine where it is. 7.5 is the low acceptable range. your kalk solution should have been in place of the water your topping off, not treating it a 2 part solution. i believe if you did that it would probably negate the need for 2 part dosing.
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#5
mohawk

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My guess would be your Mag is a little low., Try raising that a bit and see., Your ALK is probably being bumped by the kalkwasser which is why you have an ok test reading but its unstable., My theory anyways., Good luck.,.,

#6
Amphiprion1

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At 7.7, you are at the lower end. While I personally find that level *just* acceptable, it shouldn't outright kill anything if accurate. It may be safer to raise it a bit, but not shoot for a single value. Since you are already using kalkwasser, I'd second the suggestion to use it in your top off--added via drip/very slowly, of course. CO2 still seems to be a likely culprit, IMO. Have you aerated a sample of tank water outside your home? If that is the issue, kalkwasser is a perfect choice. You can also use photosynthesis, but that will depend upon the light, algal biomass, etc., so a bit more unpredictable.

Edited by Amphiprion1, 16 April 2012 - 10:54 AM.


#7
neuwave

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your ph is fine where it is. 7.5 is the low acceptable range. your kalk solution should have been in place of the water your topping off, not treating it a 2 part solution. i believe if you did that it would probably negate the need for 2 part dosing.


I would have to disagree. 7.5 is way too low for proper coral function and growth. Amphiprion1 and I agree 7.7 is barely within range and even then I wouldn't my tank that low. Like he said if your usin Kalk already and the ph is still low, I'd invest into a CO2 scrubber.

Edited by neuwave, 16 April 2012 - 11:45 AM.

MY 24Lx24Hx16Deep
th_2b0024af.jpg

PH GOES UP! How to raise your PH without dosing.
="http://www.nano-reef...er-ph-goes-up/"

#8
mrbigshot

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prior to kalkwasser i would hit 7.5x routeanly in the winter, no sps loss or damage that i can tell.. hell even now with kalkwasser and open windows its just under 8
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#9
neuwave

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prior to kalkwasser i would hit 7.5x routeanly in the winter, no sps loss or damage that i can tell.. hell even now with kalkwasser and open windows its just under 8


I wouldn't say your animals would die but you could compromise the health of your tank. I can eat big macs all day long and all year long but doesnt mean it's suitable or healthy.
MY 24Lx24Hx16Deep
th_2b0024af.jpg

PH GOES UP! How to raise your PH without dosing.
="http://www.nano-reef...er-ph-goes-up/"

#10
blasterman

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At 7.5 you'd better be running a reactor.

#11
Purplemonkey

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Thanks for all the replies! It is CO2 buildup. I've setup a kalk drip (nice and slow using an IV setup... Wife is a nurse) and to help things out I'm running an airstone with supply line from outside as often as I can.

Ph is now 8.2 end of the light cycle... Drops to 7.9/8.0 in the morning.

#12
bdare

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Not sure I've seen anyone post this... but you don't really want to or need to chase pH. As long as your ALK is within range pH will be fine unless either something died or you have CO2 build up.

#13
Purplemonkey

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I'm not chasing pH... I monitor and test cases, alk, mg, nitrate and all are fine. I noticed pH was getting outside of the acceptable range which led me figure out that I have built up CO2 in my water. I've decided to use a kalk drip to help remove the CO2 and it's been keeping things more stable and in the 8 area for phone.

Thanks for the concern/advice bud.

#14
lakshwadeep

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Stop testing for pH if you're not chasing it. If everything else is good, then pH is a moot point. ;)

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#15
Deckoz2302

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Ph is never a moot point. Ph is a sign or many lines. Ph effects the waters supersaturation which effects how and when elements precipitate out of the water. Ph is also a sign of not enough waterchanges or skimming is being performed and there is an overabundance of hydroxy radicals forming acids with DOCs bogging down the Ph from its potential stability point. Ph is also relative to co2 and oxydation levels as well as orp.

Edited by Deckoz2302, 09 May 2012 - 12:32 PM.


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#16
HecticDialectics

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Ph is never a moot point. Ph is a sign or many lines. Ph effects the waters supersaturation which effects how and when elements precipitate out of the water. Ph is also a sign of not enough waterchanges or skimming is being performed and there is an overabundance of hydroxy radicals forming acids with DOCs bogging down the Ph from its potential stability point. Ph is also relative to co2 and oxydation levels as well as orp.


No. Here, you're wrong. lakshwadeep is right.

#17
Deckoz2302

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No. Here, you're wrong. lakshwadeep is right.



whatever you say chemist.

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#18
lakshwadeep

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Ph is never a moot point. Ph is a sign or many lines. Ph effects the waters supersaturation which effects how and when elements precipitate out of the water. Ph is also a sign of not enough waterchanges or skimming is being performed and there is an overabundance of hydroxy radicals forming acids with DOCs bogging down the Ph from its potential stability point. Ph is also relative to co2 and oxydation levels as well as orp.


Can you provide a link about such "hydroxy radicals forming acids with DOCs?" Even a scientific article would be fine (I am relatively comfortable with chemistry/biochemistry). The effects of carbon dioxide would be taken care of by testing for alkalinity (i.e. carbonate alkalinity).

pH is basically an average of many different factors, so it makes more sense to adjust those factors one by one rather than looking at the pH and trying to divine which factor should be changed. Moreover, the range of acceptable pH values is fairly broad, and the vast majority of tanks that have values within that range seem to do just fine. It's just like ORP; once you find the redox potential, it's more than a tad difficult to find why that specific reading arose and what to do to "fix it." IMO, the major reason there are ORP testers (or pH testers) on various electronic reef monitors is because they are much cheaper than equivalent electronic meters of more important chemical parameters.

↳Malcolm

Newer! ADA 60-F

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