Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
s1l3nt

Issues lowering ph

Recommended Posts

s1l3nt

Hey all,
I've been racking my brain for a while trying to find a solution to my problem and bugging a few other people for their opinions and have come to the conclusion of something strange going on so here I am asking for more advice on here!

Firstly some background on the problem.... This is NOT for a shrimp tank, it is for an apisto tank. I am trying to reduce the pH in one of my tanks to be between 5.5 and 6. To do this I am using RO water and drip filtering this (small handful in a cup that water drips through as it fills the drum) through peat moss which brings the water ph down to ~5.8pH , 0TDS with a kh/gh of 0.

The starting pH in the tank was 7.2-7.4pH and the starting TDS was ~150, unsure on original gh/kh but tap water was used on the tank prior and that is 3kh and 3gh so shouldnt be far off. Current paramaters are 7.0-7.2pH, 20TDS, 0-1kh and 0-1gh, i will explain below how I got the paramaters to this point.

The tank is a bare bottom breeding tank, and has nothing that should effect pH at all in it. Here is a list of things in the tank:
- 2 x sponge filters
- 5-6 x Marine pure spheres
- 2 x coconut cave (originally had 1 coconut and 1 terracotta pot but have since removed the terracotta pot for testing, explained further below).
- a bunch of oak leaves, loquat leaves and a few indian almond leaves.
- Some java moss, java fern and some anubias.

Shot of tank prior ot removing the terracotta pot:
i-sWf3bSk-L.jpg

I have done 6-7 water changes in total ranging in size from 50-75% and the ph has not moved from what it is while the TDS goes down each time by roughly the same percentage. After the last water change I decided to test the gh/kh also, which came back at 0-1 (1 drop) on the api kit for both gh and kh. last water change was 4-5 days ago now, i have since pulled out the terracotta pot and put it in a tub of RO water and it has had no effect on pH but am going to test gh/kh tonight. pH now remains at 7.0-7.2 (the last water change, of 80%, had a slight effect on pH but could be the pH pen reading slightly out now), and kh/gh is still 0-1. 

I am considering doing another water change tonight if I get time to fill the drum, again filtering RO through peat but this time using more peat (2-3 handfuls) to get the pH even lower then usual and see if doing a 25-50% water change has any effect on the pH.... I also now need to start re-mineralising the water back to ~50 TDS to bring it back up as the TDS is currently fairly low at only 20... Doing this with Salty Shrimp GH+ at the moment (plans to swap to JayC's DIY mix after this runs out).

All testing of pH and TDS is done with an electronic meter (usual cheapies from ebay) but I am confident that the issue is not with them as they measure the lower ph fine. (I've mixed water up as low as 3.8pH previously and it measures fine).

Any suggestions for what I am doing wrong or what could be causing the pH to not budge?

Thank you in advance for reading the long post and any help/advice offered :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lezoh

I've used some driftwood and limestone. Helped me a bit. My pH was about 8! so now sitting at 7.5. Def worth trying it out? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
s1l3nt

For anyone who finds this thread in the future, I believe the cause was the terracotta pot. From my understanding on some info from another forum, the terracotta can react and with ion exchange it can remove acidity from water which would in turn buffer pH over time. I believe this to be the case in my situation.

I removed the pot to 1L of water and it is 80% submerged 3 days ago. Starting pH was 6.5 and 8 TDS. 24 hours later i did a water change and dropped the pH to 5.5, TDS now 5. 48 hours or so later and the pH has gone back to 6.5 and TDS has increased to 35. I will keep it in the container for a little longer to see what happens.

The tank in question has gone down from 7.2 to 6.6 since removing the pot. It is now stable at 6.6, i will be doing a water change to drop pH further this weekend. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ineke

It's interesting that you found it was the terracotta pot. I have some terracotta pots with plants on in my 24" tanks and have no problem with them. I have been using them for at least 2 years and my ph is consistently 5.5. Please keep an eye on it to make sure that is your problem. Mine are covered in plant on top but open inside so the terracotta is open to the water. I have them in at least 4 tanksimage.thumb.jpg.19b6177344dd3f6bcd06298d

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
s1l3nt

@ineke I am quite confident this is my cause as the pH has dropped in the apisto tank and gone up in the container. I don't think it's going to happen with ALL terracotta, i've used them in past with no issues about pH

My understand is that the ion exchange capacity of the terracotta would only be noticible in a tank that didn't have other things buffering pH up or down such as co2 or aqua soils (like your tank). It may not occur with all terracotta I guess, would depend on the manufacturing process and so on. You can destroy the capacity as outlined in the quote i'll add below.

Here is what I was told on another forum:
The terracotta pot may be acting as an ion exchanger, which it doesn't really leach anything into the water but it may 'capture' acid and remove it from the water. If there is none (or not enough) you won't see an effect on the pH It will just depend on the ion exchange capacity of the terracotta/ceramics how pronounced the effect is or how long it lasts.
To destroy any ion exchange capacity you could store in a dilute hydrochloric acid solution for a few days then in RO water for a while

My pot has been in a tank for 6+ months I recon, but in the apisto tank for a month or so. In regards to your pot, your tank will be buffered by the soil. The power of the soil will overdo the strength of the terracotta pot ion exchange. 

I'll be doing a water change tonight so i'll see what happens to the pH in the apisto tank now that I have removed the pot :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ineke

Glad you sourced good info. I was just worried you were putting all your trust in something one person may have mentioned. As always what works for 1 person doesn't always work for the next. Just keep your testing going a bit longer before you don't worry about it. I routinely check all parameters monthly now that my tanks are so stable unless I notice a change in shrimp activity. I'm glad you have found your problem

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jayc

Ooo I just saw this post.

Glad you have found the culprit of the pH rise.

But if I saw it earlier, I would have pointed out to you that the Terracotta pot is the suspect. There is really nothing else in your tank than can be a cause.

In fact terracotta pots are sometimes used in Cichlid tanks for that very reason, it raises pH.

While I don't dispute that it is acting as an ion exchange, as per the info you received, where it traps acid and removes it from the water, it's certainly plausible. Although, I'm personally not sure if terracotta pots can actually do that. A low pH in water is from the lack of Hydrogen molecules in H2O. 2 Hydrogen molecules to 1 oxygen molecule. When the hydrogen H molecule is removed ... pH drops. The reverse is removal of the O molecule from H2O leaving only Hydrogen H molecules ... thus making it more alkaline. Terracotta can trap minerals and molecules. But it cannot remove molecules from elements. That is, it can trap whole elements like H2O or NO3. But it cannot, for instance, remove O from H2O, leaving only Hydrogen H - causing the pH to rise, making the water more alkaline. So as you can see it cannot trap "acid". 

I offer another more plausible explanation....

Terracotta pots are made of clay. The iron oxide in the clay gives it it's distinctive red/brown colour.

Older terracotta pots were made from clay only. HOWEVER, more recent terracotta pots especially cheaper ones are now made with added lime. Only a potter would know why. Maybe it's a filler, so you use less clay. Maybe it makes it easier to mould. Maybe Lime is cheaper. I dunno. And I am not suggesting that ALL terracotta pots are made with added lime (you'd have to ask the manufacturer). 

But it is this lime that is causing your pH to not budge. Terracotta is very porous. There isn't enough lime in the pot to raise pH drastically  and since it's baked into the pot, it's not very accessible. But there is enough lime in the pot to buffer your pH in what looks like a VERY small tank (what size is that tank?).

The small tank and small volume of water is also a key impact. You would be unlikely to experience the same buffering of pH in a larger tank. In a larger tank you would be unlikely to notice a difference at all. And if you added plant substrates, like ADA, BEP , etc that buffer the pH down, you would be unlikely to notice again.

 

Combination of a couple of things:

- a new, cheap terracotta pot made with some added lime in it.

- small tank 

- bare bottom tank with no pH buffering substrate.

 

 

<edit> This, I believe, is why you hear of some people not noticing an impact to pH,

whilst some other people have issues with it.

Some people are using pots that have no added lime. Or some people are using it in larger tanks, and maybe with shrimp/plant substrates that help lower pH. Or a combo of all of them.

Edited by jayc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
s1l3nt

Wow thanks for the informative post @jayc :) I understood very little about the chemistry side of it, but understood the concept haha. It is possible that this pot is made of clay and judging by the rise in pH in the container outside of the tank I would say it most likely has SOME lime in it. Pot was kept in other tanks for 6+ months without issue but they were co2 driven tanks so obviously didn't have enough strength to effect them negatively.

Tank is ~35L of water volume (46x28x30cm).

I actually found out that my issue is STILL occurring as of today. However, it seems without the terracotta pot the pH buffers to 6.8 rather than 7.2. I did a ~50% water change today, using water with a pH of 5.5. Was expected the tank to drop down to somewhere between 6 and 6.5, but alas it went back up from 6.6 to 6.8!!! Very frustrating!! 

The pot is definitely part of my problem as it has risen the pH in the container I have it in right now, so I am not going to return it to the tank.

The only thing left in the tank apart from plants and sponges is marine pure and coconut caves. At the moment I am not suspect of the coconut caves as they are wood based, and the ones in the tank are actually fairly old (1+ year in tanks) and stopped leaching tannins a long long time ago. 

I have now removed the marine pure spheres from the tank (have read about a few issues with regards to ceramics actually causing issues... so i figure why the heck not try it ) and put them in my fry tank so they don't lose bacteria. I have also put one of the spheres into a cup of RO water, will monitor this over the next few days. As well as the tank itself. If i see no change after this ill rip out the coconut caves and see what happens then, but I highly doubt this is my problem. Only thing left after this is moss, ferns or sponge filter which I would think would not have any effect on pH???

Edited by s1l3nt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • sdlTBfanUK
      By sdlTBfanUK
      Anyone with very large, or many tanks will probably not be interested in this, aside from curiosity maybe, as I doubt this is cheaper than buying RO water. I am writing this purely in case it may help someone else who wants an easy alternative to RO water.
      I am housebound (have MS) and as such needed to find an easy alternative to RO water if I were to keep Taiwan bee shrimp successfully. I have red cherry shrimp in my 30L FISH tank (neon tetras, ember tetras, endler guppies) and they do well with virtually nil care (or attention since I mastered the TBs) other than dechlorinated tap water (which is needed for the fish anyway) so I won't go any further on that subject.
      About 3-4 years ago I set up a 15L shrimp tank and tried BRITA filtered tap water, but had no real success with that and so 2 years ago closed the tank down and stored it away assuming then that that would be it, no Taiwan Bee shrimp ever....... but after 2 years of no success, at that point it was a bit of a relief anyway to just be done and out of the way. You will see from the Tap water readings below that in theory the Parameters were pretty good but from my experiences I think you need to go back to NIL (so either RO or the zerowater) and remineralise as I guess that way you know what the tests are picking up is only what the shrimp need - this is only my belief I don't really know, but ie the tap water TDS (Ph, Gh, Kh etc) was ok but what was in the Tap water to make the TDS reading what it was, if that makes sense? I have read on many sites of people trying tap water , as I did, with good parameters but it not working so that is my theory anyway! And of course domestic water supply parameters can change and if there has been any repairs in the system that will change it etc so from my experience only way to go is take it back to NIL and remineralise.......
      A year ago (about a year after closing down the old shrimp tank) I came across a water filter jug from zerowater (www.zerowater.co.uk), an american product which I believe is available in Australia on Amazon, but may also be in shops out there for all I know). I thought, why not give that ago.... so I set up the old tank Oct 2017 (15L with the back part partitioned of for filter etc so probably 12L of useable aquarium) put some soil in and a few bits of Java fern and moss from the fish tank and ran it with the zerowater for a couple of months. I didn't ever get any Ammonia, Nitrite, or Nitrate reading but did see a bacteria bloom for a few days. I treated the zerowater as you would RO water, so added shrimp king mineral fluid gh+. There is a lot of info on the website about what it removes etc.
      Tap water PH7, Gh 5-6, Kh 3-4, TDS 174
      Zerowater Ph6, Gh 0-1, kh 0-1, TDS 000
      I added 6 blue bolts about 6-8 weeks later, then some red ruby  and red wine a few weeks later and 3 blue steel in March 2018. All went quite well, though there were a few deaths but that may have been me as I am NO expert, I do drip acclimatise though. April 2018 Eggs started appearing (difficult to see on TB) and by the end of that month shrimplets, woohoo!
      Time for the new tank, dennerle 35L scapers which I got in May 2018 which I ran for a month with the zerowater, 2 cheap sponge only filters, heater, light, rock, wood, java fern, soil etc, and one sacrificial fish (don't worry he went in the fish tank afterwards as he survived). Then I transferred shrimps a dozen every other day(ish) etc. At this point I was obviously shutting down the small tank and although I had only bought a dozen shrimps originally, when I started removing stuff it turned out I had about 90 baby/juvenile shrimp in the tank, most were probably only days old (probably wasn't wise to transfer them at that stage really but I had too many anyway and wanted to get the old tank out of the way, as it was on the dining table). I THINK WE CAN SAFELY SAY THAT I HAVE CRACKED IT NOW, WITH THE HELP OF THE ZEROWATER FILTER JUG. So closed down the 15L end of June 2018. Daily now I see about 50 shrimps of half to full size in the new setup but haven't yet had any success with babies (though most of the shrimps may not yet be mature enough as I believe they need to be 6 months+), and with the hot spell (unusual for here when tank got to 30 degrees) and with me fine tuning the parameters, done now thankfully PH5.5-6, Gh 4.5, Kh 0-1, TDS 160 (something incidently I probably wouldn't have had to do if I had added the Gh+ from day 1 with the new tank). I will say that I NEVER had any Ammonia, Nitrate or Nitrite readings in the new tank either, but as with the small starter tank there were a couple of days of bacteria bloom. I expect babies will happen now I have stopped messing with the parameters, but there is always option B, set up the old small tank and use as a breeding tank, or C, buy more shrimps???? With the shock of how many babies there were hiding in the small tank, there could well be loads of babies in the new tank that are hiding anyway. I will give that a rethink if there haven't been any babies by xmas, though I have enough anyway at present. The only other things that may now affect babies (ie different than the smaller tank) is, the jets from the filters are a bit strong and circulate the water in the tank more, and I have rock (actually Geodes) in the tank???
      I change 2L of water each week, mainly so I can squeeze the 2 sponges from the 2 filters and just clean the glass etc. I also use Fulvic acid, beta glucan and am just starting on bacter ae (hoping that may help babies). As with RO water, top up is pure zerowater and water change is zerowater with GH+ added.
      Each zerowater filter does about 100L of my water (about 6-8 months worth) but there is info on the website above that shows how many it will do on different TDS basic water etc. The filters aren't cheap at £20 each (I have bought 4 for £50 so much more reasonable, and they don't have a shelf life anyway. They are of course available readily in USA in places like Walmart as it is an American product. If anyone knows where you can get them in other countries it may be a good idea to add it to this string/topic etc to help others, as mentioned before I THINK you can get them on amazon.com.au for Australia.
      If anyone wants to ask any questions I will do my best to answer, but I am NO EXPERT by any measure.
       
      .



      Update 27 Sep 2018
      I am daily seeing babies, in small numbers (all colour varieties), but from the top picture you can see there are a vast number of hiding places anyway, so there must be others. I have also seen a couple of shrimps heavy with eggs, grey, so they must be near birth...............
      I will keep this updated if there is anything worth reporting, or there seems to be any problems with using the zerowater filter jug as a substitute for RO water but so far (1 year now) all has been very successful.
      Update 7 Oct 2018
      Probably be the last update - unless all goes wrong etc
      I am seeing lots of babies of varying sizes and patterns now (20 today), so much so that I am going to have to start culling to make room for just the ones I really want to keep, and enough room/food etc for babies! I will try taking one big one out each week when I do maintenance and see how that goes!
      Any questions just ask!
    • daveron
      By daveron
      Hello,
      So the problem is, that my pH is always rising and settling in the range of around 6.8, but I fail to understand why and I hope you will clarify the problem for me. Let's get into details:
      I am running inert substrate tanks, which have the following parameters: pH 6.7-6.8, GH 5-6, KH 0-1, TDS ~125.
      My routine is that I do weekly water changes of around 20%. The water for changes is RO water + salty shrimp GH+ + Azoo Triple Black Water (which is basically a tannins and humic acids extract)+ Azoo Ph Lower, and I usually adjust the pH to around 6.0-6.2 as I want to keep it acidic, but the pH just won't go down lower than 6.7(to be exact - If I would add peat, or a lot of those acids, then sure it would go down lower, but after some time it always comes to it's usual 6.8 range). I also adjust the pH of the top-up water, which is RO + Triple Black Water.
      As I am adding a lot of acids into the water I thought the pH should stay acidic, unless there is something that absorbs those acids.
      So I did a test - I have prepared my usual bucket of water, re-mineralised it and adjusted pH to below 6.0 and let the bucket be. After around 24 hours I have measured the pH of the water in the bucket and, the pH was back at around 6.6. So it raised a lot. Once again I lowered the pH to below 6.0 using Triple Black Water only, and after another 48 hours the pH was again 6.8.
      So why is the pH rising ? I understand that with kH 0 there is nothing to buffer the water, but since I am adding acids into the water and there is nothing that could absorb them what causes the pH to raise ?
      Thanks !
    • puddlejumper388
      By puddlejumper388
      Hi everyone, I have spent some time searching (unsuccessfully!) for any threads set up to address how to naturally and chemically treat the more important water parameters. Obviously I'm not talking about temp, but the PH, TDS, KH and GH levels are the ones I'm most interested in. Now I'm country based so the only water I've got access to is R/W and bore (perfectly drinkable from the pump itself, no brackishness) which I have used for 4 of my 6 tanks (tropical and a few lower grade cherries). But I want to better hone in the water condition as best I can so any tricks to raise lower the above parameters naturally or if need be chemically. Or if anyone knows/finds a link, anything will be appreciated.
      Had put this in the pinned "Shrimps 101" but will try to delete it as it's probably better as a separate post.
      Being rural makes water choice difficult and some of the values I've tested are way out, hence why I'm seeking advice.
      Cheers all.
       
    • revolutionhope
      By revolutionhope
      Hey SKF peoples,
      I'm just mixing up my RO water with a combination of GH+ and GH/KH+ to keep tiger shrimps in. And I thought I'd share my experience, I gradually added the minerals and measured pH along the way and I thought I'd share the results.
      I note that the pH may change overnight after letting stand but I have been running a pump in the water to mix it well and aerate it so I doubt there will actually be any measurable shift.
      As you can see by the results, the GH/KH+ pushed up the pH a LOT! Does anyone else have this experience? I have achieved my desired water parameters in terms of ppm and GH/KH however the pH is unreal.. and this is not the first time this has happened to me either. However t is the first time I have taken the effort to document the fact.
      I'm planning on experimenting with adding a very shallow layer of the cal aqua labs black earth premium and monitoring the pH over the course of days.. expecting it to slowly drop...
      Any input is 100% welcome!
      love n peace
      will
      PS the initial drop in pH after adding the first lot of GH+ I understand can be explained (as I have read elsewhere) that when attempting to measure the pH of RO water using a pH meter the device can not accurately produce any result due to the lack of ions/conductivity in the water.
      27/05/2016 EC meter  HM  TDS-3 pH meter pH APIkit      KH        GH At time of water mixing EC0  ppm0         fresh RO     6.6       after adding 50ppm GH+     6.3       after adding 30ppm GH/KH     7       after adding 25ppm GH/KH     7.5       after adding 45ppm GH/KH EC300   8.3       after adding 17ppm GH/KH EC333  ppm175 8.3 7.8 3 8
    • revolutionhope
      By revolutionhope
      Hi SKF!
      I'm hoping to get some advice and opinions on managing pH for a tank with cherries and bee shrimps.
      My pH is measuring around 5.4 and I'm concerned it may continue to drop over time to unacceptable levels even for bee shrimps. Currently there is only CRS in the tank but I want to add some neos soon.
      Firstly some background detail - I have a tank with a modest amount of cal aqua labs black earth premium as per the manufacturer's advice. I use RO/DI water (I changed cartridge recently and TDS of RO is zero) with SS GH+. I keep up with regular WC and the TDS is about 140ppm at last check. The tank is heavily planted, has quite a few pieces of driftwood here and there and also some catappa/IAL. There is oodles and oodles of filtration including canister and air driven sponges, and the stocking rate is low-medium. There is some benibachi fulvic grains in the canister (although these fulvic grains are roughly 6 months old and should be close to expiring now; however I will still remove these fulvic grains when I get around to doing some maintenance on the canister however). The shrimp are quite happy and new ones are regularly getting berried.
      Anyway, so aside from removing the fulvic grains and possibly removing the indian almond leaf, and maybe some of the larger driftwood which may help to prevent the gradual acidification that is going on. I am wondering if anyone has experience using small amounts of aragonite or similar to help buffer the tanks. If anyone has any other suggestion or opinion it will be greatly appreciated. I don't fancy that cherry shrimps will breed very well in pH 5.4 or less and I really do want to keep some different coloured shrimps in this setup!
      I will be most grateful for any input :-)
      love n peace
      will
      -edit- I should add that it's true that as a last resort if it really comes to it then I could remove some of the substrate but I don't want to pollute the water in this way if I can avoid it..


  • Join Our Community!

    Register today, ask questions and share your shrimp and fish tank experiences with us!

  • Posts

    • kms
      It normal for.the heat to go back to the tank, the copper block is suppose to absorb the heat and take it hot water to the radiator with the fan to cool the heat, since the tube came off, the heat goes back to the block which is suppose to carry the cool water to the tank.
    • sdlTBfanUK
      Usually temperatures in cellars are pretty constant (if it is underground)? I can confirm that even branded heaters can cook the shrimp (learnt that the hard way), it happened to me so a controller is a good idea. If you are that bothered about the temperature being the same and the cellar does fluctuate a lot you may also need a cooler, depending on where you are based?  Simon
    • sdlTBfanUK
      Very sorry to hear about the tank overheating and wiping out your shrimps! Can you get a 2 plug adapter and have the heater and cooler plugged into that overheating safety device as extra security? I now what happened is probably just a freaky thing (who would expect a cooler to heat the water?) that probably won't happen again but you won't be happy with loosing the crabs???? Hopefully the shrimps will be ok with the micro crabs (beautiful red wine in the picture)? Most of the stringy algae has gone in my shrimp tank so I will do maintenance tomorrow, tests at the weekend and if all is ok I will order the (final) red shrimps next week. Thumbs up for perseverance! Simon
    • kms
      They were purchased after the incident, but I'm happy I found the crabs.😅
    • jayc
      I use cheap no name brand heaters now. I use them with my Inkbird temp controller, so I don't have to worry about the heater failing. ✌️
×
×
  • Create New...