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As a way to save money I have heard of people using pool filter sand as a substrate. Has anyone done this? If I do and find my PH level is too low, would packing a compartment in my sump with crushed coral be sufficient to raise it to the necessary level? How will I know how much crushed coral to use? Any other suggestions?
 

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That is what I have done. I love PFS!

I really haven't had much luck with the coral raising my PH. I have switched to Baking Soda and love it.

HTH
 

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Baking Soda?
Never heard that. Without sounding completely clueless how does that work? Where do I add the baking soda, how much, how often? My water straight from the faucet is around 7.0, so it's not too far off.
 

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Many people use pool filter sand as a substrate. It is usually cleaber and a more uniform grain size than regular sand.

The baking soda raises the ph and the carbonate hardness (which is needed to buffer the ph so it remains stable).

The best place to read up on the buffer recipe (which contains baking soda) in in the Library section Here is the link http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/buffer_recipe.php

It is much less expensive than the commercial buffers and can be adjusted to accomodate many tap water parameters.

It is added to the water used to refill the tank during a water change. If you decide to go this route, you will have to start off slow so as not to shock the fish. Once you have reached a stable level on the ph, gh and kh, you can figure out what needs to be added back after a water change.
 

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Baking soda is Sodium Bicarbonate. When the two ions dissociate in solution, the bicarbonate anion acts as either a H+ acceptor or an OH- donor (same thing in the end).

HCO3- + H2O → H2CO3 + OH-

These OH- groups react with H+ ions to form water

H+ + OH- --> H2O

pH is a measure of the number of H+ ions in solution ( pH = -log[H+] )
Since by adding Sodium bicarbonate to your water you have effectively reduced the number of free floating H+ ions, the pH goes up.
 

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If you're concerned about low PH what I used for my mbuna tank is Eco-Complete sand...it has kept my tank at a stable 8.4 PH without me having to do ANYTHING else. You can price it out and find a good deal but for me not having to worry about stabilizing my PH is worth the extra money.
 

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Cook.MN said:
If you're concerned about low PH what I used for my mbuna tank is Eco-Complete sand...it has kept my tank at a stable 8.4 PH without me having to do ANYTHING else. You can price it out and find a good deal but for me not having to worry about stabilizing my PH is worth the extra money.
This does work well, but you haverto like the black and white speckled look. Personally I don't, though many do. I have found the buffer recipe very simple. To keep it even more simple I always drain my tank to the exact same spot every week. That way I only had to figure out how much buffer to replace one time.
 

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The black and white look grew on me, I added in some black lace rock and a black background so it's looking really good now.

Being a newbie I was afraid of over/under doing the buffer recipe or messing it up completely so I took the easy way out.
 

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but what if you have a continuous water changing system, aka a drip system, would the crushed coral be effective then?

Obviously, the baking soda wouldnt work in that situation.
 

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stslimited84 said:
but what if you have a continuous water changing system, aka a drip system, would the crushed coral be effective then?

Obviously, the baking soda wouldnt work in that situation.
It would work with a continuous drip system, but only if the new water was coming from a holding tank. If it is plumbed to the water supply, then yes you are correct it won't work.

I would think that having the crushed coral or Eco-complete cichlid sand would help, but depending on how fast the system changes water, it may not have enough time to really effect it.
 

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If you use crushed coral as your substrate in your tank then it will help buffer any water you add to the tank. But it seems like you don't want crushed coral actually in your tank.

I don't know much about continuous drip systems. Is the drip straight from tap water?
 
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