Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How can I lower PH? Preferably without chemicals.

My tap is ~8.0, would like 7.0-7.2 (but 7.5 is < 8.0) community tank.

I've read about RO/DI, kinda pricey. If I understand correctly, RO is filtration and DI actually breaks ionic bonds, softening the water and allowing the PH to lower. Gets pretty complicated with GH/PH. Regarding PH, would a less expensive DI filter help me? Such as this:

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/p ... catid=4484

I've also read about the use of wood, peat and oak leave? How affective is this, and how controllable/stable would it be?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,820 Posts
Organics, such as driftwood or leaves, do lower PH with a side effect of darkening the water to some degree (degree will vary per situation). It probably wouldn’t take much to lower the PH from 8.0 to 7.2...

One drawback to keep in mind is if your tank’s PH is at 7.0 … and you do a very large water change with 8.0 tap water… the PH will balance between them and then slowly drop due to the effect of the Organics…

For that reason you may consider using a holding tank for a couple days that has driftwood/peat/leaves in it to lower the PH before using it in your water change…

I’ll confess this is an extra step I wouldn’t take unless it proved necessary. I’m all about keeping it simple…

I've never used RO or DI for aquariums... So I can’t comment there…
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,106 Posts
I have no experience with that RO unit. Just because it is $37+shipping doesn't mean it is good or that it will last. Though it might be good but it might prove worthless.

You say that RO/DI filters are "kinda pricey" what do you consider "kinda pricey"? What is your budget?

The DI unit are not needed unless you have a saltwater reef tank. The RO unit will soften the water removing the heavy metals along with the majority of everything else in your water supply thus lowering the PH. So you really only need a 4-stage RO unit. Preferably one with clear filter housings so you can see when/if they need to be replaced.

Pretty much something like this and I doubt the reserve is above $100.

I'd rather spend more money on a good RO unit then have to deal with driftwood, leaves, etc.

What fish do you keep?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Toby_H. said:
if your tank’s PH is at 7.0 … and you do a very large water change with 8.0 tap water… the PH will balance between them and then slowly drop
That is what I am afraid of, I would prefer to 'pre-treat' as to create stable aquarium PH. I see you keep SA, what type of wAter conditions to you maintain, and how?

IrkedCitizen said:
what do you consider "kinda pricey"? .... The RO unit will soften the water removing the heavy metals along with the majority of everything else in your water supply thus lowering the PH
Most I've seen have been $200-300. That $56 one is DI only + filtration, not RO.

Still a little confused on RO vs DI and the affects on PH. Of coarse pure RO water is great to help remove contaminates and 'heavy' minerals, but I thought I had read something about ionization affecting PH also.

It seems high GH acts as 'buffer' which helps stabilize PH and this is where people get into trouble. They first try lowering PH and nothing happens, then lower GH and PH crashes. So it sounds like the thing to do is lower GH first in order to adjust PH with minimal effort, but yet leave enough GH to achieve stable PH. I also read PH of very pure (soft) RO-DI water drops simply due to lack of buffer and contact with air (CO, CO2). So, it seems PH of very soft/clean water is much harder to stabilize and PH of very hard water is very stable, sometimes too stable making it hard to adjust. ANd I think this is where experimenting with RO-DI/Tap mixture helps.

So in my case.... High PH & very hard water, I need to do some RO/DI filtering to get clean soft water, and then add Tap water to raise GH to help buffer, while hopefully acheiving desirable PH.

Still not sure what actually lowers PH and/or GH, the RO filtration, or the DI? Can someone please help explain? In layman's terms, I've tried reading some in-depth water chemistry.

IrkedCitizen said:
I'd rather spend more money on a good RO unit then have to deal with driftwood, leaves, etc.

What fish do you keep?
I hear you, I'm trying to keep it as simple as possibly. I originally wanted to keep Dwarf SA Rams or Apistos, but due to discovery of current water conditions, not to mention lack of availability, I have retreated back to community, hopefully a much healthier community.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
It seems high GH acts as 'buffer' which helps stabilize PH and this is where people get into trouble. They first try lowering PH and nothing happens, then lower GH and PH crashes.
As I understand it, KH is what buffers the water and a KH of 8 or more will stabilize the pH to 8.2.
GH does affect the pH but only after the KH is used up to a certain degree. The main buffer for pH is KH.

I use RO water, but I buy it from the grocery store @ $.39/gallon. It's a pain to tote the jugs to town for 20g. water changes.
I get alot of sideways looks when I go in the store with 7 - 3gallon water jugs weekly. I just smile and go on.
Aquarium keepers are so misunderstood. :lol:

RO/DI water is 0 everything. You'll need to add trace minerals to the RO water to reconstitute it.
I use a product called "RO Right" to add the needed minerals for fish health.

My water is 7.4 out of the tap and rises to 8.2 after it is aerated for more than 4 hours as a result of co2 off gassing.
After its stablized, it's great for my Tang. Africans, but not so good for my rainbows and clown loaches.
If I had it to do over, I would have started with high pH/hard water friendly fish. (20/20 hind sight)

I've fussed around with peat and the like, too much hastle and, in the end, didn't work for my water.
In time I'll change my soft water tank to fish that will thrive in harder water, so I can use tap water without so much work and expense.

I'm sorry this isn't answering your chemistry questions, but it is the simple solution I have for the problem.
Plumbing in a RO unit and providing a drain for the wasted water is more than I want to deal with.
It takes 3 gal. of tap water to make 1 gal of RO, which leaves you with 2 gal. waste water.

Good luck with your quest to lower the pH of your water. Let us know if you find the "silver bullet" to make it easier.
:)
Alicem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
alicem said:
As I understand it, KH is what buffers the water and a KH of 8 or more will stabilize the pH to 8.2.
GH does affect the pH but only after the KH is used up to a certain degree. The main buffer for pH is KH.
KH does act as a buffer, however a KH of 8 does not infer a ph of 8 or any apecific value. Raising KH does raise ph but other factors affect ph than just KH.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
tannable75 said:
KH does act as a buffer, however a KH of 8 does not infer a ph of 8 or any apecific value. Raising KH does raise ph but other factors affect ph than just KH.
Ok, good to know, but, please elaborate.
My knowledge on this is sketchy, other than what works for me.
I would like to know more, if you can relay it in layman's terms.
If it is a matter of using common household items, then I'd like to experiment on an un-inhabited aquarium...
If it has to do with a biological factor and you have time to explain it, great.
Or if there is an article you could link us to, better yet!
If it is extremely technical, then never mind, I don't want to waste your time, thanks anyway.
Guess I'll keep buying the darned stuff...
:)
Alicem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
Hey, Thanks!
:thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,106 Posts
alicem said:
....I use RO water, but I buy it from the grocery store @ $.39/gallon. It's a pain to tote the jugs to town for 20g. water changes.....
The thing is about buying RO water from stores, even a LFS, is that you do not know when the last time they changed out the filters in the RO unit. You pretty much just have to take their word for it.

And at $.39/gallon you would pay off the price of buying a good RO unit within the first year of doing 20g water changes. It really isn't that much of a hassle to setup a RO unit and you get the benefit of having purified water to drink/cook with while still having the water for your aquariums at all times without driving to the store and wasting gas.

alicem said:
.....RO/DI water is 0 everything. You'll need to add trace minerals to the RO water to reconstitute it.
I use a product called "RO Right" to add the needed minerals for fish health...
Yeah the DI removes all of the TDS (total dissolved solids) which is really only needed in when having a saltwater reef tank.

alicem said:
....It takes 3 gal. of tap water to make 1 gal of RO, which leaves you with 2 gal. waste water......
I actually think it is 4 gallons of "waste" water to every 1 gallon of RO water. However there is nothing wrong with this "waste" water it just isn't as purified as finished RO water. If you had space to keep storage tanks you could store this "waste" water to use at other times. This water can be used for watering your lawn/gardens, washing the car, drinking, cooking and a lot more.

You can setup an RO unit so there is no water that is "wasted." There is nothing that says it needs to go down the drain. :thumb:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
IrkedCitizen, you have made very valid points, thank you for that. :)
I have actually considered these very thoughts and ideas.

Wondering if the store changed the membrane in the last ?? months/years,
cost of gas transporting the water (and my time),
RO unit pay off in a realitively short time, and the list goes on...

Partly, the disposal of "waste" water (let's call it residual water) bothers me.
I just didn't have to see it at the store, you know, out of sight, out of mind :oops:

Containing it and using it to water my flower beds works in the summer is do-able, but come winter...not so much.
Recycling it for laundry, showers, or toilet flushing, well, that would be very cool. 8)
Would it then be hard water in my fixtures and on my skin and clothing? hummm

Getting my Mr to set up and plumb this type of system...well, yeah, that's a little difficult.
He'd do it if I push, but, you pick your battles...

Anyhoo, I generally try to advise folks who want to change thier tap pH to suit a certain fish,
to instead consider other equally interesting fish that fit their water...
I do this after setting up my 90g. then realizing it should be low pH/soft water. :roll:
Suppose I could force my tap on these fish, but everything written about them on the sites specialized to loaches and rainbows says otherwise.

Just like Tangs. and Malawi thrive in higher pH and New World do better in lower...
You do what is best for your fish.

Thanks again, guys, for the link and the advise.
Sorry to lonestar for hijacking the post.
Hopefully we can benefit from each other's experiences.
:thumb:
Alicem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,106 Posts
alicem said:
....Wondering if the store changed the membrane in the last ?? months/years,
cost of gas transporting the water (and my time),
RO unit pay off in a realitively short time, and the list goes on...
Yeah you don't know when they changed out the filters and membranes so the quality of water you are BUYING might not be as pure as you think it is. Then the gas prices and having to carry 7 buckets. Forget all of that. You can keep the water in food grade containers that have wheels so you can just cart it around.

alicem said:
Partly, the disposal of "waste" water (let's call it residual water) bothers me.
I just didn't have to see it at the store, you know, out of sight, out of mind :oops:

Containing it and using it to water my flower beds works in the summer is do-able, but come winter...not so much.
Containing it really isn't that much of an issue. If you cannot store/use all of the residual water you can always put it down the drain but I am sure you can find many uses for it so it doesn't go down that route.

alicem said:
....Recycling it for laundry, showers, or toilet flushing, well, that would be very cool. 8)
Would it then be hard water in my fixtures and on my skin and clothing? hummm....
It wouldn't be any harder than your current tap water that you use for your laundry and showers right now. It would have gone through the filtering process and gotten the metals and other sediments out of the water. It just wouldn't be as filtered as pure RO water.

alicem said:
Getting my Mr to set up and plumb this type of system...well, yeah, that's a little difficult.
He'd do it if I push, but, you pick your battles...
I am sure that you could very easily plumb it yourself. They use 1/4" tubing and the good units use quick connect fittings so it is very woman friendly. They have different methods for getting the water to the unit. You can use a saddle valve or a faucet/hose adapter.

They are very easy to setup.

alicem said:
Anyhoo, I generally try to advise folks who want to change thier tap pH to suit a certain fish,
to instead consider other equally interesting fish that fit their water...
I do this after setting up my 90g. then realizing it should be low pH/soft water. :roll:
Suppose I could force my tap on these fish, but everything written about them on the sites specialized to loaches and rainbows says otherwise.

Just like Tangs. and Malawi thrive in higher pH and New World do better in lower...
You do what is best for your fish./quote]

That is always sound advice to give but there are some exceptions to the rules. Unless you are getting wild caught fish you can get pretty much any fish to thrive in standard tap water. This of course only pertains to freshwater fish.

I know people who have no issues keeping and raising discus in regular ol' tap water. While other people who have done it by the book with soft water and all that have killed off all of their fish.

I have tropheus and the only thing I do is add Prime to it before adding it to the tank. PH out of the tap is 7.6.

Consistency is key. :thumb:

alicem said:
IrkedCitizen, you have made very valid points, thank you for that. :)
I have actually considered these very thoughts and ideas.

Thanks again, guys, for the link and the advise.
Sorry to lonestar for hijacking the post.
Hopefully we can benefit from each other's experiences.
:thumb:
Alicem
I am going to combine these two.

No problems. I am here to help and I doubt they are going to care because all of this really does pertain to his questions. Things he should and needs to know about RO units and water quality.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Checked my water parameters after 1 week, prior to water change.

Amonnia - 0
Nitrate - 0
Nitrite - 0
PH - 7.4
& I need to get hardness tester to understand whole picture....

NOTE: previous water check was after 80% water change, moved tank to family room. PH is lower, it seemd to stabilize around 7.4 in the past, before my interest in SA. MAybe this has been the source of my trouble all along, adding 7.8-8.0 PH tap to a 7.4-7.2 PH tank.

I also noticed my newly added pleco is pooping everywhere, man that little guy can eat, never seen a pleco clean my tank so fast, 1 week and fist size algae covererd rock is clean. Possibly all the poop is helping lower PH.

tannable75, thanks for link, definately have to read it, as those tech articles are more confusing than helpful.

alicem said:
Sorry to lonestar for hijacking the post.
Hopefully we can benefit from each other's experiences.
No prob, that how I learn, from reading others trials and errors, wish more people posted their tap parametes, tank parameters and how they keep it there ie, %tap/%RO, pH up/down, RO Right, pH Right, Driftwood or Rock.. ect.. Like IrkedCitezen said, it all pertains, unfortunatly I think most are unaware of all the chemistry going on, or maybe its a case of 'ignorance is bliss' as long as their happy with their fish.

alicem said:
I generally try to advise folks who want to change thier tap pH to suit a certain fish, to instead consider other equally interesting fish that fit their water...
I think that's what I'm doing, kinda gave up on the idea of SA's (Rams/Apistos) for something more hardy in a higher pH/GH, not to mention the 'soft' water required for SA's would be less pH stable. So for now I' back to community (tetra, barb, swordtail, and some cool Debauwi Cats). Maybe Africans in future (Tangs, Haps, Malawi), need a bigger tank.

alicem said:
the disposal of "waste" water (let's call it residual water) bothers me.
Wasn't aware of 'waste' water. That seems like a pain...... :-?

IrkedCitizen said:
the benefit of having purified water to drink/cook with while still having the water for your aquariums at all times .
That was my major justification, but still, all the 'waste' water :?

alicem said:
Good luck with your quest to lower the pH of your water. Let us know if you find the "silver bullet" to make it easier. :)
I wish.... but I'll definately let you know if I do find it.

I will keep tabs on water conditions and see how things progress, and I may invest in GH/KH test. Which one would you suggest? or both?

THanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,148 Posts
I will keep tabs on water conditions and see how things progress,
Good.
When set up and going, we are interested in pics, Man, pics :thumb:
and I may invest in GH/KH test. Which one would you suggest? or both?
Often they come together in one kit, that's what I get. I just replaced mine (via internet) and it ran me about $5.50.
In a LFS it may be a couple of dollars higher, but no shipping charges. (I ordered some other stuff to justify the shipping.)
:)
Alicem
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,960 Posts
In the old days before rift like salts, we just used the waste water from the RO unit on rift lake tanks and central american tanks! :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,106 Posts
dwarfpike said:
In the old days before rift like salts, we just used the waste water from the RO unit on rift lake tanks and central american tanks! :lol:
Exactly. But that is only feasible if you have rift lake cichlids and soft water cichlids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,960 Posts
It was a great excuse to set up a rift lake or central american tank though ...

"But I'd just be wasting all this water ... but if I can set up just one more tank, all the water would go into it."

:wink: :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
dwarfpike said:
It was a great excuse to set up a rift lake or central american tank though ...

"But I'd just be wasting all this water ... but if I can set up just one more tank, all the water would go into it." :wink: :D
With 4:1 waste water, you would need 4:1 tank size. say a 55 and a 200.... :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Here we go again.....

Checked water about 2 weeks ago and everything looked good.

0 Ammonia
0 Nitrites
0 Nitrates
7.6-7.8 PH

Did a water change and checked water 1 week later, same as above, no water changed. Checked water couple days later, letting any sign of nitrates be signal for water change....

Next day, my pleco died, same one that ate everything in the tank, most active little pleco I've ever seen, it's like he ate himself to death.

Checked Water, Same as above...

Next day, molly I've had for a year died.

Checked water, Same

What gives?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,106 Posts
I'm not sure. Maybe post a new thread.

Do mollies live in 7.6-7.8ph? I have never kept mollies so I don't know.

Is your tank fully cycled? How big is the tank?
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top