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    Stabilizing pH with crushed coral

    Discussion in 'General Aquaria Discussion' started by magpie, Dec 22, 2016.

    1. magpie

      magpie MFK Members

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      I have a 65 gallon planted tank, low tech, which has been established for years.

      Here is my situation - I recently bought some butterfly fish, and one died within the day of putting it into the tank. I've never had this happen before, so I brought it to the store (reputable LFS) and they tested the water and the pH was 5.0!

      Out of the tap it is around 7 or just lower. It is also soft, but I haven't tested it in a really long time, so today I'll get a kit and test KH and GH.

      My LFS recommended using Seachem Neutral regulator, but I read about issues with phosphates so have only added one dose.
      They also recommended crushed coral to keep things more stable over time.

      So:
      How much coral should I use? I use an Eheim canister filter, I know that I should put the coral in there. But adding little bits at a time would be a challenge because I'd have to drain, open, and reprime the canister every time. How does everyone do this, and at what point do I consider things to be good? I don't need the pH at 7, but 5 is very low.

      Has anyone used the Neutral regulator with very soft water? I would assume the problems with phosphates would be amplified for people who have a higher KH and GH?

      Has anyone else had this problem and resolved it? A lot of what I read for coral is for people with african tanks who want the pH above the tap water, but I just want my tank water to stay closer to the tap pH, instead of dropping over time.

      I have driftwood in it. I had been using Katappa leaves (only one large one in the big tank, also use them in a 10 gallon shrimp tank and 5 gallon betta tank) but just removed them all when I found out about the pH.
      Thanks in advance.
       
    2. Yuki Rihwa

      Yuki Rihwa MFK Members

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      Why's not just do water change until you get PH up to your tap water level?
      PH 7 (neutral) is most likely ideal for wide range of fish species. I don't recommend using seachem buffer cause it's contain high phosphate and you will have algae outbreak, if you do weekly water change then your PH should be stable cause plants don't drop PH that fast in a week. Also, if your PH at 5 I don't think your plants survive that long.
       
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    3. magpie

      magpie MFK Members

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      I do a weekly water change of 50%.

      The water I brought in to the store was a day and a half after a 50% water change.

      I think the water is really soft and that makes it harder for it to "hold onto" the pH with the live cycling going on with the fish and plants.

      I think that makes me a prime candidate for the coral to work.... but I don't know a lot about it.

      My plants do fine... My pH tester only goes down to 6. I also need a low pH tester kit today to be able to monitor this better.


      Now... I was adding katappa leaves, but I don't think one katappa leaf in a 65 gallon tank would drop pH down that low! I did stop using them though. But they are supposed to be good for the fish.
       
    4. magpie

      magpie MFK Members

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      Have you had a personal experience with the phosphates and the seachem products? I have read experiences on both ends! Ugh.
       
    5. Yuki Rihwa

      Yuki Rihwa MFK Members

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      I did use exact same product before :p
      If you want to raise PH or lower PH, I would say use alkaline or acid buffer those 2 product don't use phosphate.
       
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    6. Yuki Rihwa

      Yuki Rihwa MFK Members

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      If you sure that your tap water PH @ 7 then I would just do water change until your tank water PH back up, it's safer than playing around with buffer material product, it's duoble sword edge gambling.
       
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    7. magpie

      magpie MFK Members

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      If the pH drops to 5 in 1.5 days, that means I'd have to do a water change every 2 days. !! I love fish but there is no way that is realistic for me. I work. ;)

      Thanks for your experience with the neutral regulator. I might grab the buffer instead.
       
    8. RD.

      RD. Crazy Canuck

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      Crushed oyster shell, more effective than crushed coral. Sold dirt cheap at farm feed stores as chicken grit. Just make sure to rinse it well first, then simply add to media bag.

      edit to add - I would start with 1 cup, and then simply replenish as needed.
       
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    9. Yuki Rihwa

      Yuki Rihwa MFK Members

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      I'm not saying you do something wrong there but PH dropping that fast in less than 2 days in your tank then something wrong in the tank. I used to have 150G extreme heavy planted tank with driftwoods high tech and my water PH not even go down below 7 after 6 months or a year without water change, you should seek out what cause the PH drop that fast and correct it for safe long run, using buffer to keep PH stable is cost a lot of money in long run, it's just my opinion.
       
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    10. BIG-G

      BIG-G MFK Members

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      Actually using the coral or some other clcium carbonate source would be the better way to go. Reason being if your water is soft then it has very little in the way of desolved minerals or calcium. So when you use a Ph up chemical you will get a Ph bounce, that is to say the Ph will go up, but in a short time the Ph will go back down because the water has no buffering capacity.
      Without the crush coral or something else to add the buffering you will never get a stable Ph above the lowest ability of you waters natural buffering which is probably 5.0 or somewhere close, as you have described.
      Its like trying to hit a moving target.

      You can add the crush coral in the canister. I would put it in a mesh bag.
       
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